Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Best BBQ Joints in Every State in the U.S.

I'm a huge fan of BBQ, as you've probably guessed. Looks like a road trip is in order, at least to the lower 48! A lot of these places look amazing, though there are 1 or 2 I don't necessarily agree with.



The Best BBQ Joints in Every State in the U.S.:



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Monday, August 29, 2016

7 Healthy Recipes Using Fresh Bell Peppers

I love bell peppers - stuffed, raw, made into a sauce. They're really versatile. Here are some really great ideas to use bell peppers. I have made something similar to the Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce. It goes great with pasta and Italian sausage. Roasted red bell peppers also make a great dipping sauce for fried mozzarella, instead of the classic marinara sauce.



7 Healthy Recipes Using Fresh Bell Peppers:



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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chicken and Rosemary Meatballs with Sautéed Tomatoes and Spinach

I've been thinking about this one for a while, but have only recently gotten around to making it. I wanted to try something different with meatballs besides beef and veal. I haven't tried it yet, but I would imagine this would go great with lamb in place of the chicken. I'm a big fan of the lamb and rosemary flavor profile.


For the Sauce:


  • 2 Garlic Cloves - Minced
  • 1 14.5 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Bunch of Spinach - Rough Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pasta
  • Olive Oil

Sauté the garlic in olive oil over medium heat until light brown. Add in salt and pepper and tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce reduces. Stir in the chopped spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. 

Chicken and Rosemary Meatballs with Sautéed Tomatoes and Spinach
Chicken and Rosemary Meatballs with Sautéed Tomatoes and Spinach

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb Ground Chicken
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 Cup Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary - Chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Water
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt & Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. This best done by hand. Roll the mixture in to balls a little bigger than a golf ball. If they are much bigger than, the outside will burn before the inside cooks. Arrange the meatballs on a sheet pan and place under the broiler. Cook until the top is brown. Remove the meatballs from the broiler and flip. The bottom will likely be brown already, but the middle still needs to cook a little more and you don't want to burn the top. Place back under the broiler for a more minutes. Serve the meatballs with the sauce over pasta. 



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Recipes for a Single Mom - Part 1

Lemon Chicken with Red Wine Tomato Sauce
Lemon Chicken with Red Wine Tomato Sauce shown here with penne
pasta and green onions.
Back in college I worked at Starbucks. One of our semi-regular customers was a single mom looking to cook some healthy meals for her kids. She really had no idea where to start, so I offered to share a few recipes with her. Some of them were recipes I already had, and some were new ones I wrote for her. I'll be doing a series on these recipes in the next few weeks.

The first recipe I gave her was for my Chicken Florentine. You can find that recipe here.

The second recipe I gave her was for Lemon Chicken with Red Wine Tomato Sauce.


The Recipe:
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 large lemons, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a ½ teaspoon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small portabella mushroom, diced
  • 1 bushel fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • salt and pepper
  • rigatoni
Marinate the chicken in the lemon juice with salt and pepper for about thirty minutes. Remove the chicken from the lemon juice and lightly brown in a sauté pan in a ½ teaspoon of olive oil.

In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and some salt. After about 1 minute, add the tomatoes and the mushrooms, and let sauté about five minutes. Add the basil, red pepper, chicken, red wine, and salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and let cook for another five minutes, stirring once.

Remove from sauté pan and serve over rigatoni pasta.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

9 Straight-A Spots in West University | Best Restaurants | Houstonia

Definitely going to have try these places out!



9 Straight-A Spots in West University | Best Restaurants | Houstonia:



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Avocado Chile Burger with Crispy Onion Straws

Hatch Green Chile Burger
Hatch Green Chile Burger



This recipe goes back to my days as the Houston Barbecue Examiner. In honor of Hatch Green Chile Month we used hatch green chiles instead of the serranos and jalapenos. I'll post both recipes below.


The Original Recipe:


  • 2 pounds ground beef 
  • 3 serrano peppers, seeded and minced 
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk 
  • peanut oil

Combine ground beef with peppers, garlic, salt and pepper and divide into four equal patties. For a more southwestern flavor, add 1 teaspoon of ancho chile powder. The secret to a good, juicy burger is to get a good sear, so make sure the grill is hot. To reach desired doneness without burning, it may be necessary to move the patties away from the heat after both sides have been seared.

Crispy Onion Straws
Crispy Onion Straws
In one bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. In a second bowl combine breadcrumbs, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. In a third bowl, combine the egg and milk. Dust the onions in the flour and wash in the egg mixture, and then cover with breadcrumbs. Transfer the onions to a pot with about an inch of hot peanut oil. Remove the onions to a paper towel once they have become golden brown.

Assemble the burgers in Kaiser rolls, topping the grilled patties with sliced avocado and crispy onion straws.



The New Recipe:

  • 2 pounds ground beef 
  • 2 hatch green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk 
  • peanut oil
  • Ranch dressing
Burgers on the grill
Hatch Green Chile Burgers on the Grill

Combine ground beef with chilies, garlic, salt and pepper and divide into four equal patties. Put the patties on the grill to cook. Make sure the grill is hot to seal in the flavor. I'll end up moving the patties around to make sure they all get cooked evenly. 

In one bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. In a second bowl combine breadcrumbs, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. In a third bowl, combine the egg and milk. Dust the onions in the flour and wash in the egg mixture, and then cover with breadcrumbs. Transfer the onions to a pot with about an inch of hot peanut oil. Remove the onions to a paper towel once they have become golden brown.

Assemble the burgers in Kaiser rolls, topping the grilled patties with sliced avocado and crispy onion straws. Finish with some ranch dressing. 



