Memphis-Style Muffuletta

Muffuletta sandwiches are what I would have on a deserted if I could choose only one food. I’d even go through the ‘trouble’ of making my own olive salad. When I first ran across this idea for a Memphis-style muffuletta I made a weird face. Huh? Why are you messing with my favorite? The answer was soon obvious: because this is really, really good. Similar to a muffuletta in many ways, but different too.
Memphis-Style Muffuletta

The creamy olive salad in this Memphis-style muffuletta is totally different than a traditional muffuletta mix but it has many of the same flavors. The artichoke hearts are a totally different twist and quite honestly I might find myself adding them to my homemade muffuletta olive salad too.Memphis-Style MuffulettaThe olive salad mix is also great on grilled hot dogs. If you prefer the original, try my more traditional muffuletta sandwich.

Memphis-Style Muffuletta

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 3/4 cup chopped green olives
  • 3/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 " round loaf Italian bread a regular-shaped loaf works just fine too
  • Your favorite thin-sliced deli meats
  • American cheese slices

Instructions

  • Whisk together the mayonnaise and salad dressing.
  • Fold in the olives, artichoke and celery. Season with the pepper.
  • Slice bread horizontally. I like to remove some of the insides of the bread, but that's optional.
  • Spoon half of the olive mixture onto the bottom half of the bread.
  • Add the cheese and meats.
  • Top with the remaining olive mix and top bread half.
  • Wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Cajun Fried Shrimp

My two biggest food obsessions? Chicken wings and fried shrimp. I could eat either one any time, any where. I’ve never had wings or shrimp that I didn’t absolutely love. Like these Cajun fried shrimp. Lightly crunchy. Stick-to-the-shrimp batter. A little heat. Perfectly cooked.Cajun Fried Shrimp

This is shrimp done up right. I served these Cajun fried shrimp with a crazy wonderful remoulade that has ended up being a shrimp-dipping staple in our house. It’s great for fries fish, too.

For that little extra ‘something’ sprinkle the shrimp lightly with Old Bay seasoning just before serving.

Also try my crispy fried shrimp and my blackened fried shrimp.

Cajun Fried Shrimp

Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Spicy Remoulade Sauce recipe follows

For the Spicy Remoulade Sauce

  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 medium lemon juices

Instructions

  • Heat 3-4" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • In a pie plate or shallow dish, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and mustard.
  • In another pie plate or shallow dish, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, paprika, salt, cayenne and garlic powder.
  • Working in batches, add the shrimp to the flour mixture and coat well.
  • Shake off excess then place into the buttermilk mixture.
  • Shake off excess then return to the flour mixture, coating again.
  • Add to the hot oil and fry 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Serve with the spicy remoulade sauce.

For the Spicy Remoulade Sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Crispy Fried Shrimp

I can eat an embarrassing amount of crispy fried shrimp. My addiction to these little goodies started as a child. Maybe once every few months we would eat out at Sizzler. I would always get the fried shrimp. I would devour them.

That tradition lives on, believe me. That’s why I make them at home. In bigger batches. These crispy fried shrimp are nice and crispy and have a fantastic lightly savory flavor. No overpowering flavors here, you can still taste the wonderful shrimp.
Crispy Fried ShrimpI like to use shrimp that aren’t too big or too small when I make crispy fried shrimp. For me, 21-25 count (that means 21-25 shrimp are in a pound) are the perfect size. If I can get them, I use Louisiana Gulf Shrimp. I believe they have the best flavor but you can use whatever you prefer (or can find).

You can use pre-shelled and pre-deveined shrimp but give them a once-over before using to make sure that there aren’t any shell pieces or veins left. Just in case.

If you’re looking for something super-simple for dipping your delicious crispy fried shrimp, try my quick cocktail sauce or my Carolina cocktail sauce.

Also try my Cajun fried shrimp.

Crispy Fried Shrimp

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unshelled medium raw shrimp 21-25 count
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs substitute Panko bread crumbs for even more crunch
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Remove the shells from the shrimp up to the tail section. Make an incision down the back and remove the vein. Rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl or pie plate combine the egg and milk.
  • Place the flour in another large bowl or pie plate.
  • And in another large bowl or pie plate place the bread crumbs, salt, basil, parsley, garlic and onion powders.
  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or deep fryer to 350 F.
  • Working in batches, coat the shrimp in the egg mixture. Shake off excess and then roll in flour.
  • Return shrimp to the egg mixture and coat again. Shake off excess and then roll in the bread crumb mixture, coating well.
  • Transfer to hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to let drain before serving.

Silver Dollar Pancakes

As I was devouring the Big Bad Breakfast cookbook, I came across this recipe for silver dollar pancakes. I flashed back to the last time I had them. I think it was in the 1970s in Reno, Nevada. Seriously. 40 plus years ago. How did that happen? I instantly bookmarked the recipe on my Kindle reader. I had everything on hand to make them except for buttermilk. A quick trip to the grocery store took care of that.

There’s nothing complicated here. The batter is perfect. You can use the same batter to make these full-sized, but for me, the memory of silver dollar pancakes made making them again even more special.

