Buffalo Chicken Soup

Wow. I cannot not stop talking about this soup. It is my favorite soup. Perfect for the cool weather. It’s like eating (my favorite) buffalo chicken wings, with celery and onion, and cheesy. Good, gooey, melted cheese.

I used some leftover fire-eater roasted chicken breast in this soup. The chicken has a nice kick to it, so the soup had a nice little kick to it too. If you use a pre-cooked chicken without any spice to it, you might want to add a bit of cayenne or hot sauce to the soup.

Buffalo Chicken SoupEven better the second day, if it lasts that long.

Buffalo Chicken Soup
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Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used some leftover fire-eater roasted chicken)
  • 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Note: I used leftover fire-eater chicken that has a nice kick to it. If you are using rotisserie or other 'tame' chicken you might want to add some hot sauce or cayenne to the soup for a little kick.
  2. Place butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Once melted, add the celery and onion and cook until both are tender.
  4. Stir in the flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in the half-and-half and water.
  6. Add the bouillon and stir to dissolve.
  7. Add the chicken and wing sauce.
  8. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
  9. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Muffuletta Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I love olive salad. I could probably eat muffuletta sandwiches any day, every day. It takes a bit of work, but I prefer my homemade olive salad. But, if time is of the essence, I take no shame in using a great, quality store-bought olive salad like the one from Boscoli. Putting olive salad on a grilled cheese sandwich seemed like not only a good idea, but a great idea.

Muffuletta Grilled Cheese SandwichYou can use sliced provolone, but for really big extra flavor, use our smoked provolone cheese sauce instead. It makes for an amazing, oeey-gooey sandwich.

So, the question is… do you flatten your grilled cheese? Many say it’s not a grilled cheese unless you press down on it and make it super thin. I like mine thick. Sorry :)

Muffuletta Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
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Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, halved
  • 2 slices Texas toast
  • Provolone cheese
  • Olive salad (store bought, or make your own)
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the butter and swirl around to coat the bottom of the pan.
  2. Spread remaining butter on one side of each slide of bread.
  3. Top one slice of bread with a slice of cheese then add a few tablespoons of olive salad.
  4. Add another slice of cheese and the remaining slice of bread.
  5. Transfer to the pan and cook on one side until golden brown.
  6. Flip carefully and cook until other side is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
  7. Let rest a few minutes before slicing and serving.

 

Chipotle Blackberry Wings on the Char-Broil Big Easy

You know I love chicken wings. Any time, any way. So I was really looking forward to these chipotle blackberry wings. I made them on my Char-Broil Big Easy with the Wingin’ator 3000, but you can make them in the oven, on a grill, or just deep fry them. The sauce is what makes these wings fantastic. A nice sweetness and a nice smokey heat. Perfect.

Chipotle Blackberry Wings on the Char-Broil Big EasyTo cool off the heat a bit, I served these chipotle blackberry wings with our buffalo wing dipping sauce. Oh, and don’t like blackberry? Try this same recipe with raspberries!

Chipotle Blackberry Wings on the Char-Broil Big Easy
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Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 family pack chicken wings, drumettes and flats separated, tips discarded (or saved for making broth)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
For the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup seedless Blackberry jam
  • 1/2 cup chopped chipotle peppers with adobo sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Toss the wings in the oil and a little salt and pepper.
  2. Cook wings.
  3. While the wings are cooking, make the sauce by combining all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
  4. When wings are done, toss them in the sauce and serve.

 

Grilled New Potato Packet

This grilled new potato packet is the perfect side to make on the grill. Like any packet dish, you just toss a few ingredients onto a piece of thick foil, seal it, and toss it on the grill until done. The potatoes in this packet come out very tasty thanks to sun dried tomato dressing. I used Newman’s Own Lite Sun Dried Tomato Dressing, but Kraft’s Sun Dried Tomato Dressing would come out fantastic also. In fact, I think any vinaigrette-like dressing would be just fine.

