I love hot wings, but not the calories or cholesterol, so I use this simple spicy recipe when I want something savory. I usually eat mine with a salad (lettuce, tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, diced celery), but these are delicious dipped in ranch dressing too. *Yes- for the record- blue cheese is the only thing I like from Clemson.
Buffalo Chicken by Melanie Knight
4 chicken breasts- slice thin, butterfly if you need to
your favorite bbq dry rub
1/2 cup Frank’s Hot sauce
3 tbl butter
Clemson blue cheese crumbles- your choice, I like a lot
Romaine lettuce- 2-3 leaves per salad
tomatoes diced- 1/2 tomato per salad
celery diced- 1/4 cup per salad
Season the chicken breasts, then grill over medium- high heat until done. Remove from heat and set aside. Melt butter and stir in hot sauce until mixed. Dip each chicken breast in hot sauce and serve. Can also be served on a sandwich roll with lettuce, tomato and crumbled blue cheese.
These were the best devilled eggs! I had them at a J. Alexander restaurant in Chicago last year as an appetizer and they were the highlight of my meal. Seriously, I don’t remember what else I ate, but I had to look up this recipe once I got home. Are they really worth the effort? Yes. And the candied bacon totally makes this dish decadent.
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put bacon slices in a bowl, season them with pepper and toss with the brown sugar. Cover a baking sheet with parchment or foil, and arrange the bacon in a single layer on top. Top with another layer of parchment or foil and top it, squarely, with another baking sheet. The baking sheet will flatten the bacon as it cooks.
Next, place the tray in the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Check the bacon by lifting the top tray and parchment. If it is not golden brown and fairly crispy, resist the temptation to turn up the oven temperature, and cook it for 10 to 15 minutes longer. Check it again. Keep in mind that when you remove the tray and transfer the bacon to a serving platter or individual plates, the bacon will “crisp” up a little more.
MK- I had to microwave my bacon before it became crispy- I had it in the oven 40 minutes and it was too “floppy” raw looking for me. I microwaved it 30 sec at a time until it was crispy.
Watch out! Candied bacon is really really really good. Trust me, set aside the slices you need for the devilled eggs before you pig out 🙂
I am addicted to Cupcrazed cupcakes and thank God that they are 30+ minutes from my house- OR I would stop by there every day and 2x on Tuesday. Why 2x on Tuesday you ask? Because cupcakes are $2 each on $2 Tuesday that’s why.
Remember the show Cupcake Wars? I loved that show! I used to watch it while I was on the elliptical and drool. When I learned Heather McDonnell of Cupcrazed Cakery won Cupcake Wars, I had to check it out and I have been hooked ever since. The only time I get to enjoy these gourmet treats is when I have a dentist appointment, so basically 2x a year.
I do follow them on instagram, so I at least get to see all their decadent ever-changing flavors. For instance, yesterdays flavors were: pineapple upside down cake, strawberry cake batter, Panther-fetti, cookies n cream, white chocolate raspberry, caramel macchiato, Reese’s, s’mores, salted caramel & Oreo. See? Decadent.
I knew they posted the Cupcake Wars recipes online, so when I googled this, I found that Cupcrazed posted some of their recipes on their own blog too. You see, they bake AND they are crazy (their tagline). I found the vanilla cupcake and icing recipe and HAD to make them for myself.
Did I mention I have an issue with portion control? Well I do, so this was flirting with disaster since each recipe makes 36 cupcakes. I cut it and made 25% of the recipe expecting 9 and still ended up with 12 cupcakes. Only 4.5 are left…looks like I’ll be doing some yoga later tonight. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Will I make them again? Yes, but only for a party with actual people in attendance.
Whip butter in the bowl. Add all 4 cups of sugar and whip it into the butter for about 2 minutes. Add all 8 eggs and vanilla to butter/ sugar and whip until completely combines. Add 3 cups self rising flour and the first cup if milk, combine. Add the 3 cups of all purpose flour and the second cup of milk. Combine. Stir in the canola oil. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
1 lb butter
6 or 7 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp whole milk (maybe)
Add 1/2 the sugar to the pound of butter, whip together. Add the vanilla and 3 more cups sugar. Whip together and check for consistency. If it’s too runny, add more confectioners sugar. If it’s too thick, add a little whole milk.
Enjoy! And FYI- if you like raw cake batter- this is the best I’ve ever had.
Yes, the perils of living in a small country town will at one time or another come with a few drawbacks. While we don’t have bumper to bumper traffic, we also don’t have a Starbucks. Well, technically there is a Starbucks in the county, but it is 20 minutes from my house. So, while I do love coffee, I don’t “drive 40 minutes round trip” love coffee. AND Starbucks won’t debut their PSL until later this month anyway and I want one NOW. Which brings me to today’s recipe, DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte.
DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte by Melanie Knight
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (I used Eight O’clock coffee- very smooth)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp Watkins Pumpkin Spice Extract
1 tsp vanilla
1tbl brown sugar (I used demerara- but regular brown sugar will do)
whip cream (from a can, not cool whip)
sprinkle of nutmeg
For the frothy milk: heat the milk in a small sauce pot over medium heat. Use an electric hand mixer to froth the milk as it heats. It will get foamy and light. Be careful not to let the milk burn. Once the milk is warm and frothy, remove from heat. Alt- you can also froth the milk with a whisk or shake in a protein shaker until frothy- be careful since the milk will be hot.
Assembly- Adjust depending on the size of your coffee cup: Fill the cup 1/3 of the way with coffee. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved, then add the pumpkin spice & vanilla. Next, pour in the frothed milk until 1/2 inch from the top of the cup. Scoop up the froth from the frothed milk in the saucepan and spoon it on top of your latte. Top off the latte with whip cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know what a Durr Burger was until last week. I was helping my son look up some live video streaming stuff (I’d explain further, but it was beyond my skill set) and came across sssniperwolf’s video on how to make a Durr Burger- being a foodie, of course I had to watch it. Once I saw the super cute Durr Burger, I was in love and HAD to make one for myself. My son also showed me some Fortnite footage and I think Durr Burger looks suspiciously like an In-N-Out Burger. These would be perfect for a birthday party, but they made for a fun family dinner.
Beefy Onion Durr Burger Recipe by Melanie Knight (inspired by sssniperwolf)
Makes 4 Burgers
1 pound hamburger (organic grass fed 85/15)
1 pack dry Lipton beefy onion soup mix (get the name brand it taste amazing)
1 beefy tomato- sliced into 4 thick slices
4 green olives with pimento- the big ones if you can find them
8 black olive slices (eyes)
8 mozzarella balls (eyes)
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 whole wheat hamburger buns (the video game has sesame topped buns, but I opted for whole wheat since I don’t eat white bread)
4 slices of turkey bacon (for the tongue)
8 toothpicks to hold the eyes on
4 bamboo skewers, cut down to hold the olive in place (see pic)
Mix the hamburger with the dry soup mix, then shape into 4 burger patties. Cook in a frying pan over med high heat for a few minutes, then flip and cook on the other side until done. I like my burgers well done, so adjust the time if you like yours medium.
At the same time, heat the turkey bacon up in another frying pan 3-4 minutes per side. This smells amazing while it cooks, so heads up.
For the eyes, cut a small circle out of each mozzarella ball and insert the black olive slice. Repeat 7 more times.
To assemble follow this order: bottom bun, hamburger, cheese slice, tomato, turkey bacon (adjust so it hangs out like a tongue to the side and to the bottom of the bun), top bun, skewer with green olive (slightly tilt the skewer). Insert a tooth pick on the left & right top with 1/2 inch sticking out, then add a mozzarella ball to each one.
Viola! You now have 4 Durr Burgers!
Side note- I had a really hard time eating food that was looking at me. I took a bite with the eyes on and it was difficult to enjoy my food. Once I took the eyeballs off, that baby disappeared lickety-split 🙂
It always shocks people when I give them a lasagna, then after they taste it and say “wow- that is the best lasagna I’ve ever had”, I say “Yeah, it’s the World’s Best Lasagna” at which point I can see them visibly shocked at my cockiness. I immediately have to follow up with ” No, I’m not bragging, even though it is that good, that’s the name of the recipe. It’s called “The World’s Best Lasagna”. With this, they visibly relax, but I can tell they still think I’m bragging- which I totally am.
Come on people! It’s lasagna, which is food for the gods. This is a meal that should be savored. It is decadently delicious and my family begs for it. I post a paper menu on the fridge every week, and they count down the days until we are having lasagna. It gives them something to look forward to- and that’s the basic definition of happiness isn’t it?
1 tsp salt (I use Himalayan sea salt in a grinder- so maybe 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper (I use fresh ground pepper)
4 tbls chopped fresh parsley (I never have fresh- so I use 2 tbls dried)
12 lasagna noodles (mine usually takes 9 and I used whole wheat)
16 oz ricotta cheese (I use small curd cottage cheese- yes I am a strange person)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced (I use 2-4 cups of shredded)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (no idea how much I use- I sprinkle until the layer gets a light covering)
high quality parmesan- We top each persons slice of lasagna with shavings- makes us feel special
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Brown sausage, then ground beef in a frying pan over medium high heat. Remove from heat. Next sauté onions and garlic over medium heat. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water and add the sausage and beef back in. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered while the noodles are boiling- maybe 10 minutes max.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water.
