Ciabatta and Sausage Dressing

As much as I love turkey around the holidays, it’s the dressing and gravy that I love the most. Dressing (specially this ciabatta and sausage version) has so many different flavors and textures and colors. Turkey? Meh… not so much. Not that the turkey is a bad thing, it’s just that I much prefer a plate with a lot of dressing and just a bit of turkey.
I had never had a dressing that contained sausage until this one. I was blown away by just how much flavor the sage sausage adds. The ciabatta adds such wonderful texture and flavor too. There’s no question, this is one fantastic dressing.

Ciabatta and Sausage Stuffing
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 (1 pound) roll bulk sage breakfast sausage
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cups turkey stock (chicken stock can be substituted)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
  • 1 (12 ounce) loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1" pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Crumble in the sausage and cook until browned. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. Add remaining butter to the skillet and melt.
  5. Add the carrot, onion and celery and saute until starting to soften.
  6. Place the sausage, cooked vegetables, stock, oil, parsley, rosemary sage and bread into a large bowl and stir.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour mixture into a 9" x 13" baking dish and spread out evenly.
  9. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and hot.
  10. Serve garnished with more parsley if desired.

Deconstructed Mexican Style Corn

Now, if it was summer I certainly would’ve made this deconstructed Mexican style corn using fresh corn-on-the-cob. But, sadly, it’s not summer. So I had to go with Plan B: use up some of the fantastic sweet corn I put up for winter. I didn’t char the corn, which really is a must to make this authentic street-style, but that’s ok. The dish is absolutely delicious none-the-less. It tastes and feels like summer, thanks mostly to the citrus. And it has just a little kick, which it needs to offset the sweetness of the corn.
deconstructed-mexican-style-cornMayonnaise in corn may seem odd, but it makes the corn wonderfully creamy, but with a little tang that you wouldn’t get with something like cream. Every bite has that bit of tang. It’s refreshing and different.

Deconstructed Mexican Style Corn
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 6 ears corn (or about 4 cups of kernels)
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese, divided (I substituted feta)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, zested
Instructions
  1. If you are using corn-on-the-cob, roast the corn on a grill or under the broiler. Let cool and then cut the kernels from the cobs.
  2. If you are using corn kernels, you can roast them first on a sheet pan under the broiler, but keep an eye on them so they do not burn. Stir occasionally.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the corn and saute for another 5 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to low and stir in half of the cheese, the mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese and chipotle chile powder, along with the chopped cilantro.

 

Bacon-Wrapped Mexican Potatoes

Boy, crispy bacon… spicy Mexican chorizo sausage… cheese… I could actually just have these bacon-wrapped Mexican potatoes for dinner. By themselves. Nothing else. Just give me a platter of them and check on me in 15 minutes to see if I need more. They’re like grilled potato skins taken to a whole new level.

Bacon-Wrapped Mexican PotatoesI love the spicy kick from chorizo. But, if you don’t, you can easily change these potatoes up to be a little more mellow by making them Italian-style. Substitute crumbled cooked mild Italian sausage for the chorizo, mozzarella for the queso fresco, and sour cream for the crema. Excellent!

Bacon-Wrapped Mexican Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 potatoes
 
Ingredients
  • 20 small new red potatoes, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled Queso fresco
  • 10 pieces bacon, halved
  • Toothpicks
  • Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • Fresh chopped green onions or cilantro, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Brush potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until tender, 20-30 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  3. Fire up your grill for indirect cooking (you can also make these in the oven, so keep your oven going if you're going to cook these indoors).
  4. Meanwhile, crumble the chorizo into a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until browned. Remove from heat. Note: You want to get the chorizo fairly well crumbled. If you are having trouble doing so, just let the cooked chorizo cool a bit then pulss a few times in a food processor.
  5. Cut just enough of the bottom of each potato so that they can stand up straight. Then cut just enough off the top so you can scoop them out. Take a small mellon baller or spoon and spoon out the insides.
  6. In a bowl combine the chorizo and cheese and spoon into each potato.
  7. Wrap a halved piece of bacon around each potato and secure with a toothpick.
  8. Place on the grill over indirect heat and cook until the bacon starts to crisp, about 20 minutes, or bake in the oven at 425 F.
  9. Serve topped with a small dollop of Mexican crema or cream cheese and garnish with green onions or cilantro.

