Roasted Pumpkin Seeds on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Good bye ho-hum roasted pumpkin seeds. I’ve made them, and made plenty. It’s not that they were bad, but they were never the things dreams were made of. Fear not, because pumpkin seeds roasted on the Char-Broil Big Easy ARE the thing dreams are made of. They are perfectly crunchy, but not over-done. They are tasty, but not over-seasoned. They’re just… great!
If you prefer to flavor your seeds, do so after you’ve roasted them. Do it pretty much immediately after you remove them from your Big Easy. As they cool they won’t ‘take’ the seasoning as well. I felt that these seeds were absolutely perfect with just a little salt!

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

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
 
To make things easier, you'll need a bunk bed basket.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (plus a little more for sprinkling)
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Line your Bunk Bed basket with foil. This will make a nice little 'bowl' for your seeds. Alternatively you can line the bottom of the Big Easy basket with foil but I find the basket to be easier. Plus, you can fit two Bunk Bed baskets in the Big Easy at once.
  3. Clean the pumpkin seeds. Remove all of the pulp then transfer them to a colander and rinse well with water. Drain.
  4. Bring the water to a boil and stir in the salt.
  5. Add the seeds and reduce to a simmer and continue simmering for 10 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a bowl.
  6. Drizzle the seeds with just a few splashes of oil. Don't add much, less is more.
  7. Transfer the seeds to the oil-lined basket and place inside the Big Easy.
  8. Roast for 10-15 minutes. Do not let the seeds get brown, they will burn easily. They will just start turning golden and they are done. You can actually reach in (carefully) and grab one or two for testing as they roast.
  9. Remove and dump the basket into a bowl and sprinkle lightly with more salt.
  10. Let cool slightly then serve.

Roasted Carrots on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Mmmm. Lovely sweet delicious roasted carrots. Made on the Char-Broil Big Easy in no time at all. Nothing fancy, nothing hard, just great flavor. You might think that your Big Easy is just for poultry or pork, but it’s great for making sides too. These carrots take no time at all, so you can toss them on your Big Easy while your turkey is resting.

I like to partially cook my carrots first before putting them on the Big Easy. Cooking raw carrots over high heat  can make them dry out a bit. Cooking them just a bit first and then roasting them produces tender, juicy, flavorful carrots every single time. The same approach can be used with cauliflower and broccoli.

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

Roasted Carrots on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Note: I prefer to pre-cook my carrots before putting them on the Big Easy. You can skip that step and put them directly into the Big Easy if desired. Just add a few minutes to the cooking time to get them tender.
Ingredients
  • 12 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large skillet or shallow pot.
  2. Add carrots and boil until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. Fire up your Big Easy.
  4. Transfer the carrots to the Big Easy (you'll need a Bunk Bed Basket or two to fit them all in at once, or you can roast them in batches).
  5. Roast the carrots until golden brown, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Remove carrots to a plate and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve garnished with the chopped parsley.

Sugar Cookie Dum-Dum Pops

Finding uses for leftover Halloween candy is my new obsession. Ok, it’s ONE of my new obsessions. We ended up with a good amount of leftover candy this year, mostly Dum-Dums. That’s despite using them in my classic self-serve pumpkin, which is always a huge hit at Halloween. So, I made sugar cookie Dum-Dum pops. Fantastic baked sugar cookies with that light crunch, surrounding lightly melted Dum-Dums, perfect for licking after finishing off the cookie.
The key to making these sugar cookie Dum-Dum pops is to very, very gently press the pops into the dough as it softens while it bakes. If you push too hard the dough will crack and you’ll end up with sad (but still good) pops. After doing a few I got the technique down.

These pops were a big hit at Anita’s office.

Sugar Cookie Dum-Dum Pops
Author: 
Recipe type: Treat
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 16 Dum-Dums, unwrapped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven per cookie dough package instructions.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (even though the dough package may say you don't need to).
  3. Cut the dough per the package instructions. Lay out onto the parchment paper.
  4. Place pops in the center of the dough circles. VERY lightly press into the dough. Do not press hard.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes then VERY lightly press the pops into the dough some more.
  6. Bake another 5 minutes and check if you can press the pops even further into the dough.
  7. Finish baking until golden brown, per the package instructions.
  8. Let cool before removing from the parchment paper.

Slow Cooker Holiday Green Bean Casserole

We’ve all had it. The traditional holiday green bean casserole. Good stuff, but not much of a ‘wow’ factor. Well, scrap that and move on to this slow cooker holiday green bean casserole. Same idea, but oh, so much better. Anita told me to make this again before we were halfway thru the first batch. There’s nothing about it that’s not great. Beans in creamy Alfredo sauce, flavored with water chestnuts, mushrooms and pimentos (or in my case, roasted red bell peppers). A little cheese. And yes, French fried onions and toasted pecans. This dish screams holidays.
I made this early enough in the fall to get fresh green beans, which I blanched first. Frozen beans work just fine too. If you’re like me you’ll want extra French fried onions. Oh no, they’re not for the casserole. They’re for munching while you watch everything cook in the slow cooker.

Also try my copycat of Stove Top’s chicken stuffing!

