We are talking wings today. Superbowl is around the corner and these would be a perfect appetizer! BUT for me this is a way to have my favorite meal lightened up. They are so crispy with a burst of juice and all that spice from the sauce. These are one of my new favorite meals for sure! I served some salt and olive oil baked fries on the side. Our ranch was 1 cup of light sour cream, 1 tbsp of milk, 1 tsp of dill weed, 1 tsp of garlic powder, and 2 tsp of ground pepper. If you are doing Whole 30 or eating Paleo you can easily swap this out for approved ranch with homemade mayo.
Now I want to talk about this sauce. One of my favorite things to cook in the kitchen is chopped garlic. I love the smell of garlic heating up in olive oil or butter. Patrick always comes in the kitchen and asks what I’m doing when I drop that garlic into the skillet. You can use olive oil, butter, ghee, coconut oil – whatever you have on hand. I used 2 tbsp of salted butter then added 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped garlic. Then I sauteed for a few minutes over medium heat. Do not let the garlic brown. All you do after that is pour in a cup of your favorite hot sauce and finish with fresh ground pepper. Delicious!
Usually baked wings have a bad reputation because it is SO HARD to replicate that beautiful fried wing. The trick to getting that crispy skin is to boil the wings for 3-5 minutes before baking. You are going to render a lot of that fat which will help it crisp up fast!
You may have noticed the trend in fried chicken on my blog. For some reason I always try and find the next bigger better fried chicken. (fun fact I also do this with chocolate chip cookies) This sandwich might be the one though. So much flavor and easy to adjust to your personal heat levels. The harissa spices bring a really nice warmth to the breading without being to spicy or salty. I picked up my harissa seasoning from World Market. I prefer the dry mix because you can add olive oil to the spices to make a paste or leave it dry.
The secret to exceptionally juicy fried chicken is using chicken thighs. I like to soak them in buttermilk before dipping them into the egg batter. They are almost melt in your mouth tender with a perfect crunchy crust. The real star of the show is the honey harissa mayo spread. It brings a really nice sweet heat that pairs well with some tangy dill pickles.
Fried chicken sandwiches with a harissa crust and sweet harissa mayo.
4 chicken thighs
1 cup of milk or buttermilk
½ cup of AP flour
1 cup of panko crumbs
2 tbsp of harissa spice
1 tsp of garlic powder
salt and pepper
½ cup of mayo
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of harissa spice
oil for frying
soak the chicken thighs in the milk while preparing the oil
In a deep frying pan heat oil to 350 degrees. (I used canola oil)
Prepare two bowls- one with the eggs beaten and the second with the flour, panko, garlic and harissa
Dip the chicken into the egg then into the flour mix
Season with salt and pepper
Fry in the oil until up to temperature. I usually cook to 160 degrees then let rest until 165
While the chicken is resting mix the mayo, remaining harissa spice and honey.
Toast the buns lightly and spread with the mayo.
Add the pickles and chicken then top with lettuce and tomato.
You can definitely add more or less of the harissa before frying. I usually love my food extra spicy, but these are just perfect with a tiny pinch of heat. Don’t forget the potato buns! They are so soft and just soak up all the juices from the chicken.
In the midst of all my holiday recipes I remembered this super easy savory tomato and olive pasta. A two pot pasta dish made in 30 minutes with tons of flavor! It starts with some of my all time favorite things: garlic, onion, and olive oil. Anytime I start a dish with those 3 ingredients my mouth just begins to water. Then you add in the ground beef with lots of spices. Roasted tomatoes and briney olives. Then stir in angel hair and a little pasta water. Let it simmer and top with TONS of Parmesan.
This recipe has so many flavors going on. Each component just as important as the next. This are my favorite types of pasta dishes. So rich you don’t need a lot of sauce. Plus it is such a gorgeous meal. A huge step up from the typical spaghetti and meat sauce.
Seriously- look at that sauce. So light and evenly tossed throughout the pasta. Yummm.
