Thursday, July 19, 2018

Crazy Mexican Chicken Street Corn Casserole

Have you ever had real authentic Mexican street corn? Did you wish you may have had some protein with that before your friends talked you into going to a tequila bar?  Have you ever had too much fine tequila and woke up on a beach with no idea how you got there? THEN THIS CASSEROLE RECIPE IS FOR YOU! 

This is my life saving pre-hug for you ~ "The Party Base Casserole." 

"You're welcome."
2 large fresh chicken breasts
5 strips of crisp bacon, diced
1 can diced green chilies
1 can diced jalapeno peppers
1 cup diced sweet cherry tomatos
1 cup minced fresh cilantro
½ cup diced green onions
juice of 2 fresh limes
1 can creamed corn
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 package of cream cheese softened
½ cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (save a little for the topping)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (save a little for the topping)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (save a little for the topping)
5 fresh ears raw corn removed from the cob
1 container of fresh Pico de gallo salsa
1 box of Corn Muffin mix
½ cup milk
1 large egg
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ cup coarsely ground black pepper

COOKING MUSIC SELECTION:  DJ Star- El Mariachi (House Remix)

Preheat the oven to 400F, and place the chicken breasts on a baking dish, add salt and pepper and place in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove and set aside to let cool. Once cooled, dice into small bite size pieces. Tuen the oven temperature down to 350 F.

In a large mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, add the chicken. Grease a casserole pan with cooking spray or oil and pour the mixture into the pan. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 45 mins. until golden brown. Serve Hot. Serve with mucho shots of tequila until you go loco.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Coffee Rubbed Tomahawk Cowboy Ribeye

Here is an amazing recipe for your big fireworks dinner party that will wow your guests. This is the most outstanding way to cook this Fred Flinstone sized bone-in steak. FRIGGIN AWESOME!

2 tomahawk-cut bone-in ribeye steaks
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil

Coffee Rub:
½ cup dark roast whole bean coffee, finely ground
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup garlic powder
½ cup coarsely ground black pepper


In a mixing bowl, add coffee, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper, and mix well to combine evenly. Cover and move to the side.

Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and salt them liberally with kosher salt. Place on a tray lined with paper towel and let them rest for 1 hour until they come to room temperature. Remove the paper towels. Place the steaks on a baking tray and position on the center rack of the oven.

Roast uncovered until the internal temperature (use a wire probe thermometer if you have one) reaches 125ºF, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven.  Brush only 1 side of each steak with the oil and liberally coat with the dry rub.

On a gas grill set to high heat, place the steaks on the hottest part of the grill. Without turning, watch to see that the rub is set and has formed a crust, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. ENJOY!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Polenta Parmesan Corn Dogs

Here is a super yummy fun thing to make for the whole family this summer!

I tried these out on my last glamping trip and everyone picked their own hot dog or spicy dog and dipped them in the batter and fried them up for themselves. Pete even cooked up an real Andouille sausage and made it. AWESOME!

The kids loved making them!  The grown-up kids Really enjoyed them. I found that cutting the dogs in half made them more fun because you can try different kinds and not get too full. The fun part is making your own and everyone enjoying the process.

Deep frying while camping is actually easy if you strain the cooled oil, you can make lots of fun things with your friends you normally would never fry or eat. 

1 cup polenta
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 quart peanut oil for frying
2 (16 ounce) packages beef frankfurters, polish, or any pre cooked sausages (even little smokies would be fun)
16 wooden skewers

COOKING MUSIC SELECTION: Baha Men - Who Let The Dogs Out

In a medium bowl, combine polenta, flour, cheese, salt, pepper, sugar and baking powder. Stir in eggs and milk.

Preheat oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Keep a meat or digital thermometer handy and make sure you keep the oil at 350 degrees F,

Insert wooden skewers into frankfurters. In a tall glass, pour batter and then dip each frankfurter in batter until well coated.

