Quick Fix Seasoned Tater Tots

Ya know, it just doesn’t have to be fancy to be good. I’m a big time tater tot addict. I have been since I was a kid and I remain so to this day. Back then all I needed was butter on my tots. Yep, butter. Now, I want a little more flavor, but without going crazy. So I just grab some seasoning mix out of the pantry, do a little sprinkle or two (or three) and it’s time for more grown-up quick fix seasoned tater tots.

Quick Fix Seasoned Tater Tots

Some day I will tackle making my own tater tots from scratch. They’re really not that difficult to make, from what I can tell. Why have I waited so long to try it? Well, I have to say, I’ve been making seasoned tater tots for many, many years, and I sure would hate to mess with tradition. There’s a lot of memories in those bags of potatoes. I like to bake mine a little longer than the bag says. I like mine super-duper crunchy. I like my hash browns the same way, which isn’t a coincidence!

Also try my copycat of Primanti Brother’s Terror Tots. For fast easy, you can’t beat my quick fix Asian fries or my pizza-flavored tots.

Quick Fix Seasoned Tater Tots
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5 from 1 vote

Seasoned Tater Tots

Ya know, it just doesn’t have to be fancy to be good. I’m a big time tater tot addict. I have been since I was a kid and I remain so to this day. 
Course Side
Cuisine American
Keyword tater tots
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 2kcal
Author Mike

Ingredients

Seasoning (pick one)

Instructions

  • Bake the tater tots per package instructions.
  • Transfer tots to a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle with the desired seasoning and gently toss to coat.
  • Transfer tots to a serving plate and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 2kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 76mg | Potassium: 1mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 88IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Nashville Hot Chicken using the Vortex

I recently made ‘fried’ chicken on my Weber Performer grill using the Vortex insert. The chicken came out fantastic, which inspired me to then try making Nashville hot chicken also using the Vortex. Wow, oh wow, was it absolutely great chicken. Lightly crunchy, and a little spicy, it was a dish to remember. This method is definitely a great substitute for the traditional way of making Nashville hot chicken in a deep fryer.

Nashville Hot Chicken using the Vortex

I used split bone-in chicken breasts when I made this Nashville hot chicken using the Vortex. It’s our preferred cut of chicken, but you can use any cut you like. Just keep in mind that if you mix pieces that are greatly different in size some may be done before others. Smaller pieces can be checked for doneness after the 45 minutes cooking time.

Nashville Hot Chicken using the Vortex

Also check out my recipe for making ‘fried’ chicken using the Vortex. For a more southern twist, try my Buzznbeez southern fried chicken. My Cajun injected chicken, also cooked up perfectly using the Vortex, is another big hit!

Nashville Hot Chicken using the Vortex
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5 from 1 vote

Nashville Hot Chicken using the Vortex

Wow, oh wow, was this ever absolutely great chicken. Lightly crunchy, and a little spicy, it was a dish to remember.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword fried chicken, spicy, Vortex
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 day 1 hour
Servings 4
Calories 905kcal
Author Mike

Equipment

Ingredients

For the dry brine

For the dip

  • 1 cup milk I used buttermilk Note: If you have pickle juice on hand, use 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup pickle juice instead
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce

For the dredge

For the spicy coating

For serving

Instructions

For the dry brine

  • Season chicken and place into a baggie or resealable container.
  • Seal and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

For the dip

  • Whisk together the milk, eggs and hot sauce in a pie pan or shallow bowl.

For the dredge

  • Whisk together the flour and salt in a pie pan or shallow bowl.

For cooking

  • Fire up your grill with the Vortex insert full of charcoal.
  • Let the coals get good and ashed over.
  • Working in batches, dredge the chicken in the flour. Shake off excess.
  • Dip chicken into the milk mixture. Shake off excess.
  • Return the chicken to the flour and dredge again. Shake off excess.
  • Transfer chicken to the grill, placing it along the edges of the grill.
  • Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes.
  • Brush the chicken with the spicy coating. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes
  • Brush the chicken with the spicy coating. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes
  • Check for doneness. Remove when done and let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

For the spicy coating

  • Heat the oil in a small saute pan.
  • Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
  • Keep warm until ready to use.

