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Featured Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes

Garden Turkey Burgers

Temperature350°Time15 mins

Turkey Burgers

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Shortly after moving to the area about ten years ago, I discovered this amazing burger restaurant, The Counter, in Roswell, Georgia. Basically, you design your own burger, from the type of meat to the toppings, spreads and bun. This is where I first fell in love with turkey burgers. I’ve always enjoyed turkey in its non burger forms, but it wasn’t until I could pimp out my own burger that I really fell in love with the turkey burger. In addition to being delicious, turkey burgers are also a healthier option than beef though this in no way detracts from their deliciousness.

Soon afterwards, I started creating my own turkey burgers at home and experimented with several different ingredients until I found the perfect combination. By mixing green onions, parmesan cheese and Worcestershire sauce (among other things) into the ground turkey and topping with Swiss cheese and carrot strings, I now have my very own special recipe. I present to you my favorite Garden Turkey Burger.

The RecipeRecipe
Garden Turkey Burgers
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey Breast
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Cup Chopped Green Onions
  • ⅓ Cup Bread Crumbs
  • ⅓ Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 Slices of Swiss Cheese
  • 1 Cup Carrot Strings
  • 4 Buns
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Preferred Burger Condiments (eg mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the grill to high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey, egg, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and seasoning until well blended.
  3. Create four equal size patties.
  4. Cut buns in half and spread butter on each halve.
  5. Place each patty on the grill and cook for 4 - 5 minutes. Flip each patty and cook for another 4 - 5 minutes. The burgers are done when they reach an internal temperature of 160°.
  6. Before removing burgers from grill, place a slice of cheese on each patty.
  7. Place buns on grill or in oven at 350° for 1 minute until lightly toasted.
  8. Place burgers on buns and top with carrot strings.
  9. If desired, add mayo, ketchup and mustard.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks
  • You can also add diced bell peppers, garlic or grill seasoning for extra flavor.
  • This turkey burger recipe can also be used for meatballs and meat loafs.
  • If you are worried that the turkey burger isn’t cooked all the way through, use a meat thermometer. Ground turkey should be cooked to 160°.
Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

You can easily freeze the turkey burgers patties and have them ready to thaw and grill at a later date. You can also freeze the cooked burgers for later to be eaten as burgers or used as ingredients for other dishes, like tacos.

Fun FactsFun Facts

Turkey burgers will typically have less calories, fat, sodium and protein than an equal sized beef burger. However, turkey burgers will have more cholesterol and calcium.

Categories
Featured Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes

Quick and Easy Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

TemperatureMedium LowTime20 mins

Quick and Easy Spaghetti

BackgroundBackground

Do you want spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner but you don’t want to go brew a pot full of sauce all day? Well this recipe is for you!

This spaghetti recipe is adapted from my sister’s quick and easy spaghetti recipe. The main difference between our recipes is that I start with onions and garlic and she leaves them out because she’s not a fan of onions. The basic idea of this recipe is to take a store-bought jar of spaghetti sauce, add a couple of things, and make it taste more like homemade spaghetti sauce. This is a good weeknight recipe that tastes like a weekend!

The RecipeRecipe
Quick and Easy Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6 - 8
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 – 1 ½ lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Packet Spaghetti Seasoning Mix
  • 1 12 – 16 oz Jar of Your Favorite Spaghetti Sauce
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • Spaghetti Noodles, Cooked to Al Dente in Salted Water and Drained
  • Parmesan Cheese for Serving
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic with salt and pepper until they are tender and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the beef to the pot, crumble and cook until the meat is browned.
  3. Add the spaghetti seasoning mix, sauce and water (see the tip below).
  4. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with cooked spaghetti noodles and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

Swirl the water around in the jar before adding it to the pot to get any stubborn sauce out.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

If you don’t have cooked spaghetti sauce in your freezer, you should! Store any leftovers in zip-top bags in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you have a hankerin’ for spaghetti, thaw, heat and enjoy!

Fun FactsFun Facts

Spaghetti Bolognese, or spaghetti and meat sauce, gets its name from the Italian town called Bologna. Apparently they made the best ragu (meat sauce) in all of Italy.

