Blackened Chicken Alfredo

This is one of our favorite dishes. The contrast between the heat of the blackening seasoning and the creamy cheese sauce is fantastic. It takes almost no time at all to make.

Blackened Chicken AlfredoUse fresh pasta for the best results. Oh, and you’ll want to crack open a few windows when you blacken the chicken on the stovetop. Blackening requires very high heat and generates a lot of smoke. It’s worth it.

Skillet Blackened Chicken Alfredo
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
  • 3/4 cup blackening seasoning
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 12 ounces fresh pasta (fettuccine, angel hair or linguine)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat.
  4. Spread blackening seasoning out on a plate. Coat the chicken on both sides. Place chicken into the skillet and blacken on both sides. Remove skillet from stovetop and place in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 F. Remove.
  5. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, cream, white pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  6. Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Add Mozzarella cheese and stir until smooth.
  8. Cook the noodles for 3 minutes or until done and drain.
  9. Cut chicken into strips and serve over pasta with sauce.
  10. Garnish with parsley.


Haute Dogs – Recipes for Delicious Hot Dogs, Buns and Condiments

I was sooooo excited when I received a copy of Russell van Kraayenburg’s cookbook, Haute Dogs, for review*. I’m all about cooking up hot dogs, from the super-simple dog I can throw on at lunch, to a big, fancy dog that amazes all for dinner. It didn’t take me long to realize that this book has them all. And the photos? Oh my! They are just jump-off-the-page-into-your-mouth fantastic.

Haute DogsThe book starts with the history of the hot dog, and a really great section on cooking methods and rules-to-hot-dog-by.

Next you’ll find the heart (meat?) of the book: recipes for American Classic, Modern American, South and Central American, and European, African and Asian dogs. I found all the recipes to be detailed, easy-to-follow, and they all use ingredients I can actually find at my local grocery store.

There are also sections on making your own buns and batters, actual dogs, and condiments, sauces, and toppings (my favorite section).

I immediately jumped in and made the New York Style hot dog, and simple dog that packs a lot of great flavor thanks to onions that are sauteed in tomato paste. Add in some spicy mustard and kraut, and you have a great dog you can throw together in no time. Anita proclaimed it “absolutely fantastic”. Score!

Haute Dogs - New York style dogI’m looking forward to making more of the recipes from this book, from the dogs to the relishes, to the homemade ketchup.

Haute Dogs is published by Quirk Books..

* The book was free, my review is free, and the thoughts are all mine.

Mini Chicken-and-Waffles

These are the perfect appetizer-sized chicken and waffles for a crowd. Sure, you can make your own waffles and fry your own chicken, but when you’re in a hurry, these will do just fine. Trust me!

Mini Chicken and WafflesPerfect game-time treats!

Mini Chicken-and-Waffles
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Add chicken and cook until 10 minutes remain per the package instructions.
  3. Add the mini waffles to the oven and warm 10 minutes.
  4. Serve chicken skewered with waffles, drizzled with syrup.


Fried BBQ Bologna Sandwiches

Who doesn’t love a bologna sandwich? Well, this takes the old classic to a whole new level. You’ll find it hard to believe that you’re eating bologna. Crispy, fried sandwich meat with spicy BBQ sauce served on a bun with creamy tangy slaw. Yummy!

Fried BBQ Bologna SandwichThese sandwiches are so good that we made them twice this week already.

Fried BBQ Bologna Sandwiches
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 6-8 slices bologna
  • Your favorite spicy BBQ sauce (I used Russ and Franks Spicy)
  • Your favorite BBQ rub (Creole seasoning will also work just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 hamburger buns
  • Prepared coleslaw (I just mixed some broccoli slaw with Marzetti slaw dressing)
  1. Brush all sides of the bologna with the BBQ sauce and sprinkle with the rub. Place in a large resealable container for 4 hours.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Working in batches, remove bologna from container and shake off any excess sauce. Fry in oil until browned on both sides. Remove to a plate.
  4. Toast buns if desired.
  5. Top bun bottoms with fried bologna, followed by slaw and bun tops.


Mardis Gras Slaw

I’m a huge fan of anything slaw, which is odd since when I was growing up I couldn’t stand slaw at all. Now, slaw is the one thing I almost always order when eating out, and I often make it when cooking at home. And slaw isn’t just a wonderful side. It’s fantastic on top of hot dogs, hamburgers, and best of all, pulled pork or smoked brisket sandwiches.

Mardis Gras SlawThis recipe comes from Marguerite at Cajun Delights, my favorite place for all thing Cajun, from food to music.

Mardis Gras Slaw
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, shredded (or substitute 2 1 pound packages shredded cabbage)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (or more) mayonnaise,(I recommend Duke’s)
  • 1 teaspoon Zatarain’s Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • Salt to taste
  1. Combine cabbage, onion and bell peppers in large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat completely.


Copycat Panda Express SweetFire Chicken

This is the best take on the classic sweet-n-sour chicken I’ve ever had. The flavors are just spot on, from the sweetness of the pineapple to the kick from red pepper flakes, to the crunch of onions and crispy chicken. I’d make this again. And again.

