Bell Pepper Powder on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

Although I truly do love making jerky on my Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator, it’s actually not the main reason I bought it. I got it to dry herbs and vegetables to make my own spice mixes. This bell pepper powder was my first attempt, and boy, is it ever amazing.
Bell Pepper Powder on the Nesco Snackmaster ProI cannot wait to use this powder in everything from omlets, to burgers, to chili. It has a great peppery sweetness to it. You could easily substitute it for black pepper in a lot of cases.

After drying the chopped peppers for 24 hours I ground them using a blade coffee grinder (not the burr grinder). Not all of the peppers would go thru the grinder (they were still a bit moist) so I returned them to the dehydrator for just a bit.

The final product went into Mason jars with lids and then vacuum-sealed using a jar attachment for a vacuum sealer. You just have to remember that after you open the jar to remove some of the powder you’ll need to re-seal it. No big deal and well worth the effort.

Bell Pepper Powder on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
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You'll need the following. A dehydrator with screen trays (I use a Nesco Snackmaster Pro), a blade coffee grinder (not a burr grinder) air-right containers or vacuum-sealed jars (I use a canning jar attachment on my vacuum sealer) additional trays, if required (my Nesco Snackmaster Pro came with 5, I purchased more so I can have 8 or more trays going at once).
Ingredients
  • Bell peppers (I was able to fit approximately 2 peppers per Nesco Snackmaster Pro tray)
Instructions
  1. Set your dehydrator to 135 F.
  2. Rinse the peppers. Remove the stems and seeds and cut into chunks. If you are not using screen trays you'll want to cut fairly large pieces so they do not fall between the trays.
  3. Dehydrate for 18-24 hours. Rotate the trays every 2 hours if possible.
  4. Once all the peppers are dry and a bit crisp remove and let cool.
  5. Process the peppers in the grinder until they form a fine powder. If some pieces of pepper do not grind return them to the dehydrator for another hour or so until crisp.
  6. Keep the powder in an air-tight container. I place mine in a Mason jar, cover it, then use a vacuum-sealer attachment specifically for jars to remove all of the air.

Wiz Dogs

I have a habit of copying recipes from restaurants or food trucks I hear about or see on TV. Here lately I’ve been on a major campaign to copy some of the crazy great dogs from Duke’s Gourmet Dogs in Minster, Ohio, which closed recently. These Wiz dogs are just packed with everything good about a hot dog. Warm chili. Crunchy potato straws (an ingredient I haven’t had in years). And my favorite, ooey gooey cheese sauce. Like I’ve said before, if it’s going to be messy to eat, it’s going to taste great and Wiz dogs are definitely messy and great!

Wiz DogsI was tempted to add a few chopped jalapenos to these Wiz dogs. I like some kick so my dogs. I went another route and used spicy cheese sauce instead.

Love hot dogs as much as I do? Check out my free eCookbook that is packed with tons of hot dog recipes.

Wiz Dogs
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Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
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Ingredients
  • All-beef hot dogs
  • Hot dog buns
  • No-bean chili, warmed
  • Potato straws
  • Cheese sauce, warmed (I prefer the zesty cheese sauce from La Preferida when not making my own)
  • Sliced pickled jalapenos (optional)
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill and cook the dogs and warm the buns.
  2. Assemble hot dogs by adding weiners to the buns. Top with plenty of chili, potato straws and plenty of cheese sauce.
  3. Top with jalapeno slices, if desired.
  4. Serve with plenty of paper towels.

Smoked Scotch Eggs

Smoked Scotch eggs have been on my bucket list for a while. I finally had a little room on my smoker so I jumped at the opportunity. As easy as they are to make, Scotch eggs are really amazing. It’s like breakfast in a bite. Perfectly hard-boiled eggs, smoked breakfast sausage, and a bit of BBQ sauce for dipping. They look great and they taste great. Awesome appetizers for your next cookout.
Smoked Scotch EggsIf you want a bit of kick to your smoked Scotch eggs add a bit of cayenne pepper or your favorite spicy rub to the bread crumbs. Not a lot, just enough to bring a little spiciness.

