Enchilada Beans

Man do I ever love a big ole pot of great beans. But these enchilada beans aren’t great beans. They’re amazing beans. The flavors are just amazing. Southwestern in nature, with the perfect texture and a sauce that is to die for, I could eat these beans all day long and still ask for more.
Enchilada Beans

You cannot improve on these enchilada beans. Don’t go adding hot sauce, or spicy chili powder, or some fru-fru roasted tomato sauce. They don’t need any messing with. At all. Trust me on this. Make them exactly as the recipe calls for and you will thank me all day long.

Now, that being said… after making these a few times the thought of adding crumbled browned ground beef and making these beans into a chili did occur to me…

Also try my cowboy beans.

Enchilada Beans

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 14 1/2 ounces chicken broth
  • 3 15 ounce cans red beans drained, rinsed
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven. Add onion and cook until just starting to soften.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Sprinkle onions with flour, chili powder and cumin and stir. Cook for 5 minutes to cook the flour, stirring.
  • Stir in the broth and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until thickened.

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!

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.

Smoked Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

I recently smoked a big block of Velveeta. When I first mentioned the idea you could actually hear the gasps. Half were in amazement, half were not impressed. Well, for those not on the smoked Velveeta train, time to admit you were wrong because it’s crazy, crazy good! My first recipe for it? Yep, smoked Velveeta macaroni and cheese!
Smoked Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

You could make this recipe with ‘regular’ Velveeta instead. But I have to say, smoked Velveeta macaroni and cheese is something special. The flavor is just right. The creaminess is what you’d expect.

This recipe is also fantastic using smoked cheddar cheese, something I’ve made a few times also. You can also find smoked cheddar in most stores. Sadly, you cannot find smoked Velveeta in stores. Yet.

Smoked Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 3/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 pound smoked Velveeta chopped (you can substitute smoked shredded cheddar)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, 7 minutes. Rinse and drain well.
  • Drain water from pot and add 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until just soft.
  • Add the cubed Velveeta, milk and mustard. Stir and let cook until the cheese has melted and is smooth, stirring often. You want the sauce to thicken until it sticks to a spoon, 10-15 minutes.
  • Stir in the cooked macaroni. Pour into a lightly greased 9" x 13" baking dish.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and hot.
  • Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saute pan.
  • Add the Panko and stir until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the mac-and-cheese. Slice and serve.

Mississippi Mud Cheesy Potatoes

I’m lucky in that I usually love darn near everything i make. These Mississippi Mud cheesy potatoes are definitely no exception. In fact, love may be an understatement. Anita and I both devoured them. You just can’t beat the tender potatoes, ooey gooey cheese, crunchy smoky bacon, and green onions. It’s a lot like having a loaded baked potato, and yep, you guessed it, I love loaded baked potatoes too.
Mississippi Mud Cheesy PotatoesThe only possible change (and really, it’s a stretch perhaps) I would make to these Mississippi Mud cheesy potatoes would be to add a roasted jalapeno or two. Actually, that’s not a stretch at all. Or maybe a pinch or two of smoked paprika or chipotle powder. Yeah, I’m going that for sure now!

Also make my delicious melting potatoes.

Mississippi Mud Cheesy Potatoes

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 cups Russet potatoes diced (about 5 medium potatoes)
  • 1 pound shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pound thin-sliced bacon cooked, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 325 F.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Pour mixture into a 9" x 13" casserole dish.
  • Bake for 1 hour until the potatoes are tender.

Spicy Red Onion Rings

Oh, all those years spent eating (and enjoying!) onion rings made from white or sweet onions. Not wasted years, but years of missed opportunities of eating spicy red onion rings. Spiced up with a fantastic kick not only from hot sauce but from that red onion bite, these rings are the things dreams are made of. The batter is perfect. No batter loss here, the coating sticks perfectly and comes out crazy crunchy. These are what rings should be.
Spicy Red Onion RingsAlthough there’s certainly nothing wrong with ketchup on spicy red onion rings, I prefer something a bit more ‘deep’ so I made an easy dipping sauce of mayo and a few other ingredients I had on hand. The dipping sauce is also great for dipping fries, potato chips, carrot sticks, you name it. And it’s also fantastic on burgers!

This is yet another great recipe I found in Margaritaville: The Cookbook. It is absolutely full of great dishes!

Also try my fried onion strips with a wonderful dipping sauce.

