Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

There are certainly a lot of homemade Thousand Island dressing recipes out on the internet. But I found this one to be slightly different. The flavor is richer. It’s deeper. And it has just a little kick to it. It’s just better than the rest. And it uses ingredients that I have on-hand. That’s a plus. Perfect on a salad, and even better on a Reuben sandwich.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

I wasn’t shy with the hot sauce when I made this homemade Thousand Island dressing. Now, I wasn’t making spicy wing sauce, no, but I wanted to get that spiciness. So many dressings are just creamy. Or just vinegary. A little heat changes things up.

So why is it called Thousand Island dressing? Because it came from the Thousand Island region between the US and Canada. I didn’t know that either.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

There are certainly a lot of homemade Thousand Island dressing recipes out on the internet. But I found this one to be slightly different. The flavor is richer. It’s deeper. And it has just a little kick to it.
Course Salad Dressing
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 3 cups
Calories 703kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup diced pimientos drained
  • 1 large egg hard-boiled, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons dill pickles finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • hot sauce to taste

Instructions

  • Combine everything in a bowl.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour then check for seasoning.

Nutrition

Calories: 703kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 1415mg | Potassium: 209mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 823IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Grilled Coconut and Pineapple Sweet Chili Shrimp

My picture of our grilled coconut and pineapple sweet chili shrimp definitely does not do this dish the justice it deserves. A wonderful blend of sweet pineapple and coconut with just a hint of spiciness, these shrimp disappear in no time every time we make them. We’ve had them over rice, over polenta, and just as is. No matter what else we had with them, the shrimp and sauce are the star of the show.

Grilled Coconut and Pineapple Sweet Chili Shrimp

Feel free to use tail-off shrimp. Or keep the tails on, whichever you prefer. And don’t hesitate to double the sauce. If you’re serving these grilled coconut and pineapple sweet chili shrimp over rice or polenta a little extra sauce for drizzling at the end is a good thing. The sauce is also great on the side, perfect for dipping the shrimp.

Also try my easy grilled Cajun shrimp.

Grilled Coconut and Pineapple Sweet Chili Shrimp

A wonderful blend of sweet pineapple and coconut with just a hint of spiciness, these grilled shrimp with sweet chili are absolutely amazing.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 184kcal

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 3 tablespoons coconut cream see instructions
  • 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce usually found in the Asian section of your grocery store
  • 1 slice pineapple
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or more, to taste

For the shrimp

  • 1 pound shrimp large, peeled and deveined. I used 20-25 count.
  • 2 slices pineapple cut into chunks

For the pineapple polenta (optional)

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage

Instructions

For the sauce

  • To get coconut cream, place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Do not SHAKE!
  • Open the can. The coconut cream is the solid that has floated to the top of the can. Scoop out 3 tablespoons but do not get any of the clear milk found below it in the can. You'll have leftover cream and milk for other uses (I made more of the sauce because it's fantastic on grilled fish and chicken too!).
  • Place the coconut cream, chili sauce, pineapple and sriracha into a blender and pulse a few times, just enough to chop up the pineapple a bit and get everything combined.

For the shrimp

  • Skewer the shrimp and pineapple pieces or place into a large grill basket. You can also grill them on a griddle.
  • Cook shrimp 3 minutes then brush with about a third of the sauce.
  • Flip and brush with half of the remaining sauce. Continue grilling until the shrimp is done, another 3-4 minutes.
  • Brush shrimp with remaining sauce and serve over pineapple polenta, if desired.

For the pineapple polenta (optional)

  • Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Whisk in the polenta and cook until thick and creamy.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add the sage and pineapple. Stir.
  • Remove from heat and cover until ready to use.

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 585mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 92IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Wood Shop BBQ Sauce

This sauce originates from a BBQ joint in Seattle, Washington, called Wood Shop BBQ. It’s pretty much a traditional (great) BBQ sauce but with a pretty healthy dose of Worcestershire sauce to boot. I used it on my awesome pulled pork BBQ, but I think this sauce would be even better on smoked brisket or beef ribs.

