Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Category Archives: Tailgating

Texas Brisket Biscuit Sliders

There’s a lot of things in life that I’m impatient about:

1) Christmas

2) Vacation

3) New seasons of Dexter and Homeland to start

So for me, slow-cooking is a real challenge.  I’ve been known to burn an entire layer of skin off the inside of my mouth because I can never wait for things to cool down before I dive into them, because sometimes things just look sooooo goooood that I am willing to sacrifice a burnt tongue and those funny little blisters that form on the roof of my mouth to get that first bite.

And after waiting 6 hours for this Texas Beef Brisket to cook, well let’s just say R.I.P tastebuds.

Texas Beef Brisket Biscuit Sliders

I found this recipe on Food Network, and after reading a lot of the reviews underneath, it seemed to me that most people used it as a base and then added their own touches to it.  Which is exactly what I did, and while sometimes my ‘a little bit of this and a little of that’ can lead to a mess of a dinner, this time I’m pretty sure I nailed it.  And what better to serve Texas Pulled Brisket on than buttery biscuits?

Don’t even think about those 100 calorie sandwich thins. Don’t you dare.

Texas Pulled Beef Brisket Biscuit Sliders
*Inspired by Food Network – Biscuit recipe from Alton Brown

INGREDIENTS

For the Brisket:

3-4 lbs of beef brisket

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

tablespoon onion powder

2 tablespoons chilli powder

1 bay leaf crushed

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons stone ground dijon mustard

2 cups beef broth

2 – 12oz cans/bottles beer of your choice
(I used Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale which is like an IPA)

1) Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.  In a small mixing bowl, prepare your spice rub by combining all of the spices (from Kosher salt to red pepper flakes).  Set aside.

2) In another small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and dijon mustard until combined.  Then rub the mixture all over the brisket.  After the brisket is covered in the dijon marinade, you can then cover it with the spice rub.

3) Place the brisket in a roasting pan and cook uncovered for 1 hour.

4) After an hour, reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F.  Remove the brisket from the oven and add the beef broth and beer to the bottom of the roasting pan.  Cover with foil and cook for another 3 hours or until the meat has become fork tender and shreddable.

5) Shred the brisket, place the meat in a dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet with the juices from the bottom of the pan and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours.  This step really is optional, but I  like to let the meat absorb all the flavors of the juices.  You could also take the juices and reduce them in a small saucepan to make a reduction for the brisket.

For The Biscuits

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour

    4 teaspoons baking powder

    1/4 teaspoon baking soda

    3/4 teaspoon salt

    2 tablespoons butter

    2 tablespoons shortening

1 cup chilled buttermilk

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2) In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.)

3) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

4) Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter (I don’t have a cutter, but the top of a wine glass works great!) Be sure to push straight down through the dough.

5) Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting.

6) Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until biscuits are tall and light gold on top.

7)  Assemble your sliders by slicing a biscuit and loading it up with shredded brisket.

I had some broccoli slaw that I threw on for a splash of color, but even just on their own, these are little pieces of heaven 🙂

Texas Brisket Biscuit Sliders


Toasted Buffalo Chicken RavioliWell folks, I think Dave might divorce me if I make one more Buffalo Chicken dish. But this last one (for a while) is beyond anything in my wildest dreams.

In college, there were two nights that were my favorite:  Fridays and Toasted Ravioli night in Ray Cafe.  The line would snake out the door and down the stairs, even in the dead of winter.  Cheesy goodness sandwiched between two plump sheets of pasta, breaded and fried to perfection.

Toasted Buffalo Chicken Ravioli

The irony of this particular recipe is that I was actually gonna round up this BC series with a skinny version of the Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls that I made a while back, as I knew I had some egg roll wrappers left in the freezer.  When I went to take the egg roll wrappers out of the freezer though, I discovered that they were in fact won ton wrappers.  Shoot.

Wait.  Won ton wrappers.  hmmmmmm.

The wheels turned.

“What can I do with won tons wrappers”?

Toasted Buffalo Chicken Ravioli

BUFFALO CHICKEN RAVIOLI! That’s it!

Oh and I’ll fry them – what the hell.

When I say these are beyond amazing, they are b-e-y-o-n-d amazing.  If you don’t need them all right now, fry half and freeze the rest for another time.  Or make them all at once, and try not to finish all 3 dozen – I triple dog dare ya.

Toasted Buffalo Chicken Ravioli

INGREDIENTS
*yields just about 3 dozen ravioli

1 -15oz container part skim ricotta cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten + 3-4 more eggs, lightly beaten for lining won ton edges & dipping the raviolis

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 cup cooked chicken

2 stalks of celery, chopped small

2 small garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch of scallions, minced

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce

72 won ton wrappers

vegetable oil for frying

3-4 cups bread crumbs

*ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping/drizzling and sliced green onions for garnish

1) In a small mixing bowl, combine the egg and ricotta cheese together until mixed.  Then fold in the blue cheese crumbles and set aside.

