Growing up, I vividly remember waking up on Saturday mornings, during my teenage years, when I was with my mom. The sun would be beaming through my room as the sun came up and I could smell the deliciousness my mom was whipping up in the kitchen. These memories are probably my most vivid from my teenage years besides the trouble I got in. To this day, Saturday breakfast is a ritual. I get up, put on some warm clothes, and head to the kitchen and start with making a pot of coffee and frying bacon.
This recipe isn’t my mother’s recipe, but it is one my wife and I have been fiddling with for the past few years. It’s over the top good and does well as a dinner option too.
There are many things in the kitchen that are pretty easy to cook and mashed sweet potatoes is one of those things. In my opinion, cooking a sweet potato is cooking 101. If you’re a relatively inexperienced chef, keep on reading. If you’re an experienced home chef, you can probably skip to the delicious recipes closer to the bottom of the post.
Everyone has seen someone massacre a sweet potato by boiling it in water. I think this is about the worst thing you could ever do to a sweet potato. Roasting it in the oven or baking it in aluminum foil is the best way to maintain, if not improve, the flavor. The key to baking a sweet potato is knowing when it’s done. Under cook it and you’ll be eating grit. Over cook it and you’ll squeeze the moisture out of it and you’ll be left with a watery stringy mess. Bleh!
Ok, a critical part to cooking a sweet potato begins at the grocery store. The size really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you buy all of the same sized sweet potatoes. You want them all to get done cooking at the same time, so don’t go buying big potatoes and little potatoes. I have seen some pretty huge sweet potatoes and some so small I’m not sure why the store is even selling them. I prefer to buy sweet potatoes that are about 2.5 inches in diameter. Buy too small and they can over cook quickly. Buy too large and the interior can be under cooked while the exterior is mush.
Curried Tomato Soup is based on two of my favorite dishes: tomato bisque and Indian butter chicken. Growing up I always ate the Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Up until recently, this was our go-to tomato soup. That was until I learned to make a solid tomato soup on my own.
If you’ve never been to an Indian restaurant, shame on you. My local Indian restaurant isn’t well visited by the locals, which is unfortunate because I believe they have some of the best food in town. My absolute favorite dish at this restaurant is their butter chicken. Butter chicken is a spiced (but not a hot spice, think cinnamon, cardamon, etc.) tomoato and coconut milk sauce that is used to simmer dark meat chicken. It’s absolutely fantastic with an order of garlic naan.
Anyways, one day while eating butter chicken with my wife during lunch, I had the thought of smashing together our tomato soup recipe with a butter chicken recipe. Curried tomato soup is our final result after tinkering with this recipe. We have also discovered that this recipe goes extremely well with our Indian Spiced Meatballs. Just toss the meatballs directly into your soup and you’ll be amazed.
For this recipe, you’ll probably need to head to your local Asian/Indian market. The karai methi will most likely be one of the more difficult items to fine. Since the flavor is so unique, I don’t know where to begin in terms of substitutions. For the Indian chili power, cayenne will work just fine. For some reason, the chili powder we picked up at our asian market is an order of magnitude hotter than your standard chili powder (which I’m ok with), but you may need to add more cayenne.
Before your soup is finished cooking, I recommend you taste your soup and season to your liking. Salt is important in this dish to make it pop. Sometimes I also like to go with more garam marsala and chili powder. If you add more spices to your soup at the end, be sure to let it simmer another 10-15 minutes to ensure the flavors are well incorporated.
Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs is a recipe my wife and I came up with because she managed to find ground lamb at the grocery store on sale. It was very reasonably priced, so she picked up a few pounds. I didn’t want to do the usual thing, like turning the meat into hamburgers, so this is the recipe we came up with.
It’s super delicious and features pretty easy to find Indian spices like garam marsala, cinnamon, and ginger. And it has a good bit of garlic. This recipe is great for an appetizer, parties, or tailgates. They also reheat well.
Since Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs have no fillers, like bread crumbs or flour, they are perfectly suited for gluten-free, paleo, keto, and Whole30 diets.
Before you start cooking this recipe, I highly recommend that you hit up your local Indian/Asian market for some fresh spices. You’ll be surprised what other ingredients you might stumble upon.
For this recipe, simply add the garlic, ginger powder, oregano, salt, pepper, garam marsala, to a mixing bowl. thoroughly mix the spices in with the meat.
The next step is easy, turn the meat mixture into meatballs. I recommend weighing out 1 oz of meat and then rolling those into balls. You should get 16 meatballs, but for some odd reason, I always get 17 and a half… I’m guessing either my scale is off or the meat processor’s scale is off. It’s probably mine.
You can either pan fry these or bake them in the oven. Lamb is pretty fatty, so I prefer to keep the mess to a minimum by cooking them in the oven.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cook the meatballs for 15 minutes or until their internal temp reaches 165.