Every year I make an herb stuffed turkey. This year we wanted to try something a little different. We have been trying out so many cajun recipes lately and thought we would spice up our normal Thanksgiving routine.
I confess I did buy one of those little cajun spice injector kits, but the seasoning for the crust is really what takes it over the top! I made a 12 pound turkey so we would have lots of left overs for the busy weekend ahead. This meat pair perfectly with whole wheat bread and all the fixings for a turkey sandwich!
The skin came out perfect due to the cooking technique. Crank up the heat to 420 degrees for 30 minutes uncovered then lower the heat to 350 for the remaining 2.5 hours and cook with a layer of foil over the top.
Now lets talk about the stuffing. I almost always use my mom’s stuffing recipe. Fulled with fresh tart cranberry, spicy sausage and lots of veggies. To go along with the theme I skipped the cranberries and used andouille sausage over my usual ground sausage. This would be perfect on a serving platter stuffed into the turkey once both dishes are fully cooked. It is hard for me to ever say stuffing is “beautiful” but it sure is tasty!
These stuffed shells bring me back to my childhood. I don’t know how I have gone this long without making them myself. Growing up in an Italian household we typically celebrated holidays with some sort of pasta. With Thanksgiving only a few days away I wanted to offer a alternative to typical turkey and sides.
I personally will be celebrating Thanksgiving on a different day. Due to the nature of my day job I will be working on the actual holiday. This dish is for those of you that might be too busy to do a full on Thanksgiving meal, but still want something special. Each shell is stuffed with so much garlic, so much onion, so much mushroom, and so much sausage. Every bite will burst with flavor and ooey gooey cheese.
I finished the top with a little panko and fresh parm. Patrick does not liked baked pasta which is totally crazy to me but if you are one of these people feel free to eat these shells right out of the pan without baking. Still good. The cheese just isn’t melty enough for me.
I have been craving a plate of nachos lately. Unfortunately, Patrick is not a big fan of tortilla chips so I am always trying to come up with a new spin on nachos. Homemade nacho cheese is what makes this fantastic burger. Fresh garlic and jalapenos sauteed before adding in sharp cheddar and monteray jack.
The hardest part about making burgers on the stove top is not drying them out. To be honest I am usually so focused on flavor I forget about the cook time on the burgers. When I told Patrick what I was making he actually cringed a little clearly remembering my well done burgers from last time. Oops! This time I am focused! These came out a perfect medium rare which is so important since we are using a very lean cut of meat.
I used a blend of my favorite spices: smoked paprika, fresh cracked sea salt, white pepper, garlic and onion. Yes I definitely satisfied my nacho craving with these! Feel free to reduce the recipe. We ended up sharing one burger since they were so massive.
I know I know. Another FRIED CHICKEN RECIPE!? I promise this is different. You can swap the chicken out for white fish or shrimp, but we just happened to have chicken on hand. Did I mention that once a month I load up on every cut of chicken and beef I can find and freeze them all? It makes it easy to come up with different ways to cook when I have options. I usually buy my produce every few days and fish once a week, but the rest I buy in bulk for the freezer.
When I left for work I thought I was going to be making chicken pasta so I sat some chicken out to defrost. By the time I got home I was craaaaaving a po boy. We love ordering from Red Crawfish. They make these enormous po boys filled with fresh fish, sauteed peppers and onions, and lots of yum yum sauce. I still had a bag of spicy fish fry left so I cut the chicken into strips and dipped them into a mix of flour and fish fry.
I want to start making my sub rolls from scratch, but until then I will continue to buy from the Kroger bakery. These rolls are just under 6 inches and have a beautiful crust with soft pillow-y interiors. They are perfect for these po boy sandwiches. I hollowed out the inside so I could pack in the filling without too much bread in the way.