Categories
Featured Jason's Favorites Main Dishes Recipes

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

TemperatureLowTime8 – 10 hours

slow cooker jambalaya

BackgroundBackground

Jambalaya is the creole cousin of paella. This spicy slow cooker version is based off of the Colleen’s Slow Cooker Jambalaya recipe that can be found on most of the recipe sites with a couple of tweaks. I’ve been making this jambalaya for years and it’s definitely the best recipe I’ve ever found.

My version of this Slow Cooker Jambalaya recipe is spicy and the perfect answer to a cold winter day. You can throw everything together in a few minutes, put it in a slow cooker, and soon you’ll be enjoying warm and tasty comfort food.

The RecipeRecipe
Slow Cooker Jambalaya
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Mains
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, Cut into 1” Cubes
  • 1 lb Andouille Sausage, Sliced and Halved into Half Moons
  • 2 Celery Stalks, Diced
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 28 oz Can Diced Tomatoes with Juice
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 tsp Parsley
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 ½ Cup Long Grain White Rice, Uncooked
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except for the rice in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours
  2. When ready to serve, place a colander over a large bowl and strain the liquid from the slow cooker. DO NOT DISCARD THE LIQUID.
  3. Measure the liquid to make sure you have approximately 3 cups. If you don’t have 3 cups, add chicken stock or water until you do.
  4. Bring the liquid to a boil in a pot over high heat.
  5. Once the liquid boils, stir in the uncooked rice, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  6. Thoroughly mix the rice with the reserved sausage, chicken and vegetables and serve.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

I don’t add shrimp to this recipe because it’s very easy to overcook the first time around and will definitely overcook when you reheat it. If you want to add shrimp to the mix, cook it separately and stir it in when serving.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

This is a great freezer meal! Just combine all the ingredients except for the rice in a gallon-sized zip top bag and freeze. The night before you are ready to cook it, remove the bag from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator. Place in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to delicious jambalaya!

Fun FactsFun Facts

People often get jambalaya and gumbo confused so here the difference between jambalaya and gumbo. Jambalaya is normally tomato based and the rice is cooked in the stock to make one big mixture. Gumbo is based on a roux and served as a soup with the rice on the side.

Categories
Featured Main Dishes Recipes

Jason’s Awesome Lasagna

Temperature375°Time45 mins

Jason’s Awesome Lasagna

BackgroundBackground

I like to take frozen food to new parents because after about 2 weeks, the grandparents leave and people stop bringing over fresh food. The babies are still newborns and the parents are still exhausted so I try to make stuff to get them through a few more days. The first time I did that was for my sister’s first child and I made her this lasagna.

This awesome lasagna recipe is the second recipe I ever wrote (at the behest of my sister) and one of the dishes I make for a crowd. The sauce is chock full of vegetables and hot Italian sausage and the lasagna is loaded with cheese. Another great thing about this recipe is that it makes 2 full-size lasagnas or 6 loafsagnas, making it ideal for feeding your freezer.

The RecipeRecipe

Jason’s Awesome Lasagna
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Ingredients
For the Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onions, Roughly Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Roughly Chopped
  • 2 Stalks of Celery, Roughly Chopped
  • 10 Baby Carrots, Halved
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Roughly Chopped
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Roughly Chopped
  • 8 Ounces Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced (sometimes called “Baby Portobello”)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 - 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1lb Hot Italian Sausage, casings removed
  • Big Handful of Parsley, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • Lots of Basil, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 4 oz Ricotta Cheese

For the Lasagna
  • 24 Lasagna Noodles
  • 32 oz Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
  • 3 oz Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
Instructions
Make the Sauce
  1. Sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil, 2 pinches of salt, and 5 grinds of pepper, in a big pot over medium heat until they start to soften (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the other copped vegetables and mix to combine all the ingredients. Add in the tomatoes and wine and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, stir occasionally, clean the kitchen, read a book.
  3. Once all of our vegetable friends are soft (about an hour to an hour and a half), puree the mixture with an emersion blender (stick blender). If you don’t have an emersion blender, write a note to get one and use a food processor or a regular blender. The sauce should be pretty smooth and there shouldn’t be any chunks of veggies left (you’re welcome moms and picky eaters).
  4. Remove the casings from the sausage and cook it up in a cast iron skillet like you’d cook ground beef. Drain it on a paper towel and then add to the sauce. Throw in the parsley and basil, and adjust the seasoning to taste. If it’s too acidic, add a bit more wine or some sugar. If it’s not salty enough add a little but remember that all of the cheese you’re going to add is salty so don’t go crazy.
  5. Stir in the ricotta until it’s melted and take the sauce off the heat.

