Oven Baked Ribs

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.
Oven Baked RibsAlthough 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.

Also try my oven-baked hot dogs. Hankerin’ for more ribs? Make some slow cooker Vietnamese ribs.

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Oven Baked Ribs

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 55 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 racks

Ingredients

  • 2 racks back back ribs membrane removed from back, loose fat trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Place ribs onto two large pieces of foil.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients except for the sauce. Sprinkle the rub mixture over the ribs on all sides. Depending on the size of your ribs you may not end up needing all of the rub.
  • Seal the foil tightly, transfer to a large baking sheet and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Carefully open the foil.There will be lots of hot liquid accumulated in the bottom of the foil packets!
  • Remove the ribs from the foil (they might be quite tender, so support them from underneath using large turners or flat wooden paddles and transfer to the baking sheets.
  • Brush with plenty of sauce and place ribs under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has set.
  • Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with more sauce for dipping if desired.

Million Dollar Spaghetti

I was going to change the name of this dish to just ‘spaghetti casserole’ because (before I made it) I thought that calling it Million Dollar Spaghetti was a bit pretentious. Well, as you can tell, I didn’t change the name. That’s because, yeah, Million Dollar Spaghetti is the perfect name for it.

If you close your eyes and take a bite of this spaghetti you’ll almost think you are eating lasagna. Actually, it’s very close in flavor to my mom’s easy lasagna, a recipe I make and devour regularly. Spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage, pasta, a little Italian seasoning and plenty of cheese. What’s not to love?

Million Dollar SpaghettiMillion Dollar Spaghetti was a huge hit in our house. We were sad when the last piece disappeared. But not super sad since we knew it won’t be long until we make this again. And again.

You can easily change this recipe up to meet your own tastes. Maybe add some fresh mushrooms in when you cook the sausage. Or a few bell peppers. For me, a pinch or two of red pepper flake is always a good idea too. You don’t have to use an expensive jarred spaghetti sauce, either. Good ole Prego (I used Italian Sausage and Garlic) works just great!

To really amp up this dish, use my smoked spaghetti sauce instead of jarred.

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Million Dollar Spaghetti

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 24 ounce jars your favorite spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage if using links remove the casings
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 8 ounce stick cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups Mozzarella cheese shredded, divided
  • 1 stick butter cut into 16 thin pats, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and return the spaghetti to the pot you cooked it in and stir in one bottle of the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Crumble in the raw sausage and stir, cooking until the sausage is cooked through. I used a wooden spoon to help break up the sausage while it cooked.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the remaining jar of spaghetti sauce.
  • In a bowl, combine the Ricotta, cream cheese, sour cream, Italian seasoning and 1 cup of the Mozzarella.
  • Place 8 of the pieces of butter in the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish.
  • Place half of the spaghetti mix into the bottom of the dish. Use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
  • Add the cheese mixture and spread out evenly.
  • Add the remaining butter and then add the rest of the of the spaghetti mixture. Spread out evenly.
  • Add all of the tomato sauce mixture and spread out evenly.
  • Add the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes until hot.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Peach BBQ Beans

Yeah, this is how BBQ beans are done. When you need a big batch of beans that’ll knock everyone’s socks off, these peach BBQ beans are it. Sure, I’ve smoked baked beans before and I’ve soaked dry beans overnight and gone through all the hassle. No hassle here. Just great BBQ bean flavor, with a little sweetness from peaches added in. Nice and different, and definitely delicious.
peach-bbq-beansIf peaches aren’t your thing, substitute canned apple pie filling instead. Or make two batches, one batch of peach BBQ beans and one batch of apple BBQ beans and amaze all of the guests at your next (big!) party.

