Grilled Corn Grits

“My, oh, my” is about all we could say when we both took a bite of these grilled corn grits. The talking stopped and the enjoyment began. Creamy grits with fire-roasted corn. The corn adds just a hint of smokiness, a little crunchiness, and even more corn flavor to what are already fantastic corn grits. This is definitely a favorite side dish in our house.
You can roast the corn in the oven, under the broiler, if you’d like. You won’t get that nice grilled smoky flavor, but the roasted corn will still add a lot of flavor to the grits. I grilled my corn on a charcoal grill, directly over the hot coals. It didn’t take long and it was well worth the effort.

If it’s not quite corn season where you are, you can use canned corn. Just drain the corn and spread it out on a baking sheet. Place under your broiler and broil until lightly charred, keeping an eye on it as it broils.

Grilled Corn Grits
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large ears corn, shucked
  • 1 cup (or more) chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup (or more) half and half
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste\
  • 1 cup yellow grits
  • 1 green onion, sliced, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for direct cooking.
  2. Place the corn directly over the fire. Cook, rotating the ears frequently, until all sides are lightly charred. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly before cutting the kernels from the ears.
  3. Add the chicken stock and 3 tablespoons of butter to a medium sauce pan.
  4. Bring to a boil and stir in the milk, salt and pepper.
  5. Continue boiling while whisking in the grits. Add the corn. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously, until the grits are creamy. You may have to add more stock or half and half if they get too thick.
  6. Serve topped with the remaining butter and garnished with the sliced green onion.

Pickled Black-Eyed Peas

I need a t-shirt that says “Don’t get between me and my pickled black-eyed peas”. I found them to be so dangerously good that I didn’t want to share with anyone. Ever. The peas absorb the vinegar, getting a really nice tart kick to them. For a little heat, jalapenos (they do get tamed down a bit the longer they pickle). Crispy red onions and a little garlic round out what is a perfect side dish.

These pickled black-eyed peas remind me of the Georgia caviar I made a while back. Black-eyed peas are wonderful in a cold salad and even better when pickled. Don’t let the jalapenos worry you if you aren’t into spicy foods. You can of course leave them out but I found that they do not overpower the salad at all. You don’t have to eat them, but leave them in to add flavor.

Pickled Black-Eyed Peas
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, cut into rings
  • 1/2 cup (or more) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine the beans, onion, garlic and jalapeno in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the oil and vinegar.
  3. Add the oil mixture ot the peas and stir to combine.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Note: If you find the peas to be too dry, now is the same to add a bit more oil.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Spiralized Curly Fries

It’s over. Done. My quest for an absolutely perfect curly fry recipe is over. I have reached the end, and the end is good. Perfectly curly. Perfectly seasoned. And perfectly crunchy. I could’ve just skipped whatever else it was I was having for dinner. I don’t even remember what else I had. I just remember these curly fries.

i used the smallest blade on my spiral slicer to make these curly fries. You could use the bigger one, but of course cook times will go up. I think the small blade is the perfect size.

The batter gives the fries their fantastic flavor. I plan on using the same batter on a whole lot of other fried foods. It’s a thin batter, not thick. Perfect for something like fish fillets or even non-curly fries.

Spiralized Curly Fries
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
For the potatoes
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled if desired
  • Water
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for deep frying
  • Kosher salt
For the batter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (substitute Mrs. Dash if you like)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
For the potatoes
  1. Fill a resealable container with cold water.
  2. Spiralize the potatoes (I used the smallest blade) and place into the water.
  3. Transfer to the refrigerator for 1 hour.
For the batter
  1. Place all of the batter ingredients into a large bowl or container and whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat 3" of oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 F.
  3. Drain the potatoes and pat dry.
  4. Place potatoes in the batter and coat well.
  5. Working in batches, fry the potatoes until golden brown, turning once.
  6. Transfer cooked potatoes to a wire rack or pan lined with paper towels and sprinkle liberally with salt.
  7. Serve immediately.


Cheddar Ranch Grits

As much as I love making and devouring mashed potatoes with pot roast and gravy, I love grits even more. The creamy ground corn has more texture and more flavor. At least, in my opinion. Add some cheese (and a little bit of Ranch dressing mix) and well, these cheddar Ranch grits are the perfect tasting side dish and very, very easy to make.
cheddar-ranch-gritsYou can substitute any good melting cheese you want to these cheddar Ranch grits. I like a nice sharp cheddar because I think it goes perfectly with the corn flavors and the Ranch dressing. I think Monterey jack would also work well in this dish. For some kick, go with pepperjack and add a few chopped roasted jalapenos.