2) In a medium saucepan, saute your cooked chicken, celery, garlic and scallions for about 3 minutes.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  After 3 minutes, add in the Frank’s hot sauce and stir for another 1-2 minutes.

3)  Add the hot chicken/veggie mixture to the ricotta/blue cheese and stir until combined.

Toasted Buffalo Chicken Ravioli

4) Line 3 baking sheets with wax paper.  Lay out 12 won ton wrappers on each sheet.  Baste the edges of each won ton wrapper with egg wash, and then place 1 tablespoon of the buffalo chicken/ricotta mixture in the center of the won ton wrapper.

5) Cover each won ton with the other 36 wrappers, and seal each ravioli together with a fork, similar to how you would if you were sealing the edges of a pie together.  These won ton wrappers make a sizeable ravioli, so feel free to trim them if you don’t want as much edging.

Toasted Buffalo Chicken Ravioli

6) Let raviolis chill in the refrigerator for about 20 – 30 minutes.  This will help them to stay together when you’re frying.

7) When your raviolis are ready, take medium-large, heavy bottomed skillet and fill it about 1/3 way with vegetable oil.  Heat your vegetable oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until you start to see little ripples form, or when you flick it with water it makes a ‘sssssssssssssssssss’ noise (very technical I know – I don’t have a heat thermometer, so I make up my own methods!)

8) Take 2 shallow mixing bowls: in one, place the other 3-4 lightly beaten eggs and in the other, the breadcrumbs.  Take 3-4 raviolis at a time, dipping them first in the egg and then the breadcrumbs, and then place them in the hot oil  You don’t want to crowd them, so I’d advise only doing about 4 or 5 at a time, depending on how large your skillet is.

9) Let cook on one side for about a minute and a half, and then flip over and cook on the other side for another minute and a half. You can judge this time by how golden brown you want your raviolis, but 90 minutes on each side gave them a really nice golden brown color and a great crispy crunch.

*I highly recommend heating the oil in batches as well.  You’ll find that the breadcrumbs will start to fall into the oil and burn, and if you use the same oil for all 36 raviolis, well they might get some burnt crumbs on the outside of them.  So try refilling/heating your 2-3 times to avoid that burnt taste.

10) Once all your raviolis have been fried, you can drizzle them with ranch or blue cheese dressing and garnish with sliced green onions.

OR you could do what I did.

Skipped the dipping and garnishing – ate three of them right out of the oil and burnt the top layer of skin off of the roof of my mouth.

It was totally worth it 🙂


Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

I think that 3 of the 5 lbs. I gained over the holidays were pockets of Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese dispersed all over my body.  Yup.  Definitely.

It was our Clinton Christmas Party – on a Saturday night, which never happens – dress theme was “Shiny & Bright” – gift theme was “Naughty or Nice in the bedroom” (Mom if you’re reading this I got a lovely fleece blanket – swear to god) – food was a free for all, a delicious free for all, that included my dream meal – Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese.  My friend Katie made it, and boy did she hit the nail on the head.  After about three heaping plates full and two days of heartburn, I knew it was blog worthy.

And only about a month later, here it is folks.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
*Adapted from The Food Network & my friend Katie VaJanda

INGREDIENTS

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish

Kosher salt

1 pound elbow macaroni
(I actually used cavatappi, cuz’ it’s fun and twisty)

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 and 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)

8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

2/3 cup sour cream

1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

2  tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

2) Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

3) In a separate saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

4) In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked pasta, the onion/celery/garlic/chicken mixture and then the cheese mixture and mix together with a spatula.  Place mixture in a greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

5)  Put the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese


Buffalo Chicken Profiteroles

Been a while since we dipped into the Buffalo Chicken bank – we’re long overdue!  I hope you don’t mind that the next few recipes will be allllllll buffchick allllllll the time.

What’s come out of our Buffalo Chicken Bag of tricks in the past? So many things…Buffalo Chicken Stuffed PeppersBuffalo Chicken TacosBuffalo Chicken Egg Rolls – Buffalo Chicken Salad...drool…type….The idea for this little number though is totes stolen from one of my favorite guys on the planet, Trader Joe.  I really can’t say enough about him and his amazing ability to  reinvent food and make it fun, frozen (sometimes) and affordable!

What’s this rant about? Well, Dave and I are kind of obsessed with TJ appetizers.  We’ve been known to even have “TJ Appetizer Dinners” which consists of heating up the oven to 425 (because somehow, it seems that nearly every TJ appetizer magically requires a preheated 425 degree oven) take out a cookie sheet (unless Joe has provided a handy dandy one that you just pop in the oven) and 20 minutes or less later, dinner is SERVED.

Last time I was there, I stumbled apon a new appy from Joe, Savory Profiteroles with Spinach Artichoke Cheese Dip a combination of my two favorite things – hot and cheesy spinach dip and cute little puffs of dough!  And instantly I thought “ohhhh I know what I’m making this weekend for a hot new appy!” (no pun intended).

