Chipotles in Adobo

I go thru a lot of chipotles in adobo sauce. I have an entire section of one of my pantry shelves devoted to cans of them. So it occurred to me that I should try my hand at making them at home. These chiptoles in adobo came out fantastically. Great smoky flavor and a bit of heat. They do take a bit of time to prepare, but they are oh so worth the trouble.
I dried my smoked jalapenos in my Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can place the jalapenos on a baking sheet and place in the oven at the lowest temperature setting. Rotate the jalapenos every few hours until dried.

You can also skip the smoking and drying of the jalapenos and buy dried chipotles at your marketplace. In our grocery store the dried peppers can be found by the produce section.

5 from 1 reviews
Chipotles in Adobo
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 54 hours
 
Ingredients
  • 12 jalapenos
  • Boiling water
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
Instructions
  1. Fire up a smoker for smoking at 250 F. Use a strong wood such as hickory.
  2. Add the jalapenos to the smoker and smoke until browned and shriveled, at least 4 hours.
  3. Remove and let cool slightly then transfer to a dehydrator and dry at 135 F for 24-48 hours or until completely dried.
  4. Remove the stems (and seeds, if desired) and transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Cover with hot water. Cover with a plate to weigh the peppers down into the water and let soak for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove 4 of the peppers and transfer to a blender.
  7. Add the tomato puree and honey and 1/2 cup of the soaking water.
  8. Blend until you have a paste.
  9. Take the remaining peppers and the soaking liquid and transfer to a pot. Add in the paste.
  10. Add the onion, garlic, vinegar, salt and peppercorns.
  11. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 1-2 hours until thick. If the sauce gets too thick add a bit of water.
  12. Store in the freezer or use within a month.


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Homemade Frosted Corn Flakes

One of the first recipes I made out of John Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day was homemade frosted corn flakes. As soon as I saw it I was like wow…. how cool would it be to eat a bowl of cereal that I made? So I did. And it was fantastic. So much more corn flavor than the stuff in a box! I mean they were super corny!
These homemade frosted corn flakes were also a lot crunchier than the ones out of a box. They can definitely hold up to milk. You know how with the store-bought flakes you only have a few minutes before you have bowl of soggy sadness. Not with these. You’ll be crunching until the last flake.

5 from 1 reviews
Homemade Frosted Corn Flakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
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Serves: 4 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 1/12 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup masa
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2-4 cups boiling water
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 250 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper with non-stick spray.
  3. Combine the cornmeal, masa, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and all of the salt.
  4. Add 2 cups of boiling water and stir until blended. Add more water as needed, getting the batter to a consistency just a little thinner than that of pancake batter.
  5. Pour the batter out onto the lined baking sheet and spread out evenly. Try to get it as thin as
  6. possible (mine was a bit thick, but you're aiming for 1/8" if possible).
  7. Sprinkle the batter with the remaining sugar.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. The batter will dry out and start to crack. If your batter is thick like mine you might have to bake it a little longer.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  10. Break up the corn into bite-sized pieces. It's like breaking up brittle, but you want smaller pieces.
  11. Return to the oven and bake another hour or until fully dried.
  12. Remove and let cool completely. The flakes will get a bit crunchier after cooling.
  13. Keep in an airtight container.

 

Homemade Gummy Bears

Oh my, how much fun were these homemade gummy bears to make and eat! They have the exact same texture as store-bought gummy bears and are absolutely packed with flavor. Some gummy bears were ‘normal’, and for some I added a bit of citric acid to make them nice and sour!
homemade-gummy-bearsI purchased a few gummy bear molds from Amazon (you can see the link below the recipe). The molds came with droppers that made filling the molds much easier. You’ll still make a little mess, get a bit of the gelatin on top of the molds and not in them, but that’s ok. They clean up easily.

The only think you have to watch for when filling the molds is air bubbles. You don’t want bubbles to form or your candies won’t look as fancy. They’ll still taste great, of course, but you want them to be pretty too! When filling the dropper make sure you get only liquid and not air or any of the bubbles that tends to form on top. If you do get bubbles I’ve found that you can usually pop them using the tip of the dropper.

The citric acid adds just a bit of sour flavor, but the candies will not be overly sour. I started by adding 1/8 teaspoon of citric acid and found it barely detectable. A 1/4 teaspoon amount is about right for me, but if you want your gummy bears super sour you might want to try 1/2 or even 3/4 teaspoon. Citric acid can be found in your grocery store’s canning section.

