BACON WRAPPED SPAM BITES

BACON WRAPPED SPAM BITES

PREP & COOK TIME 30 MINUTES – yields 32 bites

1 pound bacon (16 strips, cut in half)
12 ounce can SPAM, cut into 32 pieces
1/3 cup mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced
32 Heavy toothpicks

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cook bacon until a good deal of the fat is rendered, but bacon is NOT crisp and is still pliable. Drain on paper toweling until cool enough to work with.
  • Wrap a bacon strip around each spam cube, securing with a toothpick. Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Whisk together the mustard, maple syrup and garlic.
  • Drizzle over baked cubes and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until bacon is crisp.

NOTE: If you’re not a SPAM fan, cubes of country ham can easily be substituted.

BUFFALO CHICKEN TENDER SLIDERS

BUFFALO CHICKEN SLIDERS

2/3 cup Frank’s hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cups shredded chicken**
12 KING’s Hawaiian sweet rolls
1/3 cup Ken’s Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing
Green leaf lettuce or cabbage mix, optional
Thinly sliced Mozzarella cheese

  • In a large sauce pan combine the hot pepper sauce, butter, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a SLOW boil, removing from heat as soon as it bubbles.
  • Add the chicken and stir to coat.
  • Spread a layer of the dressing on each roll or better yet make a slaw with the dressing and a cabbage mix or the lettuce.
  • Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese, lettuce if using and a scoop of the chicken mixture.
  • Serve and enjoy!

NOTES: **A rotisserie chicken works great when you’re in a time crunch! I prefer to pan sear a few breasts for shredding when I have time.

COWBOY SMOOCHES

Whether you use a grill or the oven these are a HUGE hit with the guys and a perfect appetizer for ANY sporting event!  They are quick, easy and can easily be prepared in advance!  If you want something with a little less punch try my COWGIRL KISSES with their raspberry chipotle sauce.

COWBOY SMOOCHES

8 ounces chive and green onion cream cheese
2 tablespoons Frank’s Hot Sauce
4 slices bacon, diced and browned crisp
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Jalapeno Peppers

  • Mix cream cheese and hot sauce until well blended.
  • Fold in half of the cheese.
  • Clean and remove seeds from peppers.
  • Fill peppers with cream cheese mixtures.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bacon pieces.
  • Bake or grill over low heat 15-20 minutes.

or try my COWGIRL KISSES

BUFFALO CHICKEN PINWHEELS

Need a great recipe to take to the SUPER BOWL party? Love buffalo wings? If you do, you’ll love these! Wings have been ANY sports favorite for as long as I can remember. I’ve made pounds and pounds of chicken wings and even made Buffalo Chicken Dip many a time, but was ecstatic when I ran across a recipe for the same flavors in a wrap cut into pinwheels by Brandie over at HOME COOKING MEMORIES. This is the perfect and delicious party food with all the flavors of buffalo wings plus the blue cheese, but without sticky fingers. Personally, I don’t care for Bleu cheese so I substitute Gorgonzola. I also use rotisserie chicken which adds a a little extra flavor and I decreased the hot size just slightly.

BUFFALO CHICKEN PINWHEELS
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup Frank’s original hot sauce
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup Colby-Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup green onions, finely minced
1 pound FINELY CHOPPED rotisserie chicken pieces
5 large 10 inch flour tortillas

  • In a bowl, beat cream cheese on low.
  • Add in hot sauce, Gorgonzola and Colby-Jack cheeses.
  • Add green onions, mixing until blended.
  • Fold in shredded chicken into mixture by hand.
  • Spread approximately 3/4 cup of mixture on top of one of the tortillas. Roll up tortilla TIGHTLY.
  • Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Place rolled tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  • Remove from refrigerator and unwrap.
  • Slice each rolled tortillas in half and then each half into 3 slices, discarding ends.
  • Place pinwheel slices on serving plate or tray.

NOTES

  • IF using different sized tortillas, adjust amount of buffalo chicken mixture you add to each tortilla.
  • BEST results happen after chilling the rolled tortillas before slicing,

BUFFALO MAC & CHEESE NESTS

BUFFALO MAC & CHEESE NESTS
2 cups elbow pasta
2 cups small chopped rotisserie chicken pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup BBQ sauce or Frank’s Original hot sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
3/4 cup milk
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
slices thin provolone cheese
finely chopped red onion for garnish (optional)
finely minced crumbled crisp bacon for garnish (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cook pasta al dente’ per package directions.
  • Spray mini-muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.

 

  • In a saucepan melt butter.
  • Add Wondra and combine until golden.
  • Whisk in milk until smooth.
  • Add Colby Jack cheese and stir until smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add pasta and stir to coat.
  • Press 2 tablespoons into each muffin tin.

 

  • In a mixing bowl combine chicken, garlic, shallot and BBQ sauce.
  • Spoon a small amount over each pasta mound.
  • Add a small thin slice of provolone over each mound.
  • Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes.

SAUCE
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce or Frank’s original Hot sauce
1 cup bleu cheese dressing
2 tablespoons half and half

  • Blend all together a dribble over each prepared nest.


