Crispy Fried Shrimp

I can eat an embarrassing amount of crispy fried shrimp. My addiction to these little goodies started as a child. Maybe once every few months we would eat out at Sizzler. I would always get the fried shrimp. I would devour them.

That tradition lives on, believe me. That’s why I make them at home. In bigger batches. These crispy fried shrimp are nice and crispy and have a fantastic lightly savory flavor. No overpowering flavors here, you can still taste the wonderful shrimp.
Crispy Fried ShrimpI like to use shrimp that aren’t too big or too small when I make crispy fried shrimp. For me, 21-25 count (that means 21-25 shrimp are in a pound) are the perfect size. If I can get them, I use Louisiana Gulf Shrimp. I believe they have the best flavor but you can use whatever you prefer (or can find).

You can use pre-shelled and pre-deveined shrimp but give them a once-over before using to make sure that there aren’t any shell pieces or veins left. Just in case.

If you’re looking for something super-simple for dipping your delicious crispy fried shrimp, try my quick cocktail sauce.

Crispy Fried Shrimp

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unshelled medium raw shrimp 21-25 count
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs substitute Panko bread crumbs for even more crunch
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Remove the shells from the shrimp up to the tail section. Make an incision down the back and remove the vein. Rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl or pie plate combine the egg and milk.
  • Place the flour in another large bowl or pie plate.
  • And in another large bowl or pie plate place the bread crumbs, salt, basil, parsley, garlic and onion powders.
  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or deep fryer to 350 F.
  • Working in batches, coat the shrimp in the egg mixture. Shake off excess and then roll in flour.
  • Return shrimp to the egg mixture and coat again. Shake off excess and then roll in the bread crumb mixture, coating well.
  • Transfer to hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to let drain before serving.

Garlic-Q Wings

Alliger’s House of Wings has some of most awesome wing sauces I’ve ever had. I just cannot get enough of them. The other really cool thing about Alliger’s is that their website has simple recipes for combining their sauces to make new flavors. Like these Garlic-Q wings. It’s a wonderful combination of, you guessed it, garlic wing sauce and BBQ wing sauce! The garlic sauce by itself is pretty garlicky. Add in some BBQ wing sauce and you get this awesome new taste with just the perfect amount of spice.
Garlic-Q Wings
Garlic-Q wings are a great way to bring a little something different to the party. We’ve all had garlicky wings. We’ve all had BBQ wings. But Garlic-Q wings? Now, that’s new. And it’s so crazy easy to make!

Also try my chili garlic wings!

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes. Also check out my always-growing list of my favorite store-bought wing sauces.

Garlic-Q Wings

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

Bloody Mary Rim Salt

I’m not a bartender or mixologist by any stretch of the imagination. If you asked me anything about mixed drinks you’d get a blank unknowing look in response. However, I can make two drinks that Anita does enjoy: a dirty martini and a Bloody Mary. Now, we’re not talking big-time fru-fru drinks here. My Bloody Mary isn’t like some you see on TV that are garnished with bacon, sliders and hot peppers or whatever. I keep it simple and tasty. And the key to my Bloody Mary is the rim salt. I make a big batch of it and keep it in the pantry, ready just in case someone requests a Bloody Mary.
Bloody Mary Rim Salt

Bloody Mary rim salt isn’t just for making drinks better, either. I love to sprinkle it on chicken wings hot out of the deep fryer or off the grill. It’s wonderfully different. It’s also great as a seasoning on grilled steaks.

Bloody Mary Rim Salt

Course Drinks
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic not garlic salt or garlic powder!
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry powdered ginger

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a jar or sealable container. Shake to combine. Note: If you want a finer salt, place the salt into a spice grinder first and pulse a few times until the desired size is obtained.
  • To rim a glass, moisten the edge of your glass then dip into the salt.

Smoked Cheetos

Well, yep, smoked Cheetos are different. And boy, you gotta be careful smoking them too. It doesn’t take much smoke to get these little crunchy morsels mighty smoky. I admit, my first time making them I got distracted and smoked them longer than I should have. I was able to rescue them (the longer they rest after smoking, the more mellow the smoke flavor gets) but I suggest you start with less smoke time, try them, and go from there. They come out totally new, something people won’t expect! Nice and crunchy and smoky cheesy!

To smoke Cheetos you use a cold smoking technique. You do not want high heat. You can get by with temperatures up to 180 F, but I suggest cold smoking, which is generally below 90 F.

