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.

 

 

Crab Pasta Salad

If you’re looking for a fantastic salad to take to your next pitch-in, this crab pasta salad is it. I never before thought about combining them, but cole slaw and pasta really go together really well. You have the creaminess of the pasta contrasted by the crunch and bite of the slaw. Add in crab, and you have something fantastic. And of course, the Old Bay seasoning really kicks it up with a nice spicy flavor.

Crab Pasta Salad

Crab Pasta Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups uncooked medium pasta shells
  • 1 pound shredded cabbage coleslaw mix
  • Marzetti coleslaw dressing, to taste (or substitute 1 pound prepared coleslaw for the slaw mix and dressing)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • Old Bay Seasoning, to taste
  • 2 cups crabmeat, chopped (imitation is ok)
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook per instructions and rinse and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the coleslaw mix and dressing (to taste). Add just enough dressing to get the cabbage wet.
  3. Add in the mayonnaise, onion, dill weed and Old Bay. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the pasta to the slaw and stir to coat.
  5. Gently stir in the crab.
  6. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

 

White Chocolate Frito Popcorn

Everything that is yummy is in this white chocolate Frito popcorn. Crunchy fresh-popped popcorn. Milk chocolatey M&Ms. White chocolate. And Fritos. What more can you ask for?

White Chocolate Frito PopcornDon’t have Fritos? Substitute shelled peanuts.

I pop my popcorn in a West Bend Stir Crazy. It’s the easiest thing in the world for making a big batch of popcorn.

White Chocolate Frito Popcorn
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-12
 
Ingredients
  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 cups Frito's, crushed
  • 1 lb white chocolate (or almond bark)
  • A few handfuls M&M’s candies
Instructions
  1. Tear off a large sheet of wax paper and place on a flat surface.
  2. Make sure all of the popcorn kernels are fully popped. Remove any grannies (unpopped) ones.
  3. Place popcorn and Fritos into a large bowl.
  4. Melt the white chocolate per package instructions and pour over the popcorn mixture.
  5. Stir to coat.
  6. Pour mixture out onto the wax paper and spread out evenly.
  7. Sprinkle with M&Ms and let cool completely before serving.

 

Southwest Grilled Chicken French Bread Pizza

I needed a break from grilling burgers or hot dogs, so I threw together this really easy southwest grilled chicken French bread pizza. You can make the entire pizza on the grill, or just toss it in the oven.

Southwest Grilled Chicken French Bread PizzaFrench bread pizzas like this one are also an excellent way to use up leftover vegetables. I had some sliced onion and green bell pepper on hand, so I threw them in. Fresh sliced jalapenos would also be great.

Southwest Grilled Chicken French Bread Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, split horizontally then cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 loaf French bread pizza, split horizontally
  • 1 batch pantry pizza sauce (or use a pre-made 5 ounce can)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)
Instructions
  1. Toss the chicken, onion, pepper, chili powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined.
  2. If cooking on the grill, preheat grill to high and add chicken mixture. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is done and the vegetables are tender. (A grill basked will help keep you from losing any veggies between the grates.)
  3. If cooking indoors, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken mixture. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is done and the vegetables are tender.
  4. Place the bread on the grill over indirect heat for a few minutes until it starts to get crispy. If using the oven, place the bread under the broiler for a minute or two until crispy. Remove.
  5. Spread sauce over both cut sides of the bread.
  6. Add cooked chicken mixture.
  7. Top with cheese.
  8. Place back on the grill over indirect heat until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy.
  9. Or, place on a baking sheet under the oven broiler until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy.

 

New Orleans French Bread Pizza

This New Orleans French bread pizza is flat out delicious. Everything on it tastes soooo good. There isn’t a pizza like you might be used to. Instead, there are artichokes, salty olives, roasted red peppers and tender chicken strips. And of course, cheese.

New Orleans French Bread PizzaYou can make this pizza on a traditional crust, or do like we did and use French bread. If you want a bit of heat, mix a little red pepper flake into the chicken mixture before spreading it into the bread.

New Orleans French Bread Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf French bread, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (if you freeze the chicken for 30 minutes before cutting, it will slice much easier and thinner)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 6 1/2 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Place bread in the oven for a few minutes until it gets just a bit crispy. Remove.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  4. Add the chicken and garlic cook for 3-5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Do not overcook as the chicken will cook more in the oven.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Stir in the artichokes, peppers, olives, oregano and pepper and 1/2 cup of the cheese.
  7. Spoon mixture onto the bread halves and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  8. Place in oven and bake 8-10 minutes or until bread is nice and crispy and the cheese is melted. Place under the broiler for 1 minute to lightly brown the cheese if desired.