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Peach BBQ Beans

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 -14 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until the bacon starts to crisp.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Do not remove any fat in the skillet.
  • Add the bell pepper and onion to the skillet and cook until softened, stirring often, 5-6 minutes.
  • Place all ingredients into a very large bowl and stir to combine well.
  • Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour in the bean mixture and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until bubbly hot. Note: If your pan is full to the brim, you might want to place a large baking dish on the oven rack below to catch any drippings that might flow over the side.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

Chipotle Shake’N Bake

It has been a long, long time since I have made Shake’N Bake pork chops. They were a staple in my bachelor days. I also recall my mom making Shake’N Bake chicken or pork chops back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Honestly, I’d forgotten all about it until the other day when I came across a copycat recipe for Shake’N Bake. I instantly flashed back to the pork chops of years passed, and thought… boy, I really need to make those again. So I made the copycat of the mixture, but of course I had to add my own little twist. That twist came in the form of great, spicy smoky chipotle powder. What a great addition. I so loved these chipotle Shake’N Bake pork chops.
Chipotle Shake'N BakeDo go crazy adding the seasoning to this chipotle Shake’N Bake. I wanted just enough to get a hint of smokiness. I hint of heat. Subtle is what I was after and that’s what I ended up with. If you want less subtle and enjoy curry, try my curry Shake’N Bake. My lowcountry smothered pork chops are a true treat too!

My favorite way to use chipotle Shake’N Bake is on pork chops cooked in my Big Easy.

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Chipotle Shake'N Bake

Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Seasoning Mix
Cuisine: American
Author: Mike

Ingredients

Copycat Shake'N Bake

  • 1 tablespoon or more, to taste chipotle powder
  • 3 cups unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 3 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

Copycat Shake'N Bake

  • Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add the oil and stir until the lumps are all gone.
  • Store in an air-right container for up to 2 months until ready to use.

For pork chops

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Rinse chops and pat dry.
  • Working in batches, transfer chops to a resealable bag.
  • Add chipotle Shake'n Bake mix.
  • Seal and shake to coat chops.
  • Shake off excess coating and transfer chops to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.

For chicken

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Working in batches, transfer chicken pieces to a resealable bag.
  • Add chipotle Shake'n Bake mix.
  • Seal and shake to coat chicken.
  • Shake off excess coating and transfer chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes for bone-in chicken or 20 minutes for boneless chicken until done.

Baked Smothered Chicken Burritos

After making a big batch of slow cooker Mexican chicken I knew what was next. Burritos. But not just regular ole burritos. Burritos filled with spicy, tender, juicy chicken,topped with a a fantastic creamy sauce full of cheese and fire-roasted green chiles. Served garnished with tomatoes, avocado and chopped cilantro. These baked smothered chicken burritos made for a fantastic dinner.

Baked Smothered Chicken BurritosI loved that these burritos have a bit of crunch to them, thanks to spending a few minutes under the broiler. You don’t have to get them super crunchy, or crunchy at all, but it adds a nice textural contrast to the moist soft chicken.

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Baked Smothered Chicken Burritos

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

For the burritos

  • 3 cups slow cooker Mexican chicken warmed
  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For the cream sauce

  • 1 15 ounce can chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 4 ounce can fire-roasted chopped green chilies or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • Hot sauce to taste

Instructions

For the burritos

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Line a large baking sheet with foil.
  • Lay tortillas out on a flat surface.
  • Spoon 1/2 cup of the chicken into the center of each tortilla. Top with a small handful of cheese.
  • Roll the tortilla up like a burrito and place onto a baking rack seam-side down.
  • Place rack onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Place burritos under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until crispy. Flip and broil the other side until crispy, about a minute.
  • Remove from the oven and plate topped with the cream sauce and your favorite toppings.

For the cream sauce

  • Warm the chicken broth in a small sauce pan.
  • Melt the butter with the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes or until the flour has cooked.
  • Slowly add the broth while whisking. Cook until thickened, whisking constantly.
  • Add the cumin, salt and pepper and stir.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream. Then add the chiles and cheese. Stir to melt.
  • Add hot sauce to taste, stir, and serve.

