A good dry rub is important to most anything you choose to BBQ. I don’t buy the pre-mixed ones in the store because they are expensive, they contain additives, and I’ve never found one that really has the flavors the way I want them. We
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Ok, so you’re busy, we get it! We are too and please don’t think we make crazy gourmet meals for our families every night. However, even if you only have the time to go through a drive thru, you have time for this quick 10
What’s not to love about pineapple! Juicy. Sweet. Tangy. Delicious. But, have you ever been a bit intimidated about preparing a whole pineapple? I know I always was. I suffered through the ridiculous expense of buying already cut pineapple (about 4x the cost of a
Prosciutto Basil Crostini with Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese sounds all big and fancy, but it’s really very simple. It doesn’t take long to make and is always a big hit. You can serve it for a holiday, casual get together, Bunco night, or anything in
Does the word quiche have good or bad connotations in your mind? When was the last time you had a quiche? Well, I’m here to tell you that this is delicious and super simple. Preparing a quiche is one of my favorite things for overnight guests
If you ever dine out, then I’m sure you’ve had a dish somewhere along the way that is served with a balsamic reduction. It sounds fancy. It tastes wonderful. It is very versatile. I love it. It seems like a bit of an indulgence
Thanks for all the good luck wishes, they worked! McNack’s came in 2nd place in the BBQ sauce competition, coming in just behind Fox Brother’s BBQ, one of the best BBQ joints here in Atlanta! There were not as many competitors as we’d hoped, but this has given us the confidence to hopefully compete in the huge Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival held in Atlantic Station in September. More to come on that later.
We were judged on three areas in both the taste and texture categories. With a total point option of 30, we averaged 24. We even received one perfect score and a comment that said, “Wow! “Love the onion and after-fire’
That would be referencing the touch of cayenne!
Here is the link to the base recipe.
One of my favorite parts of going to Benihana’s (or any Hibachi restaurant for that matter) is the salad. It is always so simple, yet delicious. I was thrilled when the San Diego Union Tribune published this recipe at least 10 years ago for Benihana’s Salad Dressing.
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10 minutes
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. water
1 T. chopped fresh ginger root
1 T. chopped celery
1 T. soy sauce
1 1/2 t. tomato paste
1 1/2 t. sugar
1 t. lemon juice
Dash of salt
Pepper to taste
Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:
Preparing Benihana’s Salad Dressing:
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Black bean and corn salad is a side dish I often make for a crowd when having a Mexican themed dinner. It is easy, cheap, colorful and serves a lot of people. You can kick up the spice by adding more jalapeños or tone it down by adding less.
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 20 min; Chill time: At least an hour
2 cans of sweet corn (not creamed corn)
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
6-8 fresh jalepenos, seeded and chopped
1 punch of cilantro, washed and snipped
1/2 red onion, chopped (see how to chop an onion on the “how to” page)
1 tomato, chopped
Juice of 4-6 limes
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparing Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad:
Empty the corn, WITH the liquid into mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.
Remember to use a serrated knife when chopping or slicing a tomato. Also, don’t forget to wear gloves when seeding the jalapeño. If you need a knife, try this:
When I have leftovers of this, I will often put it on a salad with some leftover chicken and make my own version of a taco salad.
Every year, we have a “Kickoff to Football Season Party”. About 5 years ago, I thought I’d try something new and easy and decided to make amazing buffalo chicken dip. Little did I know that it would be such a hit and one of my most requested dishes. For Melissa’s birthday this past May, her husband asked if I could bring the dip to her party…..yes it was the milestone birthday (40) – so she had a party!!! I believe he wanted the dip more for himself since she had no idea he had even asked me to bring it! Personally, my husband insists I make it about every time we have a party because if I don’t “everyone will be disappointed since they expect you to make it”. That’s code for “I want the dip”!!! So, if you’ve been struggling with how to make a good, hot, easy buffalo chicken dip, here is your answer!
