Cauliflower Nachos

Who needs all the carbs you find in traditional nachos? We’ll, here’s the solution if you’re watching your carbohydrates. Perfectly roasted cauliflower topped with your favorite nacho toppings. Heck, you don’t even have to be counting carbs to enjoy these nachos.
These cauliflower nachos remind me of another low-carb version of a dish: mashed cauliflower. Just like the potato version, but without the carbs. We make them often and always enjoy folk’s reaction when we tell them they aren’t eating mashed potatoes.

5 from 1 reviews
Cauliflower Nachos
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Pickled jalapeños
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place cauliflower pieces in a large bowl.
  3. Add the oil and toss gently to coat.
  4. Add the salt, cumin, paprika, chili powder and garlic powder. Toss to coat.
  5. Pour cauliflower out on a large baking sheet and spread out evenly.
  6. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cauliflower is golden in color and the edges have started to crisp.
  7. Sprinkle with the cauliflower with the cheeses and return to the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
  8. Serve topped with salsa, guacamole and jalapeños.

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

I would’ve liked to have made this slow cooker tomato sauce using tomatoes from our garden. For some reason, our tomatoes just didn’t produce this year. Usually I have to worry about the raccoons stealing them but not this time. They just didn’t come out. So, Plan B, I picked up a big batch of ripe tomatoes at the grocery store. The end result came out very, very flavorful. Quite honestly, I had my sights set on using this sauce to make pizza sauce, but it’s so good by itself you could easily serve it as-is as tomato soup.
slow-cooker-tomato-sauceI used Roma tomatoes because I like how they taste. You can substitute any good tomato, just make sure they’re good and ripe. Do not use those hard-as-cardboard tomatoes you often find at your grocery store. If you’re lucky enough to be near a farmer’s market, it’s well worth the trip. When tomatoes are at peak you’ll want to make several batches of this slow cooker tomato sauce and freeze it for later.

5 from 1 reviews
Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 5-6 pounds of Roma tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Honey or sugar (optional)
Instructions
  1. Rinse tomatoes and cut in half. Place into a large slow cooker.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, oil, bay leaf and parsley.
  3. Lightly grind the basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and pepper flakes using a mortar and pestle. Add to the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the tomatoes have softened, stirring occasionally.
  5. Let cool for 30 minutes.
  6. Working in batches, transfer the tomato mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  7. Transfer the pureed liquid to a strainer and remove the pulp, seeds, etc, leaving the tomato sauce.
  8. If the sauce is too thin you can slowly simmer it in a sauce pan on the stove until thick.
  9. Add honey or sugar to sweeten the sauce if desired.

Old Bay Crab Legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I can eat a scary amount of crab legs. Fortunately, I don’t have to tell you just how much a ‘scary amount’ is, but when the crab legs are as great as these Old Bay crab legs cooked on my Char-Broil Big Easy, I cannot control myself. From the moment they go into cooker the aroma hits you and your stomach will start growling. In just minutes you too can be enjoying nice big ole meaty crab legs covered in Old Bay seasoning. For dipping, I made a bit of clarified butter, which is also something I cannot control myself around. This was a bonus meal for sure!
You can make Old Bay snow crab legs too, if you wish, but you’ll probably want to cut back on the heating time. It doesn’t take long to re-heat the already-steamed thawed crab legs.

If you prefer to grill your crab legs, try my grilled Old Bay crab legs.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

5 from 1 reviews
Old Bay Crab Legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Note: The clarified butter takes longer to make than do the crab legs, so you'll want to start that first. You can also make the clarified butter ahead of time and just warm it for serving.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds steamed King crab legs, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Old Bay seasoning
For the clarified butter
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Break the crab legs at the joints if necessary so that they fit into the Big Easy basket.
  3. Take a pair of kitchen scissors and make a cut along the full length of the bottoms of the legs.
  4. Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a small saucepan and add Old Bay to taste. Stir. Brush butter mixture over the legs. Don't be afraid to separate the cuts you made a bit to get some of the butter inside.
  5. Place legs into the Big Easy basket and lower into the cooker.
  6. Heat for 6-8 minutes. Heat less if using snow crab or smaller legs, more for bigger legs. Remember the legs are already cooked, you're just re-heating them.
For the clarified butter
  1. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once the butter has melted reduce the heat to the lowest setting possible and then increase to maintain a very slight boil. Heat for 45 minutes.
  3. Scoop out the top clear portion of melted butter and run thru a fine sieve. Discard the solids that remain at the bottom of the pan.
  4. Serve hot.

Bacon-Glazed Spiral Ham

What’s better than spiral ham? Spiral ham glazed with bacon, of course. It’s spiral-ham-sale-time here, so I backed up the truck and grabbed a nice big smoked ham. Of course, they’re easy to reheat. And just as easy to glaze during the last 30 minutes. The bacon glaze adds a bit more smokiness, but also some sweetness, a little tartness and a little tang thanks to two different kinds of mustard.
You can substitute pretty much any jelly you want, but I’d stay away from ‘darker’ ones, such as blueberry or the like. Go for lighter colors. And don’t be afraid to use a spicy jelly such as jalapeno pepper jelly. You may also want to double the amount of bacon-glaze, serving any leftover glaze as a drizzle over the sliced ham when you serve it.

Bacon-Glazed Spiral Ham
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 ham
 
Ingredients
  • 1 7-8 pound smoked spiral ham
For the glaze
  • 8 slices smoked bacon
  • 1/2 cup apple jelly
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
Instructions
  1. Warm ham in oven per package instructions.
  2. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, apply glaze liberally every 10 minutes.
  3. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
For the glaze
  1. Cook the bacon until crispy in a large skillet.
  2. Remove the bacon and all of the grease but keep the yum-yum bacon bits that remain in the pan.
  3. Return pan to the stove over low heat.
  4. Add the jelly and allow it to melt.
  5. Whisk in the honey and the mustards. Remove from heat until ready to glaze the ham.

