Pimento cheese is one of those things that does not last very long in our house. Make batch, do a quick errand, come back.. gone! It doesn’t seem to matter how much I make, it’s gone in an instant. Where does it go? Well, one place is in this delicious easy grits dish. Creamy, yummy grits with kicked up pimento cheese. You can’t beat it. Sure, pimento cheese is great on crackers or sandwiches, but in grits… oh me is it ever amazing. Always make extra.
As much as grits are a wonderful thing, the star of this show is the pimento cheese and it deserves the love and the attention it needs to be extraordinary. First, hand shred your cheese. None of that pre-shredded bagged stuff. It has cornstarch or other coatings on it to keep it from sticking. Nope, pass on that. If you’re not a big fan of shredding with your old hand-powered box shredder, get one of these. It’s awesome!
Second, make the pimento cheese the night before you make this dish. Let it get happy in the fridge, just hanging out. It’s better that way. The flavors and the consistency are better the next day.
These crispy Cajun fries get their crunchiness from a combination of corn flour and cornmeal. They’re something I’d never experienced before. They’re different, quite different, than regular ole deep fried fries. They have much more flavor, and a totally different texture. The outside is crunchy, the inside is creamy. I could not stop eating them, that’s for sure, and they made for the perfect side for my fried Cajun shrimp.
I like to cut my potatoes thin when I make these crispy Cajun fries. I reserve thicker cuts for baking or grilling. For deep frying I want them thin and all the same size so they come out cooked evenly and perfectly crunchy. I keep my knife super sharp for dishes like this, and my fries always come out great (not to brag… but I just did).
I use my lil ole Fry Daddy deep fryer for this fries when it’s just the two of us. Its perfect for small batches. It fries well and uses less oil than a big fryer. If I need to I can fry in batches. Fries don’t take long so I don’t worry about them getting cold in between batches.
Loaded baked potatoes are something I’ve had a love affair with ever since my college days. They were a great way to get a cheap, and still delicious, dinner. Yep, I love a baked potato as a meal. I don’t need anything else. These mushroom and onion baked potatoes are great as either a main dish or a side. They aren’t shy on the mushrooms. You won’t go searching for them. You’re going to get plenty in each and every bite. Cooked perfectly, this is a favorite potato of mine!
The bigger the potatoes you use for your mushroom and and onion baked potatoes, the more of the yummy mushroom and onion mixture you can pack inside. But, on the off chance you end up with leftover stuffing, you cannot go wrong with using it as a topping for grilled burgers. It’s fantastic on burgers. And it’s great in omelets too! So make extra, you’ll love it!
Whether you cook your potatoes in the oven or on a grill, potato nails help ensure they cook nice and evenly! And they look kinda cool too!
Sprinkle some salt onto a plate and roll the potatoes in the salt.
Place potatoes directly on the oven center rack. You might want to put a baking sheet lined with foil beneath them to catch any drippings.
Bake until potatoes are done (210 F internal temperature, or tender all the way through when poked with a knife), 40-60 minutes depending on their size. You can also test for doneness by squeezing the potatoes (with potholders on). If they give easily, they are done.
When ready to serve, poke the tops of the potatoes with a fork in cross pattern (i.e. from edge-to-edge and top-to-bottom). Pretend you are tracing the lines you would make if cutting the potatoes with a knife. Then, grab the potatoes from the ends and squeeze. The potatoes will open up perfectly. Fluff with the fork before adding the mushroom mixture.
Top with cheese if desired. Place the potatoes under the broiler for a minute or two if you want to melt and toast the cheese.
For the mushroom mixture
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.
Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring gently on occasion.
Add the onions and stir. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring gently on occasion, until the onions are just softened.
Reduce heat to low. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the garlic is cooked.
I was in need of a good side dish for a batch my orange chicken. The chicken is crazy good, with a thick, slightly sweet sauce that has just a slight kick to it. This easy Asian slaw was the perfect side. Crunchy with a hint of sesame oil, we both loved it. The red onion added a great little heat. I used a bag of pre-made slaw mix, but you could go thru the trouble of shredding your own cabbage too. Either way, you can’t lose with this slaw.
The original recipe for this easy Asian slaw stresses that you shouldn’t add the dressing until you’re ready to serve it. We actually enjoyed it even more the second day, dressing it completely the first day. The cabbage and onion soaked up the delicious flavors from the dressing. I’ve made this several times and I prefer it that way.
It’s not that I don’t like ‘normal’ zucchini. I mean, yeah, it’s pretty ok in a stir-fry. But, deep fried Parmesan zucchini? Now THAT’S yummy zucchini! You can’t beat the flavor and the crunch. And of course, you gotta dip them in Ranch dressing. You’re already committed at this point. Sure, it’s not quite as healthy as stir-fried. Or raw on a salad. But, sometimes, you gotta let go and this… well, what a way to go!
You can substitute Italian bread crumbs for the unseasoned bread crumbs and Italian seasoning if you want. I preferred to be able to amp up the Italian seasoning in my deep fried Parmesan zucchini, though. And make sure you drain the ‘coins’ well after frying. They’ll stay crisper that way.
