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After a long absence, I am back!  I was reminded again that I hate moving and never want to do it again.  It got so bad that I threw out my deep fryer because I didn’t want to dispose of the oil.  Oh well.  Here’s what I want to eat today…

Deviled Eggs.

I was at my buddy’s going away party this past weekend and someone was kind enough to make two giant platters of these.  I ended up having 11 of them.  Here’s how I make my deviled eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 Tbsp minced sweet onion
  • 2 tsp sweet pickle relish, minced
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp creamed horseradish sauce (found in deli section)
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • I always add some paprika on top but you can make your eggs fancy by adding olives, chives, parsley, or pimento.

Directions:

Slice the hardboiled eggs in half and remove the yolks.  Put the yolks into a bowl and mash until crumbly.  Add the sweet onion, pickle relish, mayo, horseradish sauce, mustard, and salt to taste.  Mix until everything is combined and creamy.

You can pipe or use a spoon to return the yolk mixture into the egg white halves.  Garnish with what I listed above and serve.

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Summer is almost here, and I am excited to get the grill out.  One of my favorite things to grill are Brats that have been sitting in a beer marinade for a few hours.  Also, the greatest summer side dish has to be potato salad.   Here is how I do brats and potato salad:

If you’re just buying grocery store Brats, stick with Johnsonville.  I always buy the spicy version, but the original works just fine.  You want to open them up and poke several holes in each brat with a fork.  This is going to allow the marinade to get through the casing.  Put the brats in the brats in a large bowl, and add the following ingredients(this is assuming you are making one package of brats):

  • 2 bottles of dark beer
  • 1 half onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • A palm full of brown sugar
  • Red pepper flakes (add as much as you like)
  • A dash of Tabasco
  • This is optional, but I always add a bit of Sriracha chili sauce.  If you use a lot it gives brats more of an Asian flavor, which is odd to some people, but if you get the perfect amount in it creates a delicious flavor.  I would add about a tablespoon, if i had to guess.

Let the brats sit in the marinade for about 2 hours, then throw on the grill.  Trust me on this.  These are amazing.

As for the potato salad, I like the mustard variety without a lot of crunch from peppers and other ingredients.  I like the potatoes and the sauce to create the flavor.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 5 pounds potatoes, cooked
  • 3 or 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1 small jar pimento
  • 3/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • Paprika
  • Mayonnaise
  • Yellow mustard

Cook the potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover while boiling.  Don’t overcook them or they will fall apart.  Place potatoes into a strainer.  Peel and dice the them while they are still warm!

Add chopped eggs, and onions.   Add pimento pickle relish, and celery seed.  Add mayonnaise and yellow mustard to taste (approximately ½ cup mayonnaise and ¼ cup mustard). If potatoes are too watery at this point add less mayonnaise.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I usually do the taste test and add more of any of the ingredients if I feel the salad is lacking something

Place in serving bowl and sprinkle top with paprika. I always boil a few eggs, chop them up and place on top.

Cover and place in refrigerator until cold. Do not cover with aluminum foil; use plastic or glass instead. Foil will discolor eggs and possibly interact with mayonnaise.

There you have it, perfect potato salad.

Huevos Rancheros.

If you are unfamiliar with huevos rancheros, you are seriously missing out.  Huevos rancheros is a traditional Mexican dish that is usually eaten as breakfast, but can be eaten for any meal.  The basic components of the dish consists of a tortillas, fried eggs, with a tomato-chili sauce on top.  The great thing about this dish is you can add pretty much anything you like.  Here’s my version:

  1. Cook up some chorizo or regular breakfast sausage.  Chorizo is a smokier sausage that typically has red pepper added to it.
  2. Coat the bottom of a large pan LIGHTLY with oil.  Drop a tortilla in flat and let it sit until slightly crisp.  I’m talking SLIGHTLY browned.
  3. Fry two eggs.  I usually cook them over easy, but it’s up to you.
  4. Put tortilla on a plate, add chorizo on top of tortilla, and eggs on top of the chorizo.
  5. Add as much tomato-chili sauce as you want.  Canned enchilada sauce works great for this.
  6. Sprinkle cheese on top of that.
  7. I always put the dish in my toaster oven for a minute or so just to melt the cheese on top.

