Are you ready for some tailgating? You all know that I’m not actually a big football fan. I don’t keep that a secret but I do enjoy tailgating. What’s not to love about sitting on the back of a tailgate with your boot (cowboy of course) covered feet swinging away with your favorite cold beverage in your hand and a slider or two in the other. Right? Right. I’m already thinking about recipes for this season. Wings and SLIDERS are some of my favorites. This Pork Tenderloin Slider with Cranberry Sauce and Caramelized Onions might be my new all time favorite slider and could possibly be yours too. It’s cooked to perfection and without worry too. Want to know the secret?
I’m all for low and slow cooking. Set it and forget it if you will. Now that it’s finally fall (happy dance) I’m doing a lot more of that type of cooking. I’m excited to share with y’all that I’ve partnered with Crock-Pot® Slow Cookers to bring you a few recipes using their new Crock-Pot® Smart Slow Cooker WeMo Enabled. What does that mean? It means that it works with your smart device (Android and Apple) to let you easily adjust cook settings … from virtually anywhere. Pretty smart, right? Right!
We eat a lot of chicken. So it goes without saying that I have a REALLY large repertoire of chicken recipes. We have our favorites of course, everyone does but if I served the same ones week in and week out I’d probably end up with a mutiny on my hands (ain’t nobody got time for that). This was one of my “clean out the refrigerator” ideas for chicken. Sometimes they work out. Sometimes they don’t. Obviously if its making it to our corner of the web here Mikey (aka the family) liked it. Woot. Glazes are a great way to go with chicken. Making a glaze is super easy. You take a liquid and reduce it. My soon to be eight year old could do this, he calls it sauce and I just don’t have the heart to correct him, being the baby and all, and well let’s be honest he’s cute. Real cute (for the record, and just in case they might read this – my other two children are equally adorable.)
I have a confession to make. I’m kind of obsessed with chicken wings. The saucier the better. If you’re not getting sauce on your face while you eat wings then you’re not doing it right. It’s not a first date kind of food. Best eaten amongst friends. Just saying. I also recommend not wearing a white shirt. It’s just a bad idea. Sauce stains and those just don’t come out. I also prefer the legs over the wings so it’s good to pair up with someone who likes the opposite so you can scarf down all the legs (or wings) that you like. Or is that just me? I suppose I could just make all legs but then I couldn’t call them wings. Seems I’m quite particular about this aren’t I. Ha.
I’m a big fan of chicken thighs, bone in (flavor baby) it’s the cut that I gravitate to first. Sometimes I need a cut that’s going to cook up much much faster. Say when I have a herd of hungry people in my kitchen screaming what’s for dinner, MOM I’m hungry, and the other dozen or so statements that I block out after the first two. Am I the only one? Surely I can’t be. That’s where chicken breast tenderloins come in. They cook up in lickety split and help keep the peace and my headaches at bay.
I think from now on I might actually put candied bacon on everything. It’s so good it’s should probably be illegal. So good I’m pretty much willing to put up with the inevitable sticky fingers that come with. A word to the wise, you’ll want to wait until your newly candied bacon is cooled before you go diving into a slice. Let’s just say I learned the hard way and I may or may not be speaking with a lisp today because my tongue is burned. Silver lining the cool panna cotta helped.
Next to pasta the most consumed food in our house is probably rice. We keep a variety on hand because you know how much we like options around bell’alimento land. White, Basamati, Jasmine, Yellow. You get the picture. We like to be prepared. That’s the girl scout in me. We didn’t even cover the fact that rice is incredibly versatile and can be used in a plethora of cuisines. Extra points for that (and for using the word plethora – too bad we’re not playing scrabble). It’s also kid friendly.
We’re celebrating today. It’s not any particular milestone or event we just felt like celebrating. Happy Monday. Happy End of Summer. Happy almost Labor Day. Happy Un-Birthday. Happy Happy Happy. Do you have that song in your head now. It’s kind of addictive. Know what other song is addictive? Kenny Chesney’s new one “American Kids”. That my friends might be my new favorite KC song. It’s snappy, and sassy. Kind of like me. Yes, since I’ve been developing recipes for Kenny Chesney’s Rum Company – Blue Chair Bay Rum, over the past few months we’ve developed this friendship (even if it’s only in my head but whatever just roll with it).
Next week it’s back to school for my kids. I! Am! Thrilled! You can probably tell by the exclamation marks. It’s been a long summer people. No judging. What I’m not looking forward to is waking up early after a summer of lazy mornings. I’m not a morning person. Never have been and I’m thinking that’s probably never going to change. Thank goodness for coffee is all I can say. For me though, it’s important to get the kids off with a full belly. This biscuits and sausage gravy is a shortcut breakfast that can be prepped the night before and then just heated up in the morning. That’s definitely a good thing.
I seem to be on a sweet tooth tare these days. No Bake Nutella Cheesecake. Espresso Ice Cream, Sweet Corn Ice and Blackberry Ice Cream and the like. Which is probably why I’m having to get reacquainted with my treadmill. It’s amazing how much reading and catching up on my shows I can do via my Kindle while I’m logging the miles. I’m a multi tasker what can I say. It’s also where I can dream about all those desserts I want to whip up. I make myself feel a whole better about inhaling eating them when they’re in individual portions. Totally rational right.