Smoked Cheetos

I use an A-Maze-N smoke tube when cold smoking. It gives me perfect control over the temperature and produces consistent smoke. I buy wood pellets and stuff the tube completely, then light one end. The tube stays lit for a few hours, perfect for smoking Cheetos. I highly recommend it. It’s also great for adding smoke flavor to dishes being cooked on a gas grill.

Since you have your cold smoke set-up going, throw on some potato chips or Chex mix too!

Smoked Cheetos

Course Appetizer
Author Mike

Ingredients

For cold smoking (using charcoal)

  • 4 lit charcoal briquettes
  • 1 small chunk apple wood

For cold smoking (using the A-MAZE-N tube)

  • wood pellets

For the smoked Cheetos

Instructions

For cold smoking (using charcoal)

  • Place the 4 lit briquettes in the bottom of your smoker.
  • Add the wood chunk.
  • Once the wood is smoking, you can add the Cheetos.

For cold smoking (using the A-MAZE-N tube)

  • Fill the tube with the wood pellets. Place into the bottom of your smoker and light one end. Once the pellets produce smoke, you can add the Cheetos.

For the smoked Cheetos

  • Place the Cheetos in an aluminum pan over your cold smoke setup that is already producing smoke (from above).
  • Smoke 20-30 minutes, gently tossing once or twice, until the desired smoke taste is achieved.
  • It's best to let the smoked snacks sit out for a while before serving. The smoke flavor can be a little strong at first. A little rest time will mellow it.

Deluxe Cheddar Pretzel Bites

The reason I made such a big batch of these deluxe cheddar pretzel bites isn’t because I needed a huge amount for a family get-together. Sure, I needed some, but not a ton. Nope, I made a big batch because I wanted more for myself. Sorry, but it’s true. I was being selfish, but for a good reason. I love them. Crunchy, a bit buttery, and definitely cheesy. And made with real cheese!
Deluxe Cheddar Pretzel Bites

You don’t have to use pretzels to make these deluxe cheddar pretzel bites. If you prefer, any cracker will do, specially oyster crackers or saltines. Just don’t substitute something that is strongly flavored and might not go well with the cheddar. That would make for a bowl of sadness.

Also check out my balsamicpizza,and spicy garlic ranch pretzel bites! They are all out of this world good too!

Deluxe Cheddar Pretzel Bites

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 1 pound

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200 F.
  • Place pretzel bites in large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the oil and cheddar seasoning.
  • Pour the oil mixture over the pretzels and toss to coat well.
  • Pour pretzels bites out onto a large baking pan and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

Kroger Medium Wing Sauce

I’ve said it before. If you’re standing in the wing sauce section of the grocery store, trying to decide on the next sauce you’re going to grab for a great batch of wings, do not hesitate to try the store brand. I was at Kroger, and I couldn’t help myself. I grabbed one each of every one of their sauces, including the Kroger Medium Wing Sauce. The sauce turned out to be perfect! A decent hint of heat (a bit more than Kroger’s Mild Wing Sauce) and the perfect consistency. This is a mighty fine wing sauce, and boy, the price was right!
Kroger Medium Wing SauceIf you by chance end up with any leftover medium wing sauce, toss it in the fridge. Make sure you warm it a bit (at least to room temperature) before using it on your next batch of wings. Nothing makes hot wings sad faster than tossing them in cold wing sauce!

Kroger also makes a fantastic Parmesan garlic wing sauce. Try it too!

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes. Also check out my always-growing list of my favorite store-bought wing sauces.

Kroger Medium Wing Sauce

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Kroger Medium wing sauce to taste

Instructions

Silver Dollar Pancakes

As I was devouring the Big Bad Breakfast cookbook, I came across this recipe for silver dollar pancakes. I flashed back to the last time I had them. I think it was in the 1970s in Reno, Nevada. Seriously. 40 plus years ago. How did that happen? I instantly bookmarked the recipe on my Kindle reader. I had everything on hand to make them except for buttermilk. A quick trip to the grocery store took care of that.

There’s nothing complicated here. The batter is perfect. You can use the same batter to make these full-sized, but for me, the memory of silver dollar pancakes made making them again even more special.

Silver Dollar PancakesI made these silver dollar pancakes using my Cuisinart Griddler. I opened the Griddler flat so I could use both griddle plates at the same time then set the selector to Griddle. The temperature was set to maximum the entire time. The top griddle doesn’t get as hot as what is normally the bottom griddle, so food cooked on that side will take a little longer to cook.

Looking for a great side dish for your pancakes? Make some waffle iron sausages!