There you have it.  You can serve this with beans and rice, or just eat it by itself.

Nachos.

Here’s how I do my nachos.

I like to use about 1-2lbs of ground chicken.  Why?  I think I can flavor ground chicken a lot better than ground beef, like that taste better, and I hear it’s good for you as well.  I’m not down with the whole ground turkey thing because I just can’t eat turkey on anything but a sandwich or for a holiday that involves pilgrims.

Ingredients

  • 1-2lbs of ground chicken, depending on if you want regular or monster nachos.
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper — Add more if you like the heat
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 half onion
  • 1 can Rotel or 1 large diced tomato
  • 1 small can re-fried beans
  • 10-12oz bag tortilla chips
  • Monterey Jack cheese — As much as you like
  • Sour cream

I like the onions and tomatoes cooked with the chicken but feel free to just add them on top.  Season the chicken and cook until done.   Add it on top of your tortilla chips, followed by the rest of the ingredients.  I like to throw it in the toaster or conventional oven to melt the cheese before serving.

I thought I would throw a recipe up here for a change.  These are basically southwest eggrolls in burrito form.  Delicious.

Ingredients

  • 10 chicken tenderloins (or 2-3 chicken breasts)
  • 4 tablespoons minced red bell peppers
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can black bean, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons spinach (I used spinach in half the batches)
  • 2 tablespoons diced canned jalapeno peppers (I’ve used up to 4)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cayenne pepper (or a dash or to of the powdered stuff)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 9 flour tortillas

Directions

Cook the chicken in olive oil in a pan.  Once cooked shred the chicken.  Add everything else (except the cheese) to the pan and cook until it’s all cooked and warm.  Remove and add cheese mixing until incorporated.  Add to the tortillas, roll up and eat or freeze.  I recommend nuking the tortillas so they fold easier and don’t rip.  When reheating the frozen burritos I usually microwave for 3 minutes.

We used to make this dip in high school, run out of tortilla chips, and eat it with a spoon.  This truly is the most simple dip you can make, but it is incredible.  If you haven’t had this before, you’ll probably think “Cream Cheese????????????  With chili?????  I will NOT be eating that”.  You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

Ingredients

  • 1 large (14.5oz) can of Hormel chili with no beans
  • 1 brick of cream cheese (If you’re looking to watch the calories, use the low fat kind.  You really can’t taste any difference)
  • Shredded Mild Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Spread cream cheese along bottom of pan.  It should evenly coat the bottom with no empty areas.
  2. Pour the entire can of Hormel on top of the cream cheese and gently spread across entire pan
  3. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
  4. Microwave for about 2 1/2 mins

Believe me when I tell you that this is the best dip in the world.  This is basically a spicy queso dip revved up with sausage, and is literally one of the most delicious things you could ever serve at a party.  The best part is that it makes a large amount that can be stored in zip-lock bags, frozen, and eaten at a later date.  If you make this and the people that eat it are not impressed, I will retire from non-profit food blogging forever.

Ingredients

  • 1 brick Velveeta Cheese (2lb package)
  • 1 lb package Hot Breakfast Sausage (I use Jimmy Dean)
  • 1/2 of a large onion
  • 1 can of Rotel (Original or hot, up to you)
  • 1 7-oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 to 3 finely diced jalapeno peppers (Depending on how much heat you like.  If you’re like me, include to seeds and membranes.  I like it hot.)