Copycat Panda Express SweetFire ChickenI confess that I made a big ole mess in the kitchen when I made this chicken. Apparently, I was cornstarch-dredging challenged that night, because I had cornstarch all over the place. It was well worth it, though.

Copycat Panda Express SweetFire Chicken
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (or substitute chicken tenderloins)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cornstarch, plus 3 tablespoons
  • Oil, for frying
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 20 ounce pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Cooked rice or noodles, if desired
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced thin
  1. Place chicken pieces in a large resealable baggie or container and add the flour along with salt and pepper to taste. Seal and shake to coat.
  2. Place beaten eggs in a shallow bowl.
  3. Place 1 cup of the cornstarch into another shallow bowl.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok.
  5. Working in batches, remove chicken pieces from the baggie and shake off the excess flour.
  6. Dip into egg and coat, shaking off excess.
  7. Next, dip into cornstarch and coat, shaking off the excess.
  8. Fry until golden and crispy on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Finish cooking remaining chicken.
  9. Combine the 4 tablespoons of water and remaining 3 tablespoons of cornstarch in a cup or glass.
  10. In a small pan, combine the red pepper flakes, garlic, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and keep warm.
  11. Add a little more oil to the skillet or wok and add the bell pepper and onion and cook for 3 minutes.
  12. Add the pineapple and cook another minute.
  13. Add the sauce mixture in and stir.
  14. Add the cooked chicken and gently stir to coat and combine.
  15. Serve over rice or noodles, if desired, and garnished with green onions.


Deviled Pastel Easter Eggs

With Easter approaching rapidly, I thought I’d post a recipe that we make every year when our family gets together. These are easy, traditional (tasting), and well… pretty!

Deviled Pastel Easter EggsThis recipe makes 24 egg halves, plus you’ll have a few egg halves left for other uses.

Pastel Deviled Easter Eggs
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 halves
  • 2 dozen large eggs, hard boiled and peeled (12 are for stuffing. The remaining 12 are used for their yolks.)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Neon food coloring
  • Paprika, for garnishing
  • Sliced olives or chopped pimentos, for garnishing, optional
  1. Halve the eggs. Remove the yolks into a bowl. Discard 24 of the halves (use in an egg salad!)
  2. Fill drink glasses (we used rocks glasses) with water and add food coloring to each. You want the color to be pretty dark, even for the lighter colors.
  3. Working in batches, gently lower eggs into the glasses (we put them on a spoon and lowered them into the water). Stir very gently and let set in the glass until they reach the desired color. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and dry completely.
  4. Mash yolks with a fork and add the mayonnaise, pickle relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Fill egg halves with yolk mixture. It’s easier to use an icing piper or frosting bag, or if those aren’t available, put the mixture in a plastic baggie, cut off the tip, and use that to pipe the mixture.
  6. Garnish with paprika and olives or pimentos, if desired.
  7. Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve.


Muffuletta Sandwich

I so love the flavors of a muffuletta sandwich. Great meats, great cheese, and Italian olive salad. Warmed just slightly until the bread is soft and the cheese is ooey-gooey. I could eat muffulettas all day long.

Muffuletta SandwichI used my homemade Italian olive salad. It takes a day to make, but it is well worth the time.

Muffuletta Sandwich
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, cut in half horizontally
  • 3 cups olive salad
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 6 ounces cappocoli or culatello, sliced thin
  • 4 ounces salami, sliced thin
  • 4 ounces mortadella, sliced thin
  • 2 ounces sandwich pepperoni, sliced thin
  • 4 ounces provolone, sliced thin
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Spread the olive salad on each half of the bread, 1 1/2 cups per side.
  3. Next, place sliced mozzarella over the salad on the bottom piece of bread. Top with the meats.
  4. Place provolone on top piece of bread and place on top of bottom, to make a sandwich.
  5. Wrap tightly in foil and heat 20 minutes.


Beer Cheese Sauce

Oh me. This sauce has lots and lots of uses, from a dip for pretzels or chips to topping hot dogs or burgers, or even over pasta. We served it warm with warmed pretzel balls, and everything disappeared in minutes!

Beer Cheese SauceAdjust the heat to your tastes. For a thicker sauce, just let it cook a little longer.

Beer Cheese Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, diced and softened
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon or more red pepper flakes)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Add the beer to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Combine the cheese and flour in a bowl and add to the beer along with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir until the cheese is melted completely and is of the desired thickness.
  4. Serve warm.


Blackening Seasoning

I love blackened chicken or fish. For years, I bought those pre-made blackening seasoning mixes. Now, I just make a batch of this version from Chef Paul Prudhomme.

This is mighty spicy (to some). I think that’s a very good thing, but if you’re not really after the heat, back off on the cayenne. Just add it in in small quantity, tasting as you go. I wouldn’t leave it out entirely as it is an integral part of the great flavor this mix lends to any meat. This would also be great on steak, or in chili, or mixed into ground beef for burgers… you name it.

Blackening Season
Recipe type: Spice Mix
Cuisine: American
  • 1 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Combine all ingredients and store in an air-tight container.
  2. This recipe makes enough to blacken four chicken breasts or pieces of fish.