1 whole chicken or 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of MARIE’S light bleu cheese dressing
1 8 oz. container of low fat cream cheese
1 jar of Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 bag of Stacy Chips (Naked Flavor) or Tortilla chips
Poach the chicken
- don’t be afraid, this is no big deal and makes all the difference
Making the Amazing Buffalo Chicken Dip:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the chicken is shredded into your prepared 8×13 dish, pour the entire bottle of Frank’s wing sauce over the chicken and mix well.
Place the bleu cheese dressing and cream cheese in a saucepan. Mix together over medium heat, stirring constantly until the cream cheese has melted. Pour over the chicken.
Place the dip in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the dip and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top to cover the dip. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with Stacy chips or tortilla chips.
The key to this recipe is the LOW FAT dressing and LOW FAT cream cheese. I didn’t intend to make this a “healthier” dip, it just turned out that way. The first time I made it, I was so disgusted with the grease pool that formed after the cheese melted that I couldn’t serve it. I knew a lower fat cheese wouldn’t melt very well, so I used the lower fat bleu cheese and cream cheese and it made all the difference.
This dip is too awesome to change a thing!! Trust me.
I found this recipe 14 years ago in the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Vegetables book. I modified their version to remove the parsley and hard-boiled egg mostly for my personal preference and I also increased the red wine vinegar to make it more tangy. I never measure any of these ingredients but have attempted to give you some guidelines to help. Remember, a vinaigrette is about your flavor profile and what you like so make it your own.
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time -5 min; Cook Time – None; Can be made well in advance
1 bunch of asparagus prepared (see How to Prepare Asparagus)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
1 1/2 T Dijon Mustard (either smooth or the grainy kind is fine, I like the grainy one)
2 green onions, finely chopped (whites and greens)
1 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
How to Make Asparagus with Dijon Vinaigrette:
1. Mix all above ingredients (except asparagus and olive oil), then slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking the other ingredients to make the vinaigrette (and to make an emulsion so the oil and vinegar don’t separate). This can be done well in advance if desired.
2. Follow the steps to How to Prepare Asparagus. This too can be done well in advance.
3. Remove the asparagus from its water bath and place in a skillet with about 1 cup of water (cover about 1/2 way up the asparagus). For a nicer presentation, keep the asparagus all going the same direction.
4. When everything else you are cooking is done, turn the skillet with the asparagus and water on high.
5. Once the water is boiling (1-2 minutes), move the asparagus around until it has all turned a bright green.
6. Once it reaches that bright green color, I remove it. That is when it is crisp-perfect and won’t taste at all like that mushy stuff in a can. If you want to cook it a bit more, you can but not more than about 1-2 minutes.
7. Place on your serving platter and top with the vinaigrette.
Top with your favorite vinaigrette or just salt, pepper and olive oil
A good dry rub is important to most anything you choose to BBQ. I don’t buy the pre-mixed ones in the store because they are expensive, they contain additives, and I’ve never found one that really has the flavors the way I want them.
We are all so different and what tastes good for one person is not necessarily what someone else likes. Here is a basic dry rub that is mostly what I do, however, I never make it exactly the same way twice.
How to make your own dry rub: I change this up every time and never measure it. But, here are the basic ingredients. Change quantities and spices to vary yours to be sweeter or spicier.
Oregano (~2T) Garlic Powder (~4T) Chili Powder (~5T) Onion Powder (~2T) Cumin Powder (~1 1/2 T) Cayenne (~1 1/2 T) Brown Sugar (~ 1/2 cup) Coarse Kosher Salt (~6T) Black Pepper (~2T)
These are the kinds of quantities I used. Starting at 12:00, you have Chili powder, Kosher Salt, Cayenne, Onion powder, Oregano, Garlic powder and in the middle you have black pepper and cumin.
Other great dry rub ingredients that you might choose to add:
Change brown sugar for regular white sugar
Chinese 5 spice
Red pepper flakes
Ancho chili powder
Your rub (if you were clean about how you put it on your raw meat) can be stored in an air tight container for a couple of weeks.