Cook the Pasta
  1. Fill a large pot ⅔ full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, add the salt.
  2. Cook half of the pasta in the boiling water for 6 minutes, remove from the water (don’t discard the water), and lay flat on parchment paper. Do not use no-cook lasagna noodles. They’re gross.

Build the Lasagnas
Note: For this recipe, we’re going to use 2 foil lasagna pans. You can also use 1 lasagna pan and 3 loaf pans (pictured below).

Layer as follows:
  1. Sauce
  2. noodles (3 vertical and 1 across the bottom)
  3. Sauce
  4. Mozzarella and a bit of Parmesan
  5. noodles (1 across the top and 3 vertical)
  6. Sauce
  7. Mozzarella and a bit of Parmesan
  8. noodles (3 vertical and 1 across the bottom)
  9. Sauce
  10. Offensive amount of mozzarella and some Parmesan

Cook the Lasagnas!
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. Cook the lasagnas for 45 minutes or until the top is bubbly and it’s heated through (160° on an instant-read thermometer).
  3. Let the lasagnas sit for 10 – 15 minutes before cutting so they can firm up a bit.

Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

If you don’t like pockets of ricotta in your lasagna, do what I do and melt it in the sauce!

When building the lasagnas, it’s best to layer both at the same time so you can make sure you don’t run out of anything and end up with a sad lasagna.

If you’d like to break up the cooking process, you can stop this recipe after making the sauce and before assembling the lasagna. You can hold assembled lasagnas in the refrigerator for 48 hours without any reduction in quality. Just bring it to room temperature before you cook it and your cooking time should be the same.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

This dish is perfect freezer food so make a lot at once and hang on to the rest. When I make this at home, we make one large pan for when we have company and 3 small loaf pans for when it’s just the two of us and we don’t want leftovers. Simply trim the noodles to fit the length of your loaf pans and use one per layer. You now have loafsagna!

Reheat from frozen at 375° for 1 hour and 30 minutes – one hour and 45 minutes for the full lasagna (1 hour for the loafsagna). Cover them with aluminum for all but the last 20 minutes to make sure you don’t burn the cheese. Heat until a probe thermometer inserted in the center of the lasagna reaches 160°.

Fun FactsFun Facts

July is Lasagna Awareness Month so we got this one in right under the wire!

Categories
Featured Jason's Favorites Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes

Loaded Potato Soup

Loaded Potato Soup

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I love potato soup but I always seem to miss potato soup day at restaurants. I decided that would not stand so I that I needed to make my own. This loaded potato soup recipe is filled with bacon and cheese and sour cream and is essentially mashed potatoes turned into soup. What’s not to like?!?

It’s almost August in Georgia so the last thing anyone is thinking of is hot potato soup. Normally I would wait until the fall to post this but my friends are having twins in a couple of months and I’m making this to feed their freezer for when the babies arrive. This is one of my favorite recipes and is the first thing I made for Michael – it’s also the first recipe of mine that I ever wrote down. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