Directions

  1. Chop up your onions and brown along with the breakfast sausage.  Draining excess fat is a good idea for health reasons, but fat is flavor.. so that one is up to you.  Move into a medium to large sauce pan.
  2. Cut Velveeta into cubes, and melt in sauce pan with sausage.
  3. When Velveeta is about halfway melted, add the Rotel (With water), green chilies, and stir until melted.
  4. I usually let it sit for 10 or 20 minutes on the low heat just to get the flavors mixed together.  When ready to serve, add diced jalapeno, stir, and serve with tortilla chips.

One of my favorite things to make is BBQ pulled pork.  It is incredibly cheap, delicious and easy to make, especially if you own a crock pot.  It is almost impossible to mess this up.

Step One – Purchase a pork shoulder from your local grocery store.  My local Kroger sells the stuff for about $8.00  for 4 pounds.  Try to get a shoulder with a good amount of fat, but not too much.  This isn’t cooked at high heat so the fat will be obvious if there is too much.

Step 2 – Pull together some seasonings and rub them on the outside of the shoulder.  You can use a lot, but don’t overpower it.  I like to add a good amount just to add another layer of flavor.  You should also use at least one wet ingredient, because I do not add water to the crock pot.  This particular time I used dried mustard, cumin, paprika, seasoned salt, a garlic seasoning, and red pepper.  I also added some liquid smoke which gives it a bit of that grilled taste.

Step 3 – With your rub added to the meat, put it in a bag and add the liquid smoke.  Massage  the meat through the outside of the bag to ensure that the seasonings are pushed into the meat.  Let the bag sit in your refrigerator for an hour or so.

Step 4 – Put the meat in your crock pot and set it to LOW heat.  The key to this is cooking the meat low and slow.  The meat is going to sit in here for AT LEAST 6 hours.  Cut up some onions and garlic and add it into the pot as well.

Step 5 – Wait!  As I said before, the meat should sit for at least 6 hours.  You will notice that juices will start to come out of the meat, acting as a natural broth.  This is why I do not add any water.  After 5-6 hours, the pork should be brown all the way through.  The longer you let it sit the better.  Ideally, a knife should go through the center with no difficulty whatsoever.

Step 6 – When you’re ready to go, dump out the broth, grab two forks and start shredding.  There will probably be some large chunks that you can’t get with your forks, so use your hand for those pieces.

Step 7 – After all the pork is shredded, add your favorite BBQ sauce.  I like using Sticky Fingers Memphis style BBQ sauce.  Stir it up and let it sit on the low heat for 30 mins. to an hour so the pork simmers in the sauce.

Step 8 – Eat it by itself, or on a sandwich.  I like to melt cheese on top.  Deeeeelicious.

I started making green salsa with tomatillos last year, and it is catching up to red salsa.  While not as spicy, this stuff can be pretty delicious.  Try it out sometime.  If you have a food processor, it’s very easy.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups tomatillos.  4 cups is about 10-12 medium sized tomatillos.  I like to roast them in my oven before I add them.  If you are unfamiliar with this, just put them in your oven a 500 degrees until they start to turn brown.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 small jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water

Directions:

Roast tomatillos.   In a blender or food processor, place tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and water.

Process until slightly chunky.

In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add tomatillo mixture and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.

Remove from heat and pour into serving bowl. Cover and let stand 1-2 hours to blend flavors. Serve warm or cold.

I have become a big stir fry fan the last few months, and there is one sauce I stick to:

Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki.

This stuff is really all you need, with the exception of some vegetables, to make a delicious stir fry at home.  I’ve noticed they have begun carrying it at the local grocery stores, so BUY IT.

All you need to do is cut up chicken breasts or thighs, whichever you prefer, add them to a bag with a reasonable amount of the sauce, throw in whatever veggies or peppers you like, and let it sit in your refrigerator for an hour or two.  Heat up your pan or wok, if you have one, as high as you can get it and sear the chicken until done.

Oh, and my secret ingredient…

Sriracha.

This stuff is incredible.  If you like spicy Asian food, you need some of this.  You can usually get it at any local grocery store.

I just put some rice in a bowl, pile some chicken on top, and drizzle with the Sriracha.  It’s one hell of a meal.