I use variations of this for baby back ribs, brisket, tri-tip steak, pork chops and bone-in & skin-on chicken.
Ok, so you’re busy, we get it! We are too and please don’t think we make crazy gourmet meals for our families every night. However, even if you only have the time to go through a drive thru, you have time for this quick 10 minute meal idea!
Steamed Broccoli with lemon
Orzo with butter and parmesan
Here’s how to do it.
- Run in the door after a long day, grab a pot, add about 3 cups of water, place on the stove on high.
- Grab another pot, add about an inch of water and your steamer insert and then add some fresh broccoli and cover it. Place on the stove but don’t turn it on yet.
- Grab a skillet and a ham steak. I like the Smithfield ones you can find at most super markets. Remove from the packaging and add to the skillet without any of the juice. Again, don’t turn on yet.
- Set the table
- The water is probably boiling now, add salt and the orzo.
- Turn on the skillet with the ham on medium high heat. After about 3 minutes, turn the ham steak over.
- Test the orzo. When it is done, turn on the eye for the broccoli and remove the orzo from the stove and drain. Put back into pot you cooked it in and add 2 T butter, 2T olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Stir and set aside.
- Remove the ham from the stove, place the ham steak on a cutting board and cut into serving pieces.
- Plate the ham and the orzo.
- The broccoli is probably steamed enough now. Plate the broccoli, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with lemon juice on each plate.
Ok, maybe it’s 12 minutes, but whatever! This is a quality and mostly healthy and extremely inexpensive meal for a family of 4!!
Pictured here with leftover macaroni and cheese instead of the orzo – even better and easier!!
…and if you’ve had that really long day where you run in the door and immediately grab pots and pans, do yourself and your family a favor. Take 30 seconds to grab a glass of wine. Screw top will save you time!!! – Denise
What’s not to love about pineapple! Juicy. Sweet. Tangy. Delicious. But, have you ever been a bit intimidated about preparing a whole pineapple? I know I always was. I suffered through the ridiculous expense of buying already cut pineapple (about 4x the cost of a whole pineapple) and then eventually changed to buying the cleaned and cored whole pineapple and cutting it up myself from there. But still, that was about 2x the cost of a whole pineapple.
I figured if I had intimidation issues with this thorny fruit, then perhaps you might as well. With the rising costs of food, we can all use a tip to save a buck or two. Here is the step by step on how to cut a whole pineapple either into whole slices or cubes for a fruit salad.
If you want pineapple rings and don’t have a device to core the pineapple, use this method. I think a pineapple corer is a waste of money with techniques like this one.
If you want cut pineapple for a fruit salad, then follow these steps. Again, a pineapple corer is a waste of kitchen space and money.
Add the cut pineapple to your prepared strawberries for a great fruit salad. This whole process only takes a couple of minutes and can save you big bucks.
Prosciutto Basil Crostini with Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese sounds all big and fancy, but it’s really very simple. It doesn’t take long to make and is always a big hit. You can serve it for a holiday, casual get together, Bunco night, or anything in between. So, in other words, it really is a perfect appetizer!
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 10-15 min; Assembly Time – 10 min
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 large baguette loaf (the kind you get in the bakery section)
1/3 pound thinly sliced prosciutto piccolo (it is the kind with the skin on)
1 package of basil (or if you’re Melissa, basil from your garden)
1/4 cup shredded parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper
Preparing Prosciutto Basil Crostini:
Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Slice the baguette into 1/4 in. thick slices. Place on a baking a sheet. Brush each piece with olive oil until coated.
Cook for about 10 minutes until just starting to get brown on the outsides and the inside is just starting to become firm. Let cool.
Place one piece of basil on each baguette, followed by 1/2 slice of prosciutto. Do this for all of the baguettes.
When you have finished, sprinkle with cheese and add some cracked pepper!
Make sure you cook the baguette in the oven long enough to make it crunchy. If you don’t, the olive oil will make it soggy.