Silver Dollar PancakesI made these silver dollar pancakes using my Cuisinart Griddler. I opened the Griddler flat so I could use both griddle plates at the same time then set the selector to Griddle. The temperature was set to maximum the entire time. The top griddle doesn’t get as hot as what is normally the bottom griddle, so food cooked on that side will take a little longer to cook.

Looking for a great side dish for your pancakes? Make some waffle iron sausages!

Silver Dollar Pancakes

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Instructions

  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, milk, eggs and vanilla.
  • Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until completely incorporated.
  • Whisk in the melted butter.
  • Heat a griddle, Griddler, or large skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray (or melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter).
  • Working in batches, spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of batter onto the griddle. Do not crowd the pancakes. I was able to cook 12 at a time on the Cuisinart Griddler.
  • Once the tops of the pancakes start to bubble (2-3 minutes on the Griddler, maybe sooner on a stove-top), flip and continue to cook until browned, another 30 seconds or longer.
  • Keep cooked pancakes in a warmed oven until all of the batter is used.

Creamy Cheese and Tomato Soup

Growing up, I saw my dad eat a lot of tomato soup. I kept as far away from it as I could. It was just too darned tomato-y for me. Now, if I’d had this creamy cheese and tomato soup things would’ve been a whole lot different. This soup has just the right amount of tomato. And just the right amount of creamy cheese goodness. Every bite is perfectly rich in flavor.

Creamy Cheese and Tomato Soup

Creamy cheese and tomato soup hit the spot on a never-ending-winter day. You can also serve it cool or at room temperature in the summer. If you can get real, fresh tomatoes you can chop them and roast them in the oven. Since fresh won’t have the juices like canned do, you might have to add a bit of tomato juice, sauce or even water.

Also try my creamy cheddar soup and my easy kicked-up tomato soup.

Creamy Cheese and Tomato Soup

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup olive oil divided
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 rib celery diced
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Drain the canned tomatoes, reserving the juices.
  • Spread tomatoes out onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with another 1/4 cup of the oil and stir.
  • Bake until the tomatoes are very soft and are beginning to caramelize, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, carrot, celery and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the tomato mixture to the pot along with the reserved juices and 1 cup water. Stir.
  • Simmer until the vegetables have cooked, about 20 minutes.
  • Add butter, Parmesan cheese, and cream.  Use an immersion blender to combine. Alternatively, transfer to a blender. Let cool slightly then pulse until smooth.

Smothered Okra and Tomatoes with Shrimp and Andouille

I normally associate comfort food with cooler days. But when I ran across this recipe for smothered okra and tomatoes with shrimp and andouille in a recent issue of Louisiana Kitchen Culture I had to make it. Even though it was a hot day, it so hit the spot that I found myself unable to stop eating it. The sauce is really the star. It’s a wonderful mix of roasted okra, tomatoes, onions and peppers and my favorite, andouille sausage. Add in shrimp and you’ve got something truly delicious.
Smothered Okra and Tomatoes with Shrimp and Andouille

The key to making smothered okra and tomatoes with shrimp and andouille is the tomatoes. The recipe called for San Marzano tomatoes, and I didn’t stray from the suggestion. They have less seeds than regular plum tomatoes and are far less acidic. The flesh of San Marzano tomatoes is also thicker, making for a sauce that is definitely not runny. It’s perfect.

My okra and tomatoes is a slight variation on this same recipe but without the shrimp and andouille.

Smothered Okra and Tomatoes with Shrimp and Andouille

Prep Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 1 pound sliced fresh okra or frozen, defrosted
  • Creole seasoning to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 1 cup sweet onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 4 ounces Andouille sausage diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounce Whole stewed tomatoes San Marzano are best
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake or more, to taste
  • 1 dash Asian fish sauce
  • 2 green onions sliced, for garnish
  • Hot cooked rice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Whisk together the water, salt and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour, tossing every 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toss the okra with a good amount of Creole seasoning and some oil. Spread out onto a baking sheet and roast 30 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown. Remove.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and sausage and cook until the onions and pepper start to soften, about 10 minutes. Note: If using pre-cooked andouille, cook the vegetables for 8 minutes then add the sausage to brown.
  • Add the garlic. .Stir and saute for 2 more minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste until it dissolves.
  • Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a large bowl. Squeeze them through your fingers to shred, removing any hard cores. Pour into the saucepan and stir
  • Add the bay leaves, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, and red pepper flake. Stir. If too thick add a bit of water but not too much. You want the sauce to be somewhat thick.
  • Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  • Stir in the okra and a splash or two of the fish sauce.
  • Add the shrimp AND the brine it was in and stir. Saute another 5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and done.
  • Serve hot over rice garnished with green onions.

Notes

Fresh andouille sausage is best but if you cannot find fresh pre-cooked is fine too. If you can't find andouille at all substitute hot Italian sausage instead.