I know what you’re thinking CORN ICE CREAM. Has she lost her ever loving mind? No (well maybe summer is getting to me if we’re going to be completely honest). Sweet Corn Ice Cream it’s a real thing. Of course I didn’t know this was a thing myself until last year when I walked into the newly opened Jeni’s in Nashville TN. I saw it on the massive chalkboard amongst a sea of other delectable flavors and knew I needed to try it. I’m always up for trying somewhat off the wall flavor combinations. How are you ever go to know if you like something if not. Right? Right.
Last week I was in the Florida Keys (if you follow me on Instagram and Twitter you would have seen some of the aca-awesomness, and if you’re not, just why? Go ahead and fix that now. Okay? Okay.) I almost didn’t come home. Not even going to pretend that it was anything short of amazing. The food, the people the WATER. It’s ridiculous. I honestly bought an artisan made necklace off a gallery owner’s neck because it reminded me of the water. I had to have it, and this cocktail that I discovered while there.
Grab your polka dot straws and pucker up princess. We’re serving up a pitcher of luscious lemonade today. Not your classic either. This is not your Grandma’s lemonade. Although I do think my Grandma would have loved this version. Lemonade makes me think of summer time, hot sweltering days, riding bicycles and yes lemonade stands. I hosted many a stand in my time growing up. I’m not sure I ever made much money other than enough to buy a pack of hubba bubba (which was and still is the bomb diggity of bubble gum) but it sure was a good time. I thank my Mom for fostering my entrepreneurial spirit. It’s one I don’t think I’ve ever grown out of.
I had my fair share of frozen banana daiquiri’s on my honeymoon in Jamaica (we won’t discuss how many years ago that was let’s just say I’m into the good gift numbers). Brought over by cabana boys to the beach, to the pool, to the lobby, you name it. They were so polite it would have been rude to have not accepted them right? Right. They were the best banana daiquiris I’d ever tasted. I’m not sure why I’d never tried to recreate them before now but I’m glad I finally did. What made me try after all those years? A beautiful bottle of banana rum.
I hope you’re ready for one pretty awesome NO BAKE dessert. Yes I said no baking and or cooking for that matter. Well unless you count melting in the microwave but let’s not split hairs about that when we have such a glorious and decadent dessert to dwell on. A chocolate pudding concoction that will have you making noises when you eat it. Yep yep. It’s silky, sweet (thanks to a little maple syrup) and smooth and just when you think it couldn’t get any better you feel that slight tingle and tickle of heat. Pure bliss.
I like sauces. It’s true. Savory, salty, sweet a little heat. Doesn’t matter to me just bring on the sauce. I also like simple and it doesn’t get much simpler than this 4 ingredient Spicy Caramel Sauce. It’s savory sweet and has a little heat. Covering almost all of my bases. It takes less than 15 minutes and I’m betting you’ll find all kinds to drizzle this deliciousness on. My go to is ice cream. Preferably vanilla bean because it goes with everything that I feel like bringing to the ice cream party. It’s also great drizzled over cream puffs. I mean who doesn’t like cream puffs. Don’t tell me if you don’t. That would crush me.
I hope you things HOT, besides the weather which here in North Cackalacky is already sweltering. Not that I should be surprised after 6 years of being here. What does surprise me is the bill. I’m thinking I should start a savings fund for said air conditioning bill. Sigh. We however are talking hot as in hot and spicy food. This week we’re partnering with TABASCO to bring you not one but FIVE hot and spicy recipes. An entire week of recipes dedicated to that little iconic bottle. You know the one. It’s pretty unmistakeably. That bottle has been gracing my family’s fridge for longer than I can remember. I’m betting it’s in most of yours too.
I’ve never been able to do shots (well unless they were of the jello variety). I just can’t. I have to sip them and well that’s just embarrassing (it’s okay I know it) so I avoid the inevitable mocking and bright red face by running away from them like they were the plague. Cocktails now are another story. I prefer those that pack a little punch and are on the fruity side. What can I say. I like them and especially those with tequila. Tequila kinda has a reputation of sorts. There are odes to it all across the airwaves. Kenny Chesney’s- “you and TEQUILA make me crazy” (it’s true) and Joe Nichols “tequila makes her clothes come off” (ehem not going there) are just a few of my favorites that reference that clear concoction.
Jams, jelly or preserves? I’m a preserves kinda girl through and through. I like a little texture going on. Plus it’s less work. Truth. Strawberry is my preserve poison of choice. It’s what I gravitate to, well that and Fig Preserves, which is also the bomb diggity. Lately I’ve been on the strawberry rhubarb bandwagon. Adding the rhubarb to the mix adds another dimension, it takes it from casual sundress to cocktail dress but in the culinary sense. This preserve is giving my old favorite a run for it’s pole position in my pantry.
My littles get out of school NEXT week. I’m having a hard enough time dealing with the fact that it’s already JUNE and on top of that it is the end of school year. Pass the wine. While I will enjoy the laid back slow mornings, because y’all know that I am not, nor will I ever be a morning person (my dream of owning a farm complete with a big green tractor is held up because of this and okay a big fat down payment as well) I’m dreading hearing the “I’m BORED” or “What’s there to eat” every two seconds. Maybe it’s just my kids? Time to start cranking out the homemade snacks.