Tailgating is here!

Football time!  We are officially in football frenzy.  Everywhere you look football is on tv.  Even still Classic Football games are still being played.  Reruns of the weekend’s games are being played (if you wish to watch the agony and defeat…again, unless yours was a winning team).  Also, the chase is on.  If you follow Nascar, the race for the chase is on.  So, there is plenty to get excited about.  Me, I just love to hear it on tv.  I don’t get too upset over a win or loss.  I just quilt, and cook, and try to train the dog for his obedience class (that’s another story for another day).

But this will definitely be on our table for tailgating at David’s games.  Me oh my.  Someone will have to help eat this because I could eat the whole bowl.  And the cheese, this type of cheese is what makes this.

There are cheese spreads, pimento cheese recipes, but then there’s this.  And I have fallen in love with this.  And there’s no turning back.  If you serve this, you will be the star.  Trust me on this.  But make sure they know there’s heat in it.  In a good way.  Man, oh man, oh man.  Is it good.

Call it Cheese Spread, call it Pimento cheese, call it cheese dip, or serve a big dollop on your tailgate burger. Make you a Panini out of it. Or a regular sammy – or just serve a dollop by the side of your chicken salad.  Dip it up with crackers.  Dip it up with chips.  Just serve it.

Hot Buffalo Wing Pimento Cheese

Here’s how I made it –

I bought this cheese –

cheese

I grated it up – it’s a softer cheese but it still will grate fine –

In the bowl with the grated cheese, I also grated about a teaspoon of onion.  Feel free to finely chop yours.  You don’t need much – just a smidgen to add another layer of flavor.   I added two ounces of chopped pimentos (you can get a 2 ounce jar – just drain – if you can’t find the 2 ounce jar just use half of the four ounce jar), added about 1-2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce (I usually add the 2 tbsp as we like the flavor), a pinch of salt and pepper (did you know adding a pinch of salt and pepper to your pimento cheese makes a big difference), and just enough mayonnaise to bring it all together.   Nothing else is needed.  It’s all in the cheese!  Just refrigerate till you serve – if you can wait that long!

cheese spread

Hope you will give it a try – I found this cheese in the specialty cheese section at the commissary.  You should be able to find it around town or something pretty close.  Have a spiffy super duper great week!

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Ribs – on the grill

It was hubby’s birthday so I grilled for his birthday supper.  He wanted ribs.  Here’s how mine are done – it may not be your method but it’s the way he likes his!  Fall off the bone tender, and oh so flavorful!  I did try a new method this time.  I usually dry rub mine and let the dry rub sit on them for a couple of hours prior to grilling.  This method, like a lot of grillers, called for a pre-marinade, and then dry rub for an hour or two.   For the marinade, you can use either apple cider or apple cider vinegar with the juice of one lemon (make sure you have trimmed your ribs of the silverskin and any loose pieces of bits) and make sure the ribs are just covered with liquid – let soak in refrigerator for 2-4 hours.  Then remove from marinade, and dry off with paper towels.   Apply dry rub of your choice and rub in – refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  Then grill! – our grill has a smoker tray of which I placed my soaked wood chips in – I cut all burners on high to heat the grill – when the wood chips started smoking, I cut off the side without the chips, and cut down the side with the chips to medium.  I placed the ribs  meat side down to begin with, on the side with no heat.  I then basted the ribs every thirty minutes with cider and rotated and turned the ribs for even cooking.  Mine cooked for 2 1/2 hours (this is determined by the size and meatiness of the ribs).  I then like to wrap my ribs in foil for another 30 minutes to 45 minutes to finish cooking and tenderizing.  If you like a bit of crispyness or plan on brushing on bbq sauce, just remove from foil, place on fire side (cut up flames if need be) and baste and turn over and baste again to get crisp sides. Hubby liked them cause he went back for seconds!

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For my rub, I generally use:

couple teaspoons kosher salt

2 heaping Tbsp  splenda brown sugar

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

You can alter, add other ingredients, to the above, and adjust the amounts of the seasonings to your liking.   And there are a lot of already mixed rubs in the stores that are good.

I had some Chicken Kabobs for me and used the same seasoning on the chicken and it was so good!  So it is a very versatile rub.

I love using the grill in the hot summer months!  Let us know what you are grilling these days!