NOTE: When using a soft cheese like Mozzarella in a recipe of this type there is a secret to keep it from just melting into a GLOB of gooey mess in your pasta.  The secret?  Cut it into very small pieces and freeze it for 30 minutes before adding it to your sauce.  It will incorporate into your pasta perfectly after that.

I have MANY MANY versions of mac & cheese.  One for every mood 😀

ALTERNATIVE FLAVORS for the MAC & CHEESE:

CAJUN MAC & CHEESE slow cooker version – serves 8
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I like Slap your MAMA)
1/2 teaspoon Frank’s original hot sauce
1/2 pound andouille sausage, halved and sliced into half moons
1 small red pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
1 LARGE shallot, diced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 1/2 cups bowtie pasta
1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
+/- 1/3 cup milk

  • Combine chicken, Cajun seasoning and hot sauce in slow cooker, tossing to coat chicken well.
  • Add sausage, red pepper, shallot and broth, stirring to combine.
  • Cover and cook on low 6 hours or high 3 hours.
  • Stir in pasta Cover and cook 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off slow cooker and remove insert from heat.
  • Top with cheeses (DO NOT STIR IT IN), recover and let sit 5 minutes until melted.
  • Add milk and stir to desired consistency.

NOTE:

  • 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken can easily be substituted for the chicken thighs. If using rotisserie chicken, add pieces at the same time as the pasta.

BUFFALO RANCH MAC & CHEESE #2 SLOW COOKER version
1 pound rotini pasta
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup Frank’s original hot sauce
1 ounce Hidden Valley Ranch dressing powder
4 cups chicken broth
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
milk

  • Combine the pasta, celery, carrots, onions, hot sauce and ranch dressing mix in the slow cooker.
  • Stir in broth, cover and cook on high 1 1/2-2 hours or until liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Top with cheese DO NOT STIR IT IN)and let sit until melted, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in cheese, adding enough milk to reach desired consistency.

NOTE: Rotisserie chicken makes a nice protein for this dish. Add it during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

TEX MEX MAC & CHEESE serves 4
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
1 small green pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 pound ground beef
2 cusp beef broth
2 cups tomato sauce
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 small can chopped green chiles
1 can Green Giant shoepeg corn
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper
2 cups shredded Jack cheese or Mexican blend
2 tablespoons FRESH cilantro

  • Heat oil in large skillet/saute’ pan.
  • Add onion and bell pepper, stirring occasionally and cooking until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and chili powder, cooking until fragrant.
  • Crumble beef into pan, cooking until pink is gone.
  • Add beef broth, tomato sauce and pasta, simmering over medium heat 9-12 minutes until pasta is tender.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in corn, chiles and half the cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese, cover and let sit 3-5 minutes until melted.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

CHILI MAC & CHEESE
1 pound ground beef
16 ounces penne or bowtie pasta
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
4 cups beef broth
2 cups salsa
1-2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

  • In a large skillet brown beef over medium high heat.
  • Drain off fat.
  • Add beef to slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle flour, salt and chili powder over beef and toss to coat.
  • Add pasta.
  • Stir in beef broth, cover and cook 1 1/2-2 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally.
  • Stir in salsa.
  • Top with cheese DO NOT STIR IT IN) cover and let sit until cheese is melted.
  • Stir cheese in gently.

BUTTERMILK RANCH DIP

BUTTERMILK RANCH DIP adapted from Christina Tosi
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup dried chives
3 tablespoons FRESH ground Himalayan Pink sea salt
1 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons Colman’s mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 limes, zested
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk

  • In a small bowlmix together all the dry ingredients.
  • Add lime zest.
  • Whisk together the sour cream and buttermilk in a medium bowl.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients until well blended.
  • Chill at least 4 hours to meld flavors together.

NOTE: DO NOT USE lowfat anything in this recipe!!

SPAM & TATERS – REVISITED & UPDATED

SO WHILE cleaning out the refrigerator the other evening hubby created a BETTER version of this dish.  He took a spoonful of SPAM & Taters and covered with with a spoonful of chili, topped it with chopped onions and more cheese and VOILE’ a better recipe is created! 

This is not the prettiest of pictures, but I guarantee you that your hubby won’t care what it looks like!  Super flavorful and rib sticking casserole dish for race or football day.

SPAM & TATERS
1 pound YUKON potatoes, washed and cubed
1 can spam, cubed
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
3/4 cup milk
FRESH ground black pepper.
1 cup shredded EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese
2 thin slices cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly grease a 1 quart baking dish.
  • Add spam to hot skillet and cook until browned and crisp.
  • Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until tender.
  • Drain potatoes and cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss spam and potatoes.
  • Melt butter in saucepan.
  • Whisk in flour and cook until golden.
  • Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until thickens to a creamy texture.
  • Blend in cheese until melted.
  • Pour cheese sauce over and gently toss to coat.
  • Spread into prepared baking dish and top with cheese slices.
  • Bake 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.
  • Serve and enjoy!

SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN WINGS

SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN WINGS
1/3 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup QUALITY sweet honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
3 pounds chicken wing pieces
sesame seeds to garnish
2 green onions, sliced thin for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 475°.
  • In a small saucepan whisk together the liquid aminos, vinegar, honey, garlic and ginger.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until reduced by half and starting to thicken, about 30 minutes.
  • Strain through a sieve and discard solids. You should have about 2/3 cups of sauce.
  • Transfer sauce to large mixing bowl.

 

  • Arrange chicken wing pieces on a jelly roll pan covered in foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes until golden, crisp and cooked through.
  • Transfer wings to sauce bowl and drain fat from pan.
  • Toss wings until well coated by sauce and most of sauce is absorbed, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions to serve.

BACON GREEN ONION DIP

Another awesome Facebook/internet find recipe. Just a couple changes to make is “US” friendly and we really enjoyed it on yesterday’s race day!! It will become a football friendly dip too 😀

BACON GREEN ONION DIP Adapted from the MIDNIGHT BAKER
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder.
  • Add onions and mix well.
  • Fold in bacon.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.

NOTE: I have used my homemade Pimiento Cheese and just add the sour cream, garlic powder, green onions and bacon to it for a tasty variation. 😀

SALISBURY STEAK MEATBALLS

Who doesn’t love a classic salisbury steak? We have all eaten it at some point growing up. Salisbury steak was mom’s way of keeping it homestyle while stretching the budget too. Now I have a recipe that still does that, but works as an appetizer or a pot luck dish and utilizes the slow cooker so you don’t heat up the kitchen. 😀

SALISBURY STEAK MEATBALLS – 24 meatballs
1 medium Vidalia onion, halved and sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin

  • Place the onion slices, minced garlic and mushrooms in the bottom of the slow cooker.

MEATBALLS
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup PLAIN breadcrumbs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon each FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • In a large mixing bowl thoroughly combine the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, milk, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • Form 24 meatballs of equal size.
  • Gently arrange meatballs in slow cooker on top of the onions and mushrooms. (About 2 layers)

GRAVY
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon each FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

  • Whisk together the beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  • Pour over the meatballs evenly.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours until meatballs are cooked though and still tender.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meatballs, onions and mushrooms to a serving platter.
  • In a small bowl whisk the cornstarch and water together until smooth to form a slurry.
  • Whisk the slurry into the crock pot until well blended.
  • Add the meatballs, onions and mushrooms back into the slow cooker.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste, cover and cook on low another 30 minutes.
  • Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.

CHEESY CHICKEN PANCAKES

CHEESY CHICKEN PANCAKES makes 16-18
PANCAKES

1 1/2 pounds breast tenders, diced small
2 large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, cornstarch or potato starch
1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or thyme (your flavor choice)
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon FRESH black pepper
2 tablespoons Avocado oil

  • Whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and dill.
  • Add flour, stirring until smooth.
  • Fold in cheese and then chicken pieces, stirring until well blended.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight is better.
  • Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat with avocado oil.
  • When oil is hot, add the chicken mixture a heaping Tablespoon at a time. Slightly flatten out the tops and sauté uncovered 3-4 minutes on the first side, then flip and saute 3 more minutes on the flip side or until golden brown and chicken is fully cooked through.  Repeat with remaining fritters adding more oil as needed. DO NOT CROWD THE PAN.

DIP
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground salt
1/8 teaspoon FRESH black pepper

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring together until smooth.

NOTES:

  • To test for doneness, cut a pancake in half and the chicken should be completely white inside.
  • Partially frozen chicken breasts are easier to dice.
  • Sometimes I cook the tenders in advance and shred them so the pancakes take less time to actually cook.
  • Changing the cheese flavor makes a nice change.  Using pepper jack for the cheese and a splash of Frank’s hot sauce in the dip spices it up a bit.

TROPICAL BBQ MEATBALLS

Seems like lately I have needed to make a bunch of appetizers for one event after another. Meatballs are one of my favorite dishes to make and can be prepared bite size AND in large batches without sauce and frozen for the future.

TROPICAL BBQ MEATBALLS makes 3 dozen 1 inch meatballs

1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup finely minced Vidalia onion
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons half and half
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3/4 pound lean ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease a wire rack and set inside a jelly roll pan.
  • Combine the oats, half the onion, half and half, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, chili powder and paprika in a large bowl.
  • Crumble the beef over the oats mixture and using your hands, mix well, but with minimal mixing.
  • Roll into 1 inch balls and place on wire rack.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
  • Remove rack from pan.
  • Wipe pan dry of any grease.
  • Add meatballs back to pan.

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apricot pineapple preserves
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons honey

  • Combine the ketchup, preserves, brown sugar, liquid smoke and remaining onion in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat, add honey and simmer 10-15 minutes until thickened.

 

  • Drizzle sauce over meatballs and turn to coat.
  • Return pan to oven and bake another 15 minutes.
  • Arrange on a platter and serve.