Wood Shop BBQ Sauce

It has been a while since Anita and I sort of disagreed on a recipe. While this Wood Shop BBQ sauce is pretty Worcestershire-sauce-y, I thought it was pretty darned good. But Anita couldn’t get passed the amount of Worcestershire sauce. I also thought that the sauce got way better after sitting in the fridge for a few days. I recommend you start with half of what the recipe states and go from there. I am a huge Worcestershire sauce fan, so I used almost the full amount.

Also try my copycat of Dreamland’s BBQ sauce.

Wood Shop BBQ Sauce

I would recommend that you use half of the Worcestershire sauce stated, taste, and add more if desired.
Course BBQ Sauce
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 quart
Calories 3518kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce start with about 1/2 cup first
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Combine the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, molasses, brown sugar, hot sauce and lemon juice together in a large pot and whisk until blended. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, then add the chili powder, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne. Continue to simmer 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.

Nutrition

Calories: 3518kcal | Carbohydrates: 825g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 32496mg | Potassium: 13724mg | Fiber: 54g | Sugar: 648g | Vitamin A: 44869IU | Vitamin C: 134mg | Calcium: 1681mg | Iron: 57mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers

Search around these days and most people are making what are called ABTs (atomic Buffalo turds… I didn’t make up the name so don’t blame me!). They’re sliced (usually) stuffed jalapenos that are grilled or smoked. I love them. But sometimes I like mine the old way, as poppers. Cooked whole, not halved, and stuffed with all sorts of crazy goodness, wrapped in bacon, and grilled until perfect. That’s just what these cheesy jalapeno poppers are. Perfect.

Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers

The nice thing about these little treats is that after cooking the jalapenos mellow a lot. So yeah, they are a bit spicy but definitely not screaming hot by any stretch. And any heat that there is gets tamed down a bit by the cheeses and the bacon. Even if you don’t like spicy foods I would not let that discourage you from making these. You’ll still love them. And hey, if you’re still worried, have a little cool Ranch dressing ready on the side for dipping just in case.

Of course, cheesy jalapeno poppers give me an excuse to use my jalapeno popper rack. Not that I really needed an excuse.

Also try my jalapeno popper bites.

Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers

Cooked whole, not halved, and stuffed with all sorts of crazy goodness, wrapped in bacon, and grilled until perfect. That’s just what these cheesy jalapeno poppers are. Perfect.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 12
Calories 119kcal

Ingredients

For the jalapenos

  • 12 large jalapenos
  • 12 slices bacon
  • your favorite BBQ rub or seasoning

For the filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese grated
  • 1/2 small white onion minced
  • 2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

Instructions

For the filling

  • Combine all of the ingredients.

For the jalapenos

  • Fire up your grill for indirect cooking.
  • Pipe or spoon the mixture into the jalapenos. Use your finger to push the filling all the way to the bottom of the peppers, filling them completely.
  • Wrap a piece of bacon around each jalapeno and secure with a toothpick.
  • Transfer the peppers to a rack on your grill and sprinkle with rub or seasoning.
  • Cook 1-2 hours or until the peppers are tender, the bacon is cooked, and the filling is bubbly.
  • Serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 213mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 618IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Mini Lasagna on the Char-Broil Big Easy

My mom makes a fantastic lasagna. It has been my favorite since I was knee-high to a grasshopper (a little kid, that is!). We make it often, though we do make a slightly different version. Usually we bake it in the oven, but this time we decided to make the lasagna in smaller pans and ‘bake’ them in the Char-Broil Big Easy. The results were amazing. Fantastic mini lasagna, hot and bubbly in no-time, ready to devour!

Mini Lasagna on the Char-Broil Big Easy

The technique for making mini lasagna on the Big Easy is al most the same as how we make big baking pans of lasagna. The difference is that the noodles have to be cut to fit the miniature pans. We found that the best approach was to cut an inch off the end of the noodles, then cut them in half. They fit perfectly!

Mini Lasagna on the Char-Broil Big Easy

We used a bunk bed basket to make 4 mini lasagnas at a time. They cooked evenly and quickly.

We used these disposable aluminum pans. Leftovers can be wrapped in foil and kept in the freezer.

Also try my all-American meatloaf, made on a Char-Broil Big Easy!