Ramen is one of those super comforting foods that we turn to for an easy dinner. Long gone are the days when we fill our foam cups with water and wait for noodles to soften. While dressing up a ramen packet is not new to me, this is definitely a more sophisticated approach. I am lucky enough to live near several Asian farmers markets so some of these ingredients will be optional. Delicious either way. Yesterday we went to pick up some soybean paste (which I seriously cannot find in any other grocery store in our area!) and I was lost in the 3 aisles of noodles. Rice noodles, mung bean noodles, green bean noodles, wheat noodles, soba noodles, egg noodles… so many noodles everywhere! I went with a classic ramen noodle, but we purchased a few others for later experiments.
I started by slicing some sirloin steak very thin and browning it in my soup pot with a little vegetable oil. Removing the meat and setting it to the side I then browned some fresh chopped brussel sprouts. Again removing from the heat and setting to the side. I added onion and mushrooms let that saute then drizzled some soy sauce to deglaze my pan. Turning the heat down I poured in the beef stock. Mixing in the brown sugar and spices. I recommend using a beef stock cube or half a packet of beef ramen seasoning to really get a bold beefy flavor.
I make my noodles in a separate pot tossing them into the broth once they have softened. Then comes my favorite part! The eggs! I know a lot of recipes call for a soft boiled egg on top, but we like to add our eggs straight into the broth and let them poach in the beef seasoning. So wonderful!
I personally have never been to Nashville. It is definitely one of those trips on my bucket list. I always see the most amazing creations on instagram and other forms of social media. They typically stem from Nashville. This recipe is my version of hot fried chicken. Juicy bonless chicken thighs with a very thin salty crust made of panko crumbs and cornstarch. They are then tossed lightly in this amazing peppery hot sauce. I am pretending these are healthy since I removed the fat and skin…
I know what you are thinking. How many times do we eat fried chicken a week since I have at least 5 different fried chicken recipes. I promise we really only eat fried chicken maybe once a month. It is just really hard for me to make something the same way every time. There are so many variations in the food world, I feel obligated to try them all!
The biggest secret to what makes this recipe so great is the sauce. Instead of using butter and hot sauce which is my typical go to I tried something a little different. I started with some Louisiana hot sauce, added lots and lots of fresh cracked pepper and garlic powder. Then two spoonfuls of the chicken grease. This made the sauce a lot thinner and it was able to coat each piece of the chicken really well.
These egg sandwiches came into my life after I tried one of these voodoo kettle chips. Seriously, I went into the kitchen and started making myself some toast. Dave’s killer toast is my new favorite. It is packed full of grains and seeds, lower in carbs, and only 70 calories. Anyways, while I was waiting on the toaster I thought I would try just one of these voodoo kettle chips. I did not expected to fall in love immediately. I am not even much of a chip person! These chips are crunchy and packed with cajun bbq flavor! Since it would be silly to eat chips with my toast, I started pulling everything out of the fridge to find a reason to eat them.
I started with my toast then added a scrambled egg, pastrami, and colby jack cheese. Then I added my favorite deli mustard and zesty dill pickles. Originally I was just going to eat the chips on the side, but then I decided just to top my sandwich with them. SUCH. A. GOOD. IDEA. I’m a sucker for anything with a crunch and this was such a satisfying topper to the sandwich.
Zesty egg sandwich packed with traditional lunch goodies then topped with kettle chips!
2 slices of whole wheat bread (or your favorite)
Spicy deli mustard
2 slices of pastrami (or your favorite lunch meat)
1 slice of colby jack cheese
2 slices of zesty dill pickles
1 small tomato
a handful of kettle chips
Toast the bread.
Heat a sauce pan over medium low heat.
Add cooking spray or oil.
Cook the egg into a slow scramble.
Season with salt and pepper if you choose.
Slather the toasted bread with the deli mustard.
Add the egg, meat, cheese, pickles, and tomato.
Top with chips then smash down top slice of bread for optimum bite!
I know this seems like an embarrassingly simple recipe. Well, it is. But it is THAT good! When I was in elementary school my dad used to make me ham, cheese, hot sauce, and Doritos sandwiches. I blame him for this elevated version. Usually when I make myself weird meals I don’t share them with the world, but in this case I’m pretty sure everyone needs to start smashing some kettle chips on their breakfast sandwich!