Copycat Captain D’s Batter Dipped Fish

I’m a big fan of battered fried fish. Add in some fries, a side of tartar sauce, and give me a bottle of malt vinegar and I’m one happy guy. This copycat of Captain D’s batter dipped fish checks all my boxes. Slightly crunchy. Tasty. Oh, and easy. Crazy easy. This is just like the great fish you can get at the restaurant.
Copycat Captain D's Batter Dipped Fish

I use a little FryDaddy when I cook my copycat Captain D’s batter dipped fish. It’s perfect for small pieces of fish and it heats the oil to the perfect temperature. But for larger pieces or when making dinner for more than just a few people, I use a Dutch oven or a bigger deep fryer.

No matter what you use to cook your fish, make sure that you don’t overcook it. The fish will dry out and not be good at all. Also make sure you get the oil temperature high enough. Low temperatures won’t cook the fish correctly. Low oil temperature will also saturate the fish with oil. That’s not good either.

Also try my copycat Long John Silver’s fish-and-chips!

Copycat Captain D's Batter Dipped Fish

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil or canola oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more, for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water plus more, if needed
  • 2 pounds cod fillets cut into bite-sized chunks if desired

Instructions

  • Heat 3" of oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 350 F.
  • In a large bowl add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Whisk to combine.
  • Slowly whisk in the water. You want a pancake-like batter. If it's too thick add a bit (a very small bit!) more water and whisk.
  • Rinse and pat the fish dry. I prefer to cut mine into bite-sized pieces.
  • Working in batches, add the fish to the batter and turn to coat completely. Transfer to the oil and deep fry 3-4 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. If desired, sprinkle the fish with salt.

Notes

Note: If you like to cut your fish into bite-sized pieces before frying, you might need more batter to fully coat them. I usually double the batter ingredients just to make sure I have enough.

Crab Cakes with Shrimp

Crab cakes are one of those things where I have absolutely zero self-control. I cannot get enough of them. These crab cakes with shrimp are no exception, that’s for sure. The addition of chopped shrimp to the Cajun-flavor-packed crab mixture really makes for a different twist on a crab-only cake. I found myself loving these even more than ‘just’ crab cakes. It did not surprise me when Anita proclaimed these to be the best things we’ve made.
Crab Cakes with Shrimp

The cakes do have a bit of a spiciness to them. I found them to be fantastic. They’re not overly spicy, not at all. Every bite is a fantastic mix of flavors that I just hoped would never end.

I served our crab cakes with a chilled Creole remoulade sauce that was perfect for dipping. You can also make appetizer-sized cakes, but I’d make extra because they’re going to go fast.

Crab Cakes with Shrimp

Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound lump crab meat picked over for any shell pieces
  • 3/4 pound small shrimp shelled, deveined, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Ritz Crackers crushed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup red onion minced
  • 1 stalk celery minced
  • 1 medium jalapeno seeded, deveined, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Combine the crab and shrimp in a medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl combine the crackers, mayonnaise, onion, celery, jalapeno, mustard, pepper, Creole mustard, Creole seasoning, onion, and garlic powder.
  • Fold in the crab and shrimp.
  • Form into 6 5 1/2 ounce patties. For appetizers, make 2-3 ounce patties.
  • Wrap cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, working in batches add the patties and brown for about 4-5 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate or rack to cool and drain.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. We prefer a nice Cajun remoulade!

Cedar-Planked Bloomin’ Onions

Yowsa. Cedar-planked bloomin’ onions where have you been? Why weren’t you in my life years and years ago? Because this right here… this? This is good stuff. Mighty good stuff. The perfect side dish for the perfect grilled burger dinner. The onions are grilled until just tender, but still with a bit of crunch. They’re seasoned, and seasoned good. And they have just a hint of the smoky cedar plank used to grill them. All this and a delicious roasted red pepper dipping sauce.

Cedar-Planked Bloomin' Onions

There’s not any deep-frying going on here. Nope. Just clean, fantastic flavors. You’ll find yourself making cedar-planked bloomin’ onions again and again.Try different sauces. Try different woods, too. You can’t go wrong. Just grab a few big ole sweet onions and get to it!