The RecipeRecipe
Loaded Potato Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4 - 6
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Sized Leek (about 2 cups sliced)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • ¾ tsp Salt, Divided
  • ½ tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  • 3 ½ lbs Baking Potatoes, Peeled and Cubed
  • 5 ½ Cups Chicken Stock
  • 4 Tbs Butter
  • 1 ½ oz Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • ¾ Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 ½ Cups Buttermilk
  • 4 Pieces of Bacon, Cooked Crisp and Crumbled
  • 4 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 2 Green Onions, Sliced Thin
Instructions
  1. Cut the leek down the center and wash each layer under running water and thinly slice into small pieces.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, garlic 2 pinches of salt, black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until they are bright green – about 2 – 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir to combine.
  3. Add the chicken stock, butter, and remaining salt to the pot. Cover and cook until the potatoes are soft.
  4. When the potatoes are soft, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the work bowl of a stand mixer. Do not discard the liquid.
  5. Turn the mixer on low to begin to smash the potatoes. Add the parmesan cheese and sour cream and mix thoroughly. You should have creamy potatoes.
  6. While the mixer is running, slowly add the buttermilk until it’s all combined. You should now have runny potatoes.
  7. Pour the potato mixture back into the pot with the reserved cooking liquid and mix thoroughly. You now have potato soup! If you want to thin it out more, add some chicken stock.
  8. Serve with a sprinkling of bacon, a bit of shredded cheese, and a smattering of green onion.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a hand mixer or a hand-held potato masher. If you don’t have a potato masher, you should grab one at the grocery store while you’re shopping for ingredients.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

This soup freezes really well (see the background comments above). Simply thaw and reheat in a pot over medium heat. If the soup gets too thick, add chicken stock to thin it out.

Fun FactsFun Facts

If you serve this soup cold, you have something very similar to vichyssoise. It’s better hot with cheese and bacon though!

Categories
Featured Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes

Grilled Chicken Kebabs

Temperature500°Time16 mins

Grilled Chicken Kebabs

BackgroundBackground

Not only are kebabs quick, easy, healthy, composed of common ingredients, and the perfect vehicle for Montreal Steak Seasoning, they are also delicious. Any way you skewer it, juicy grilled chicken and charred onions are a great end to a warm summer day.

My sister asked me where the healthy recipes are so this one is for her. This is a great weeknight meal that’s healthy, doesn’t heat up the house, and comes together super quickly. It’s a staple in our house and I’m sure it will be one in yours too!

The RecipeRecipe
Grilled Chicken Kebabs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Serves: 4 - 6
Ingredients
  • 4 Chicken Breasts, Cut into 1” Cubes
  • 2 Large Green Bell Peppers, Cut into 1” x 1” Squares
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion, Layers Separated and Cut into 1” x 1” Pieces
  • 1 Tbs Canola Oil
  • Copious Amounts of Your Favorite Seasoning Mix (we use Montreal Steak Seasoning)
Instructions
  1. Heat your grill to high heat (around 500).
  2. Gather up 4 – 6 skewers. If you’re going to use wood skewers, soak them in water for a little while.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the chicken, bell peppers, onions with the canola oil.
  4. Season the pieces liberally with your favorite seasoning mix, tossing to make sure everything is oiled and seasoned.
  5. Place the pieces evenly on the skewers in the following order: pepper, chicken, onion, chicken, pepper, etc…
  6. Put the skewers on the grill, slightly lower the heat to medium high, close the lid and cook for 4 minutes per side. Give the skewers a quarter turn and cook for 4 minutes. Rotate and cook the skewers 2 more times so that each side gets some time with the fire and the total cook time is 16 minutes.
  7. Remove from the grill and serve over rice.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

These kebabs are also great with some blackening spices. My uncle Dennis made a great blend that I have in my pantry but unfortunately he doesn’t remember what he put in it. That’s another mix that I’ll have to reverse engineer, but in the meantime use your favorite blackening blend.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

Individually packaged chicken breasts are a must in any well-stocked freezer. When you’re in the mood for kebabs, just pull them out of the freezer and put them in a bowl of cold water. They’ll be ready for the grill in no time!

Fun FactsFun Facts

Kebabs come to us from Turkey but most cultures have their own variations. Tikkas, satays, souvlakia, and corn dogs are but a few of the many cousins of the Kebab.

Categories
Featured Jason's Favorites Main Dishes Michael's Favorites Recipes

Double-Crusted Chicken Pie

Temperature375°Time30 – 45 mins

Double-Crusted Chicken Pie

BackgroundBackground

My grandmother was a fantastic cook and I learned a lot by spending time with her in the kitchen. My absolute favorite thing she made was this Chicken Pie – mostly because she didn’t put vegetables in it. Whenever she’d ask what I wanted her to make when we went down for a visit, my answer was always “Chicken Pie.” She doesn’t cook anymore for various reasons but whenever I make this, I’m instantly transported to Warner Robins in the mid-nineties.