It’s a beautiful day – let’s grill something

Y’all know I love my homemade taco seasoning mix.  And y’all know, if you have made it, that it is quite spicy.  (yummy!)  And y’all know that hubby doesn’t eat quite as spicy/hot as I do so I had come across one that isn’t so spicy that I have been wanting to make and try.  I love homemade seasoning mixes as you can add/subtract the seasonings to your liking.

Yall.  This.  Oh my.  It is so good.  We had some chicken we wanted to grill out last week, and, well, the weather.  Enough said.   So I took the chicken, sprinkled this all over it, making sure it was well coated, let it sit for about 15 minutes while the oven heated up, placed it in an aluminum foil lined pan, and let ’em go!  Could not have been better.  I did drizzle just a tad of olive oil on top of the chicken for moisture.  (I always use skinless boneless so I didn’t want them drying out and they didn’t).

We loved these.  Hubby especially!  Leftovers were slightly re-heated and served over a salad.  Man.  Flavor in every bite.  I know two little girls that are getting their very on jar delivered to them today!

Make some and try it.   You will like it, especially if you like a little less heat.

Mild Taco Seasoning Mix

1/4 cup cumin

1/4 cup salt (kosher)

2 Tbsp garlic salt

2 Tbsp ground pepper

2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika (make sure to use the smoked paprika and not plain – it adds a depth of flavor you need)

Mix together and store in an airtight container (I use my mason jars for my spices!).

Use about 2 Tbsp per 1 pound of ground meat.  If sprinkling on whole pieces of meat to cook (like breasts, thighs, wings, or even pork tenderloin, even fish) just eyeball or use to taste.

This would be good on a good firm fish to make fish tacos.  Create your own dish today!

Jalapeno Dressing….oh yes!

This will make your skirts fly up and your pants legs flap in the breeze – even if there isn’t a breeze! I made this yesterday and I can’t wait to have it on my salad tonight. I must say, I wish my jalapeno peppers had been a bit hotter. I like heat and apparently right now the jalapeno peppers I am getting are not that hot. I even left the seeds in and just didn’t get as much heat I wanted but the flavor – oh my. the flavor is definitely still there – so incredibly good. But less heat makes it easier for hubby to eat the dressing – or not! More for me!

This will definitely be one of my favorites. Serve on a bed of field greens, some marinated chicken breasts that have been grilled (marinated with my homemade taco seasoning of course) and if you like, add a couple of slices of avocado. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Try some and see what you think.

Jalapeno Dressing
1/2 jalapeno roughly sliced (or use the whole jalapeno -why not?) (with or without seeds – your choice)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar (and yes, I did use my Splenda Sugar)
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped (I threw mine in whole and the blender chopped it up just fine)
1/2 cup blended oil (1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup vegetable oil – or if you would rather, use 1/2 cup all olive oil – but use a light olive oil so the flavor of the oil does not overpower the dressing)

Place the jalapeno slices, lime juice, vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic in a blender and blend at low speed, using the quick on/off pulses, until the jalapeno and garlic clove is finely chopped. Now with the motor running, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream.
Pour into a container (a canning jar works great-makes about a cup so an 8-ounce works great) and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Give the jar a good shake to make sure all is blended well.

Philly Cheesesteak is not just for sandwiches

I came across a recipe that had my hubby’s name written all over it. Philly cheesesteak dip – one I knew he would love because he loves a good philly cheesesteak sandwich about as good as anybody!

This was a huge success! And the great thing was we had leftovers – which he loved – and he made omelets out of it and said it made the best omelet – a philly cheesesteak omelet – just think – the cheese, steak, onions and peppers along with the seasonings all mixed up and melty inside the omelet. And I think the dip mixture would make an awesome panini. Don’t stop there – create your “philly cheesesteak dip” recipe! I know there are endless possibilities with this concoction!

Philly Cheesesteak Dip
1/2 pound flank steak or skirt steak, thinly sliced and then diced plus salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
pinch of oregano
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 white or yellow onion, diced
12 ounces white velveeta cheese (i found a Velveeta Queso white cheese on the velveeta aisle and used that)
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
bread, for dipping (like a mini french baguette, sliced-I found an olive oil ciabatta baguette I sliced up for hubby to dip)
Mix your chili powder, garlic powder and oregano in a little cup and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan add the velveeta cheese, cream cheese and milk and heat on medium low, stirring occasionally until melted.
While the cheese melts, cook steak and veggies. Season steak with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with about 1/2 of the mixed seasoning blend. Cook steak in a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat just until most of the pink is gone. Add peppers and onions and continue to stir for a couple minutes more.
When the cheese is completely melted, add the steak, ‘peppers and onions and the remainder of the seasoning blend and mix. Serve with the bread for dipping.