Silver Dollar Pancakes

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Instructions

  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, milk, eggs and vanilla.
  • Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until completely incorporated.
  • Whisk in the melted butter.
  • Heat a griddle, Griddler, or large skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray (or melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter).
  • Working in batches, spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of batter onto the griddle. Do not crowd the pancakes. I was able to cook 12 at a time on the Cuisinart Griddler.
  • Once the tops of the pancakes start to bubble (2-3 minutes on the Griddler, maybe sooner on a stove-top), flip and continue to cook until browned, another 30 seconds or longer.
  • Keep cooked pancakes in a warmed oven until all of the batter is used.

Jalapeno Peach Wings

I think it’s safe to say that I am addicted to chicken wings. They’re one of the most versatile dishes you can make. There are literally thousands of different sauces and seasonings for them. When I walk thru the grocery store I always look to see what is in season. Chances are, whatever it is, it can be made into a wing sauce. These jalapeno peach wings are a great example. That wonderful peach flavor with just a little spicy kick. Add a little sweetness and a nice vinegary snap and you end up with fantastic tasting wings.

Jalapeno Peach Wings

I wouldn’t hesitate to make an extra big batch of the sauce and use it to slather onto grilled or roasted chicken. Or brush it onto a rack of ribs just before pulling them off your smoker or grill. And it’s also fantastic on top of a chicken sandwich. The sauce is definitely not just for jalapeno peach wings but it sure is mighty good on them!

Also try my ancho peach wings.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes. Also check out my always-growing list of my favorite store-bought wing sauces.

Jalapeno Peach Wings

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the sauce (makes enough for 4-5 batches of wings)

  • 5 medium peaches chopped
  • 1 pound jalapenos stemmed, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

For the sauce (makes enough for 4-5 batches of wings)

  • Place the peaches, jalapenos, onion and ginger into a food processor. Pulse a few times. You want to shred the ingredients but not puree them.
  • Transfer to a sauce pan. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally until thickened.

Copycat White Castle Burgers

I like my burgers griddled. But sometimes, that just isn’t an option. Time for Plan B, and this time Plan B was to make a copycat of the famous sliders from White Castle. White Castle burgers are rather addicting. Even though you know you should stop eating them at some point, you just can’t. They’re about as easy to make as you can possibly get, and just as easy to devour.
Copycat White Castle BurgersIt’s possible that I often double the cheese on my copycat White Castle burgers. It’s also possible that I sometimes add a bit of BBQ sauce. Beyond that, White Castle sliders should not be messed with.

Serve your burgers with some copycat Five Guys Fries!

Copycat White Castle Burgers

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 24 sliders
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef I recommend 80/20 beef
  • 1 tablespoon beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried minced onions
  • 2 packages 12-piece dinner rolls
  • Dill pickle slices American cheese, prepared yellow mustard

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  • In a large bowl combine the beef, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  • Spread minced onions out evenly on a baking sheet.
  • Add the beef mixture and spread out evenly to the edges of the tray.
  • Cut into 24 square equally-sized pieces.
  • Puncture tops of patties with a straw in a few places.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes or until the meat is done.
  • Drain beef.
  • Cut rolls in half. Add the pickles, cheese and mustard. Add the beef patty and top bun and serve.

Creamy Cheese and Tomato Soup

Growing up, I saw my dad eat a lot of tomato soup. I kept as far away from it as I could. It was just too darned tomato-y for me. Now, if I’d had this creamy cheese and tomato soup things would’ve been a whole lot different. This soup has just the right amount of tomato. And just the right amount of creamy cheese goodness. Every bite is perfectly rich in flavor.

Creamy Cheese and Tomato Soup

Creamy cheese and tomato soup hit the spot on a never-ending-winter day. You can also serve it cool or at room temperature in the summer. If you can get real, fresh tomatoes you can chop them and roast them in the oven. Since fresh won’t have the juices like canned do, you might have to add a bit of tomato juice, sauce or even water.

Also try my creamy cheddar soup.

Creamy Cheese and Tomato Soup

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup olive oil divided
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 rib celery diced
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Drain the canned tomatoes, reserving the juices.
  • Spread tomatoes out onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with another 1/4 cup of the oil and stir.
  • Bake until the tomatoes are very soft and are beginning to caramelize, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, carrot, celery and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the tomato mixture to the pot along with the reserved juices and 1 cup water. Stir.
  • Simmer until the vegetables have cooked, about 20 minutes.
  • Add butter, Parmesan cheese, and cream.  Use an immersion blender to combine. Alternatively, transfer to a blender. Let cool slightly then pulse until smooth.