Grandmother had me snookered because I always thought this was super complicated and took days to make. I was absolutely shocked when I made it the first time and it was quick and easy to do. Granted, she made her own pie dough and roasted the chicken herself and I don’t but still – it’s pretty easy to make. In fact, after a quick trip to the grocery store to get a rotisserie chicken and some refrigerated pie dough, you can have this meal ready for the oven in about 15 minutes.

The RecipeRecipe
Double-Crusted Chicken Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4 - 6
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • ⅓ Cup Butter
  • ⅓ Cup Flour
  • ⅔ Cup Chicken Stock
  • 1⅓ Cup Milk
  • 1 ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • Meat of 1 Whole Chicken, Cooked and Shredded (I generally buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
  • 2 Refrigerated Pie Crusts, at Room Temperature
  • 1 Egg and a Splash of Water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until they are translucent – about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the butter to the pan. Once it melts, whisk in the flour and keep it moving for a few minutes until it gets smooth and the raw flour taste cooks out – about 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure you keep it moving!
Congratulations – you have made a roux!
  1. Wisk in the liquid, salt and pepper – making sure you get all of the lumps out. Switch from a whisk to a spatula or wooden spoon and bring it to a simmer – stirring frequently. As the liquid heats, it will thicken and coat the back of a spoon. When this happens, remove it from the heat – do not let it simmer for more than a couple of seconds.
Congratulations – you have made a béchamel!
  1. In a large bowl combine the gravy you just made and the shredded chicken. Taste the filling and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  2. Spray an 8” round deep casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Unroll one of the pie crusts and place it in dish so that it covers the bottom and the sides of the casserole. It should overhang the top.
  4. Add the filling to the pie and place the other crust on top. Trim off any excess dough, crimp the two crusts together, and poke a couple of holes in the top with a knife to let steam escape.
  5. Make an egg wash by mixing the egg and water in a small bowl and brush it over the top of the pie. You won’t use it all.
  6. Bake in a 375° oven for 30 – 45 minutes until the pie is golden brown on the top.
  7. Let the pie sit out of the oven for 10 – 15 minutes before serving so that the filling can thicken up.
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

Purchase a pre-cooked chicken and refrigerated pie dough for this recipe and you’ll save a whole lot of time. Your grocery store probably sells whole cooked chickens in the prepared foods section and the pie dough in the refrigerated section (not the freezer) is as good as any pie dough I’ve ever made.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

This dish was made for the freezer and is great for a housewarming or new baby meal! All you have to do is assemble the pie in a round foil casserole pan (or square pan), wrap in aluminum foil and freeze. Cook from frozen covered at 375° for 30 minutes, uncover and cook for another 30 minutes until golden brown and heated through.

Fun FactsFun Facts

A béchamel sauce is one of the mother sauces in French cuisine and is used to make a lot of other fancy sauces. In southern cuisine, béchamel is called gravy and is made with sausage grease and ladled over biscuits. Take that, France.

Categories
Featured Main Dishes Michael's Favorites

Shrimp and Grits

TemperatureN/ATime15 mins

Shrimp and Grits

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Shrimp and Grits is one of the quintessential southern dishes – right along with fried chicken, biscuits and collard greens. This combination of creamy grits and perfectly cooked shrimp evokes fond memories of Charleston or Savannah and is the perfect main event for brunch, lunch and dinner!

There are lots of variations of Shrimp and Grits – sometimes there’s a thick sauce, sometimes there’s smoked sausage, or peppers and onions, or garlic. I prefer to keep my version simple and let the shrimp and the grits speak for themselves.

A note about cooking shrimp: homemade shrimp is often tough and fishy so people shy away from it. The solution to tough and fishy shrimp is to take it off of the flame when it firms up a bit and turns a pale pink. Shrimp turns tough and rubbery when it’s overcooked.