If it’s just the two of us, I fire up my Fry Daddy fryer when I make these yummy appetizer.
I made some smoked ribs once that I called the ‘best’. Then a week later I found a new technique that was really the ‘best’. So I made a rule that I’d not call anything the ‘best’. Well, in a blatant violation of that rule, this is the best vegetable soup. Why did I commit such a flagrant violation? Because I’m not going to ever look for another vegetable soup recipe. I don’t need to. I can stop after this one. Packed with vegetables, easy to make (ok, there’s some chopping involved, but I consider that cook therapy), and oh so delicious, it’s a real winner. And it makes a really big batch. Plenty for a crowd, and great for freezing for later.
You can omit any vegetables you can’t find or don’t have on hand. This recipe for the best vegetable soup is pretty forgiving. More is better, though, so if you have to leave something out try to find something else that can take it’s place.
Don’t be shocked about the amount of dried basil. It might seem like a lot, but this recipe makes a LOT of soup. I don’t recommend cheating on the basil. Add the full amount.
I like to use my good ole trusty Dutch oven to make this soup and pretty much darned near anything like it on my stovetop. It’s nice and big and sturdy. That extra weight helps it maintain and distribute heat perfectly. As an added bonus, it’s actually pretty easy to clean up too!
I have to admit it, I was very highly skeptical when it came time to make this simple cauliflower fried rice. My wife wanted a lower carbohydrate dish she could take for her lunches, and this is the one she picked. Well, my skepticism was unfounded, because it’s not just good, it’s great! By golly, I thought I was eating fried rice!
Making the ‘rice’ is easy. Just chop cauliflower florets fine, until they start to look like rice grains. A quick fry in hot oil, and boom! Cauliflower rice! Great as a side dish, simple cauliflower fried rice can be turned into a main dish in no time by adding cooked chicken.
I went light on the sesame oil and used the full amount of soy sauce.
We were looking for the perfect side for our Stove Top stuffing meatloaf. We thought perhaps it would be mashed potatoes. Creamy homemade mashed potatoes would definitely be good with the wonderful brown gravy from the meatloaf. But we both wanted something a little crunchy, something roasted… something with more flavor than ‘just’ mashed potatoes. These crispy Parmesan potatoes were definitely the perfect side. We could not have found a better pairing for our stick-to-our-ribs meatloaf! The crispy edges were a good contrast to the meatloaf.
The original recipe for these crispy Parmesan potatoes called for using fingerling potatoes. As much as we both love fingerlings, we felt that cubed Russets would give us more of that crunchy texture, more of that wonderful roasted-ness that we were both craving. We made the right call as they were fantastic! Fingerlings probably would’ve been just fine. If I could’ve found them!
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.
Everyone knows that grandma makes the best potato salad. No matter how you try, you can’t make yours quite as good. Well, this just-like-grandma’s potato salad is pretty darned close. I certainly had no problem devouring a big heaping helping of it. Or two. Yeah, it might look like grandma went through a lot of trouble, but this salad is actually pretty easy to make and boy, is it every delicious.
One thing that really makes just-like-grandma’s potato salad so good is the mayonnaise. You can’t use just anything, in my opinion. No, for that over-the-top great salad you want the best and for me that’s Blue Plate. I can’t get it in the stores here, so I buy it online. And I wait anxiously for it to arrive each month (Amazon subscribe and save is awesome!).
Most folks boil or bake their potatoes for potato salad. I prefer to steam mine in a steam basket. The potatoes keep their shape that way. It doesn’t really matter so much for the taste, but I think they look just a bit better and they hold up better, longer.
I recently discovered Blue Plate mayonnaise, which I think is the best around. If you can’t find it locally you can pick it up online for a fair price.
Cook the potatoes in a heavily-salted pot of gently boiling water until tender. NOTE: I prefer to steam my potatoes so the skins stay intact.
Drain and let cool enough to handle then cut into 1/2" cubes.
In a large bowl, combine the relish, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, eggs, onion, bell pepper, 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise and salt and pepper, to taste. If the mixture is too dry add more mayonnaise and stir.
Somewhere, probably, there’s a rule written down that goes something like ‘don’t eat all of the warm blue cheese sauce before you serve the roasted potatoes’. If there is such a rule, I ignored it because the sauce is fantastic. And yeah, it really is great with roasted potatoes. Tender, buttery potatoes that have that slight skin ‘pop’ when you bite into them. Perfect.
I sometimes find that too much fresh rosemary is a not a good thing. It can be a bit overwhelming. I totally did not find that to be the case with these roasted potatoes with warm blue cheese sauce. Not even at all. The amount of rosemary is spot-on, and I think the dish needed every bit of it. I would not cut back on it even though my first though was to do just that.
You can cook the potatoes on a grill instead of in the oven. Using a grilling basket such as the one below makes for easy cooking, easy cleanup, and helps make sure your potatoes are cooked nice and evenly.
The blue cheese sauce is great on other roasted vegetables too, like green beans, asparagus, you name it. And baked potatoes!
Somewhere, probably, there’s a rule written down that goes something like ‘don’t eat all of the warm blue cheese sauce before you serve the roasted potatoes’. If there is such a rule, I ignored it because the sauce is fantastic.