Grilled New Potato Packet

Grilled New Potato Packet
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 (4-5) pound red new potatoes (use potatoes that are all about the same size), quartered or halved depending on size
  • 1/.2 (4-5) pound white new potatoes (use potatoes that are all about the same size), quartered or halved on size
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sun dried tomato dressing
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
  • Red pepper flake, to taste (optional)
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
Instructions
  1. Heat your grill to medium heat. Or use high heat and set up your grill for indirect cooking.
  2. Tear off a large piece of foil.
  3. Place potatoes in the middle of the foil. Drizzle with the water and oil and add garlic if using.
  4. Seal potatoes, but leave a slight gap at the top (you can just leave the packet open or cut a slit in it with a knife).
  5. Place on grill and cook until the potatoes are tender, 20-30 minutes.
  6. Open packets (be careful of the steam that will escape) and add the remaining ingredients. Toss lightly before serving.

 

Smoked Southwestern 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 nuts only takes 20-25 minutes.

Smoked Southwestern NutsThese smoked southwestern nuts have a fantastic light southwestern flavor with just a little kick.

Smoked Spicy Nuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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Ingredients
  • 1 pound raw nuts (I used a mix of peanuts, pecans, almonds and cashews)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
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. Pour nuts into a disposable aluminum foil half sheet pan or pie pan.
  3. Place onto smoker (top rack if using a Weber Smoky Mountain) and smoke for 20-25 minutes, stirring once.
  4. Place the nuts in a medium bowl.
  5. Combine the remaining ingredients in another bowl and pour over the nuts. Toss to coat completely.
  6. Spread nuts out on a foil-lined baking sheet to cool and dry completely.
  7. Serve.
  8. Store in an airtight container.

 

Buffalo Potato Wedges

If you follow this blog, you know I love Buffalo chicken wings. And anything that reminds me of Buffalo chicken wings. Such as these Buffalo potato wedges. You can’t possibly find anything easier to make, and they taste just like Buffalo chicken wings.

Buffalo Potato WedgesI baked the potato wedges, but you could deep fry them also. You could probably also get away with using pre-cooked baked fries. Just toss them in some sauce before serving.

Buffalo Potato Wedges
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
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Total time: 
Serves: 5-6
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Clean each potato and dry well with a paper towel.
  4. Cut potatoes into wedges (the smaller you cut them, the crispier they'll get). Try to make them all about the same size so they cook in the same time.
  5. Place wedges into a large bowl and drizzle with the oil. Toss to coat well.
  6. Transfer potatoes to the baking sheet. Spread them out so they do not overlap or touch.
  7. Bake potatoes for 30 minutes.
  8. Flip each wedge over and bake another 20 minutes until nice and crunchy and golden brown.
  9. Meanwhile, warm the wing sauce in a small sauce pan.
  10. Transfer cooked wings to a large bowl and drizzle with the wing sauce. Toss to coat.
  11. Serve immediately (or the potatoes will get soggy) with Ranch dressing for dipping.

 

Spiral Ham on the Char-Broil Big Easy

This spiral ham on the Char-Broil Big Easy turned out to be one of the easiest heat-and-eat dishes I’ve ever made. I grabbed a pre-cooked ham on sale at the market, removed it from the bag and put it into the lit cooker. That’s it. I didn’t marinade it, glaze it, talk to it, rub it… nothing. The end result was unbelievably tasty. Still moist and tender, with just a bit of (really yummy) char on the edges. I would (and will) make this again and again. It’s perfect for a crowd and of course, doesn’t take up any room in the oven, making it perfect for a family get-together.

Spiral Ham on the Char-Broil Big EasySince this was my first time ‘cooking’ a ham on my Big Easy, I did add stick my Maverick thermometer into the end (not touching the bone) to make sure the ham got to 145 F. The ham rose another 10 degrees after removing it from the fryer and resting. The ham needed 10 minutes per pound to reach the proper temperature.

Spiral Ham on the Char-Broil Big EasyI did contemplate glazing the ham the last 10 minutes, but I decided against it. My Big Easy was running around 385-390 F, and the ham was already getting a nice char on it. A glaze (particularly one with brown sugar in it) would definitely turn the ham even blacker, so I skipped it. Turns out I didn’t need it at all. From sandwiches, to omlettes, to quesadillas, this ham was great!