Baked Potatoes on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I rarely eat baked potatoes as a side. Instead, I prefer to cook up a big ole Russet potato, load it up with all of my favorite toppings, and eat it as the main course. They are truly one of my favorite foods. I like my potatoes done perfectly, with a slightly crunch skin. If I’m cooking them indoors, in the oven, I follow the recipe for the Best Baked Potatoes. They always come out fantastic. This time I decided to see if I could get the same great results cooking potatoes on my Char-Broil Big Easy. And boy, did I ever get great results. These potatoes were as great as (if not a bit better than) the potatoes made in the oven. Creamy insides, slightly crunchy skin, just absolutely perfect.
Baked Potatoes on the Char-Broil Big EasyI didn’t want to bury the flavor of these great baked potatoes on the Char-Broil Big Easy, so I topped them simply: a bit of crumbled cooked bacon, a little butter, a dollop of sour cream, cheese, and a few green onions. Perfection. These bakers go great with my Big Easy all-American meatloaf.

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Baked Potatoes on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Author: Mike

Ingredients

  • Russet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Your favorite potato toppings

Instructions

  • Fire up your Big Easy.
  • Rinse the potatoes under cold water and brush off any dirt. Dry well with a paper towel.
  • Pierce each potato 4 times with a sharp knife.
  • Lightly brush the potatoes with oil.
  • Sprinkle some salt onto a plate and roll the potatoes in the salt.
  • Place potatoes into the Big Easy cooking basket.
  • Bake until potatoes are done (210 F internal temperature, or tender all the way through when poked with a knife), 40-60 minutes depending on their size. You can also test for doneness by squeezing the potatoes (with potholders on). If they give easily, they are done.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings.

Tortilla Pizzas

Sometimes you just need a quick, easy, fun dinner. We often make pizzas on French bread and either grill them or bake them in the oven. This time we decided to try something new and make tortilla pizzas. They turned out fantastically crunchy and very tasty.

Tortilla PizzasMake sure you don’t use too much sauce or your tortilla pizzas will get soft and soggy. You can bake them for a few minutes before adding the toppings to help crisp them up, or use a pizza stone.

We used our homemade pizza sauce when we made these pizzas. I think it’s the best sauce ever. It takes a little bit of time to put together, but it is oh so worth it. I usually make a very big batch and freeze some so I always have it on hand for a great, quick dinner like these tortilla pizzas.

For a great breakfast idea try my Mexican breakfast pizza.

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Tortilla Pizzas

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2
Author: Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 large flour tortilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese shredded
  • Toppings mushrooms, olives, cooked Italian sausage, pepperoni, etc

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven to get hot.
  • Spread sauce over tortilla. Add cheese and toppings.
  • Bake 10 minutes or until tortilla is crispy and cheese is melted.

Creamy Garlic-Cauliflower Bake

This is the first time I’ve cooked with the new Philadelphia savory garlic cooking creme, and I have to say, I was pretty happy with the end result. The flavor is definitely there. If you know someone that isn’t a fan of cauliflower, this creamy garlic-cauliflower bake side dish will change their minds in one bite.Creamy Garlic-Cauliflower BakeAlso try Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun cauliflower.

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Creamy Garlic-Cauliflower Bake

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 -10

Ingredients

  • 10 cups cauliflower florets cut into bite-sized pieces (2 medium heads)
  • 1 can yellow corn drained
  • 1 medium red pepper chopped
  • 2 10 ounce tubs Philadelphia Savory Garlic Cooking Creme
  • 20 Ritz crackers coarsely crushed (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425° F.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  • Add cauliflower and let boil 3-4 minutes until just starting to get tender.
  • Remove cauliflower to drain, but reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
  • Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Add the cauliflower, peppers and cooking creme. Stir to coat and spread out evenly. If the mixture is too thick to stir, add a bit of the reserved cooking water.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the crackers, cheese, and fresh parsley. Sprinkle over the cauliflower mixture.
  • Cover the baking dish with aluminum and bake 25 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake another 5-10 minutes or until top is lightly browned.