Mac Genie Food Truck

I actually dreamed about mac-and-cheese the other night. That’s because I knew that Anita was going to swing by the Mac Genie food truck near her work the next day and pick up some Genie Mac. Mac-and-cheese from Mac Genie will make you dream about it again and again.

Mac Genie Food TruckI’ve had nothing but delicious goodness from the Mac Genie truck. They’re super-friendly folk with super-yummy food. You’ll find that same friendliness and good food at just about all of the food trucks around Indianapolis. We’re lucky to have so many!

Mac Genie Food TruckThe Genie Mac is topped with breadcrumbs, sour cream, and chives. And bacon. It’s just downright pretty and tastes even better than it looks, which is saying a lot.

Mac Genie Food TruckThe Buffalo Mac is crazy good. It combines two of my favorite things: creamy good mac and Buffalo chicken. Not hot, just spicy good. Breadcrumbs and cool Ranch top it off.

Mac Genie Food TruckYou can follow Mac Genie on Twitter or Facebook. They’re out and about Indianapolis, and well worth the visit! The fine food and folk rate this truck high on the ‘Mater Rater.

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-5-5

Kaw-Cajun 4-Bean Salad

This Kaw-Cajun 4-bean salad is an incredible take on a traditional bean salad. Chez John (of Fat Johnny’s Front Porch fame) gave me this recipe a few years ago. It has become a favorite of ours. It’s not the beans that set this salad apart from the rest, it’s the dressing. Who would’ve thought that tomato soup in a bean salad would be so good that you’d just want to drink the liquid all day?

Kaw-Cajun 4-Bean SaladThis recipe makes a pretty good sized batch, but you’ll want to double or triple it for a big family get-together. And be sure to make it a day ahead, because the beans get even happier after an all-night soak in the dressing.

Kaw-Cajun 4-Bean Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
For the dressing
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
For the salad
  • 2 cans green beans, drained
  • 1 can wax beans, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 can lima beans, drained
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups diced celery (and some of the leaves)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small jar pimentos, with liquid
Instructions
For the dressing
  1. Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Stir to make sure the sugar is dissolved completely. Remove from heat.
For the salad
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add dressing and stir to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.

 

 

Smoked Rosemary Nuts

Nothing is easier than smoking nuts. I use my Weber Smoky Mountain smoker, but you can also smoke them on your gas or charcoal grill using a couple of added wood chunks. Smoking raw nuts only takes 20-25 minutes, so why not make a batch today for the big game?

Rosemary Scented CashewsThese smoked rosemary nuts have a fantastic light rosemary taste (and aroma). They are a wonderful variation on your ‘usual’ smoked hot nuts.

Smoked Spicy Nuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound raw nuts (I used a mix of peanuts, pecans, almonds and cashews)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered rosemary (if unavailable, grind some dried rosemary with a mortal and pestle)
  • 3 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for 325 F cooking over a mild wood (I used cherry). (If you are using a Weber Smoky Mountain smoker, do not add water to the water pan).
  2. Place the nuts in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in another bowl and pour over the nuts. Toss to coat completely.
  4. Pour nuts into a disposable aluminum foil half sheet pan or pie pan.
  5. Place onto smoker (top rack if using a Weber Smoky Mountain) and smoke for 20-25 minutes, stirring once.
  6. Spread nuts out on a foil-lined baking sheet to cool and dry completely.
  7. Serve.
  8. Store in an airtight container.

 

 

Fajita Seasoning Mix

We love our taco seasoning mix. It has a great spicy flavor that is perfect with ground beef for tacos. For fajitas we use this mix. Fajita seasoning mix doesn’t just have to be used on fajitas. We enjoy it mixed in (about a tablespoons worth) with sauteed bell peppers and sweet onions (one each medium green and red bell peppers and a medium sweet onion), which we then used to top burgers and hot dogs.

We seasoned a few home-ground beef patties with the mix, grilled them, then served them topped with the veggies, which were sliced.

Fajita Seasoning Mix on BurgersSprinkle a bit of the mix on hot dogs, grill them, and serve them on buns topped with the fajita-seasoned veggies (and a little cheese). We chopped the peppers and onion for the hot dogs.

Fajita Seasoning Mix on Hot DogsMake a big batch of this and keep it in an airtight container in your pantry.

Fajita Seasoning Mix
 
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican oregano, rubbed or ground lightly in a mortar and pestle to break up any large pieces
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

 

Grilled Corn Disks with Southwestern Butter

We loved the grilled corn disks with honey butter that we made recently. Sweet corn is in season here in Indiana, and that’s always a good thing. Nothing beats fresh sweet corn. But, I after eating those yummy little bites dipped in sweet honey and butter, I figured, well, I need something with a bit more kick. So I made grilled corn disks with southwestern butter. Equally as good as the sweet version, but with a little kick. The heat is the perfect contrast to the corn’s natural sweetness.

Grilled Corn Disks with Southwestern ButterLeftover butter (if you have any) goes on anything, but it’s specially good on corn bread or biscuits.

Grilled Corn Disks with Southwestern Butter
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ears fresh sweet corn, cut into 1" disks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for indirect cooking.
  2. Place the corn disks in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and toss to coat.
  3. Place corn on the grill and cook 5-10 minutes per side until the corn is tender.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients.
  5. Brush the cooked corn with some of the butter mixture.
  6. Serve corn garnished with parsley along with the remaining butter for dipping.

