Dried Cilantro on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

Although making jerky with my Nesco Snackmaster Pro is something I really enjoy, the other main reason I bought a dehydrator is to dry the herbs from my garden. Fresh herbs don’t last long, so I dry as many as I can and keep them in air-right containers in the pantry like this cilantro. Easy as anything to dry, cilantro crumbles up and stores easily for use in the winter. It’s not a substitute for fresh cilantro in recipes like salsa, but it’s great for flavoring stews and soups.
Dried Cilantro on the Nesco Snackmaster ProI did not remove the cilantro from the stems until after I dried it. It’s a lot easier to remove the leaves once they are dried. I then lightly crumbled them just a bit and put them in containers for use later.

I love drying fresh herbs with my Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I also freeze them for later use.

Dried Cilantro on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro
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Ingredients
  • Fresh cilantro, rinsed, patted dry. Do not remove leaves from stems.
Instructions
  1. Place cilantro onto the dehydrator trays.
  2. Set the dehydrator to 95 F and let dry for 12-24 hours or until the leaves are dry and crispy, rotating the trays every 2 hours.
  3. Let cilantro cool slightly then remove leaves from stems and crumble (by hand) into a resealable air-tight container.

Tangy Bean Salad

One thing is guaranteed. Put a bean salad in front of me, and it’s going to disappear. For me, it doesn’t get any better or easier. The perfect contrast in textures and flavors. A little sweet. A little tang. There are hundreds of variations on bean salad, and I am pretty sure I’ve made and enjoyed them all. This tangy bean salad is no exception. Made in no time, but better after it gets happy in the fridge for a few hours first.
Like with any good ole bean salad you can change this tangy bean salad up to suit your tastes. I little slices fresh jalapeno is great if you like a little kick. Roasted red bell pepper instead of green bell pepper is also a nice change.

Tangy Bean Salad
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Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
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Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 (15 1/2 ounce) cans green and wax bean blend
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and oil.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper and mix.
  3. Rinse and drain the beans. Add to the bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Maple Bacon Carrots on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Perhaps ‘carrot candy’ would be a better name for these maple bacon carrots, done up right using the Char-Broil Big Easy. Who knew that carrots could be so addictingly good? Slightly sweet, slightly smoky with a little crispy bacon, these treats disappeared in no time. Fortunately you can fit up to two bunk bed baskets into a Big Easy so you can actually make a pretty good sized batch at once. You’ll want to make as many as you can.
I used baby carrots, but you can also use full-sized carrots. Try to pick ones that are all roughly the same size or your cook times will vary. That’s why I went with the baby version. They’re all roughly the same size so they all got done at the same time.

For a little kick, sprinkle the carrots with a little bit of cayenne pepper or chipotle pepper powder just before serving.

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

Maple Bacon Carrots on the Char-Broil Big Easy
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Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
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Use a bunk bed basket or two to be able to cook more carrots at once.
Ingredients
  • Carrots (baby carrots or equally-sized big carrots, peeled and cut down to fit into a Big Easy)
  • Thin-sliced bacon (cut into thirds for baby carrots, use full-sized pieces if using large carrots)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Maple syrup (use the Grade A real stuff, not the fake syrup)
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Wrap carrots in bacon and sprinkle with pepper.
  3. Transfer carrots to the Big Easy basket, bacon seam side down.
  4. Place into the Big Easy and cook until the bacon starts to brown and shrink and the larger of the carrots is slightly tender, 25-30 minutes. I lifted the basket out and poked them with a long bamboo skewer.
  5. Brush the carrots with maple syrup. I use a long brush for this. Just lift the basket up, holding it with one hand, and brush with the other. Return to the cooker and cook another 3 minutes.
  6. Remove the basket from the Big Easy and remove the carrots to a platter to cool a bit. The bacon will crisp while they cool.

Quick Fix BBQ Ranch Dressing

A lot of restaurant signature sauces start with simple, off-the-shelf ingredients. A restaurant near us starts with BBQ sauce and Ranch, just like with this quick fix BBQ Ranch dressing, and then adds a few other ingredients (such as crumbled cooked bacon) to make it different for different dishes, such as for dipping onion rings or chicken wings.
This quick fix BBQ dressing isn’t just for salads, that’s for sure. I squirted it on a big plate of French fries. I dipped grilled chicken wings in it. Just make sure you start with good, quality BBQ sauce and Ranch dressing. And don’t hesitate to use a spicy BBQ sauce, or one with a bit of smoky flavor to it.

Easy BBQ Ranch Dressing
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Recipe type: Dressing
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Embellishments, optional (crumbled cooked bacon, chili powder, cayenne, Sriracha, hot sauce, chopped fresh parsley, etc)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the two ingredients.
  2. Add any embellishments and stir to combine.

Cajun Power Garlic Sauce Wings

I’ve been a huge fan of Cajun Power garlic sauce for years. It is one of the star components of Fat Johnny’s Kaw-Cajun Comeback sauce, a remoulade sauce that is the bomb on just about anything you can think of. I seriously don’t know why I waited so long to use it as both a chicken wing marinade and sauce. I loved these wings. Seasoned perfectly. A little garlicky. Nice and rich and super yummy.
You can’t put enough Cajun Power garlic sauce on your cooked wings. I’ve tried and it’s not possible. It’s also great for dipping wings instead of your usual cooling dips like blue cheese or ranch dressing.

Cajun Power also makes a spicy version of their garlic sauce. Perfect for your friends (like me) that prefer their wings nice and hot!

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.