Cheddar Ranch Grits
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup corn grits (not instant or quick cook)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup (or more, if you want) shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Ranch dressing mix (the dry stuff, not the dressing in a bottle!)
Instructions
  1. Bring broth and salt to a boil in a medium pan over high heat.
  2. Slowly stir in the grits.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often. To prevent the grits from splattering you can place a lid over the top of the pan but do not cover it completely.
  4. Add the butter and stir to melt.
  5. Add the cheese and Ranch dressing mix and stir until the cheese is melted.
  6. Serve.

Easy Marinated Mushrooms

These easy marinated mushrooms are some of the most addicting little bites I’ve ever made. Easy is right, too. They take no time at all to make. They are packed with flavor, a little sweet, a little heat and a bit of vinegar kick. I can guarantee that you will want to at least double the recipe because you won’t be able to stop eating them.
I used a mix of white button and cremini mushrooms, but you can use any mix of mushrooms you like. You do want to make sure you use mushrooms that are all about the same size or some will cook faster than others. You want them to all be cooked the same, not some soft and some not.

The marinade for these easy mushrooms is very good. I plan on using it for other dishes, including as a marinade for chicken.

Easy Marinated Mushrooms
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 pound
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook until just tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the parsley. Toss gently to combine.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 8 hours.
  5. Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
  6. Note: The mushrooms will keep up to 5 days but are best the first two days after they marinate.

Pineapple Baby Beets

I remember my mom making pineapple baby beets when I was a kid. I never ate them. I was afraid of them. Beets? Ewwwww! Now, the pineapple, I could understand that. I loved pineapple. But those weird little red things that stain everything they touch? Why would you ever eat them? Well, the answer I now know is that they are GREAT! I love beets! I smoke them. I roast them. And I mix them with pineapple and devour them! A bit of sweet and a bit of earthiness, they disappear in no time, something I never thought I’d say.
You can use fresh beets for these pineapple baby beets too. Just cook them first, and let them cool for a bit before chopping (unless you somehow were lucky enough to find raw baby beets) and adding in to the mix.

Pineapple Baby Beets
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • i (8 ounce) pineapple tidbits with syrup (not juice)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar pickled baby beets, rinsed and drained
Instructions
  1. Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the pineapple tidbits with the syrup. Stir constantly until thickened.
  3. Add the butter, lemon juice, and beets.
  4. Heat thoroughly, about 5 minutes, and serve.

Buffalo Bacon Roasted Cauliflower

I love the spicy vinegary flavor of Buffalo wings, along with a great blue cheese dressing for dipping them in. Now I can get those same great flavors in an easy-to-make side dish. The only way possible to make this Buffalo bacon roasted cauliflower any better is to double the recipe. Because more is definitely better.

If you’re not in to the funkiness that blue cheese has, try substituting cubed Monterey jack cheese instead. We still like the funky, but not super duper funky, so we often substitute gorgonzola cheese instead. No matter what you use Buffalo bacon roasted cauliflower is a treat.

Buffalo Bacon Roasted Cauliflower
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 slices bacon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank's RedHot wing sauce)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Place the bacon strips at one end of a large sheet pan.
  3. Place the cauliflower florets at the other end.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is crispy.
  5. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  6. Toss the cauliflower in any bacon grease that is on the pan. Return to the oven, season with salt and pepper, and roast another 5 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly charred.
  7. Remove cauliflower to a platter.
  8. Drizzle with the wing sauce.
  9. Crumble the bacon over the top of the cauliflower.
  10. Add the blue cheese and green onions and serve.

Oriental Chicken Salad

This oriental chicken salad is by far our favorite meal-sized salad. I can never eat just one little ole serving. It’s addictingly good. The dressing is just the right combination of acid and sweet. Instead of croutons there are crunchy yummy tried Ramen noodles. They make for the perfect topping over the just-as-crunchy cabbage.
I love the dressing for this oriental chicken salad so much that I always double the recipe for it. The Ramen noodles stay crunchy in the dressing so you don’t get down to the bottom of the plate only to discover sad, soggy ‘croutons’. Don’t be afraid to double the amount of Ramen either.

Oriental Chicken Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Note: The dressing is crazy good. Double the amount and you won't be sorry.
Ingredients
For the salad
  • 2 packages Top Ramen noodles, spice mix discarded
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
For the dressing
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
For the dressing
  1. Whisk together all ingredients
For the salad
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Crunch the noodles into the skillet and brown, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the almonds and cook another minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Place the remaining salad ingredients into a large bowl.
  5. Add the Ramen noodles and toss.
  6. Drizzle with the dressing, toss, and serve.