For serving

  • Serve garnished with dill pickle and white bread slices, if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 905kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 222mg | Sodium: 3172mg | Potassium: 541mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1011IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

‘Fried’ Chicken using the Vortex

This is the first time I tried making ‘fried’ chicken using the Vortex insert on my Weber charcoal grill. I use my Vortex a lot for making chicken wings, which are always fantastic, but I wasn’t sure how mimicking that great fried flavor would come out.

My worries were completely unfounded since the chicken came out absolutely fantastic. I swore I was eating chicken right out of a deep-fryer. Great Southern-inspired coating, tender meat and yes, very, very crunchy skin.

Fried Chicken using the Vortex

Since this was my first time I didn’t want to over-crowd my Performer with chicken. But now that I’ve got the process down, I could’ve easily added a few more pieces. And you don’t have to just use split bone-in chicken breasts like I did. Wings, legs, thighs… you name it, all will come out great ‘fried’ using the Vortex. Just don’t let the pieces overlap, because wherever they touch, they won’t get crispy.

See my full Vortex ‘menu’ by clicking here!

Fried Chicken using the Vortex

Making ‘fried’ chicken (some folks call it KFC – Kettle-Fried Chicken) really can’t get any easier. Also, check out my Nashville hot chicken recipe and my crispy fried chicken on the Vortex.

And nothing beats my fried chicken with gravy, also using the Vortex!

Fried Chicken using the Vortex
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5 from 1 vote

‘Fried’ Chicken using the Vortex

I swore I was eating chicken right out of a deep-fryer. Great Southern-inspired coating, tender meat and yes, very, very crunchy skin.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword fried chicken, Vortex
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Calories 437kcal
Author Mike

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Fire up your Kettle grill with the Vortex loaded with charcoal. Don’t start cooking until the coals are all lit and starting to ash over.
  • Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
  • Mix the remaining ingredients in a large baggie.
  • Lightly brush the chicken with vegetable oil.
  • Working in batches, place chicken pieces in the bag. Seal and shake. Shake off excess.
  • Transfer chicken to the grill along the edges, skin-side up.
  • Cover and cook for 40 minutes, turning the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
  • Lightly brush the chicken with more vegetable oil. Use caution as the grill will be hot. Note: If you are using pieces other than split chicken breasts, you’ll want to rotate the pieces at this time.
  • Cover and cook another 5 minutes or until the chicken hits 160 F.
  • Remove and let rest and come to 165 F before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 2863mg | Potassium: 929mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 358IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Quick Fix BBQ Beans

Why grab a can of pre-made BBQ beans at the store when you can make your own in no time at all. Sure, I’ve made scratch baked beans before (on the smoker and they were fantastic!). These aren’t those beans. Quick to fix, these BBQ beans still pack in the flavor.

Quick Fix BBQ Beans

You can make these quick fix BBQ beans taste however you like just by changing which BBQ sauce you add. From smoky to spicy, you can’t go wrong. And speaking of spicy, for a little extra kick add a few sliced jalapenos. And for extra crunch, chop half of a medium sweet onion and toss that in too. You really cannot make a boo-boo when you make these beans.

If I’m reaching for a bottled BBQ sauce, I often go for Sweet Baby Ray’s.

If you have more time, try making my best BBQ beans on the planet (really, they are), Dinosaur-style BBQ beans, Peach BBQ beans, slow cooker beans and wieners and Tangy Pit Beans.

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5 from 1 vote

Quick Fix BBQ Beans

Why grab a can of pre-made BBQ beans at the store when you can make your own in no time at all.
Course Side
Cuisine American
Keyword barbecue, BBQ, beans
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 78kcal
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Combine all ingredients and pour into an 8″ x 8″ baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before serving as the sauce will be very hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 403IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Buffalo Wings using the Vortex

Visit my other site, For The Wing, for all things chicken-wing!

I love the Vortex insert. I’ve had one for quite a while, using it to cook entire family packs of great chicken wings on my Weber Performer grill. But sometimes I don’t need 4 or so pounds of wings. I just need to cook enough for one or two people. That’s where the smaller model comes in. It fits perfectly into my Weber Smokey Joe grill, perfect for making dynamite Buffalo wings using the Vortex!

Note: I think Vortex has stopped making the smaller sized unit for small grills like my Smokey Joe. No worries, just get the model that fits yours.