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Why Are Rotisserie Chickens Cheaper Than Raw Chicken?

We use our share of rotisserie chickens at home, sometimes one a week. This gives a great insight into the cost per pound of home cooked chicken versus a store cooked rotisserie chicken.





Why Are Rotisserie Chickens Cheaper Than Raw Chicken?:



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Guinness Beer Batter

Over the weekend we had a fish fry with some of the fish I caught in Hackberry. Some friends came over and helped us eat all the food. We kept it pretty simple. Just fish and some fries. I like to use a doubled up brown paper bag to shake the fish in the seasoning. Everything turned out great, and I have been able to enjoy some leftover fish for lunch a few days this week. There is even talk of using some of the extra fish for tacos later on this week. The picture below is from this weekend, which makes me wish I was better aboutt taking pictures back in school.

Fish Fry
Top: Fried fish
Bottom Left: Dropped in the oil. Bottom Right: Battered fish ready to fry

I was looking through old recipes and came across a Guinness beer batter I had for one our of big fish fries back in college. I remember it turning out really well and really need to try it again. One thing I remember is that it has a tendency to stick to the basket. We got around that by dropping the basket in the oil first, and then dropping each piece of fish in the oil individually. The recipe itself was inspired by the fish and chips at a bar we would go to in school. They used Newcastle Brown Ale and we really wanted to try a different flavor.

The recipe:

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup beer (1/2 of a bottle)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Fish 
Peanut Oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Hand batter the fish. Heat the peanut oil to 375 degrees. Most people will do 350 degrees, but the temperature will drop as soon as you put the fish in. Drop the basket in to the oil. Drop each piece of fish in to the oil individually. When the fish turns gold brown, usually about 5 minutes, it is ready to come out. Let it cool on paper towels and it is ready to eat.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mustard Roasted Potatoes Recipe | POPSUGAR Food

I've always preferred mustard potato salad over the mayonnaise variety. The spicier the better. This is interesting take on roasted potatoes where the roasted potatoes meet the mustard potato salad.



Mustard Roasted Potatoes Recipe | POPSUGAR Food:



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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

M&M Cookies

M&M Cookies - About to go in the oven
Ready to go in the oven.
It's been raining quite a bit here the last few days, so the boys haven't been able to play outside. It seems that they live for the outdoors, so they've been handling it pretty well. Last night I decided to do something special for them and bake some cookies. They even got try some of the batter! I was looking for chocolate chips in the pantry, but I ended up having to settle for M&Ms. This recipe is adapted from my Anyone Can Cook book. It makes about 12 cookies.


The Recipe:
1/4 cup butter - softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup m&ms

M&M Cookies ready to eat
Ready to eat!
Mix together the butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and baking soda with a hand mixer or stand mixer until combined. Mix in the egg and vanilla until combined. Slowly mix in the flour until combined. Stir in the m&ms. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 - 10 minutes.






Sunday, August 7, 2016

Quick and Easy Way to Dice an Onion - 4 Easy Steps

I can't point fingers because I used to be in the same boat, but I see people all the time who struggle to dice an onion. I watch them want to peel the onion, cut in half, cut it in to strips, and then try to dice each strip. That's too many steps, takes way too long, and is really just too complicated.

Quick and Easy Way to Dice an Onion - 4 Easy Steps
Top Left: Whole Onion;  Top Right: Onion with Ends Cut Off;
Bottom Left: Half of Onion Cut in to 1/4 Inch Strips; Bottom Right: Whole Onion Diced

I like to start by cutting off the ends of the onion. Then I cut it in half, perpendicular to the cuts I made on each end. At this point it should peel pretty easily. The onion skin should come off fairly easily. Now place it fat side down. This is the side that was once the middle of the of the onion. The  two ends of the onion should be on either side. Now cut the onion into strips about 1/4 wide, without cutting all the way to the other side. This will help hold the onion together for the next step. Now rotate the onion 90 degrees. Cut through all the strips you just cut. The knife will be cutting perpendicular to the strips you cut in the previous step. You will still have a strip of onion left at the end, but it should be small enough to quickly dice with just a few cuts.

Hopefully this method will save you some time and some tears in the kitchen.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Paper Co Coffee - My Old Stomping Grounds

Yesterday I had the privilege of making the trip over to Paper Co Coffee, my old stomping grounds. Well, sort of. I used to work there some years back, sort of. When I worked there it was called Taft Street Coffee.

Paper Co Coffee is located inside of a church in Houston called Ecclesia. For many years their home was at 2115 Taft Street. I worked in the coffee shop and music venue for a few years back in the early 2000's. Now located in the First Ward, all proceeds go towards assisting the homeless get a meal or simply a place to belong.

I arrived at 1100 Elder and walked around the building to try to take it all in and then went inside to get my fill. I grabbed a latte and walked the halls of the new building looking at the art on the walls, which I was glad to see as a carryover from the old space.

1100 Elder Ecclesia, Paper Co Coffee
1100 Elder
The coffee beans are roasted in house, which is a huge plus. My latte was full flavored and really didn't require any sugar or flavoring to be the perfect cup of coffee, just what I needed on a Wednesday afternoon. For me, this coffee put the big-box stores to shame.

I had already eaten, but I couldn't help myself from looking at the menu. The Nashville Hot Chicken and the Texas Burger caught my attention, among other fare on the menu. I will definitely have to return for lunch soon.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Grilling Mistakes | POPSUGAR Food

Some really great advice here. If you're following these rules/guidelines, you're definitely missing out on what your grilled food could be - and it's not just barbecue!



Grilling Mistakes | POPSUGAR Food:



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