I hope you enjoy and find creative ways to serve/reuse this.
Happy New Year to all of you.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce and smoothies….huh???

I wanted to do something different this Thanksgiving that did not include serving “canned jellied cranberry sauce.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I have been eating this stuff since probably birth and like it but wanted to make “homemade, from scratch” as we all know I have plenty of “scratch’ at my house!

I was also hesitant because my peeps have always ate the above mentioned canned stuff and I was not sure how they would react to homemade chunky flavorful stuff.  Well, let me be the first to tell you, there will never be any turning back to the canned stuff now.   Not only was it good, it was great!    Makes all the difference in the world,  And you know what else,  Leftover homemade cranberry sauce makes the best smoothies, I have been informed by the best sources.

Next time you find yourself in need of cranberry sauce, make it from scratch.  You won’t regret it. And then use the leftovers for smoothies, or better yet, make that leftover turkey sandwich.  Yummy!  There are a lot of different recipes out there, but here is the one I used.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

12 oz bag fresh cranberries, washed and picked over (get out any bruised or damaged cranberries)

1 cup sugar

zest of one orange

juice of one orange

2 Tbsp water

(conserve 1/2 cup cranberries if you want a more chunky sauce – I didn’t and mine was plenty chunky)

Cook the 12 oz bag of berries, the one cup sugar, and the orange zest over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes or until sugar dissolves on low heat, stirring.

Increase heat to medium heat, and cook until cranberries burst, about 12 minutes.  Then add the juice of the orange, the 2 Tbsp. water and more sugar to taste at this point along with a pinch of salt and pepper (salt and pepper a must for flavor – you won’t regret it).  and reduce to low and simmer for a bit more. Can be refrigerated until use.

I made mine the day before.   If you make this using splenda sugar (yes, I did make a small bowl for hubby this way) remember that the splenda sugar does not make the liquid that regular sugar does so you will have to add more liquid as it cooks – I added the juice of another orange to that small amount and then also added a bit more water (I just eyeballed the amounts for this small amount) and it turned out great for hubby.  He loved it also.

Hope you are all having a great week!

Collard Green Dip – As Southern As You Get

Football and Collard Green dip – yep!   Sounds yummy, right?   Well, you don’t know until you give it a try!   I have noticed of late that the restaurants (or some locally) have collard Green Dip on their menu. I have wanted to try it but know the contents will be deadly in calories.

I have found a recipe that I have lightened up and one that I know I have have (no real bacon! HA) I will certainly be made this weekend and will be on our tailgate grill heating up when BeeBee comes over (get ready BeeBee!)

The recipe is below – if there is an ingredient out to the side in parenthesis (), that will be the original ingredient that you may insert if you wish to make it the original full-blown way (in other words, with the real bacon stuff – knockyourselfout version).

Serve it with Fritos, Crackers, and if you take it to tailgate, make it up before you go, put it in one of those aluminum cake pans (I always double layer mine) and stick on the grill to heat up!

Collard Green Dip

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 bunches fresh collard greens rinsed and chopped

(I will use the bagged greens, and probably use 1/2 of the bag for this

recipe with the large stem pieces removed)

5 slices of Turkey bacon, chopped     ( or -5 real slices of bacon, chopped)

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar OR 1/4 cup apple juice         ( or 1/4 cup dry white wine)

12 ounces light cream cheese, cut into pieces                (or 12 oz. regular cream cheese, cut into pieces)

1 -8-0z). container fat free sour cream                            (or 8 oz. container regular sour cream)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or more for more heat

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup light or fat free Parmesan cheese – the kind used to shake on pizza or spaghetti  (OR 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese)

1.  Heat olive oil in in Dutch oven at medium heat.  Add collard greens and cover, allowing to wilt for about 10-15 minutes, stirring as necessary.  Remove to another bowl.

2.  Cook Bacon in same dutch oven over medium high heat until crisp; remove bacon, and drain; (if using real bacon, reserve 1 Tbsp in pan; if using turkey bacon, may need to add a little more olive oil.)

3.  Saute onions in drippings/oil until tender, about 5 minutes and add chopped garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.  Pour in liquid (either the cider vinegar, the apple juice or wine, stirring to loosen the bits in the bottom of pan.  (get all that flavor up).  Stir in the greens, cream cheese, sour cream, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring often, 6-8 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thoroughly heated.