Fry 2 or 3 corn dogs at a time until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve with mustard's, catsup's. ENJOY!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Cronut Strawberry Shortcakes

The strawberries are amazing this time of year. Here is an easy fun summer recipe that everyone will love! The puff pastry puffed up so big when it is fried and it stays really crispy. The combination of the fruit and whipped cream takes this wonderful sweet treat to a whole new level.

1 quart peanut or canola oil for frying
1 cup Confectioners’ sugar
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
Fresh or canned whipped cream

COOKING MUSIC SELECTION:  The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever

Preheat oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Keep a meat or digital thermometer handy and make sure you keep the oil at 350 degrees F.

While oil is heating unfold the pastry sheet onto a cutting board and cut into small squares or circles, or if you have a donut cutter, make them into donuts.

Drop each of the pastries into the oil to fry, flipping until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Serves with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. ENJOY!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Easter Rack of Lamb with Bourbon Orange-Caramel Sauce

This is one of the best recipes EVER for Easter supper. This sauce is actually good on chicken, pork, beef, duck... with lamb, it's a perfect accompaniment. 

4 ½ tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons black pepper
2 6-bone racks of lamb Frenched
4 large oranges
½ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup bourbon
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons orange liqueur (cointreau or grand marnier)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

COOKING MUSIC SELECTION:  Mary Had A Metal Lamb – Death Metal

Pulse oil, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small food processor or finely chop on a work surface to form a paste. Place lamb, bone side down, on a work surface. Rub roasts with herb paste, massaging some into each slit. Let rest at room temperature for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, remove zest (orange part only) from 1 orange in 3"-long strips. Using a knife, cut zest crosswise into 1/8"-wide strips; set aside. Cut peel and white pith from remaining oranges. Slice all oranges into 1/4"-thick rounds; transfer to a large roasting pan.

Place orange zest strips in a small saucepan. Cover with water; bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain zest; set aside for sauce and discard liquid in pan.

Arrange a rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°. Place lamb in roasting pan over orange rounds so that roasts face each other and the rib bones interlock. Wrap bone tips in foil to prevent burning. Roast lamb until meat is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 135°, about 25 minutes longer. Transfer to a carving board and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until caramel is light amber, about 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat; gradually whisk in orange juice and bourbon. Set pan over medium heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Stir in reserved orange zest, broth, and marmalade. Boil until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Set caramel sauce aside.

Whisk cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl; set aside. Transfer orange slices from roasting pan to a warm platter. Spoon off and discard fat from drippings in pan. Place roasting pan over 2 burners set at medium heat. Pour in reserved caramel sauce; set saucepan aside. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from bottom of roasting pan. 

Boil for 30 seconds, then return sauce to reserved saucepan. Stir in liqueur. Bring sauce to a boil; whisk in cornstarch mixture. Boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Slice lamb between rib bones to make individual chops. Arrange chops on top of orange slices on platter. Serve with sauce. DELIGHTFUL!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Pesto Pepperoni Focaccia Pizza with sweet cherry tomatoes

This pizza is all about the crust!  It’s crunchy and crispy on the bottom and light and chewy in the middle, yet has what the kids love, pepperoni joy.  (As you can see from this photo caption, I tripled the recipe to feed a crowd for a glamping trip recently in June!)

Photo taken by Mark Sadausky

¼ ounce package active dry yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
3 ½ cups bread flour
1 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups finely sliced pepperoni
Ripe summer cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons crumbled dried orégano
Salt and pepper to taste


In the bowl add the warm water, sugar and yeast and stir it up and let sit until the mixture is foamy, add the flour, the table salt, and 3 tablespoons
of the oil, and combine the dough well with a wooden spoon and then your oiled hands, knead the dough for 2 minutes, or until it is so and slightly sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead in the salr, pepper, and the orégano until they are incorporated thoroughly. Form the dough into
a ball, transfer it to an oiled bowl, and turn it to coat it with the oil. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it is double in bulk. The dough may be made up to this point, punched down, and kept, covered and chilled, overnight. Let the dough return to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.