Slow Cooker Holiday Green Bean Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed (or 2 16 oz bags frozen green beans, thawed)
  • 1 (15 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 (8 ounce) can diced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 (6 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (2 ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained (I substituted 1/4 cup chopped Mezzetta roasted red bell pepper strips)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (6 ounce) container French-fried Onions, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. If using fresh green beans, first blanch the beans in boiling water for 2-3 minutes then place in an ice bath to cool. Drain well.
  2. In a large bowl combine the beans, Alfredo sauce, water chestnuts, mushrooms, pimentos, Parmesan, pepper and a third of the French fried onions.
  3. Lightly spray your slow cooker with non-stick spray and add the bean mixture.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Just prior to serving, toast the remaining French fried onions along with the pecans in a small skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle over casserole and serve.

Pineapple Donuts

Wow. My mind was telling me “Hey, look! A donut!” but my taste buds were telling me “Wow, that’s really different and cool!”. The pineapple rings are coated in a simple batter that cooks up golden brown delicious (GBD) , reminiscent of donuts. Drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with confectioners sugar, these little slices of heaven make for an outstandingly good dessert.
I bought this really cool pineapple corer from Amazon the other day. I’ve been wanting to use it forever. I picked up a pineapple on sale, got the corer out of the box, and in about a minute I had perfect fresh pineapple rings for these grilled maple bacon pineapple rings. The corer can also be used to make a pineapple ‘bowl’, great for serving things like fried rice and grilled shrimp with pineapple. Click on the picture below if you want to learn more about it on Amazon. It’s a fun little gadget.

Also try my glazed baked mini-donuts.

Pineapple Donuts
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 6 pineapple rings
  • 1 cup Bisquick mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Vegetable or canola oil
  • Powdered sugar and pure maple syrup, for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat 2" of oil in a Dutch oven or deep fryer to 365 F.
  2. Whisk together the Bisquick, egg and milk.
  3. Dip pineapple rings into the batter and coat completely.
  4. Fry the rings until golden brown, turning once.
  5. Serve immediately sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with maple syrup.

Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy

The Kick’N chicken legs I made on my Char-Broil Big Easy not too long ago really got me going on cooking legs. Usually I’m a split chicken breast guy, even though the Big Easy cooks any cut perfectly. Legs cook quickly and always come out juicy and tender. These spicy roasted chicken legs have a little kick to them too, with a wonderful buttery flavor kissed with a bit of citrus.
Even if you like spicy, go easy on the cayenne first as you add it to the butter. Don’t go too crazy. Feel free to adjust all of the seasonings to your taste. No matter what, these spicy roasted chicken legs are a treat.

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

Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Note: You'll need a Bunk Bed Basket for your Big Easy to cook more than 4 legs at a time.
Ingredients
  • 8 whole chicken legs
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeeze lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon (more or less, to taste) cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Place the legs into the Big Easy baskets. Try to not crowd them.
  3. Melt the butter in a small bowl.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Brush 1/3rd of the mixture over the legs and transfer to the Big Easy.
  5. Cook for 30 minutes then brush with another 1/3rd of the butter mixture.
  6. Cook another 15 minutes or until the chicken temperate reaches 165 F as measured in several places, making sure to not touch the bone.
  7. Brush with the remaining butter mixture and cook 5 more minutes.
  8. Remove and serve.

Copycat Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper

I admit that back in my bachelor gotta-make-something-for-dinner-but-I-can’t-cook days I went through my share of boxes of Hamburger Helper. Easy to make and hearty, any flavor of Hamburger Helper would do. That’s why I just had to make this copycat version of the classic cheeseburger mix. Just as easy as the stuff out of the box and darn tasty too!
You can easily modify this recipe and make your own. Add jalapenos or a dash or two of cayenne pepper for a little kick. Swap Monterey Jack cheese for the cheddar. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef and add a pinch or two of dried sage. Your copycat cheeseburger Hamburger Helper doesn’t have to be exactly like the stuff out of the box, but it’s ok if it is!

Copycat Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
Instructions
  1. Crumble the ground beef into a large skillet over medium high heat and cook until done. Drain off any excess fat.
  2. Stir in the all but the cheese and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
  3. Stir in the cheese until melted.
  4. Remove from heat, uncover and let rest 5 minutes before serving topped with additional cheese.

Tater Tot Potato Skins

Anita declared these as “the only way we will cook tater tots from now on”. And I am in total agreement with her too. Just like potato skins they have a crunchy side and a soft side and taste, well, potato-y. Topped with our favorite potato skin toppings, cheese, green onion and sour cream, these tater tot potato skins can be served as appetizers at your next party or as a side at your next grill-out. Make sure you make lots of them, though, because they are crazy addicting.
You can actually skip the thawing of the tater tots and squash the tots after they have been in the oven for 10 minutes. I found this works fine, but not quite as well as when you fully thaw the tater tots first. They don’t squash out quite as flat, but they still get super duper crispy crunchy, which is the goal.

I spoon sour cream into a squirt bottle to top these tater tot potato skins nice and evenly. You can of course spoon the sour cream directly on top, but I usually end up with a little too much in one spot and not enough in another. The squirt bottle solves that problem.

Also try my tater tot nachos.

Tater Tot Potato Skins
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (2 pound) bag Ore-Ida Crispy Tater Tots, thawed completely
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F..
  2. Spray two large baking sheets with non-stick spray (I found that a Silpat mat works best)
  3. Use the back of a large spoon to flatten the tots. Don't press too hard if they don't flatten immediately.
  4. Place into the oven for 10 minutes. Check if any of the tots need a bit more flattening.
  5. Continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the tots are turning golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until crispy.
  7. Remove from the oven.
  8. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with the sour cream and sprinkle with the green onions and bacon.