Spiral Ham on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Spiral Ham on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pre-cooked spiral ham (mine weighed 9 pounds)
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Char-Broil Big Easy.
  2. Place the ham into your cook basket, sliced end down.
  3. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 F, about 10 minutes per pound. Glaze the last 10 minutes if desired, but keep an eye on it.
  4. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken and Gravy Sandwiches

If you follow this blog you’ll know that my favorite thing to make and eat is a messy sandwich or po boy. The messier, the better. The kind of sandwiches that you can’t put down once you pick them up. The kind where the sauces run down the front of your arms. LIke these chicken and gravy sandwiches. Tender grilled thin chicken breasts, topped with a gravy that you can make with items you probably already have in your pantry.

Chicken and Gravy SandwichesI served these chicken and gravy sandwiches with additional gravy on the side, like a French dip…. more like a French drip though!

Chicken and Gravy Sandwiches
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
For the chicken
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 1/4 teaspoon zest
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I prefer mine butterflied or flattened)
For the gravy
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock (1 small can)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used seasoned pepper, but a few pinches of Creole seasoning would also be great)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
For the sandwich
  • 1 large loaf French bread, warmed
Instructions
For the chicken
  1. Whisk together the lemon juice and zest, honey, parsley, garlic, and oil. Pour into a large resealable baggie.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the bag. Seal and toss to coat.
  3. Place in a large bowl or on a sheet pan in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  4. If you are grilling the sandwiches, heat your grill or otherwise heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Working in batches if needed, shake off excess marinade and cook or grill the chicken 5-6 minutes per side, then flip until done. Remove to a plate and let rest while you make the gravy.
For the gravy
  1. Melt butter in a sauce pot over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until thickened, 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the mustard.
For the sandwich
  1. Slice bread lengthwise.
  2. Using tongs, grab the chicken and then dip it into the gravy. Place onto bread.
  3. Serve with additional gravy on the side for dipping.

 

 

KG Slider Station Food Truck

Oh, how I dread colder days. Not so much because it’s grey and gloomy, but because most food trucks go into hibernation during winter. Fortunately, I took plenty of pics of the food from various Indy food trucks to help get me through. Like the wonderful sliders from the KG Slider Station, which I’ve visited many times.

KG Slider Station Food TruckAlthough their menu includes dishes other than sliders, I’m all over the sliders. The Cajun Pulled Pork (left) had just the right amount of sauce and spice, with a great slaw to cool it down. The Southern Belle Rosemary Chicken (right) is my favorite. Creamy roasted chicken with a sweet and tart mayonnaise sauce that is really great.

KG Slider Station Food TruckThe Station Turkey Burger (left) was a wonderful surprise. Turkey burgers can be tricky, but these are great. Topped with caramelized onions and my other favorite, a blackberry BBQ sauce (which probably should be sold by the bottle). And of course, there’s Grandma’s Old Timer Burger. A slider burger patty with the (fresh) toppings you’d expect from a great diner.

KG Slider Station Food TruckThe buns from the KG Slider Station are always sooooo fresh. They’re like little slider pillows. And I know it’s weird, but I really love that they have a TV screen showing the menu items and pictures above the ordering window. It’s very easy to read.

I’m a big fan of the KG Slider Station. As you can tell by my rating of them on the ‘Mater Rater.

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-4-5

Der Pretzel Wagen Food Truck

One of my favorite food trucks in Indy isn’t a food truck. It’s a little wagon. Er, wagen. Der Pretzel Wagen. You can smell the wonderful pretzel bread as you get closer and closer. Warm, soft, salty… Perfect as buns for sandwiches, and of course, perfect as a pretzel.

Der Pretzel Wagen Food TruckMy favorite sandwich is probably the Ham Solo. Besides the great bread, there’s Bavarian ham, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and a surprise crunch from crumbled Doritos.

Der Pretzel Wagen Food TruckI also recommend the Skywalker, The Big Helga, and the Das Fritz. If you’re into horseradish, they have several other sandwiches that are right up your alley. Me, I’m not so much the horseradish guy, but like I was with cilantro years ago, I’m working on it and I’m sure I’ll come to love it too.

You have to grab a pretzel from Der Pretzel Wagen. You can get one with a sandwich (part of the Uber Combo deal), or grab one by itself. They’re soooo good. Available in cinnamoned or salted. Do like I do and grab extras to take home. Pop them in the oven for a few minutes to get them all warm and soft, and then enjoy!

Der Pretzel Wagen Food Truck

Pretzels. Good. And rated high on the ‘Mater Rater. And make sure to tell the nice folks in the wagen Hi!

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