Smoked Scotch Eggs
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Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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Serves: 12 eggs
 
Ingredients
  • 14 eggs, divided
  • 2 pounds bulk pork breakfast sausage
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • BBQ sauce, warmed, for serving
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F.
  2. Hard-boil 12 of the eggs and remove the shells.
  3. Combine the sausage and minced onion. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 12 equally-sized balls and flatten.
  4. Place an egg in the middle of each flattened sausage patty and wrap the meat around the egg. The egg should be completely covered by the sausage.
  5. Place the flour in a shallow bowl.
  6. Beat the remaining 2 eggs in another shallow bowl.
  7. Place breadcrumbs into another shallow bowl.
  8. Roll sausage-covered eggs in the flour. Shake off excess.
  9. Roll sausage-covered eggs in the egg. Shake off excess.
  10. Roll sausage-covered eggs in the bread crumbs. Shake off excess.
  11. Smoke for 2 1/2 hours
  12. Slice eggs lengthwise and serve with warmed BBQ sauce for dunking.

Old School BBQ Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I’ve been wanting to make this old school BBQ chicken on my Char-Broil Big Easy for some time now. I flashed back to the mid-1970s, to my earliest memory of a cookout, and chicken. Chicken legs, then. Grilled and sauced with off-the-shelf Kraft BBQ sauce. That’s it. Done. Well, this is my take on the classic I remember from 40 years ago. I used split chicken breasts because that’s what we prefer, but any cut of chicken would work just fine. Just chicken and BBQ sauce. Summer.
Old School BBQ Chicken on the Char-Broil Big EasyI didn’t do anything fancy to this old school BBQ chicken. A little oil, salt and pepper and that’s it. No brine, no fru-fru spices. Just simple flavors. With your Big Easy (and specially if you add a Bunk Bed basket) you can cook up a big batch of chicken ahead of time for a picnic or family get-together.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Old School BBQ Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy
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Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
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Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Chicken (I used split chicken breasts, but any cuts or even a whole chicken will do)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Store-bought BBQ sauce (I used Kraft Original)
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Very lightly oil the chicken. Just a splash and rub it around the chicken.
  3. Salt and pepper the chicken and place in the Big Easy basket.
  4. Place the basket into the Big Easy and cook until done. For my split breasts cook time was about 30 minutes.
  5. Brush the chicken with the BBQ sauce and return to the Big Easy for a few minutes to 'set' the sauce.
  6. Remove and rest for 5 minutes before devouring.

Asian Steak Marinade

Our local grocery store had cheap steak on sale even cheaper, so I picked up one for lunch. Working from home has its advantages, and one is being able to toss a steak onto the charcoal grill during the day. As much as I love just salt and pepper on a steak, sometimes I want something a little different. I had Asian flavors on the brain, so well, you can guess what happened next. An Asian steak marinade combining salty soy with a little sweetness and a little heat.
Asian Steak MarinadeI loved the combination of heat and sweet in the Asian steak marinade. I would not be afraid to add more chili paste, though. That’s just me. I like a bit of spicy in all of my dishes.

You do want to be careful cooking the steaks over high heat. Too long and they’ll char. Sear them quickly and then move them to indirect heat to let them finish cooking.

Asian Steak Marinade
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Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pound steak
  • 1/4 cup low salt soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
Instructions
  1. Place the steak into a resealable bag or container.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour over the steak and flip to coat both sides.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Fire up your grill for direct and indirect cooking.
  6. Discard marinade.
  7. Sear the steak on both sides, quickly. The honey in the marinade can tend to caramelize over high heat, so you don't want to leave it there for long.
  8. Transfer to indirect heat and continue cooking until done.

Sweet Corn Season 2016

I wait. And I wait. For that moment, each year, that first day, when My Dad’s Sweet Corn announces the corn is ready. Their sweet corn is absolutely amazing. Sweet and juicy and perfect. On that day, the first day, when it is at its peak, I rush to the farmer’s market early in the morning and I load up. And I load up big. Sweet corn season 2016 has begun.
Sweet Corn Season 2016Having such fantastic sweet corn on hand in winter makes the winter seem a lot less harsh. It reminds me of summer and warm sunny days. That beats the heck out of shoveling snow, that’s for sure!

Quickly blanching the corn and shocking it in an ice bath keeps the corn tasty and sweet. I add a bit of sugar to the water to make up for the flavor that is lost with the first batch or two. After that the water is full of corn flavored goodness, so every batch comes out tasting great.