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese (or cottage) with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
To assemble, spread 2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the cottage cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese. Spoon 2cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. If think you’ll have leftover sauce- you can add another layer.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Top each slice with shredded parmesan. Serve and enjoy. You can thank me later.
I saw ham & Swiss biscuits on Ree Drummond’s Instagram feed last weekend and they looked so tasty. She didn’t share the recipe, so I found this one on Pinterest instead. This heartwarming sandwich is typically reserved for a party- so here’s to my very merry un-birthday party of 1 on the patio. It was quite a delicious affair.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. In a bowl, mix together butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and dried onion. Separate the tops from bottoms of the rolls, and place the bottom pieces into the prepared baking dish. Layer about half the ham onto the rolls ( I used 2 slices of ham per roll). Arrange the Swiss cheese over the ham ( I used 1 slice of cheese per roll, cut into 4 pieces and layered on top of ham). Place the tops of the rolls onto the sandwiches. Pour the mustard mixture evenly over the rolls.
Bake in the preheated oven until the rolls are lightly browned and the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Serve while warm- these make me feel all safe and warm inside.
My father always used a beer batter to fry fish. I was not raised on a lot of seafood, really just canned tuna, salmon patties & fresh caught fresh water fish. I have no idea what kind of fish- as a kid, I just knew we were having “fish”. When my father was stationed in Panama, he would take us fishing on Gatun Lake and we would catch a ton of fish. I took my family back to this same lake almost 3 decades later- and we also caught a ton of fish (that story is for another post- memory lane is a beautiful place, but I can get lost there for hours). On to the fish fry recipe-
It wasn’t until I met my father-in-law that I was introduced to light & crispy fried tilapia. Tilapia is my favorite for this because it never tastes “fishy”- yes that is a technical term.
We have blazing hot sultry summers here in South Carolina that for some odd reason make you crave fried fish. I personally think it’s related to heat stroke, but it really hit both me & my husband this week. I don’t fry fish (or eggrolls- the only 2 things I do fry) in house, so luckily the sun had sunk a little in the sky before I fired up the hot oil on my concrete sun drenched patio.
Typically, this meal is served with sides like cole slaw and baked beans, but we’ve learned over time that everyone just wants their fill of this spicy crunchy flaky white fish and we don’t know what to do with all the leftover beans and slaw so we save ourselves the trouble and skip them. Enjoy!
Recipe: Fried Tilapia- Melanie Knight
Louisiana New Orleans Fish Fry Breading Mix
1/2 cup milk
3 Tilapia filets per person (I always ask how many each person would like up front, so everyone knows how many they’ll get up front)
Olive oil for frying
Frank’s Hot Sauce on the side
Heat the oil in an electric frying pan. I use olive oil, which has a low burning point. I set my pan on 350 degrees. While the oil is heating up, set up your assembly line by pouring the milk into a wide bowl and your dry breading mix into a separate pie plate. Now, dip a fish filet completely into the milk, let the excess drip off, then dredge in the dry breading mix on both sides until well covered.
Once the oil is ready, lay your fish filet into the oil, careful not to get hot oil splashed onto you. I don’t time the frying, I fry until each side is a golden brown+ since we like our fish crispy. Once done to your liking, remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
Serve with hot sauce and enjoy! No need for plates or utensils- we eat family style off the main plate. Something about this intimate dining experience really brings us together. We ate this last week, and now I’d love to have it again for dinner tonight, but alas, I ration my fried foods to 1x a month so I can truly savor them.
I love a good old fashioned meatloaf! This one by http://www.thecountrycook.net is a good recipe. Anything this good is ALWAYS better the next day, which is what makes it nearly impossible to complete. Why you ask? Because it smells so good when its cooking in the oven, it takes real will power to NOT eat it the 1st night and wait a day to fry up a couple of thick slices in a frying pan. The wait is well worth it, but takes an amazing amount of will power.
Shrimp and Grits by Melanie Knight, inspired by Emeril Lagasse
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tsp creole seasoning
8 ounces country ham-diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, or canned, low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbl finely chopped green onions
2 tbl minced parsley
Grits- see recipe below
Season the shrimp with 1 teaspoon creole seasoning and salt. Heat a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat and sear the country ham, cooking for about 3 minutes. Remove the ham to a plate, and add the shrimp to the pan, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and heat the oil. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons creole to the pan, stirring well, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth to the pan and cook until reduced slightly, 5 minutes.
Stir the cream, green onions and parsley into the sauce and return the ham and shrimp to the pan. Return sauce to a simmer and continue to cook until reduced slightly. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over grits.
Makes 4-6 servings
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup stone-ground grits
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the grits, place a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. When the grits begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and butter, season with salt and pepper.
Makes 6-8 servings