Cajun Power Garlic Sauce Wings
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Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place wings in a large resealable baggie or container.
  2. Add enough Cajun Power Garlic sauce to coat well. Seal and toss to coat.
  3. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
  4. Remove wings from container and shake off any excess sauce.
  5. Cook wings as desired. Click here for our guide on cooking wings in a grill, smoker, deep fryer, oven, or a Char-Broil Big Easy.
  6. Toss wings with more sauce before serving.

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Corn Salad

Corn is in season and that’s a happy time for me. And as much as I love grilled corn-on-the-cob, corn in salads is tied for my favorite way to get some good fresh corn into my belly. Like this jalapeno popper grilled corn salad. Creamy dressing. Crunchy bacon. Deliciously sweet corn. And a little heat. This is the perfect side dish for a grill-out or picnic.
We’re getting our corn from the southern US now, but soon they’ll be harvesting corn here in Indiana. Almost time for my yearly ritual of putting up corn for the winter. I race on down to our local farmer’s market, Binford Farmer’s Market, and load up on corn as soon as it’s available. And I do mean load up. My favorite? My Dad’s Sweet Corn from Tipton, Indiana. Hand-picked and incredibly sweet, they always have great corn.

Also try my chili cheese Frito salad.

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Corn Salad
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Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
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Serves: 8 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ears fresh corn, husks NOT removed
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 cup cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for medium heat grilling.
  2. Peel back the husks from the corn but do not remove them. Remove all silks.
  3. Lightly brush the corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pull the husks back around the corn and tightly wrap in foil.
  5. Place on the grill and cook 20 minutes, rotating often.
  6. Open the foil and continue cooking until the corn is tender.
  7. Remove the corn from the grill and let cool until you can cut the kernels from the ears.
  8. Combine the corn with all remaining ingredients.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Stir before serving.

BBQ Island Club Sandwich

We devoured these BBQ Island Club sandwiches like I devoured the Margaritaville: The Cookbook where I found the recipe that inspired them. There’s nothing wrong with your standard good ole club sandwich. And these are your standard good ole club sandwiches… but with a twist. The dressing mix, as easy as it is, sets them apart.
I made a big batch of the dressing and BBQ sauce mix for these BBQ Island Club sandwiches and kept it on hand for burgers and sandwiches. It’s a nice change and is also absolutely fantastic on a Reuben or pastrami sandwich.

BBQ Island Club Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
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Serves: 1 sandwich
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons Thousand Island dressing
  • 1 tablespoon your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 3 slices white bread, toasted
  • 2 slices turkey sandwich meat
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, halved
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 2 slices ham sandwich meat
Instructions
  1. Combine the salad dressing and the BBQ sauce.
  2. Slather one side of each slice of bread with the sauce mixture.
  3. Top one slice of bread (with the sauce-side up) with the turkey, one slice of Swiss and half of the lettuce.
  4. Add another slice of bread, sauce-side down.
  5. Add the remaining Swiss and lettuce, the bacon, tomato and ham.
  6. Add last slice of bread, sauce-side down.
  7. Skewer and cut in half and serve.

Review: Michael Symon’s Playing With Fire

The other day I sat down with legendary Chef Michael Symon and talked about my favorite subject: barbecue. Ok, not really, but it felt like I did after I read thru the Chef’s new cook, Playing with Fire. Full of techniques, recipes, pictures, and written very well, it got me jonesin’ to fire up my smoker and get to cookin’!

Many of the recipes in the book come from Mabel’s BBQ, Chef Symon’s BBQ restaurant outside of Cleveland, which is definitely on my bucket list. There’s a lot in here about techniques and mastering them. The recipes are all pretty straight-forward. Sprinkled throughout the book are ‘pitmaster profiles’, little sidebars highlighting BBQ pits around the US and their specialties. Good stuff, and you can sure bet there’s one near you that you need to visit (I’m a huge fan of supporting my local BBQ joints. Nothing wrong with chains, but make sure your neighborhood pitmasters get your business). Back to the book..

Introduction: I was going to skip this section. It talks about the different kinds of smokers and grills and such. I have over 20 grills and smokers, so I’m pretty up on that stuff, though there’s always something to learn no matter how long you’ve been at it. The section on fireplace cooking made me stop and pay attention. If you live in a cold place like Chef Symon (and I) do, being able to cook inside over a big open fire is a plus. If you’re new to the world of smoking and grilling, this section is a fantastic read.

The rest of the book is about recipes, and there’s a good amount of them, with great pictures and details. You’re sure to amaze your guests with everything from Playing with Fire. There’s a section on pork (hard-core great recipes, from my favorite, pork belly, to pigs ears, to cracklings to homemade bacon), beef (only seven recipes, but don’t let that bum you out. They’re all amazing, from pastrami (something I make often) to prime rib and rib eye), chicken (I cook a lot of chicken outdoors. This section of the book does not disappoint. It’s old-school favorites done right and done well), seafood (fish, shrimp and clams), lamb (not something I cook regularly, but this section will inspire me to do just that!), vegetables and sides (oddly my favorite section of the entire book. Not a lot of recipes, but those that are there are really great. Quality, tasteful dishes. Quality over quantity.), and last, sauces, relishes and rubs (darned near my favorite section too!).

I found that Playing with Fire really focuses on the important things in barbecue: technique, quality and flavor. Every dish in it is something special. At first I thought that it’s more for the hard-core barbecuer, but a novice can make anything in it too. Not many cookbooks can accomplish that.

Michael Symon’s Playing with Fire is a great book for anyone serious about barbecue. It rates very high on my ‘Mater Rater scale.

For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.