Country Coleslaw

Chef John Besh’s book, Besh Big Easy, is full of easy-to-make recipes. The kind that I like. Southern- and Lousiana-inspired. Take this wonderful country coleslaw. It has your ‘usual’ ingredients, but with a twist (to me, at least). I’ve never had sweet pickle relish in a slaw, and I found it to be absolutely fantastic. So is the addition of rice wine vinegar. Great flavors out of such a simple dish. That’s key.I wouldn’t be afraid to add fresh jalapeno rings to this country coleslaw. Anita would tell me to not do it, though. I’d have to add it to my bowl and just enjoy the heat on my own.

Country Coleslaw
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped or sliced thin
  • 1 onion, chopped or sliced thin
  • 2 (I used 6) green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Kosher salt and ly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the cabbage, onion, green onions, relish and carrot into a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add to vegetables and fold to combine.
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Potato Salad

This is the potato salad I’ve been dreaming about. The one I was hoping I would find. THE ONE. Pimento cheese? A house favorite. Jalapenos? In darned near everything I make. Bacon? Ditto also in darned near everything I make. Add the three into a potato salad and you’ve got the perfect storm of flavor goodness. I could sit down with the entire bowl of this jalapeno pimento cheese potato salad and just go to town on it in one sitting. Gone. All done.
There’s no way I can think of to improve on this salad. I thought well, maybe some more jalapeno. Nope, doesn’t need it. It has just the right amount of kick. I thought well, maybe some more pimentos. Nope, doesn’t need that either. Just make it as is and enjoy it. Jalapeno pimento cheese potato salad is a thingy of beauty and flavor.

5 from 1 reviews
Jalapeno Pimento Cheese Potato Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded, minced
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar pimentos drained, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the potatoes and boil until just tender. Drain and let cool.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Carefully fold in the potatoes.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Carolina Slaw

Onions and bell peppers in a slaw, with a little vinegar kick and a little sweetness. That’s why this Carolina slaw is so good. And celery seed. I love celery seed (celery seed is one of my favorite ingredients in my Fire Eater rub). I make slaws often, just about any time of the year. They usually keep longer than a green salad. To keep your slaw lasting longer only dress the amount of slaw you are serving for a meal. Keep your leftover dressing separate so your slaw ingredients don’t get soggy overnight.

Carolina SlawI ended up using some of this Carolina slaw to top some grilled Carolina hot dogs. Slaw on hot dogs (and pulled pork BBQ sandwiches) is almost a requirement. Love that crunch!

Carolina Slaw
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small bag slaw mix (4-5 cups)
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Combine the slaw mix, green pepper and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the vegetables.
  3. Toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Toss lightly before serving.

Black Pepper Strawberries

Don’t you just love when an incredibly simple dish comes out so fantastic? I was looking for a little something to take to dinner at Anita’s sister’s house. Nothing big, just something fresh. Since strawberries were in season I picked up a few pints and made these delicious black pepper strawberries. The perfect combination of citrus and berry with a nice peppery twist. I even added a bit more pepper than the recipe called for (because I love freshly ground black pepper). Yummy!
You can’t skip on the time these black pepper strawberries need to sit in the fridge before you serve them. They need that hour to absorb some of pepper and citrus-flavored juices. Toss them just before serving.

5 from 1 reviews
Black Pepper Strawberries
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Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pints strawberries, rinsed, dried, hulled and quartered
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Whipped cream
Instructions
  1. Whisk the lemon juice, orange juice, sugar and pepper in a large bowl until combined.
  2. Add the strawberries.
  3. Toss gently to coat.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Serve topped with whipped cream.

 

Quick Fix BBQ Beans

Why grab a can of pre-made BBQ beans at the store when you can make your own in no time at all. Sure, I’ve made scratch baked beans before (on the smoker and they were fantastic!). These aren’t those beans. Quick to fix, these BBQ beans still pack in the flavor.
quick-fix-bbq-beansYou can make these beans taste however you like just by changing which BBQ sauce you add. From smoky to spicy, you can’t go wrong. And speaking of spicy, for a little extra kick add a few sliced jalapenos. And for extra crunch, chop half of a medium sweet onion and toss that in too. You really cannot make a boo-boo when you make these beans.

Quick Fix BBQ Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 large red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Combine all ingredients and pour into an 8" x 8" baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Let cool slightly before serving as the sauce will be very hot.