 

Grilled Spinach and Artichoke Cheese Sandwich

After hearing that one of the sandwiches that the Serendipity food truck serves is based on a spinach and artichoke dip, I took it as a challenge to take my spinach and artichoke dip and make it into a grilled cheese sandwich. And oh, what a happy day it was. This grilled spinach and artichoke cheese sandwich combines a great cheesy dip with grilled sourdough bread. The result is gooey and savory, a perfect change from the ole traditional grilled cheese sandwich.

Grilled Spinach and Artichoke Cheese SandwichYou’ll want to use a thick, hearty bread for these sandwiches. Thin wimpy white bread isn’t going to cut it. I bought a loaf of sourdough and cut it thick.

I don’t know why I didn’t think about using a cheesy dip as the filling for a grilled cheese sandwich before!

Grilled Spinach and Artichoke Cheese Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Spray a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, brush one side of the bread pieces with butter.
  3. Place bread, butter side down, into skillet.
  4. Spoon as much dip as you want onto one of the bread slices.
  5. Cover skillet and cook until bread is browned and dip starts to melt.
  6. Assemble sandwich and serve.

 

Serendipity Food Truck

The Serendipity food truck is another one of my favorite Indianapolis-area food trucks. Like many of the trucks here, Serendipity offers really great food with really pleasant service.

Serendipity Food TruckThe main items on the Serendipity menu are arranged by geographical region: The North East (crab cake sliders), South East (Cuban sandwich), Mid West (rotating grilled cheese), North West (elk sliders), and South West (mole tacos). Now, here’s where I have to admit I’ve only had the North East. I so love their crab cakes that I have to order them. Each and every time (and I’ve been there several times). The toppings are fresh, the buns are fresh, and the red pepper aioli is perfect with the crab. The cakes are very lightly fried. You get two in an order. You’ll want eight. I will try the tacos next time, I promise.

I usually get my North East with the truffle fries, which are so addictingly good. The fries are hand cut, cooked fresh. They have super great potato flavor by themselves. Add truffle oil and Parmesan and well, they’re just silly good.

Serendipity Food TruckA friend of mine recently stopped by Serendipity and had the Mid West. The evening he was there the Mid West was a grilled spinach and artichoke cheese sandwich. I liked the idea so much that I made my own version (that I’ll post tomorrow).

Oh, and don’t forget that you can add a mini taco or elk slider for just a few bucks more!

Serendipity Food TruckI’ve spent time watching the folks on the truck do their thing (but not like stalking in a creepy way), from taking orders to cooking to serving, and they do it all right. So, I gave them the highest marks on the ‘Mater Rater.

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-5-5

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This spinach and artichoke dip rocks. It is thick, creamy, cheesy, and it has a little kick – all of my favorite things in one bite. I made a huge batch of this dip for a family get-together and it was well-liked by all. Ok, the kids didn’t even try it (it has green stuff in it), so I should say it was well-liked by all of the adults!

Spinach and Artichoke DipI kept the dip warm in a fondue pot and served it with bagel chips. This dip also makes for a fantastic grilled cheese sandwich. I’ll post more on that tomorrow.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 8.5 ounce can artichoke hearts (in water, not oil), liquid reserved, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (or less) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed, softened
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flake (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (or more, to taste)
  • Dash freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium skillet. Add artichoke hearts and spinach and boil for 10 minutes or until the artichokes are tender. (You can also steam in the spinach and artichokes in a steamer). Drain well.
  2. Place cheese into a large bowl. Add the spinach and artichokes and remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir well. Add some of the reserved artichoke heart liquid if the mixture is too thick.

 

 

Maple Bacon Milkshake

Well, there are good milkshakes and then there are great milkshakes. And you know that a maple bacon milkshake is great. It has to be. Quality vanilla ice cream, whole milk (no point in using lowfat milk in this milkshake), real maple syrup, and of course, bacon. A few seconds in the blender and into a glass, topped with whipped cream and a little bacon garnish. Absolutely fantastic!

Maple Bacon Milkshake

Maple Bacon Milkshake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1/4 cup milk (or more)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 medium scoops real vanilla Ice cream
  • Whipped cream
Instructions
  1. Crumble 5 of the pieces of bacon into a blender.
  2. Add the milk, syrup, salt, and ice cream.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into chilled glasses and top with whipped cream and additional bacon piece.

 

Grilled Taco Dogs

I kinda made these grilled taco dogs up on the fly. I was hankerin’ for some crunchy tacos. And I was hankerin’ for some grilled dogs. So, I married the two and well, the rest is history. Of course you can put whatever you want on these, but I opted to go with what we usually put on our tacos.

Grilled Taco DogsA little spicy Taco Bell ranch dressing gave these tacos a bit more kick.

Grilled Taco DogsThere are two ways you could do the dogs. If you’re making taco meat to do with these tacos, just grill the dogs like you normally would. But, if you want to leave out the taco meat, sprinkle your dogs with taco seasoning first before grilling to give them a bit of taco flavor.

Grilled Taco Dogs
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Southwest
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Taco meat, prepared (I mix 1 pound ground beef with 3 tablespoons of our homemade taco seasoning), optional
  • Taco shells (we used crunchy, but you could make these on tortillas as well)
  • Hot dogs (plus taco seasoning, to taste if not using taco meat)
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed, drained, warmed
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Green onion, sliced
  • Black olives, sliced
  • Taco Bell Spicy Ranch salad dressing for topping, optional
Instructions
  1. Cook the taco meat if you are using it.
  2. Warm the shells per the package instructions.
  3. If you are not using taco meat, sprinkle the dogs with taco seasoning. Grill the dogs as desired.
  4. Assemble the tacos by adding the meats (taco and dogs) followed by the toppings.
  5. Drizzle with salad dressing if desired and serve.