Sweet Corn Season 2016
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Ingredients
  • Sweet corn-on-the-cob (I had 6 baker's dozen worth)
  • A large pot (one with a pasta insert works best)
  • An outdoor propane burner (you can use your stovetop, but it's going to be messy)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 large bags of ice
  • A large cooler
  • Long tongs
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • A large bowl (or two)
  • Vacuum-sealable baggies
  • Vacuum sealer
Instructions
  1. Shuck the corn just before beginning.
  2. Place the pot onto the lit burner or stovetop over high heat.
  3. Add the sugar and stir and let the water come to a brisk boil.
  4. Add the ice to the cooler and fill nearly to the top with cold water.
  5. Working in batches, add 8 ears of corn to the pot (you can add more if your pot is large, but do not crowd them or they won't cook evenly).
  6. Return the water to a boil and boil for exactly 4 minutes. No more.
  7. Remove the corn from the pot and immediately transfer to the ice bath.
  8. You can start the next batch of corn. As soon as it starts to boil, remove the corn from the ice bath (test to make sure it's nice and cold) and transfer to a cutting board.
  9. Cut the kernels from the ears. I stand the ears on the cut end at about a 75 degree angle then carefully run my knife from top to bottom, removing about 75% of the kernels. I think having the ear at a slight angle and using a very sharp knife reduces the amount of kernels that fly off all over the place. Don't cut all the way to the ear.
  10. Transfer cut kernels to a large bowl and continue cooking, cooling and cutting the ears until all done.
  11. If any kernels are stuck together use your hands to break them apart in the bowl.
  12. Transfer kernels to the bags. Two cups equals about a can of corn, but I usually add 3 cups to a 1 quart bag.
  13. Try to not get the inside of the bag opening wet when filling. This may cause the bags to not seal properly. If you do get them wet dry them off with a paper towel.
  14. Transfer the bags to the freezer for 4-6 hours or until the liquid is frozen.
  15. Seal the vacuum bags with your sealer and freeze until needed. I use the 'moist' and 'gentle' settings on my sealer to help ensure a good seal.

Copycat Pizza Hut Creamy Italian Dressing

I grilled up a few marinated chicken breast last week. I sliced them thin and began what I call ‘salad week’. That means big salads, lot of greens and good stuff on top, and homemade salad dressings. This copycat of the creamy Italian dressing from Pizza Hut was one of my favorite dressings of the week. It has a nice herby flavor with a hint of nutty Parmesan, and the kick of vinegar and citrus.
Copycat Pizza Hut Creamy Italian DressingAlthough it wouldn’t still be a copycat recipe, I wouldn’t hesitate to add a pinch or two of dried red pepper flake to this dressing. It’s great as is, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of kick in your creamy Italian dressing.

Copycat Pizza Hut Creamy Italian Dressing
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Recipe type: Copycat
Cuisine: Dressing
Prep time: 
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Serves: 1+ cups
 
Note: I like to grind the oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary with a mortar and pestle before adding them to the dressing.
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Add the oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary to a medium bowl.
  2. Stir in the salt, pepper, vinegar and lemon juice.
  3. Whisk in the mayonnaise.
  4. While still whisking, pour in the olive oil.
  5. Add the cheese and stir.
  6. Store in an air-tight container.

Mexican Charred Corn Hot Dog

Wow, I just had no idea how much we would both love this Mexican charred corn hot dog. It has such a wonderful combination of tastes, from the bite of the onion, to that great sweetness you get from roasted corn, fantastic citrus lime mayonnaise, all served over a grilled all-beef hot dog. Topped with crumbled Cotija cheese! These dogs were an absolute treat!
Mexican Charred Corn Hot DogMexican charred corn hot dogs are light and refreshing, the perfect dogs for a sunny day. If fresh corn-on-the-cob is no longer available, you can use canned or frozen corn kernels. Pour the kernels out onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler just long enough for them to start to char.

Love hot dogs as much as I do? Check out my free eCookbook that is packed with tons of hot dog recipes.

Mexican Charred Corn Hot Dog
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 4 ears sweet corn, husked
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 all-beef hot dogs
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Crumbled Cotija or feta cheeses
  • Chili powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill.
  2. Brush the corn with the oil and place over direct heat. Cook until charred on all sides, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the dogs and toast the buns as desired.
  4. Cut the kernels from the corn. Place in a bowl and stir in the green onions.
  5. Combine the mayonnaise and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Slather hot dog buns with the mayonnaise.
  7. Top with the dogs.
  8. Add the corn and green onion mixture.
  9. Sprinkle with Cotija cheese and chili powder, if using.