Also try my cedar-planked Camembert cheese.

Cedar-Planked Bloomin’ Onions

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6

Equipment

  • You'll need a large cedar plank. Submerge the plank in water for 2 hours before making the onions.

Ingredients

For the onions

  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 1 large grilling plank cedar or any other untreated wood will work
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • Parmesan cheese grated, to taste
  • granulated garlic to taste
  • paprika to taste
  • olive oil to taste
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley chopped, for garnish

For the aioli

  • 1 cup roasted red peppers
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

For the onions

  • Fire up your grill for indirect cooking 350-400 F.
  • Prepare your onions by cutting 1/2 inch off the stem end, then peel all the skin off. Place the onion on a cutting board cut side down.
  • Make cuts vertically thru the onion starting 1/2" from the root part that is sticking up. You'll make 16 evenly-spaced cuts around the onion, all the way to the cutting board. Make sure you go all the way through.
  • Carefully transfer the onion to your plank and turn over so the root is down. Carefully separate the pedals as if you were opening a flower.
  • Drizzle the onions with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle the onions liberally with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and Parmesan.
  • Place plank on grill away from heat and cook for 1 hour or until pedals have started to soften. If you prefer move plank over direct heat last 10-15 minutes to get more smoky flavor from the plank. Watch out for fires, though, and be prepared to move the plank back to indirect heat to put them out.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve.

For the aioli

  • Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well blended.

Baked Bacon

Baked bacon is one of my favorite things. A little time, a little seasoning and I’ve got a wonderful treat. I like my bacon to not be super-duper crunchy. Just a little bite is perfect. For me, baking is easier than cooking bacon in a skillet and I get a more-consistently cooked product (with minimal curling!). With less mess, too.

When I worked at the cafeteria at a large army base outside of Washington DC we would bake an unbelievable amount of bacon. And specially for Saturday morning’s buffet. Rack after rack after rack of bacon. I started as a dishwasher. Nothing was harder than scrubbing stack after stack of large sheet pans that had pieces of bacon stuck to them. I avoid that now by lining my pans with foil. A teen making minimum wage was probably cheaper than foil back in the day, so we didn’t line the pans at the cafeteria. We also didn’t season the bacon, something I really love to do.
Baked Bacon

If you’re planning on draining off the bacon drippings to use for other purposes, you might want to skip the seasoning all-together, or strain it first to remove any spice pieces.

For cleanup I take the paper towel that I drained the bacon on and toss it onto the baking sheet to absorb any grease. I fold up the sides of the foil and seal it tightly to create a packet that can be tossed into the bin without having to worry about it leaking.

Baked bacon is also a great way to use up those last bits of the spices you have in the pantry. You know the ones, they’ve been in there forever waiting for you to figure out what to do with them. Well, know you know!

Baked Bacon

Cook Time 35 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • bacon thin- or thick-sliced
  • seasonings see notes

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. For thick or crisper bacon you can go as high as 400 F.
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Lay the bacon out onto the baking sheet. Do not overlap the pieces or let them touch.
  • Sprinkle the top side of the bacon with the seasoning.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. The bacon will still be mostly uncooked.
  • Flip and season the other side. Return to the oven for 15 minutes or until the desired doneness is achieved. I like my bacon done, but only lightly crispy. Thin bacon usually takes a total of 35 minutes, while thick can take 45 minutes or longer.
  • Remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate to drain then serve.

Notes

Do not use seasonings that contain a lot of sugar. If your seasonings contain a lot of salt I recommend using them sparingly as the bacon is already salty to begin with if it has been salt-cured.
I usually use Grill Mates from McCormick. Todd's Dirt is also a favorite, along with any of the mixes from AlbuKirky Seasonings.
Sometime bacon, specially thinner slices, can be hard to separate when removing it from the packaging. I freeze my bacon for a few minutes to make the pieces easier to remove. Just don't put the bacon in the freezer and forget about it!