Preheat oven to 400 F. and in a large oiled pan, place the risen dough ball onto the pan and with your hands, stretch it out to the desired thickness about ½ inch is ideal. Spread the pesto, then the cheeses, the peperoni and tomatoes.

Bake the focaccia in the bottom third of oven, covering it with foil if the pepperoni begins to burn, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it is golden brown, let it cool in the pan on a rack, and serve it warm or at room temperature. ENJOY!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Ultimate Muffuletta Sandwich

There is nothing better than a real deal New Orleans style Muffuletta Sandwich. This is one of those sandwiches that gets better when you let it marinade before eating, if you can wait that long - which is impossible. This makes this the best picnic, camping make-ahead recipe and Super Bowl grub Ever!

¾ cup pitted mixed oil-packed olives
1 tablespoon capers
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons parsley leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ pound thinly sliced mortadella
½ pound thinly sliced capicola
½ pound thinly sliced provolone cheese

COOKING MUSIC SELECTION:  Arlo Guthrie - City of New Orleans

Combine olives, capers, peppers, parsley, giardiniera, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop until no pieces larger than ½ -inch remain. Transfer to a bowl. Add vinegar and olive oil and stir to combine. For best results, let olive salad rest overnight.

Split muffuletta roll in half and spread each cut surface generously with olive salad, making sure to include the juices when spreading. Layer half of soppressata on bottom half of bun, followed by half of mortadella, half of capicola, and half of provolone.

Repeat layers with remaining meat and cheese as tall as you like. Close sandwiches and press down gently to compress. For best flavor, wrap tightly in paper or plastic and let rest for 1 hour before serving. OUTSTANDING! Enjoy!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Jack Daniels Honey Ginger Garlic Drumsticks

If you are looking for a great easy Super Bowl recipe that everyone will love, TRY THESE! They are sweet, tangy, and little spicy and easy to bake in the oven. The whiskey gives these a richness that takes it over the top!

Super Bowl Goodness!
6 tablespoons butter
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh peeled ginger, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
12 chicken drumsticks
¼ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Add garlic, ginger cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Turn off heat.  Add soy sauce, honey, whiskey, crushed red pepper and cilantro.  Stir to combine.

Arrange drumsticks in a single layer in a baking dish.  Sprinkle generously with salt, black pepper and 5 spice powder. Pour the sauce over the drumsticks and roll to coat evenly.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  I turned the broiler on for the last 5 minutes to crisp up the skin a bit.  Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Fluffy Champagne Cupcakes

If you get invited to a New Year’s Eve party and are asked to bring something sweet, these are amazing! You can use any flavored sparkling wine out there for this recipe.

box vanilla cake mix
1¾ cup of sparkling wine or champagne divided
2 sticks of butter
4 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
Gold sanding sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, mix cake mix with 1½ cups champagne. Bake according to package directions and let cool completely before frosting.

Meanwhile, make champagne frosting: In a large bowl, combine butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and remaining ¼ cup champagne. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.

Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with gold sanding sugar. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Silky Split Pea and Ham Soup

When it starts getting cold outside and you find you have leftover ham from the holidays, make a big pot of this soup and put it in easy to grab containers and freeze them.  On a rainy week night and you are tired, pop one of these in the microwave and in 4 minutes (enough time to toast up some nice crusty bread), you have a great easy fast meal. This is a hearty soup that will heal what's ailing you. : )

2 yellow onions
6 ribs celery
3 cloves garlic
2 cups of carrots
1 large meaty ham bone
1 cup sherry
2 bay leaves
1 pound dried split peas
2½ quarts chicken stock (or enough to cover the ham bone)
salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a blender add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Add chicken stock and blend until smooth.  Pour into a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the peas, sherry and bay leaf.  Stir, cover and simmer slowly until the peas are tender and the soup is thick, and the meat is falling off the bone, about 2 hours. Stir occasionally. It will reduce, thicken and become amazing. Season with salt and black pepper.