Buffalo Wings using the Vortex

Of course you can use the Vortex for more than just Buffalo wings, and on more than just a charcoal grill, but I bought mine to make wings. Wings. Wings. And more wings. And it does wings great. Super high heat makes for super crispy tasty wings in the end, with about as little effort as you can possibly get.

I see sometimes people like to add cornstarch or baking powder to their wings to get them more crunchy. I honestly haven’t found this to be necessary. The high heat and long cook times make the skin perfectly crunchy without the trouble.

TGI Friday’s makes a great bottled wing sauce that is perfect on wings made using the Vortex.

Buffalo Wings using the Vortex
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5 from 1 vote

Buffalo Wings using the Vortex

I love the Vortex insert. I’ve had one for quite a while, using it to cook entire family packs of great chicken wings on my Weber Performer grill
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword Buffalo wings, Vortex
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 332kcal
Author Mike

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the wings into a large resealable container or baggie.
  • Add the oil and seasoning. Seal and shake to coat well.
  • Refrigerate for 3 hours.
  • Light a charcoal chimney full of charcoal. Alternatively, you can fill your Vortex with charcoal and light them inside the unit.
  • Let the charcoal get fully ashed over.
  • Place the Vortex into the center of your grill and add in the charcoal.
  • Open the bottom vents on your grill by 1/3, while keeping the top vent open completely.
  • Close the gill and let it get hot, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the chicken as shown in the picture above. For the flats have the skin side up, and for the drumettes keep the meaty part away from the fire.
  • Close the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Flip the wings. Rotate another 90 degrees and cook 15 more minutes.
  • Check if the wings are as crispy as you like. If not, rotate another 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes.
  • Brush the wings with wing sauce and cook 1-2 more minutes.
  • Flip wings and brush with more wing sauce. Cook 1-2 more minutes.
  • Transfer wings to a bowl and toss with more wing sauce, if desired.
  • Serve with dipping sauce.

Notes

Nutritional values do not include seasoning or sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 332kcal | Protein: 22g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 191mg | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional values are approximate.


Quick Fix Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili

This may well be my wife’s favorite chili. And that’s saying something because she’s pretty picky about chili. There aren’t many that she even sorta likes. And I have to admit, it’s mighty darned good. This quick fix Tex-Mex corn chip chili is definitely quick fix. The only way you could make a chili any quicker is if the entire dish came out of a single can. Served over crunchy corn chips, it has all you need in a no-time-to-waste chili. Beans, beef, tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro. Oh and a bit of cheese.

Quick Fix Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili

I prefer fire-roasted green chiles any time a recipe calls for green chiles. The roasting adds a nice caramelized flavor and texture. Same goes for canned tomatoes, I prefer fire-roasted. Both make this quick fix Tex-Mex corn chip chili fantastic.

For a little kick use spicy pinto beans instead, substitute pepper jack cheese, and add in a minced roasted jalapeno.

I highly recommend that you shred or grate your own cheese at home. Don’t buy the pre-shredded or pre-grated stuff. It has stuff added to it to keep it from sticking together. That ‘stuff’ affects how the cheese melts. Shred it yourself and use the good stuff.

Also try my Tex-Mex bacon cheeseburgers.

Quick Fix Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili
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4 from 1 vote

Quick Fix Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili

This may well be my wife's favorite chili. I have to admit, it’s mighty good. This quick fix Tex-Mex corn chip chili is definitely quick fix. The only way you could make a chili any quicker is if the entire dish came out of a single can.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, corn chips
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 624kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Crumble the beef into a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until browned.
  • Add the onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the undrained beans, tomatoes and chiles. Stir and bring to a simmer, cooking for 15 minutes.
  • Season and then stir in the cilantro and cheese. Reduce heat to low and stir until the cheese is melted.
  • Serve over corn chips topped with more cheese and cilantro.

Nutrition

Calories: 624kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 567mg | Potassium: 477mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1396IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 678mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Vortex Chicken Wings

Visit my other site, For The Wing, for all things chicken-wing!