4.  Spray pan with cooking spray, and transfer mixture to pan.  sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.  broil for about 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.   Sprinkle with bacon pieces (the bacon you browned earlier).

I will also be serving mine with some veggie strips – bell pepper strips, celery strips, carrot strips, – yes, I know it won’t be as good as if I eat it with the Fritos, (which will be on hand for any who want those) but I really am trying to be good on what I eat.

So…..Give this a try for you true Southern raised football fans.   I think you will like this.  Happy Friday!

Creole Seasoning Mix – It’s what’s for dinner

We are having grilled Tilapia tonight.   And we both like ours with different toppings.  It will be a smorgasbord of flavors!  Hubby is trying the “pork dust” on a couple of his filets.   I want some seasonings on mine – while I like fish, I don’t like it to, well, taste “fishy”.  Go figure that one out!   I guess I just don’t like a very strong fishy taste.  So I will be using an already made seasoning mix we have and one I make up – a Creole Seasoning mix.   Give it a try sometimes when you are cooking fish – or sauteeing some shrimp to go on top of a salad – or grilling some shrimp skewers!   It would also be good to flavor up some rice.

 

Creole Seasoning Mix

1 Tbsp onion powder

2 Tbsp dried oregano

½  Tbsp dried thyme

½ tsp cayenne pepper

2 Tbsp garlic salt

1 Tbsp dried basil

1 Tbsp black pepper

2 Tbsp paprika

 

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container (such as a ball jar).  Great to season seafood, poultry, pork tenderloin.

Minions leads to popcorn and toppings

I finally got my copy of Despicable Me and of course made hubby sit through it last night while we both snickered, laughed, and had fun watching those cute yellow, then purple, then yellow, creatures.   I have plastic Easter eggs that look like minions.   Nothing says Easter like minion eggs!   

But that made me wanting some popcorn.  Which reminded me that I have some great toppings for popcorn.   Which reminded me I haven’t shared those toppings with you.  So here they are. Four of them.  A flavor for all kinds of tastes. Make them, get those minion movies and have an enjoyable family night.  

Italian popcorn seasoning

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp dried thyme

1 Tbsp seasoned salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

 ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients, stirring well to combine.  Store seasoning in an air tight container.

 

Southwest popcorn seasoning

¼ cup chili powder

¼ cup ground cumin

2 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp ground coriander

1 Tbsp salt

Combine all ingredients, stirring well to combine.  Store seasoning in an airtight container.

 

Ranch-style popcorn seasoning

¾ cup dried parsley flakes

¼ cup onion salt

¼ cup garlic salt

¼ cup onion powder

¼ cup garlic powder

2 Tbsp dried dillweed

1 Tbsp ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, stirring well to combine.  Store seasoning in an airtight container.

 

Cajun popcorn seasoning

½ cup paprika

1/3  cup seasoned salt

¼ cup onion powder

¼ cup garlic powder

¼ cup dried oregano

¼ cup dried basil

2 Tbsp dried thyme

1 tbsp ground black pepper

2 Tsp ground cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients, stirring well to combine.  Store seasoning in an airtight container.

Veggie Dip

In the quest to eat healthier, one item I enjoy are the Laughing Cow cheese triangles in the various flavors.
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I had gotten a double pack (only because they came that way) this past week and decided to make my very own veggie dip out of several of them rather than using cream cheese, since the laughing cow wedges are an item I can have. I had also gotten a package of those baby tri-colored bell peppers that are so sweet and good. I use these on salads, and just to eat right out of the package. The great thing about using these wedges is you can add anything you want. Here’s what I did: 6 laughing cow wedges (I used the plain low fat wedges but wouldn’t some of the flavored ones be good!) finely chopped tri colored baby bell peppers (use amount you desire – no set amount) finely chopped celery finely chopped onion finely chopped part of a carrot 1/4 tsp garlic pepper a pinch of cayenne pepper a pinch of salt Mix all together and taste – adjust any of the above to your liking. Serve with celery sticks, bell pepper wedges, or whatever you want to dip. Would be great as a spread on a sandwich also. Mine didn’t last very long as hubby liked it, also. What a versatile recipe. I may try the queso flavored wedges next and add some of my homemade taco seasoning mix – sounds yummy! Hope your July 4th was a great weekend! Have a great week.