If you don’t like the thought of using lamb, you easily swap this meat out for any other ground meat. Ground pork, chicken, turkey, and beef would do fine. If I couldn’t use lamb, I’d probably use a blend of 50% pork to 50% ground beef.
Our bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip is one of our absolute favorite party and tailgate food. It’s a crowd favorite and is perfect just about year round.
I absolutely love making cream cheese stuffed Jalapenos, wrapped in bacon, and tossed on the grill. The only problem with making my normal jalapeno poppers is that it’s a pain in the ass to make and cook. It also makes one hell of a mess on my grill, which is really annoying. Because of the work and mess it makes, I normally only make these once or twice a year during football season. This Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip was invented more as a necessity. I was looking for a much easier way to create the flavors of my normal jalapeno poppers without all the fuss. This recipe also feeds a heck of a lot more people too.
Sometimes you just don’t know if you want a dessert or a piece of candy. Chocolate covered cherry cheesecake bites are a little bit of both!
For this recipe you can start with a frozen cheesecake, just like I did. Or you can make your own cheesecake and use it. I suppose you would get way more, square shaped, cheesecake bites out of one you made yourself in a square pan than you can get out of a round pan. Round is the only way I could I buy one the day I went shopping.
If you buy a frozen cheesecake for this, allow it to thaw before trying to cut it into pieces. Cutting up a frozen cheesecake will result in fractured pieces. You can bet that this is based on experience! It took me just a minute to realize the error of my ways…….
These granola breakfast bars are the answer to my breakfast riddle. I am the kind of guy who would rather sleep an extra 15-30 minutes than eat breakfast, so I rarely eat breakfast on a week day. These meal-prep granola breakfast bars are my answer to the question, “what should I eat for breakfast?”
My wife and I have been on a meal prep-Sunday kick here lately. This recipe is great for folks who are looking for meal-prep recipes. This recipe can be easily and quickly made Sunday evening in preparation for the work week.
Over the years my wife and I have bought some pretty amazing things that we would think the average foodie would love to receive as gift. With holiday season rapidly approaching, we figured now would be an appropriate to share our favorite items any foodie would appreciate. We didn’t stick to any pricing guidelines, but we think these are pretty reasonable gifts. So here we go.
1. Finishing Salt
I don’t think a lot of people think about salt when they think of ingredients, but any chef knows that salt can either make or break a recipe. Too little salt in a recipe is just flat and bland. Another way to add flavor or texture to a dish is to sprinkle some finishing salt on top of your finished dish.
My wife bought my first finishing salt last year for Christmas. Finishing salts are salts with a large grain size or salt that have been flavored with special ingredients like smoke, wine, or citrus. Finishing salts can also come from special regions where their source of salts is known for its distinct flavor characteristics, Hawaii for example.
Finishing salts are great on steaks or even some chocolate treats. My favorite use of them is probably in risottos. Risottos really need a healthy dose of salt for it to really sing true. Finishing salts come in a large range of flavors and crystal sizes.
Sweet Tea is about as southern as you can get. Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world, up there with water, coffee, and beer (which are all things I love). You can go to every single restaurant south of St. Louis and find yourself a pitcher of sweet tea. As someone who isn’t from the south, I thought sweet tea was strange since every table also has a fair number of Sweet’n Low, Equal, and raw sugar packets. I always assumed everyone added sweetener to their liking. Southerners typically don’t like a touch of sweetness in their tea, we like it pretty darn sweet.
My mom often made sun tea growing up. Nothing is more memorable than mom making a big container of tea, sitting it on the porch, and letting it bask in the sun all afternoon. Mom would take the warm container after sitting in the sun for a few hours and toss it in the fridge. I can still have childhood memories of the summer sun shine on my face while drinking a refreshing glass of sweet sun tea. Nothing says summer like sweltering heat and an ice cold glass of sweet tea in a mason jar.
You need three things to make sweet sun tea: black tea, water, sugar, and a glass container.
This is a recipe that Sam and I have been doctoring and tweaking for years. It’s a cheese spicy soup that’s prefect for those nights you want something warm and spicy.
Believe it or not, it actually gets cold in Mississippi. Once temperatures dip below 60°, people start pulling out their super thick winter coats and women pull out their ugly ugg boots. You would swear everyone around here is preparing to climb Mt. Everest. Even though I don’t share the low tolerance of Mississippian’s cold weather, I do love a nice bowl of hot soup on a cool or chilly day. Especially while watching college football.
This recipe is super easy and super tasty. It features chicken, corn, and cheese. How can it get any better than that. We have experimented with a variety of cheeses, but our favorite cheeses are what we have listed in the recipe. Also, feel free to omit the cayenne if you don’t want it spicy. Add more if you want it hotter. I typically make the recipe as is and then sprinkle in my cayenne in my own bowl. My wife doesn’t like a super spicy recipe. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the recipe and be sure to give it a go this fall.