If you follow our blog at all you know that I cook up a LOT of chicken wings. Sometimes I make them in the fryer, sometimes on the charcoal grill, sometimes on the gas grill, sometimes on the smoker, and often on the Char-Broil Big Easy. I even have a free eCookbook full of wing recipes. But now, I have Vortex chicken wings and life has gotten even better.

Vortex Chicken Wings

I am always on a quest for the next best wing cooking idea. Recently, I discovered the best way for making crispy wings on the Char-Broil Big Easy, which came out fantastic. But, I was still looking for the best way to get crispy wings on my charcoal grill. That’s when I discovered the Vortex and Vortex chicken wings are amazing. The Vortex is an insert for your grill that let’s you concentrate the charcoal heat, making for an incredibly hot fire. As you can see below, the wings ring the Vortex, getting super hot and in just a while, crispy. And it couldn’t get any easier.

I couldn’t be more happy with my Vortex purchase. I purchased the small-sized model, which works fantastic on my old 18″ Weber kettle and 22″ Weber Performer grills. But, a larger model is available for the 22″-26″ cookers.

The Vortex isn’t just for high-heat cooking of wings. Check out the Vortex web site for tons of other ways you can cook using the insert. Love Buffalo wings? Making them is easy using the Vortex.

Note: Since posting this, I’ve made wings on my Vortex hundreds of times. I’ve found that rotating the lid isn’t so critical (specially when cooking on a smaller grill such as the Jumbo Joe). For a little smoky flavor, throw a nice chunk of your favor wood (I like hickory or cherry) over the Vortex about 5 minutes before you put your wings on.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

Vortex Chicken Wings
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5 from 1 vote

Vortex Chicken Wings

The best wings ever from a charcoal grill!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword Vortex, wings
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 6
Calories 363kcal
Author Mike

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings flats and drumettes
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup Cajun seasoning or your favorite rub
  • Your favorite wing sauce and dipping sauce.

Instructions

  • Place the wings into a large resealable container or baggie.
  • Add the oil and seasoning. Seal and shake to coat well.
  • Refrigerate for 3 hours.
  • Place the Vortex into the center of your grill. Open the bottom vents on your grill by 1/3, while keeping the top vent open completely.
  • Light a charcoal chimney full of charcoal. Alternatively, you can fill your Vortex with charcoal and light them inside the unit.
  • Let the charcoal get fully ashed over.
  • Add the chicken as shown in the picture above. For the flats have the skin side up, and for the drumettes keep the meaty part away from the fire.
  • Close the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Flip the wings. Rotate another 90 degrees and cook 15 more minutes.
  • Check if the wings are as crispy as you like. If not, rotate another 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes.
  • Transfer wings to a bowl and toss with the wing sauce.
  • Serve with dipping sauce.

Notes

Nutritional values do not include seasoning or sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2396IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Quick Taco Salads

Unbelievably easy to make, these quick taco salads disappear really fast. Use whatever toppings you have on hand or enjoy. We kept them pretty simple.

Quick Fix Taco Salads

If you have the time, slow cook the beef a little longer for a more tender, flavorful filling.

I highly recommend that you shred or grate your own cheese at home. Don’t buy the pre-shredded or pre-grated stuff. It has stuff added to it to keep it from sticking together. That ‘stuff’ affects how the cheese melts. Shred it yourself and use the good stuff.

Also try my Mexican cornbread salad and my quick fix shrimp tacos.

Quick Fix Taco Salads
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5 from 1 vote

Quick Taco Salads

Unbelievably easy to make, these quick taco salads disappear really fast. Use whatever toppings you have on hand or enjoy. We kept them pretty simple.
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword quick fix, salad, taco
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 726kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ small white onion chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Taco seasoning or 1 packet pre-made
  • 4 tortilla bowls pre-made taco salad bowls
  • 2-3 cups iceberg lettuce shredded
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • ¼ cup Ranch salad dressing

Instructions

  • Brown ground beef in a large skillet with the onion.
  • Drain and add the seasoning. Stir, and cook over low heat 5-10 minutes, adding a bit of water if the mixture gets too dry.
  • Warm taco bowls per package instructions.
  • Spoon beef into the taco bowls. Top with lettuce, cheese and tomato. Drizzle with Ranch dressing and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 726kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 738mg | Potassium: 515mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1025IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 242mg | Iron: 10mg

Nutritional values are approximate.