Salisbury Meatballs

Once I let the idea of Salisbury steak get into my head, it wasn’t going to go away. I was jonesin’ bad for that mix of beef and pork and my favorite, the brown gravy. But I wasn’t going to make ‘steak’, I was going to make meatballs. And boy, oh boy, did I ever make Salisbury meatballs.
Salisbury Meatballs‘Tender, flavor-packed meatballs smothered in a fantastic sauce’. That’s pretty much all you have to tell me. No more convincing is required. If I read that on a menu, I’d order it. With plenty of mashed potatoes and extra gravy, too. These Salisbury meatballs were absolutely fantastic,

Also try my Salisbury steak.

Salisbury Meatballs

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 48 meatballs
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Vegetable oil

For the gravy

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

Instructions

For the meatballs

  • Combine all but the vegetable oil and mix well.
  • Form into meatballs.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Working in batches, add the meatballs and brown on each side and cooked through. Remove from the skillet and cook the remaining meatballs.
  • Use the skillet you use to cook the meatballs to make the gravy.

For the gravy

  • Add the butter to the skillet and melt.
  • Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the broth, cornstarch, Worcestershire and ketchup. Add to the skillet with the onions.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and stir. Continue stirring until the gravy is the desired thickness.

Serving

  • Serve meatballs over mashed potatoes with plenty of gravy, garnished with chopped fresh parsley.

Quick Fix Shrimp Tacos

It was one of ‘those’ days. I was just way to busy too cook up a fancy dinner. Or even a marginally fancy dinner. So, quick fix shrimp tacos to the rescue. I had everything on hand already. A box of shells, some pre-cooked frozen shrimp, a bag of salad, and spicy salad dressing. That’s all it took to make light, crunchy, tasty quick fix tacos for dinner. Nothing fru-fru, just good and fast. Ok, I did add a few tortilla strips for color and more crunch, but that’s all.
Quick Fix Shrimp TacosYou can of course substitute soft tortilla shells if hard shells aren’t your thing, but I like the crunchy contrast. But don’t get fancy. That’s not what we’re doing here.

Also try my original quick fix taco salads and my even easier new recipe.

Quick Fix Shrimp Tacos

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10 tacos
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Warm the taco shells or tortillas per package instructions.
  • Place the shrimp and chopped salad into a large bowl and toss to combine.
  • Add the dressing and toss to combine. Add more dressing if desired.
  • Place the shrimp mixture into shells. Sprinkle with the tortilla strips and serve.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

We absolutely love meatloaf. We don’t consider it to be just a cold-weather dish, either. Heck, one of our favorite meatloaf recipes involve smoking it, which isn’t that much fun to do when it’s -20 F and windy out (although I’ve done it). That’s why I’m always excited when I come across a new-to-me recipe, like this copycat Cracker Barrel meatloaf.

This is great meatloaf. It has the perfect balance of texture and flavor. It’s not crazy different than what grandma would make. It’s old school and it’s incredibly great. Great on a plate sliced or on bread as a meatloaf sandwich. You can’t beat it.
Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

This is the part of my blog posts where I suggest ways to change up a recipe. Add a bit of kick. Do things differently. Not this time. Not for this copycat Cracker Barrel meatloaf. I wouldn’t change this. Ever. The idea to change it never entered my mind. We loved this meatloaf just as it is.

Also try my easy Creole meatloaf.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting time 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 sleeves Ritz crackers crushed
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper finely diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Topping

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the crushed crackers, onion, bell pepper, milk, salt, pepper and cheese. Mix well.
  • Add the ground beef and combine. Transfer to the foil-lined pan and shape into a loaf that is 2-3" thick,
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Mix the topping ingredients and brush over the top of the loaf. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 F.
  • Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Etouffee

It’s the sauce. The wonderful sauce. I could not stop slurping it up. Hey, no one else was here. I can slurp all I want. And I did. Oh yes, of course this chicken and smoked sausage etouffee has great chicken, spicy andouille and a number of other flavors. But man, it’s the sauce that I could not get enough of. This is comfort food at it’s absolute best.
Chicken and Smoked Sausage Etouffee

Chicken and smoked sausage etouffee is one of those recipes that might be a bit intimidating because of the number of ingredients. But it’s actually very easy. And it’s definitely well worth the time and effort. This is one of my favorite things to make, cold day or not.

Also try my crawfish etouffee.

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Etouffee

Course Main
Cuisine Creole
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 pound andouille sausage links or smoked sausage
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • Warmed cooked rice
  • 1 cup parsley chopped
  • 2 green onions diced

Instructions

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the andouille and brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Add the butter and melt. Whisk in the flour and cook 10-12 minutes or until brown.
  • Add onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic to a food processor. Pulse a few times to roughly chop then add to the Dutch oven with the roux. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes to cook out some of the liquid.
  • Add the beer and deglaze the pot. Make sure to scrape up the yummy bits that may have stuck to the bottom.
  • Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, paprika and cayenne. Stir.
  • Add in the chicken pieces and simmer for 1 hour or until the chicken has started to fall off the bones.
  • Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board and pull the meat from the bones. Shred and return to the pot.
  • Slice the andouille and add back to the pot. Warm thoroughly.
  • Serve over warm cooked rice garnished with chopped parsley and green onions.