The RecipeRecipe
Shrimp and Grits
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Grits
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 1 ¼ Cup Quick Grits
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 ½ Cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded

For the Shrimp
  • 2 Slices Thick-Cut Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
  • 1 Tbs Reserved Bacon Grease
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1 lb Medium Shrimp, Peeled, Deveined, Tails Removed
  • 1 Green Onion, Sliced into Thin Rings
  • Juice of 1 Whole Lemon
Instructions
Make the Grits
  1. In a medium pot, bring milk, water, chicken stock, and butter to a boil over medium high heat. The milk will overflow the pot when it boils if you let it so keep an eye on it and use a 3 quart pot for this.
  2. As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, add the grits, salt, and pepper and reduce heat to medium low.
  3. Stir the grits pretty much constantly until they are thick and creamy – about 5 – 10 minutes. The grits will thicken more when you add cheese and as they cool.
  4. Once the grits are thick and creamy remove from heat and add half of the cheese.
  5. Stir the cheese into the grits until it melts fully and then repeat with the remaining cheese.

Make the Shrimp
  1. Heat the bacon grease and butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Once the pan heats up, add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and toss frequently until they are pale pink all the way through. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp
  3. Squeeze the lemon juice over all of the shrimp and remove from the heat.

Put it All Together
  1. Place grits on a plate and top with shrimp. Finish with a sprinkling of green onions and crumbled bacon!
Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

To quickly defrost shrimp, place it in some cold water for about a half an hour. There’s no need to buy the more expensive defrosted shrimp as frozen shrimp defrosts under cold water in a flash.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

Buy frozen shrimp for this meal. It’s less expensive and the shrimp at your grocery store’s seafood counter was almost definitely frozen before they thawed it and put it in the window.

Fun FactsFun Facts

While there are slight differences, southern grits and Italian polenta are essentially the same thing – they’re coarsely ground corn meal. If you like polenta, give grits a chance!

Categories
Back to Basics Featured Jason's Favorites Lunch Main Dishes Snacks

Bacon and Cucumber Sandwiches

Temperature375°Time35 mins

main_cucumberbacon_070214

BackgroundBackground

Last year, I started a garden and grew a bunch of vegetables and herbs.  “Bunch” may be a strong word as a lot of stuff didn’t make it due to rabbits and overcrowding.  Apparently those “place x inches apart” notes are important and you can’t grow 2 parsley plants, 2 basil plants, 2 cilantro plants, 2 mint plants, 2 bell peppers, 1 zucchini and 1 squash in a 4’ x 4’ garden bed.  Who knew?

The herbs grew too tall and crowded out everything except for the zucchini and cucumbers but that was because they are vines and grew out of the bed onto the lawn.  Long story short: I had a lot of cucumbers last summer!

Michael doesn’t like cucumbers all that much so the perfect storm that created this sandwich involved him being out of town, a glut of cucumbers, bacon, and me not want to cook.   This lazy dinner became my absolute favorite sandwich ever.  It’s salty and sweet, crispy and soft, hot and cold and embodies summer.  You should try it!

The RecipeRecipe
Bacon and Cucumber Sandwiches
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This quick and easy sandwich is a refreshingly sweet and salty taste of summer.
Author:
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 10 Slices of Thick Cut Bacon
  • 2 Cucumbers, Sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 8 Slices of Bread, I used Multi-Grain Sourdough Bread
  • 4 Tbs Mayonnaise
Instructions
Cook the Bacon
  1. Place bacon in a single layer on a sheet pan and put into a cold oven
  2. Turn the oven on to 375° and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, or until desired crispness is achieved. Note: This length of time is for thick cut bacon only, regular bacon will take much less time to cook.
  3. Drain bacon on paper towels

Assemble the Sandwich
  1. Each sandwich requires 2 slices of bread, 1 Tbs mayonnaise, approximately ½ of a cucumber, and 2 ½ slices of bacon.
  2. Mayonnaise up both slices of bread
  3. Layer thusly: bread, cucumber, bacon, bread

Tips and TricksTips and Tricks

Don’t be shy with the cucumber or bacon. They’re the stars of this show.

Feed the FreezerFeed the Freezer

No freezing allowed for this tasty summer time sandwich!  Leftover bread and bacon, however, can be frozen.

Fun FactsFun Facts

Cucumbers can provide a similar pick-me-up as caffeine due to them being a great source of Vitamin B and Carbohydrates.