Sunday, July 21, 2019

National Junk Food Day

Today is National Junk Food Day! I cannot think of a recipe of mine that more represents the spirit of the day then my Grillswith. You start with a donut, fry it a little more, and add ice cream. Which is also appropriate because it is National Ice Cream Day! Two for one! I love it when a plan comes together.

Checkout my Grillswith recipe here. It is one of my most popular, and with good reason.
A glazed donut shallow fried in butter and served with ice cream. Amazing.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

A delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs

Ingredients:

Sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh oregano
2 tbsp fresh basil
2 tbsp fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 oz whiskey
ladle of water or pasta water

Meatballs:

2 tbsp fresh oregano
2 tbsp fresh basil
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb ground beef, veal, pork mix (often sold as "meatloaf mix")
1/3 c bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk

Directions:

Sauce:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.
Sauté the minced garlic until nicely browned.
Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer and then lower the heat to just maintain a simmer.
Stir in the salt, herbs, and whiskey and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning.
If the sauce gets too thick, stir in a ladle full, my ladle is about half a cup, of water. The best would be water from cooking pasta, but just a ladle of water will do fine.

Meatballs:

Preheat oven to 400ºF and and grease or line a baking tray with non stick paper.
Mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs together in a mixing bowl until everything is just combined. The more you handle the ingredients the tougher your meatballs will be, so less is more.
Form into 1" balls, or golf ball sized balls.*
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and lightly brown.

If you time it right, you can get these all done at roughly the same time. Add the meatballs to the sauce and serve over pasta, or ladle some sauce over pasta and place some meatballs on top, however you want to serve it. Enjoy!

*If you are going to be making a meatball sandwich like a meatball sub or meatball parm, make the balls a bit larger, you will just have to adjust your cooking time accordingly.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs

A delicious plate of BBq ribs
To me, nothing says 4th of July like a plate of ribs. Grilled and especially smoked ribs might be the definitive expression of the art, but nothing gets consistently quality results like a slow cooker. Also, the 4th in my area is promising to be a rainy one, which will push people inside and grilling in bad weather is only fun to a select group of odd balls (like me). So, to make sure no ones celebration is spoiled, here is a good recipe to use if it (literally) rains on your parade.

Ingredients:

1 rack of spare ribs*
½ C brown sugar
2 tsp salt
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp red pepper
BBQ sauce**

Directions:

Cut the ribs in half so they fit better in a slow cooker. Pat dry with some paper towels to help the dry rub stick.
Mix together everything remaining except the BBQ sauce and rub onto the ribs. Make sure you cover both sides and every edge.
Place in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5-6 or until they reach an internal temp of 190-205 F. Yes, this is way higher than the done temp for pork, but ribs, especially spare ribs, have a lot of fat and collagen in them. This needs to be rendered out for the ribs to be their best. If you cook to the usual pork temp of 160 F you will have much tougher and fattier ribs. This makes it difficult for low and slow methods to over-cook ribs, but it is easy to under-cook them.
Once they have reached temp, remove and let them rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting into portions. I like to get them into pairs so people do not have to commit to a half or full rack, but can still take a plateful. Toss in BBQ sauce and serve, with plenty of napkins, to a grateful world.

*This recipe was specifically made with spare ribs in mind. If you are using baby-back ribs, you might need to adjust times.
**I made this dry rub to specifically go with my BBQ sauce recipe by using the same base of spices, but any sauce that goes well with some sweet heat will work great.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

BBQ Sauce

We are nearly at the 4th of July so it is time for cookouts, grilling, good food, and time with friends and family. By far one of the most common condiments needed for a successful cookout is a quality BBQ sauce. Why not impress your friends and be the talk of the cul de sac with a homemade BBQ sauce? It is amazingly easy to make and a great way to add that last layer of finger-licking goodness of a classic cookout.

Ingredients:

1½ C ketchup
½  C brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ smoked paprika
½ chili powder
½ hot sauce

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved and the sauce is smooth.
Store in a squirt bottle or jar in the fridge.
See, told you it was easy.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Recipe Collection

I apologize for not posting during the month of June. I can make excuses about how school was commanding all of my time, and that would be true. However the real truth, then I was sad. June is probably always going to be a  rough month for me since it contains both Father's Day and my father's birthday. For anyone who is new here, my father passed away in September of 2016.

 In June, we also moved my grandmother out of her Independent Living Community and into an Assisted-Living Community. This brought up some more complicated emotions and did not really do anything to improve my emotional outlook.

Obviously I'm not alone in this, I go through this with my wife by my side and with my whole family. I cannot thank them enough for their support.

With the sappy stuff out of the way, let's move on to the fun stuff. Part of moving my grandmother out of her apartment involved me getting most of her recipes. I now have a treasure trove of recipes from as far back as the early 1950s.
Many of these are from friends of the family, many are my grandmother's originals, and some even come from my great grandmothers.

Some of these are a little odd, and definitely a little old school, but I'm excited to give them a try. I’ll be spending a lot of the summer trying them out, modifying them, and posting them here for you. I also plan on making some more videos for you all to enjoy.

Please pay attention to this space, there is a lot of great stuff coming.