 

New Jersey Italian Hot Dogs

Wow, what great hot dogs these New Jersey Italian hot dogs are. Fried potatoes and sausages and onions… well, you already know they’ll be good before even trying them. Italian seasoning adds great savory flavor. And last, a fantastic kick from Creole mustard (my favorite).

New Jersey Italian Hot DogI used Ball Park’s new Park’s Finest Signature Seasoned beef franks and found them to have a great complimentary flavor. They have a really nice seasoning, very much like a smoked sausage. I think good bratwurst would also go great in this recipe.

New Jersey Italian Hot Dogs
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" squares
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced into strips
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 4 beef hot dogs
  • 4 Deli hot dog buns (you'll need buns that are larger than the usual hot dog bun)
  • Creole or whole grain mustard
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat.
  2. Add potatoes. Spread them out evenly and let cook 2-3 minutes. Do not stir, you want them to brown.
  3. Flip the potatoes and again cook 2-3 minutes, undisturbed. Remove.
  4. Add the pepper and onion strips to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook 2-3 more minutes without stirring.
  5. Add the potatoes back to the skillet along with the Italian seasoning. Stir, reduce heat to medium, cover and let cook 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are softened.
  6. Meanwhile, grill or cook your hot dogs and toast your buns, if desired.
  7. Slather the buns with the mustard. Add the dogs and top with the potato mixture.

 

 

Byrne’s Grilled Pizza Food Truck

Byrne’s Grilled Pizza food truck has been on my food truck bucket list for a while, and thankfully, yesterday was the day I was finally able to catch up to it. And boy am I glad I did.

Byrne's Pizza Food TruckAlthough Bryne’s also serves stromboli, I was there for the personal-sized pizza.

Byrne's Grilled Pizza Food TruckThe pizzas are 10″ big, the perfect size for one for lunch or dinner. They are grilled on grills on the back of the trailer. It took only minutes between giving my order (the truck folk were super friendly) and getting my pizza. The crust is super thin and really crunchy, which I really love. The toppings were fresh and tasty, specially the Italian sausage.

I ordered two pizzas. The first was a Hey Zeus (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onion and banana peppers). Mmmmmm. Just look at that pizza. I could eat another one right now. Sauce and toppings to the edge, grilled perfectly. A great pizza.

Byrne's Grilled Pizza Food TruckThe second pizza I ordered was a Big Mama (which I incorrectly ordered as a Big Momma, but they probably get that a lot). Pepperoni, sausage and mushroom. Similar to the Hey Zeus and just as good. You can tell that the dough is scratch made. No machine-made, mass-produced pizzas here.

Byrne's Grilled Pizza Food TruckByrne’s is another example of the great food trucks we have here in Indianapolis. I encourage you to give them a try if you haven’t already. You’ll find a great variety in menus and really, really nice people. If you’re new to the food truck scene, give a Cluster Truck a shot. You’ll find multiple trucks at one spot. You’re sure to find something (or many things) that you’ll love. Check the Indy FTA site and find a truck near you today!

Bryne’s nailed it on the ‘Mater Rater. Great pizza, great staff.

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-5-5There are other great pizza trucks in the Indianapolis area. Also try Cutie Pies Pizza and The NY Slice!

Brownie Waffles

Oh my goodness. What’s not to like? A waffle made with brownie mix. I topped this yummy creation with Blue Bell French Vanilla ice cream, a bit of whipped cream, and of course, a Maraschino cherry. With a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce. Brownie waffles take only minutes to make.
Brownie WafflesNext time I think I’ll add some toasted pecans.

Brownie Waffles
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 box your favorite brownie mix, plus the ingredients it calls for to make the mix
  • 1 large egg
Instructions
  1. Make the brownie mix as the box indicates, adding an additional egg.
  2. Heat your waffle iron.
  3. Working in batches, spray your iron with non-stick spray. Add 1/4-1/2 cup (according to your waffle maker's instructions) of the batter and close the iron. Cook until done.
  4. Serve warm.

 

R & R Extreme Wings Food Truck

I dreamed about chicken wings last night. All night. And I blame the R & R Extreme Wings food truck because I had their wings the other day. And now I can’t stop thinking about them.

R & R Extreme Wings Food TruckIt all started when I swung by a Cluster Truck, and R & R Extreme Wings was there. There was a bit of a line (they’d just opened), but I waited patiently. When I got to the window I ordered 6 Sweet & Spicy and 6 Hot Barbecue. They took a little while to get them, but they were worth it. And by the time I did get my order, the line was long.