House Sub Sandwich

A quick sub sandwich is my favorite lazy weekend lunch. Nothing fancy, but made fresh in just minutes. The stars of my house sub sandwich are the meats and the spicy dressing. I almost always include sandwich pepperoni on my subs, though sometimes it is a bit hard to find. It’s like pizza pepperoni only bigger and sliced thinner. It adds great flavor to any sandwich. The dressing mix really amps up the sandwich. No plain-ole mayonnaise here, that’s for sure.
House Sub SandwichIf you’re more in the mood for an oil and vinegar for your house sub sandwich, try my Italian hoagie dressing. It’s really really good, if I say so myself. It isn’t spicy like the dressing on these subs, but you can remedy that by adding a few spicy banana peppers on top.

You’ll also love my copycat Jersey Mike’s sub sandwich.

House Sub Sandwich

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 sandwich
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the sandwich build

  • 4 ounces or more your favorite thin sandwich meats
  • A dash of Cajun seasoning
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • 6 ince loaf French sliced horizontally
  • 2/3 cup dressing mix from below
  • 2-3 slices tomato

For the dressing mix

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon more or less, to taste Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2/3 cup shredded and chopped iceberg lettuce

Instructions

For the sandwich build

  • Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle the sandwich meat with the Cajun seasoning. Add to the pan and heat on both sides. Remove.
  • Add cheese and meat to the bottom slice of the French bread.
  • Add the dressing mix and sliced tomato, bread top, and serve.

For the dressing mix

  • Whisk together all but the lettuce. 
  • Place lettuce in a small bowl. Add dressing and mix.

Three Cheese Hasselback Potatoes

I love making ‘regular’ baked potatoes. And I love making Hasselback potatoes. For whatever reason, I find making them to be more fun. They are cool looking. They’re super-easy to cook. These three cheese Hasselback potatoes are simple yet packed with plenty of yummy creamy cheese. I love cheese. I love these potatoes.
Three Cheese Hasselback Potatoes

Time for me to fess up. In the past I’ve cut my Hasselback potatoes by hand, using an old wooden spoon to prevent me from cutting too far. I was fairly successful at it, but it was time consuming and often frustrating. So now I ‘cheat’. I bought a slicing rack for these three cheese Hasselback potatoes and my life is oh so much better since I did. Perfectly sliced potatoes, every single time. Check it out on Amazon.

Also try my grilled Hasselback potatoes.

Three Cheese Hasselback Potatoes

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 potatoes

Ingredients

  • 6 medium baking potatoes
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Swiss cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Slice the potatoes (see the post for instructions on how to do this manually or using a Hasselback slicing rack).
  • Transfer the potatoes to a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Combine the butter with the parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Gently spread the potato slices apart and brush with half of the butter mixture.
  • Bake another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are done.
  • Brush with remaining butter mixture and divide the cheese between the potatoes.
  • Return to the oven, under the broiler, to melt the cheese, another 1 minute.

Easy Creole Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I make it a point to peruse the marinade section of my local grocery store on a regular basis. One of my favorite things to make is marinated roasted chicken breasts. Sliced and served on a bed of greens, I get a healthy dinner salad that is packed with flavor. This easy Creole chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy has a light spicy flavor that didn’t overwhelm my salad.

And as always, cooking chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy is of course, easy. I used Tony Chachere’s chicken marinade, which is a combination of Italian dressing and Cajun seasonings. The chicken came out tender and moist, just like I wanted. Perfect.
Easy Creole Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy

When using any kind of marinade you need to make sure it doesn’t have a high sugar content. The Big Easy cooks at a pretty high temperature and sugary marinades may burn long before whatever you are cooking gets done so steer clear of them.

Also try my Cajun Creole chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy.