PS. I'll be sharing my finished products here, but if you want a look at the process, be sure to support me on Patreon.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Chicken Carnitas

After spending some time eating vegetarian, I am trying to cut back on the meat I eat, and to eat more sustainably. This means relying more on chicken and fish as my staple proteins, rather than beef or pork.

This means I need to get a bit more creative to keep myself satisfied, so when a friend of mine asked for a chicken carnitas recipe to help him out, I jumped at the challenge.

Ingredients:

4 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium yellow onion
2 jalapenos
¼ c olive oil
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp oil

Directions:

Put the chicken thighs in a slow cooker. Peel and crush your garlic, peel and quarter your onion, roughly chop your jalapenos. Place everything, except the last 2 tbsp of oil, in your slow cooker and toss to make sure it is all well combined.

Cook on low for 6 hours.

Once cooked through and tender, remove the chicken and drain the liquid through a mesh strainer and reserve.

Chill both for a few hours or over night.

You can skim the fat off the liquid once it is cool, or stick in the freezer for an hour to make it easy to scoop off.

Once the chicken is fully cooled shred-it using either your hands or a fork or chop it into small pieces.

To reheat, pour 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat in a large pan, once the oil is shimmering, add your shredded chicken in one layer and sear without moving for 2 minutes to build up the characteristic crust. Poor in reserved one cup of cooking liquid and stir until heated through.

Serve on warm tortillas with chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, and crema or sour cream. It also works great on nachos and it keeps well in the freezer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Chickpea Curry

I was looking around for a quick vegan curry because I have discovered that cream sauces aren't agreeing with me right now (something that makes me incredibly sad every day) and I wanted a curry that was made to not have meat or dairy in it so I did not have to figure out weird substitutes. I came across a recipe for a chickpea curry that made some odd choices so I took the chance to refine it and came up with this tasty concoction.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 large white onion
½ tsp salt
2 medium tomatoes
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp cinnamon
13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
1 16oz can of chickpeas
¼ C chopped cilantro

Directions:

Finely dice the garlic and the onion and roughly chop the tomatoes. Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and saute until lightly browned, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and the salt and saute, stirring frequently, until translucent before adding the tomatoes and cooking until the tomatoes start to break apart. Sprinkle in all the spices and fry them, stirring constantly, until they are super fragrant.
Reduce the heat to low and pour in the coconut milk and chickpeas, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy. Add the chopped cilantro and serve, preferably over basmati rice.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope you are having a great St. Patrick's Day! I gave up meat for lent, so it is not quite as fun for me as it usually is, but I am making do. I'm currently working on an Irish Soda Bread recipe that I should have up in time for next year.

Here are the Irish themed recipes I have put out to help you enjoy the "spirit" of the holiday!
My St. Patrick's Day shake is a great drink for parties, especially if you are enjoying better weather then I am right now.

While my Irish Redhead is not strictly speaking Irish or green, it is Irish themed and that seems to be enough reason to drink it in America!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Scrambled Egg Curry

When it is time to go grocery shopping and all you have is a few random ingredients around your house, it is a great time to throw together a curry.
I had leftover pieces from some of the things I had made last week, and somethings I had planned on making but didn't have time, and a curry is usually a tasty way to use up a few odds and ends.
Since this one is made with scrambled egg, it is very quick, no stewing or simmering. Just saute some veggies, fry some spices, throw in your eggs and serve. It is great by itself or on a bed of greens.
I also recently discovered that one of my little sisters tried curry for the first time recently. She is scared of trying to make it at home because she does not want to smell up her house too much. This one is a bit more mild, so I hope she will give it a try.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
6 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and toss in the tomatoes, onions, and salt. Saute until they are nicely softened but are still bright and colorful, about 2-5 minutes. Stir in the spices and let them fry and hydrate for a few minutes. Once they are nice and fragrant, pour on the beaten eggs and stir constantly until just cooked. Remove from the heat and serve.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Cheat's Mac'n'Cheese

The base of pretty much any homemade mac and cheese (especially stove top) is usually a cheese sauce or bechamel sauce. This is made by cooking flour in butter and using the resulting roux (pronounced rue) to thicken milk which cheese is then melted into. This is a cheat because it avoids that entirely and uses sour cream and the starch left on your pasta to get a good sauce.

Ingredients:

2 lbs of ground spicy sausage
2 lbs of pasta (I recommend either macaroni or rotini)
1 lb of cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb of sour cream*
4 C of milk

Directions:

Brown the ground sausage until cooked through. You can use links, but Laura hates the casings so I just use the sausage meat. I recommend doing this in 1 lb portions, otherwise you could pull too much heat out of your pan and you will end up with boiled sausage which just is not as good. (Alternatively, you could entirely skip this if you don't want sausage in your mac'n'cheese.)

Cook your pasta according to the package instructions and drain it thoroughly, but DO NOT RINSE IT, the starch that it still clinging to those noodles is vital in making a good sauce later.

Stir everything in to the still warm pasta. If you move quickly, and have everything ready to go, it should all melt in and form a smooth, creamy sauce. If it has cooled down, put the pot over a low heat while you stir. If the sauce is a little too liquid, just keep stirring, the sauce will thicken as the starch expands.

*If you use a 16 oz/1 lb container, that is a 2 cup container, you can use that to measure the milk so it makes fewer dishes.