R and R Extreme WingsThe wings are cooked perfect. Deep fried. Crunchy. And sauced completely. Not sorta sauced. Not barely sauced. Sauced. I had actually hoped this would be the case, so I brought a few handiwipes and paper towels with me. That’s right. I’m THE guy that brings handiwipes and paper towels to a Cluster Truck. While you’re laughing I’m chowing down on great wings (and wiping my hands).

R and R Extreme WingsMy only regret is that I wish I’d tried more sauces. I mean, there’s so many and they all sound great: Sweet and Spicy, Honey BBQ, Mild Buffalo, Hot Habanero (my next pick), Sweet Mustard, Panda Orange, Spicy Garlic, Founder’s Favorite (also next), Parmesan-Garlic, Sweet Chili and Hot Barbeque.

Did I mention that the wings come with a big serving of fries? I probably forgot that. Nothing fancy, but they’re decent fried fries. If you’re lucky and you have some wing sauce left over at the bottom of your food box, you can dip the fries in it. I licked the sauce out of the bottom of my container, so I didn’t have any leftover for the fries.

Get yourself to R & R’s Extreme Wings soon. Just don’t get there before me. I ranked them high on the ‘Mater Rater. I was going to ding them a bit for taking a while to get orders out, but honestly, the wait wasn’t that long and it was worth it. And it was a beautiful summer day here in Indy. What’s there to complain about?

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

Pepper Jack Cheese-Stuffed Smoked Bologna

I wish I could remember exactly where I came across this idea for pepper jack cheese-stuffed smoked bologna. I’m pretty sure it came from Myron Mixon, world championship BBQer, cookbook author and tv show host. But, I could be wrong. Regardless, I love smoked bologna, but this approach takes the idea to a new level. The addition of cheese inside the bologna chub adds a nice flavor and well, it looks cool. I then rubbed the chub with yellow mustard and then sprinkled it with our favorite spicy rub and smoked it for 3 1/2 hours. I then brushed it with my favorite store-bought BBQ sauce, Weber KIck’N Spicy. Weber’s Hickory Smoke BBQ sauce would also be excellent on the bologna.

Pepper Jack Cheese-Stuffed Smoked BolognaI sliced the bologna pretty thick and had it on sandwiches. Nothing fancy, just good.

Pepper Jack Cheese-Stuffed Smoked BolognaTo get the cheese into the chub, I used a piece of clean PVC pipe. I used about a 1 1/2″ round pipe, but I’ll probably go with a large one next time, maybe 2″ or 2 1/2″. I felt like a little more cheese would’ve been a good thing. You just carefully shove the pipe down through the center of the chub while it is standing on end. Then you cut off about 2″ from each end of the piece of bologna that is in the pipe and use one piece to plug one end of the hole. Fill the hole with cheese and then plug the remaining end. You’re ready to roll!

Pepper Jack Cheese-Stuffed Smoked Bologna
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-16
 
Ingredients
For the smoked bologna
  • 1 4-5 pound chub bologna
  • 1 pound pepper jack cheese, cubed
  • Prepared yellow mustard
  • Your favorite BBQ rub
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
For the sandwiches
  • Sourdough bread, sliced
  • Prepared yellow mustard
  • Smoked bologna, sliced thin or thick
  • Sweet onion, sliced thin
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Louisiana hot sauce
Instructions
For the smoked bologna
  1. Fire up your smoker for 250 F cooking. Add your desired cooking wood, but use only a little and don't use anything overpowering.
  2. Clean a section of PVC pipe (1 1/2" - 2 1/2" in diameter, at least a foot long). Stand the bologna chub on end and gently push the pipe down through the center of the chub. Pull out the pipe and remove the core of meat that gets inside of it.
  3. Cut 2" off each end of the core piece. Take one piece and plug the bottom of the hole.
  4. Add as much cheese as you can fit and plug the remaining end with the other piece of the core.
  5. Rub outside of chub with mustard and then sprinkle with a rub.
  6. Put on smoker in an aluminum pan and smoke for 3 1/2 hours, rotating once after 1 hour.
  7. Brush all sides of the bologna with the BBQ sauce and smoke another 30 minutes.
  8. Remove chub from the smoker and let set at least 30 minutes. Don't rush or the cheese will run out when you slice it.
  9. Slice as desired.
For the sandwiches
  1. Slather the bread slices with mustard, Top with bologna, onion, and lettuce.
  2. Shake a few drops of hot sauce on top and serve.