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.

Skittles Popcorn

We had a sort-of-good turnout this year at Halloween. Trick-or-treaters came in waves, but not big waves like we had last year. That means we were left with a big ole bowl (actually, three bowls) of leftover Halloween candy. I’m a big fan of Skittles candies, so we had lots of Skittles… so I made Skittles popcorn! Fun to make, the popcorn tastes a bit like caramel corn, but with the sweetness cranked up a few notches. Tangerine, lemon, berry, grape and pear flavors exploded everywhere!
Skittles popcorn is mighty darned tasty (and sweet). It doesn’t get super-duper crunchy like caramel corn but it’s still a great treat. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of Skittles candies to make a while lot of popcorn, either.

Some of the colors get a bit thin as they melt, so don’t be afraid to have a few drops of food coloring on hand to bump up the colors.

5 from 1 reviews
Skittles Popcorn
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups of popcorn (plain, unsalted)
  • 4 oz butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of Skittles® (make sure single flavor used
  • Waxed paper
Instructions
  1. Notes: 4 cups cooked per half recipe
  2. Food coloring
  3. Pop your corn according to package instructions. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Rip a sheet of waxed paper (about 8 – 10? long) and lie on your counter.
  5. Melt butter and brown sugar on the stove on medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid scorching.
  6. Pour in the Skittles® candies. Stir until melted (you might need to mash them down to help them dissolve).
  7. Once done melting pour the hot candy mixture over the top of the popcorn.
  8. Use a spatula and fold in the mixture throughout the popcorn until will covered.
  9. Dump the popcorn onto the waxed paper and spread thinly to allow to cool.
  10. If you wish to make popcorn balls, allow mixture to cool for 3 – 4 minutes (or until you can touch it). Then, spray cooking spray or butter your hands and form the popcorn into balls shapes. Set aside.
  11. Allow all to fully set (around 15 – 20 minutes)
  12. Store in airtight containers for about a week

Copycat Stove Top Chicken Stuffing

I’ve made my share of Stove Top Chicken Stuffing. It’s fast, easy, cheap and good. In my bachelor days you’d always find a box or two in my pantry. Now that I cook a lot more from scratch, I decided it was time to give making a copycat of the classic boxed stuffing a shot. And you know what? Man, was it ever as good as the boxed stuff and mighty fun and easy to make!
Copycat Stove Top Chicken StuffingI will definitely double (or triple) this recipe for copycat Stove Top Chicken Stuffing next time. I admit, as much as I love Thanksgiving turkey, I’m really more partial to the stuffing and mashed potatoes, each loaded up with tons of gravy. And for me, my go-to gravy is my make-ahead holiday gravy. I don’t just double the gravy recipe either. More like 6 times as much as the recipe states. Maybe 7. Or 8. Like I said, I love gravy.

5 from 1 reviews
Copycat Stove Top Chicken Stuffing
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 10 slices Texas bread, cut or torn into 1/2" x 1/2" pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 rib celery, chopped small
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Spread the bread pieces out on a large baking sheet. Lay the sheet on the counter top for one day, stirring occasionally. You want the bread to get slightly crunchy and dry.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Note: Baking is only required if you desired a stuffing with a more crunchy texture.
  3. In a pan or pot large enough to hold all of the bread, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Add the celery and saute for 5 minutes.
  5. And all remaining ingredients (do not add the bread yet). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Stir in the bread crumbs and gently stir to coat. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove lid and fluff the mixture and let sit for another 5 minutes.
  8. If baking, transfer to a 9" x 9" baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 20 minutes or until the desired color and texture has been achieved.

Easy Smoked Turkey Breast

I set out to prove to myself just how easy it can be to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving (or any time of the year). That meant no brining, no basting, no rubs, no oils, no injecting. Nothing. Just a turkey breast. To achieve what ended up being a fantastic result, I used a turkey breast that was already in a basting solution. Turkeys that are already pre-brined (or ‘pumped’) are common and they do save you a lot of time and hassle.
I was very, very happy with this easy smoked turkey breast. It was completely fuss-free. The skin was nice and crunchy. The meat was tender and moist. All that greatness and all I did was put it on the smoker and make sure the cook temperature stayed around 325 F. I used plenty of wood to get plenty of smoky flavor, which I think made up for the spices or basting sauce I would normally add. This is a great way to make a turkey breast for a crowd while still leaving yourself free for other things.

I served the turkey with my smoked turkey gravy, made using broth from turkey wings that I smoked on a few days before smoking this easy turkey breast.

5 from 1 reviews
Easy Smoked Turkey Breast
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 turkey breast
 
This recipe uses a 'pumped' turkey breast, or one that has already been brined. The package will state 'contains up to 8% of a solution of water, salt, spices to enhance tenderness and juiciness'. Normally I would use a natural turkey that does not contain such a solution, but the goal was to make as easy a turkey breast as possible.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for cooking at 325 F. If you're using a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker (or any smoker that uses a water pan), line the water pan with foil and do not add water.
  2. Use a fruit wood or lighter wood such as hickory.
  3. Place the turkey breast meat side up in the center of the smoker.
  4. Smoke until the meat reaches 165 F as measured in several locations.
  5. Remove and let rest 30 minutes before slicing. Do not cover with foil as this will cause the skin to get soggy.