Here’s how one of my molds looked after being filled. The recipe below will make 120 (more or less) gummy bears so be sure you have room in your freezer for 3 of the molds before starting.

homemade-gummy-bears-moldI also love making homemade Jolly Rancher lollipops and Cheezit crackers.

5 from 1 reviews
Homemade Gummy Bears
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 120 gummy bears
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 (7 gram) packages (or 2 tablespoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 (8.5 gram) package flavored gelatin, regular or sugar-free
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid (optional, for making sour gummy bears)
Instructions
  1. Place the water in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the gelatin packages and citric acid if using. Set heat to medium low and stir.
  3. Continue heating for 15 minutes, stirring slowly to ensure that the gelatin dissolves.
  4. Use a large eyedropper to transfer the liquid to the silicon molds.
  5. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes or until the gelatin has set.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Homemade Red Velvet Klondike Bars

Klondike bars are a very dangerous thing. Whatever gene you have to be born with to control yourself around them is one that I do not have. I thought that the store-bought ones were tempting enough until I made red velvet Klondike bars at home. Now I know what true temptation is.
Homemade Red Velvet Klondike BarsI’m not a baker or chocolatier or anything like the experts that make chocolate treats. I was lucky to get the chocolate on these bars in an even remotely even manner. But they came out tasting fantastic, so I couldn’t care less if some had a bit more chocolate than others.

You can, of course, substitute any ice cream flavor you like. Red velvet ice cream was only available here for a limited time, so I had to grab it while I could.

Homemade Red Velvet Klondike Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Note: Well-frozen ice cream is key to making sure the chocolate sticks well. Also do not rush cooling the chocolate sauce. It needs to be at room temperature. Any warmer and it will melt the ice cream and not adhere.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add ice cream to an 8" x 8" baking dish lined with parchment paper. Add enough so that the ice cream is 1/2" - 1" thick. Spread out evenly using a spatula.
  2. Freeze for at least 6 hours or until the ice cream is completely refrozen.
  3. Turn pan upside down to remove the ice cream. Cut into 4-6 equal-sized squares. Return the squares to the freezer to re-freeze.
  4. Place coconut oil and chocolate chips into a double boiler over medium heat and and melt, stirring often.
  5. Remove chocolate from heat and let cool to room temperature. Do not rush this step.
  6. Working quickly, take ice cream squares from freezer and dip into the chocolate.
  7. Flip with a fork and quickly remove to parchment paper.
  8. Place bars in freezer for 20 minutes.
  9. Wrap in thin foil before serving.

 

Homemade Italian Sausage

I have been making a lot of pizzas on the grill this year. After a long time of testing, trying, and testing some more, I’m very happy with our homemade dough and homemade sauce. And now I can say I’m also happy with our homemade Italian sausage. It’s very easy to make but still packs a nice spicy flavor. It’s perfect for pizzas, calzones, or hoagies.
Homemade Italian SausageNothing beats a pizza hot off a charcoal- or wood-fired grill.

Homemade Italian Sausage
Author: 
Prep time: 
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Total time: 
Serves: 3 pounds
 
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) dried red pepper flake
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
Instructions
  1. Place the pork in a large bowl.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients.
  3. Mix well. I found using my hands to be the best way. Just make sure you get all of the spices distributed evenly throughout the pork.
  4. Let pork refrigerate for 12 hours before using to distribute the flavors. I froze it in 1 pound packages for use later on pizzas.

 

Homemade Chicken Stock

I’m a big fan of making and using my own chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock is so much better than store-bought, and it’s incredibly easy to make. Since cooler months are here, I decided to haul out my Bayou Classic burner along with my Bayou Classic stockpot, which has an insert that makes it super simple to remove all the ‘stuff’ that goes into making great homemade chicken stock.

You can actually make stock for free, or close to free. Just keep the vegetable and chicken trimmings you accumulate thru the year in a bag or container in the freezer. Things like onion and carrot ends, less-than-ripe celery, and the tips off chicken wings make for great stock. They don’t have to be pretty. They’re going to cook all day and flavor the stock, and in the end, when they’ve served their purpose, they’ll be discarded.
Homemade Chicken StockSadly, our cats do not like the chicken after the stock is made. Most of the flavor is gone from the meat since it’s in the liquid itself, so I can’t really blame them. But you can save it if you like.