Buffalo Chicken Profiteroles

Buffalo Chicken Dip Profiteroles
*Profiterole recipe adapted from Anne Burrell

INGREDIENTS
*yields 2 dozen profiteroles with a little bit of dip left over, depending on how much you stuff them

For Profiteroles

   1 cup water

    1 stick butter

    2 Pinches salt

    1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch powdered dip mix
(the Dip mix, not the dressing mix)

  4 eggs

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2) In a small saucepan combine the water, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the flour and dip powder all at once and stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture has formed a ball and has a slightly sweaty sheen to it and it has pulled away from the pan.

3) Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture does not have to be cold, just cool enough not to cook the eggs when added. Using an electric mixer or lots of good old-fashioned elbow grease, beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Do not add the second egg until the first is fully incorporated.

4) Take 1 tablespoon of the dough and place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.  Make sure to leave about an inch in between each ball as they’ll expand as they cook.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time to insure even cooking. When done, the puffs should be light, airy and dry inside. Cool on a rack before cutting.  While cooling, you can make your Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 tablespoon olive oil or non-stick cooking spray

2 stalks of celery, diced into small pieces

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 – 8oz block of cream cheese

1 cup of ranch dressing

3/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
(I used an Extra sharp, but mild or pepper jack would work too)

1 cup of cooked, shredded cheddar chicken

1) Heat olive oil (or non-stick spray) in a medium sauce pan over low heat.  Once heated, add the celery and garlic and saute for about two minutes.  Add the cream cheese, ranch dressing and hot sauce, stirring until the 3 ingredients have combined together.  After everything has combined, add the cheddar cheese and chicken, stirring until the cheese has melted.

2) Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture on stove top for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to thicken.

3) In the mean time, your profiteroles should be cooled and ready to be cut.  Take each puff and dig out a small hole in the center of each one, almost as you would with a bread bowl, creating a space for the dip to ‘sit in’.  (slicing them in half won’t work as well).  Place each puff back onto you baking sheet.

4) Add about 2-3 tablespoons of Buffalo Chicken Dip to each puff and then put the top on each puff.

5) Place back in the oven for about 5 minutes, just enough time to reheat the profiteroles.  The dip will be hot so you dont have to worry about that.

Thanks for the inspiration TJ – keep up the good work!

Buffalo Chicken Profiteroles


Maple Chicken Wings

With a fresh new year, I’ve been thinking of some fresh new ideas for bloggage.  And here it is my friends….

Dave's Dish of the Week

Dave insisted that his head be super imposed on the body of the Swedish Chef from the muppets – and let’s just say the resemblance is frightening

Dave – my husband, my partner in crime, my doggy-daddy, the ‘other half of the newlywed whole’ fueling this blog – really hasn’t gotten much air time since we started just about a year ago.  Sure he’s there in the kitchen for better or worse recipes, often times taking the reigns himself and coming up with some really great meals, but to be honest with you, I like to enjoy the full benefits of being cooked for, which includes throwing my feet up with a glass of wine and control of the remote while Dave slaves away in the kitchen.

Diva alert.

So once a week, coming to a kitchen near you, is Dave’s Dish!  (let’s hope he doesn’t make quite as much clamor and is easier to understand than the real Swedish chef :))

First up is these AMAZINGLY delicious Maple Chicken wings that we made for that um…big sports game on Sunday night (too soo…still too soon).  For those of you that will be continuing to watch football in the next couple weeks, these are a perfect finger food for watching.  Took a little bit of patience, but as with most recipes that take a bit of doing, it was well worth the wait.

Maple Chicken Wings
*Adapted from Southern Food

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 3 – 4 dozen chicken wings

    4 pounds chicken wings
(preferably the type that are ready to cook so you can avoid the clipping/prepping/etc.)

    1 cup maple syrup, dark or grade B
(we used pure Vermont Maple Syrup)

    1/2 cup packed brown sugar

    2 cloves garlic, finely minced

    3 green onions, chopped

    1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

    1/3 cup teriyaki sauce

    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  2 pinches of cayenne pepper, optional

   *Cilantro, sesame seeds, or chopped green onions, for garnish
(we used green onions & sesame seeds)

1) Line a large baking pan bottom and sides with heavy duty foil.

2) Wash the chicken wings and pat dry. In a large mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, teriyaki, and peppers.

Maple Chicken Wings

Maple Chicken Wings

3) Add the chicken wings to the bowl with the marinade.  Coat wings evenly with the marinade and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap, letting the wings marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight (the longer the better).

4) After your wings have marinaded, arrange the chicken wing pieces in the prepared baking pan and pour the sauce over them.

5) Bake the wings for 1 hour at 350 degrees, turning 3 to 4 times during that hour. After an hour, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes longer, turning the wings every 10 minutes to brown evenly.

Maple Chicken Wings

6) Remove the wings to a serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, or chopped green onion.

Maple Chicken Wings

“Bork…bork…bork!”



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