Anita mentioned these Parmesan chicken bites the other day. I made them a long time ago and posted them on our old blog, Crossroads of America, and somehow had forgotten about them. That’s a shame because they’re really great. They aren’t nuggets like you might think. And they aren’t crunchy because they aren’t fried. They have a light coating, with a great herb-and-butter flavor. They are very addicting. I continued the herb theme and served these Parmesan chicken bites with a cool Ranch dressing for dipping. A Dijon dipping sauce also works great, as does blue cheese. These little yummy morsels are a great alternative to deep-fried chicken nuggets.
Smothered? Ok, so maybe I drowned them. But that’s ok, because these lowcountry smothered pork chops were divine. The chops were oh so tender. The sauce was oh so savory. And the topping? My favorite part, oddly enough. The key is to load up each forkful of pork with tons and tons of the peppers and onions then get ya some sauce. The perfect bite. For a slight Cajun twist on this dish, season the chops with Cajun seasoning instead of the salt, pepper and cayenne. And add a few splashes of Louisiana hot sauce in when you add the chicken broth.
Lowcountry smothered pork chops are best served with some fried okra and collard greens.
“Crazy good” are the first words that came to mind when I first tasted this buttermilk-marinated turkey. Cooked up on the Big Easy it was very, very tender and juicy and absolutely packed with flavor. Delicious. Every bite. I’ve cooked a lot of turkey on my Big Easy and I have to say I’ll probably never do breasts any other way. Sure I may mix up the seasonings I add, but the underlying recipe of marinating the breast for a few hours in buttermilk and lemon will stay the same – they are what make the meat so tender and juicy. I cooked a 10 pound breast in almost exactly 100 minutes. It needed a little more time thanks to a cool light breeze. On a perfect day with perfect conditions 10 minutes per pound would’ve been all I would’ve needed.
Does it get any easier than that? I left the lid off my Big Easy for the first 30 minutes then added it to get more color on top. I probably could’ve used an extra 10 minutes with the lid on just to get the color a bit more even but hey, it was fantastic anyway!
The next question is: Can I use the same technique for cooking a whole turkey? I don’t see why not! As long as it’ll fit in a large turkey bag (I used a small one for just the bone-in breast) I suspect that this approach will be perfect for any bird.
Do not marinate for over eight hours. The lemon juice will start to break down the meat. Eight hours max is the rule you want to go by.
I love cooking meals from scratch. But sometimes reality hits and I have to throw something together that doesn’t require a lot of preparation. That’s where this quick fix copycat of McDonald’s chicken sandwich comes in. In less than 30 minutes I get to enjoy a rather tasty chicken sandwich. Heck it even has fresh toppings on it and a rather tasty (but incredibly simple) sauce. Hey, it’s not bad when you’re in a crunch, and I often find myself making little changes to mix things up a bit. Add a little kick to your quick fix copycat McDonald’s chicken sandwich by substituting Tyson’s spicy chicken patties, adding a slice of pepper jack cheese, and adding Sriracha instead of onion powder when making the sauce.
I usually smoke my ribs, but there are times when I’m more than happy to cook them in other ways. Usually, that means on the Char-Broil Big Easy. Once, heck, I even made them in the slow cooker! Gasp! This time I figured I’d try oven baked ribs, which really isn’t much different than using the Big Easy.
I ended up with tender, juicy ribs that tasted absolutely great. Of course, they do not have that smoky flavor I’d get on the smoker, cooked for 6 hours. But, I make up for that a bit by adding smoky ingredients like smoked paprika and using a smoky (hickory in this case) BBQ sauce at the end. Although I did not include it in the recipe below, I’d consider adding a drop (and surely not much more) of liquid smoke to the foil before sealing the ribs. There’s already a good bit of great smokiness added by the smoked paprika so I wouldn’t go crazy with the liquid smoke. If you aren’t a fan of liquid smoke but want more smoky flavor, substitute smoked sea salt for the Kosher salt.
I used back ribs, though when I smoke ribs I almost always use spare ribs trimmed St. Louis-style. I wouldn’t use spare ribs in this recipe because I’d be afraid that the additional fat in them would almost end up ‘boiling’ the ribs in the foil.
Anita and I have had the joy of eating at several Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurants. We always end up ordering something shrimpy. Hey, ‘shrimp’ is in their name! When we can’t make it a restaurant and get the real deal we make copycat versions at home. Like this copycat Bubba Gump’s Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp. Crazy good coconut-crusted deep-fried shrimp with a fantastic Cajun marmalade sauce. Serve it as an appetizer or devour a batch for dinner. Either way, this is good shrimp!
Keep an eye on your copycat Bubba Gump’s Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp while they fry. Shrimp cook very, very quickly. Coconut can burn very, very quickly. Once you see golden brown colors, flip them and don’t cook them much longer.
To help prevent the coconut from turned too brown too quickly I did use unsweetened coconut. The sugars in sweetened coconut will burn quicker. You won’t notice a difference in the taste of the shrimp, so go with unsweetened.
When I moved to the mid-west from the east coast I heard about this thing called ‘Cincinnati chili’. My reaction to the idea of spaghetti and chili was one of shock. Cinnamon? What? Is that an accident? That was all before I tried it. I’ve learned to be less judgmental about new foods since then, and Cincinnati chili is one reason why. I love it. It’s perfect, and not just on cold mid-west winter days either. Making Cincinnati chili in a slow cooker is easy and tasty and I’d make it again and again. Now, if I happen to be in Cincinnati, I’m heading to The Chili Hut, my hands-down favorite food truck.
It’s not that you have to hold me down and force me to eat my veggies, it’s just that I think they need a little ‘help’ to make them good. If you add cheese, then they’re great and I’m going to eat them like they’re going out of style. This slow cooker cauliflower and cheese is a super-simple way to make a delicious side dish that anyone will love. I’ve made slow cooker cauliflower with cheese a number of times. Sometimes I mix it up by using half a head each of cauliflower and broccoli. Or just broccoli. Whatever you prefer, it’s good stuff!
For a little kick, add a few pinches of red pepper flake. For a little crunch, serve topped with a few good sprinkles of French fried onions.