I do not recommend adding salt to the stock as you make it. Save the salt for when you use the finished stock in recipes at a later time.

Homemade Chicken Stock
Author: 
Recipe type: Stock
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
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Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Note: The following will fit into a 12-quart stock pot. You can double or triple the recipe for a larger stockpot.
  • 3-4 pounds chicken, cut into pieces, rinsed (Note: I also save the tips when I make chicken wings. Freeze them and throw them into the pot when making stock)
  • 2 large onions, skin on, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, unpeeled, rinsed
  • 2 large celery ribs, halved, rinsed
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 head garlic, skin on, broken into cloves
  • Water
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a stockpot.
  2. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer and let simmer for 5-6 hours.
  4. Scrape any fat off the top of the liquid.
  5. Let pot cool for 2-3 hours then place in fridge overnight.
  6. The following day, return pot to stove and heat until just warm. Scrape any fat that is present if desired.
  7. Strain liquid and freeze.

Black Pepper Bacon

After my first time making homemade bacon (a very successful first time, I must say), I decided I’d up my game and try different flavors beyond maple. The maple bacon was a little sweet, as you’d expect, so this time I went a more savory route by making this black pepper bacon. The end result was absolutely fantastic. My goodness, what great bacon. A great pepper flavor, but not overwhelming. Not only great for breakfast, but this bacon easily made for the best BLT sandwich I’ve ever had.

Some of the credit for the success of this black pepper bacon goes to my butcher, Moody’s Butcher shop. The folks at Moody’s got me the most fantastic pork sides ever. They were absolutely perfect for making bacon. I mean, look at that slab. That’s just gorgeous bacon!

Black Pepper BaconMaking bacon at home is really easy, much easier than I ever expected. I love making it and eating it. And don’t worry about slicing it, just get your knife really sharp (I sharpened my Wusthof knives with the sharpener below) and you can cut bacon thick or thin, like it’s butter!

Black Pepper Bacon
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pounds fresh pork belly
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons Pink Curing Salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse the pork belly and pat dry. Place into a large resealable container or baggie.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients and rub over all sides of the pork.
  3. Seal container and place in fridge for 7-10 days.
  4. Rinse the belly well to remove any remaining cure. If you want you can sprinkle it with additional freshly ground black pepper.
  5. To smoke, fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F. Use whatever wood your prefer. I used apple.
  6. Smoke the bacon for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 150 F.
  7. Store smoked bacon in a plastic bag or container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  8. Remove belly from smoker and let cool slightly before placing in the fridge for an hour.
  9. Slice bacon as desired. Bake, pan fry, or use however you wish!

Sriracha Bacon

I’ve been really enjoying making bacon at home. It has turned out to be much easier than I ever imagined, and definitely tastier than I ever dreamed. Although the process takes over a week, it’s so easy you won’t even notice it. I started by making applewood maple bacon, and have since expanded my bacon horizons, including making this great Sriracha bacon.

This bacon isn’t overly spicy, so don’t fear the Sriracha. Sriracha has such a great flavor, and it really isn’t overwhelmingly hot (well, to me at least). The bacon definitely has Sriracha flavor, and color. Add more Sriracha to the recipe if you want it spicier, but I felt the amount I used was just perfect for us.
Sriracha Bacon Sriracha bacon is absolutely fantastic. Not only on burgers, but also on BLT sandwiches. Or for breakfast. Heck, just grab a piece and eat it as a snack.

Sriracha Bacon
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Note: Scale the recipe for your pork belly. The recipe below is for a 2 pound belly.
  • 2 pounds pork side (or pork belly, skin removed)
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons Pink Curing Salt #1
  • 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons (or more) Sriracha
  • 1/2 cup cold water
Instructions
  1. Put the belly into a large resealable bag.
  2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Add to the baggie.
  3. Seal the bag, trying to remove as much air as possible. Place in to a deep flat pan (in case the bag leaks) in the fridge for 7 days, flipping over twice a day.
  4. The day you are ready to smoke, fire up your smoker for 225 F cooking over a light wood such as apple.
  5. Remove belly from the bag and rinse well with cold water.
  6. Place belly onto smoker and smoke for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the meat reaches 150 F.
  7. Remove belly from smoker and let cool slightly before placing in the fridge for an hour.
  8. Slice bacon as desired. Bake, pan fry, or use however you wish!
  9. Store smoked bacon in a plastic bag or container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.