Mini Lasagna on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Grab a Big Easy Bunk Bed basket to be able to cook 4 mini-lasagnas at a time.
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 887kcal
Author Mike

Equipment

  • 8 disposable mini-meatloaf pans
  • Big Easy Bunk Bed basket

Ingredients

For the meat

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic minced

For the sauce

  • 6 ounce tomato paste
  • 16 ounce tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup water

For the lasagna

  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan grated
  • 1 pound fresh buffalo mozzarella torn into chunks, or use shredded

Instructions

For the meat sauce

  • Crumble the meats into a large pot or Dutch oven and brown over medium high heat. Drain fat if desired.
  • Add the onion and cook until softened.
  • Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Add in all of the sauce ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, 1-2 hours.
  • Continue cooking with lid off for another hour, adding a bit more water if the sauce is too thick.

For the lasagna

  • Cook noodles per package instructions. Drain well.
  • Cut 1" off of each noodle end then cut each in half in the middle.
  • First, spread a little sauce out on the bottom of each pan.
  • Then, layer the ingredients in the following order. Try to divide the ingredients evenly between each layer, but you don't have to be picky about it.
  • Noodle halve
  • Sauce
  • Ricotta
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Repeat for 3 total layers.
  • Fire up your Big Easy. You can cook 2 lasagnas at a time in the basket that comes with the Big Easy. With a bunk bed basket you can cook 4 at a time.
    Place loaf pans into the Big Easy basket (and bunk bed, if using). Place in the Big Easy and cook for 15 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
  • Cook the remaining 4 pans while the first pans rest. Alternately, keep them in the oven on low or warm until the final pans are done.
  • Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 887kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 1422mg | Potassium: 969mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1262IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 530mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Cajun Fried Chicken Sandwich

Well, here we go again. Another dish that results in my tossing any semblance of self control right out of the window. This Cajun fried chicken sandwich is absolutely packed with flavor. The chicken is oh-my tender, juicy and even has just a bit of a kick. This is the kind of sandwich where you close your eyes before taking each bite. Only one thing matters, and that’s getting these yummies into your mouth. No need to look. Just take a bite! And another!

Cajun Fried Chicken Sandwich

I tend to use boneless skinless chicken thighs when I make Cajun fried chicken sandwiches. You could use boneless skinless chicken breasts, if you desire. I just like the additional flavor from the thighs. Either way, make sure you pound them out and nice and thin, and more importantly, keep the meat the same thickness throughout. If you don’t it won’t cook as consistently and … it’ll look weird.

Also try my Buffalo chicken sandwiches.

Cajun Fried Chicken Sandwich

This Cajun fried chicken sandwich is absolutely packed with flavor. The chicken is oh-my tender, juicy and even has just a bit of a kick.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 3685kcal
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the brine

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

For the batter

  • oil for frying
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder

For the slaw

  • 1 12 ounce coleslaw with carrots
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1/4 sweet onion minced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded, diced
  • 1/4 cup Ranch salad dressing

For the sandwiches

  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 8 slices dill pickles

Instructions

For the brine

  • Trim an excess fat from the chicken. Pound each piece flat. I like to put them in a one gallon baggie and then pound them so the chicken doesn't splatter.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, dressing, and seasoning. Pour into a large resealable container. Add the chicken and seal.
  • Refrigerate overnight.

For the slaw

  • Combine all but the dressing in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle dressing over the top of the slaw and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to make the sandwiches,

For the batter

  • Heat 3" of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or heat a deep fryer filled with oil to 375 F.
  • Whisk together the batter ingredients in a pie pan or shallow bowl.
  • Remove chicken from the brine and shake off any excess. Transfer to the batter mixture and coat well, turning to get all sides.
  • Place chicken in the oil and fry until internal temperature is 160-165 F, turning once. If you pounded the chicken very thin it won't take long to cook, 2-3 minutes per side. The coating will turn a lovely golden brown when it's done.
  • Remove pieces to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain.

For the sandwiches

  • Toast the buns if you wish.
  • Add a piece of chicken to each bun and top with plenty of the slaw and few pickle slices.

Nutrition

Calories: 3685kcal | Carbohydrates: 324g | Protein: 152g | Fat: 201g | Saturated Fat: 41g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 581mg | Sodium: 16342mg | Potassium: 4005mg | Fiber: 30g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 9919IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 1825mg | Iron: 27mg

Nutritional values are approximate.