Spicy Red Onion Rings

Note: For a little extra spiciness, let the rings marinate in the buttermilk/hot sauce mixture for 1 hour before battering and frying.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 large red onions cut into thick rounds, rings separated
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Couple dashes of kosher salt and black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat 2" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Whisk the buttermilk and hot sauce together in a pie plate.
  • In another pie plate, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt.
  • Working in batches, dip rings in buttermilk, then flour. Repeat.
  • Transfer to fryer in batches. Do not overcrowd. Fry for about 2 minutes, flip and fry another 2 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
  • Serve with dipping sauce.

For the dipping sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients.

Quick Fix Asian Fries

Since I was grilling up a few Asian pork burgers for dinner, I needed some fries to go with them. Something with a bit of Asian zing to it. So, I grabbed a bag of frozen fries out of the freezer, baked them up, and tossed them with a few Asian ingredients. In no time, my quick fix Asian fries were on the table, ready to be devoured.
Quick Fix Asian FriesThese quick fix Asian fries do have a bit of a spicy kick to them, which is probably why we loved them so much. Get your fries good and crunchy. If they sit for long in the sauce they might get a bit soggy. They really won’t last long so it’s not much of a worry.

Also try my quick fix seasoned tater tots.

Quick Fix Asian Fries

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound frozen French fries

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 green onions green parts finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger or substitute a pinch of dried ginger

Instructions

  • Cook the fries as per package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, create the sauce by placing all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine.
  • When the fries are done transfer them to a large bowl.
  • Drizzle the fries with the sauce and toss lightly to coat. Serve.

Mom’s Bean Salad

I love my mom’s bean salad recipe. I’ve been eating since I was a kid, even though I probably considered it a ‘weird’ food then. It’s simple but very good. I’ve found that it’s even better when it has been chilled until super-duper cold. After I make it I let it set in the fridge overnight before diving in. Well, ok, I have a few spoonfuls first, but then I put it into the fridge.
Mom's Bean SaladYou can use pretty much any beans you want, and you can skip the fresh carrots and use canned or frozen if you wish. Or substitute fresh beans for the canned and have a fantastic summertime salad. It’s ok if you change my mom’s bean salad. I won’t tell her.

Also try Chez John’s Kaw-Cajun 4-bean salad. It’s unbelievably good.

Mom's Bean Salad

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mom

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots peeled, sliced thin
  • 3 14 1/2 ounce cans Del Monte wax and green beans, drained
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Bring a small pan or skillet of water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Remove, drain, and rinse with cold water.
  • Place cooked carrots, the wax and green beans, the kidney beans and the onion into a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, vinegar and oil. Add to the beans and toss to coat.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Cucumber Salad

There are lots and lots of cucumber salads in the world of recipes. I really love the crispness of the cucumbers, the bite of the vinegar and slight sweetness. Of course there’s dill and plenty of it. I’m pretty sure dill exists solely to be used with cucumbers.This version is essentially the same as my all-time favorite creamy cucumber salad but minus the ‘creamy’.
Cucumber SaladThis cucumber salad does not have to be served just as a salad, either. It’s fantastic on top of a pulled pork sandwich. It’s also a nice change from the usual dill pickle slices (or coleslaw) you often find on a sandwich.

Cucumber Salad

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh dill weed

Instructions

  • Place cucumber into a resealable container.
  • Place remaining ingredients except dill into a jar. Seal and shake until combined.
  • Pour liquid over cucumbers. Seal and shake gently to coat. Refrigerate for 3 hours.
  • Serve sprinkled with fresh dill.

Creole Macaroni Salad

It doesn’t take a whole lot of changes to make a pretty much run-of-the-mill pasta salad different. This Creole macaroni salad has buttermilk in the dressing, giving it that wonder tangy flavor. I love buttermilk so I instantly thought how great this salad would be with buttermilk fried chicken (and it was!). The salad also has tomatoes and (Anita’s favorite) olives. Her motto is: You can’t have too many olives.Creole Macaroni Salad
This recipe comes from Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue Cookbook, a huge book of everything barbecue. Get it. It’s packed with recipes like this great salad and whole lot more.

I would (and did) add more cayenne pepper to give this Creole macaroni salad even more kick. I think the dressing has a somewhat cooling effect, so a bit more heat isn’t going to hurt anything.

Creole Macaroni Salad

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or whatever pasta you prefer
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese diced
  • 1/2 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup stuffed green olives halved

For the dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Place all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl or resealable container.
  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss gently to coat.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving