I never met a baked potato I didn’t like. It started as a kid, going to a steakhouse with my parents. Ordering a loaded baked potato was like a right of passage. As important as the steak, the potato was always something I remembered. Now, I make all sorts of variations on the classic, like these cedar plank jalapeno popper twice baked potatoes. Yep, saying them is a mouthful. And yep, I devoured mine by the mouthful too. Packed with all sorts of great flavor, a great kick, and creamy potato goodness, these potatoes give classic bakers a run for their money.
If you’re afraid of the spiciness from the jalapeno, you can omit them and still have fantastic potatoes. But, I have found that cooked jalapenos tend to be less spicy, adding a wonderful pepper flavor without a lot of heat. You can substitute poblano but you’re going to have a hard time explaining your cedar plank poblano popper twice baked potatoes!
I’ve made my share of stuffed mushrooms. All sorts of different ingredients have found their way into my mushrooms. But never artichokes. These bacon-wrapped mushrooms with artichokes are divine. They’re different and they’re highly addicting. Pearl onions? In a mushroom? Brilliant!
If you can’t find fresh pearl onions (I was surprised that I did), you can get away with frozen (thawed) ones. Or you can just add a bit of chopped white onion. The onion does add a nice contrast to the creamy artichokes and bacon. I wouldn’t skip adding some sort of onion. You’ll love bacon-wrapped mushrooms with artichokes just as much as we did!
Fire up your grill for indirect cooking. You're aiming for around 350 F. You can also make these in an oven preheated to 350 F.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Using a spoon, carefully scrape out the gills. Do not puncture the sides of the mushrooms. You want to create a cavity for the filling.
Finely dice the artichoke hearts. Place in a bowl and stir in the olive oil, chile powder and cayenne.
Fill each mushroom with the artichoke mix so that's it's just even with the edges of the mushroom.
Cut off the ends of the pearl onions and remove the skin. I found it easer to just use my fingers to do this, but a small sharp knife will work also.
Gently push each onion into the stuffed mushrooms, leaving about half of the onion exposed. Sprinkle with the garlic salt.
Wrap each mushroom in a piece of bacon. Depending on the size of your mushrooms you may want to use slightly less than an entire piece of bacon. You want just enough of the bacon to overlap that you can stick a toothpick through it to secure it to the mushroom.
Take a sharp knife and make 4 small slices in the bacon above each mushroom. You're going to make a '+' sign. Don't skip this step, it makes for a better presentation in the end as the bacon will better form around the mushrooms instead of pulling away from them.
Sprinkle each stuffed mushroom with plenty of pepper and place on the grill or in the oven.
Bake for 60-90 minutes or until the bacon is just starting to crisp up.
Put the mushrooms on an oiled broiler pan and into a preheated 350º oven. Bake for approximately 90 minutes, or until the bacon around each mushroom is just barely crisp.
Remove and let cool slightly before removing the toothpicks and serving.
It’s not that I needed any more cookware (or grillware). But I couldn’t help myself when I came across stainless steel oyster shells. I love seafood, and I figured hey, I really need to learn more seafood recipes, so why not get some shells and get to it?! Well, by golly these shells are just fun to cook in and I’ve found myself making super-awesome dishes, like these grilled BBQ shrimp. The shrimp cook up perfectly. And oh, the sauce. The sauce is just insane. The shrimp soak up some of that great buttery herby flavor. The rest of the soakin’ is up to you. Pick up the shell and drink it up, or dip a piece of nice crusty bread in it for a few seconds to sop it up. Man, it’s great!
If you like a bit of a kick, add just a pinch (a small pinch) of red pepper flake on top of the shrimp just before cooking. Don’t go crazy with it, the stars of the show are the perfectly cooked shrimp and fantastic sauce.
Don’t make the mistake I made and only purchase 12 stainless steel oyster shells. Everything I’ve made in them has been so yummy that I’ve always found myself craving more. And for more I’d need more shells. So get extra and you won’t be in the same boat.
Note: You can make the butter mix in a small saucepan on your grill or on your indoor stovetop, whichever you prefer.
Peel and devein the shrimp. Leave the tail shells on if desired.
Fire up your outdoor grill for direct cooking over high heat.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. And remaining ingredients except shells. Stir.
Bring mixture to a slow simmer and let simmer until reduced by half, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place 2 shrimp into each SOS shell. Place the shells on the grill. Cook until the shrimp begin to turn pink on the outside, 4-5 minutes. Baste each shell with 1 tablespoon of the seasoned butter mixture.
Caution: The butter will flame up when added, which gives the shrimp a smoky flavor. Cook just until the shrimp are done, 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Think shrimp cocktail. Cooked and served in oyster shells, these are quite possibly the perfect grilled (or baked) appetizer. The sauce is so much better, so much more delicious that stuff you get in a bottle. You’ll want to make a lot of these Cajun shrimp in oyster shells because one or two just isn’t going to get it.
I used stainless steel reusable oyster shells, which have quickly become my go-to servers for seafood and well, just about anything I can fit into them. I can fit two (or even three) large Cajun shrimp into each shell. Even though they go onto a grill or in the oven, they cool off quickly so you can handle them. Just pick them up and slurp them down, just like you were eating oysters. Fun!
Think shrimp cocktail. Cooked and served in oyster shells, these are quite possibly the perfect grilled (or baked) appetizer. The sauce is so much better, so much more delicious that stuff you get in a bottle.
Yeah, I coulda just turned on the oven, tossed in a few waffle fries, and had a side for my burgers in less than 30 minutes. And I would’ve been fairly happy with that. But why not spend any extra minute or two and turn those fries into something special? These Cajun cheesy waffle fries prove just how easy it is to turn a simple side into something fantastic. Smoky bacon, sharp onion and creamy cheese, all on top of waffle fries seasoned well with Cajun seasoning. Just a bit of heat, just a bit of spiciness. Perfect.
Mix it up a bit. I’ve made these Cajun cheesy waffle fries with smoked cheddar, leaving out the bacon, for a wonderful twist. Don’t have green onion? Red onion, minced, works great too! Instead of Cajun seasoning, use your favorite. I like blackened seasoning. Or smoked paprika. You can’t really mess these up. Oh, and sure, if you don’t have waffle fries, good ole French fries work great too!
Mmmmm. Crispy panko fried shrimp. If you ordered these little bites of yumminess at a restaurant how many would you get? Five? Six? That’s just not nearly enough. Not even close. They’re just too good to only eat a handful. They’re seasoned simply, fried quickly, and ready to devour before you know it.
For a little extra ‘something’ I often sprinkle my panko fried shrimp (and really, any fried shrimp) with just a bit of Old Bay seasoning just before I serve them. Not too much season, but enough that you get that wonderful seafood spice aroma and just a little of that great flavor. Try it and you’ll find yourself doing it too.