Take the pot off the burner and let it cool. Remove meat from bones and break up the ham into small pieces. Serve with toasted crusty bread and butter. Pour into stackable Tupperware containers for the freezer to heat up when needed. Will keep in the freezer for at least 6 months. ENJOY!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Hardly Strictly Carrot Cake with Rum Raisin Filling and Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting


It’s one of my pal’s birthdays and it's also Hardly Strictly Bluegrass weekend in Golden Gate Park. He said his favorite cake was Carrot Cake, so I made him this! I fluffed up a cake mix and turned out friggin epic! What makes this cake so moist and unique is that is the ingredients are smooth in the sponge cake and not all chunky like a lot of carrot cakes out there.
I had fun decorating this one...

The last of the roses from my garden...
Easy frostings in zip-lock bags...
Cake is so moist and buttery, it looks innocent enough...
INSIDE is the Myers Rum Raisin Filling Surprise!
For cake:
1 Box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Carrot Cake Mix
1 small box of Vanilla instant pudding mix
4 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded carrots
1 1/3 cups orange juice
1/3 butter
1 small can have crushed pineapple
½ cup walnuts
½ cup shredded coconut
Juice of one Meyer lemon

For the Rum Raisin filling:
2 cups raisins
3 Tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt
2 cups Dark Jamaican Rum
1 cup sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

For frosting:
2 regular size boxes of cream cheese
1 stick butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350°F, and spray baking pans with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a blender add, the pineapple, carrots, nuts, Orange juice, eggs, coconut and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl with the cake mix and add the pudding mix. Mix until completely smooth. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and pour batter into pans.  Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool.

For the Rum Raisin Filling, in a small sauce pan, add the butter, raisins, coconut and rum, sugar, nutmeg, and salt and simmer on low for 20 minutes until it reduces and the raisins plump up big full of rum and the coconut melts and thickens the mixture. Set aside to cool.

For the frosting add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and with an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.  I set aside some and added food coloring to decorate.  I placed them in small zip-lock bags, cut the ends off and made carrots on top.  I had some orange roses in my garden, and added them in the middle.

Cake Assembly: Place bottom layer down, add a thick coating of the Rum Raisin filling so it absorbs the rum juices. Then a large layer of cream cheese frosting, then the top cake layer and then frosted the rest of the cake with the cream cheese frosting.

I put it in the fridge to firm it up before transport.  I hope he like it! It was fun to make. Here is what it looks like.  Carrot Cake with a Myers Rum Raisin surprise inside! 

Had a blast last night at the Plough & Stars with all of the amazing bluegrass players.  Glad we could share it with the band!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Best Irish Car Bomb Cake ~ Hangover helpers

Here is a fluffed up boozy alcohol box cake recipe that is ALWAYS a winner!  An Irish car bomb is a drink that has a shot of Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey dropped in the shot glass, down into a glass of Guinness beer. This is something like that, but in a cake.  Seriously good cake for your Irish friends who love chocolate.

For Cake:
1 Box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 Chocolate instant pudding mix
4 eggs
½ cup softened butter
1 cup of Guinness Beer
½ cup Irish Cream Liqueur

For Cake Glaze:
½ cup of butter melted
1 cup Jameson’s Whiskey
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

For Ganache icing:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

COOKING MUSIC SELECTION: The Mahones - The Black Irish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt cake pan.  In a large bowl, add all of the cake ingredients and mix them until smooth. Pour into pan, and bake for 35-40 mins. or until you can poke a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.  Before it’s completely baked, in a small saucepan, melt the butter, whiskey and powdered sugar, and let simmer for 10 mins. 

When the cake is done, take it out and then slowly pour the glaze into the cake while it is still hot in the Bundt pan to soak up this elixir.  Let it cool.

In a small bowl, add the chocolate chips and heavy cream and microwave it for 1 minute at a time. Take it out and stir it well until it is a shiny, beautiful chocolate ganache frosting.

Remove the cake from the pan onto a plate, and spoon the ganache icing over the top of it so it flows down the sides. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes to set up.  This cake is amazing, seriously good. ENJOY!