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

Easy Creole Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Course American
Cuisine Main
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the chicken into a resealable bag or container.
  • Add marinade to taste. Toss to coat.
  • Seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Fire up your Big Easy.
  • Transfer the chicken to the Big Easy basket.
  • Cook for approximately 20 minutes per pound or until it reaches 165 F as checked in several places.
  • Remove and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Quick Fix Italian Salad

Anita was looking for a simple, low-carb side dish to take in her lunches to work. The pasta salads we normally made were just a bit too high in carbs, so I suggested we try a quick fix Italian salad. Tasty, easy, and low-carb, this salad was a welcome change and luckily, packed with flavor too!
Quick Fix Italian SaladThis quick fix Italian salad is just a simple variation on a traditional side salad often found at picnics and family get-togethers. I keep the portion size small, making a week’s-worth of salads at once Sunday evening. I use little 1-cup sized seal-able reusable containers with screw-on lids. The lids keep the dressing from leaking out in case the containers are overturned.

Sometimes I mix things up just a big. Leave out the meat (making it the perfect side dish for my toasted Italian sandwich). Substitute spicy pepperjack cheese. Try a different Italian dressing. I still keep the salad low-carb, but you do have to mix things up (even if only slightly) to keep them from getting too boring.

Also try my creamy pasta salad.

Quick Fix Italian Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Green olives drained, sliced or halved
  • Black olives drained, sliced or halved
  • Roasted red peppers chopped (I use Mezzetta's Deli-Sliced Roasted Bell Pepper Strips)
  • Thick-cut salami or Italian ham chopped
  • Mozzarella or Swiss cheese sticks cubed
  • Italian salad dressing

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Beef Enchilada Dip

It’s ok if after you make this beef enchilada dip you decide to put down your tortilla chip and grab a spoon and eat it like chili. I’m not going to blame you one single bit. The enchilada sauce has that great southwestern spiciness to it. Adding some ground beef and toppings make it not only a great dip but also a great chili.
Beef Enchilada DipI used my fire-roasted enchilada sauce when I made this beef enchilada dip. The char flavor comes thru, making the tomato sauce oh so much better. I often find myself substituting fire-roasted versions of peppers and tomatoes in recipes. Specially when the recipes call for chiles or jalapenos.

Beef Enchilada Dip

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce I used my fire-roasted enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups grated cheese Monterey Jack or cheddar cheeses work best
  • Sour cream and diced pickled jalapenos for garnish
  • Tortilla chips for serving

Instructions

  • Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Drain most of the fat and add the onion and cook until just tender.
  • Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Stir in the enchilada sauce.
  • Sprinkle with the cheese..
  • Cover and wait until the cheese melts, 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve topped with sour cream and diced jalalpenos, with chips for dipping.

Beer n’ Butter Turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Ahhhhhh. Yummy. Tender, juicy, flavorful beer n’ butter turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy proves again that there is no better cooker when it comes to poultry. No fussing with an oven, no messes in the kitchen. Just easy and fantastic. Every single time. The injection for this turkey is incredible. I would definitely call it my ‘go-to’ for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time I want to wow my guests with a great meal.
Beer n' Butter Turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I wouldn’t change a thing about this beer n’ butter turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy. This recipe needs no modifications, nothing. Make it as-is and you’ll be happy with every turkey you ever make.

If you’ve never injected a turkey, don’t be intimidated by the process. To ensure success, take your time, be patient and definitely use a quality injector. I use one similar to the Grill Beast. It is heavy-duty, made of metal. Not plastic. It has several injection needles, which is a definite must. Just load it up with the liquid and slowly inject into the turkey. And pull the needle back out SLOWLY. Or else you’ll have an injection explosion. Trust me on this. Walls, cabinets, you name it. You pull that needle out quickly and stuff is gonna fly. You’ll get the hang of it.

Also try my buttermilk-marinated turkey on the Big Easy.

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

Beer n' Butter Turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 1 turkey
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1/2 can beer
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

Instructions

  • Fire up your Big Easy.
  • Place turkey on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • In a small sauce pan combine all remaining ingredients over medium heat. Stir until the salt has dissolved.
  • Working in batches, inject the mixture into the turkey. Make sure to get even coverage.
  • Transfer the turkey to your Big Easy basket and place into the hot cooker.
  • Cook for 10 minutes per pound or until the turkey reaches 165 F as measured in several locations. Cook time will depend on the size of the turkey.
  • Remove the turkey from the Big Easy and the basket and let rest 15 minutes before carving.