I’VE MOVED!

If you’re looking for new recipes, please join me at my new site:

www.amyswhatscookingoodlookin.com

I’ve put a few new recipes up over there already!  So please come on over and be sure to bookmark the new site.  This one will remain open for a while, but no new recipes will be added here. 

Come join me!

Smoky Mountain Chicken

Howdy friends and neighbors!  The birds are singing.  The sun is shining.  The flowers are blooming.  The ankle biters aren’t fighting.   But only because they’re not up yet!   Life is GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

So I thought I’d share one of my most requested recipes with you.  I started making Smoky Mountain Chicken several years ago when a friend at Moms Online posted the original recipe.  Since then, I’ve made it so much, folks just think the recipe is “mine.”  But the original credit goes to Lisa in Maine for posting the recipe about a gazillion years ago.  When we had our little bakery/catering business, this was one of the most popular meals we offered. 

So without further ado, I’m going to share it with you all!  There’s no “Here’s what you’ll need” photo this time.  I was busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest when I made this and just forgot to make one.  My bad! 

So here’s what you’ll need:

*  Boneless skinless chicken breasts

*  deli honey-baked ham slices

*  monterey jack cheese slices

*  garlic powder

*  Italian seasoning

*  black pepper

*  BBQ sauce of choice

Easy peasy!  Here’s what you’ll need to do, get a large baking dish/cookie sheet and cover it with foil.  Give it a good spray with non-stick cooking spray.  There’s so much cheese coming later you’ll be glad you did this foil/spray step!  Trust me!  Now place the boneless skinless chicken breasts in the pan.

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Like this……………

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Now sprinkle some garlic powder on them.  Don’t be stingy!  Garlic is GOOD!  It keeps the vampires away!  :o)  But if you’re obsessed with Twilight, that might not be a plus for you………..

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Now sprinkle with some Italian seasoning.  Again, be generous!

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Now give it some fresh cracked black pepper or just some out of your black pepper shaker.  I won’t be so picky about it here!

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See?  It  needs a nice coating of all the spices!  They’re going to sink in and make the flavor EXPLODE!!!!

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Now stick them in a 350° oven and let them roast until done.  These were HUGE chicken breasts so it took 45 minutes to an hour before they were done. 

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When the chicken is done, smother it in your favorite BBQ sauce.  This BBQ sauce is homemade.  It’s a secret recipe…….given to me by the precious Mrs. Gigi before she went home to be with her Savior.  I hope she’s making her amazing BBQ sauce and fabulous potato soup and Spanish cornbread and homemade melba toast for Jesus!  RIP Mrs. Gigi!  But, if you aren’t privy to Mrs. Gigi’s spectacular sauce, KC Masterpiece or Kraft or Sticky Fingers BBQ sauce will do.  Just use your favorite BBQ sauce.  But really smother it!  Don’t be shy with the sauce! 

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Now give everybody their own pig blanket!  Layer a couple or three slices of honey ham on each chicken breast.

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Now top it with cheese and then stick it back in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt and get all ooey gooey.  This is Tall Skinny Man’s favorite part……….when the chicken comes out of the oven, some of it will be melted into the warm BBQ sauce.  Once I’ve taken all the chicken out of the pan, he scoops up all that melty cheese and BBQ sauce.  It’s nirvana to him!  Eyes rolling back in the head and the whole 9 yards!

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And when you’re done, this is what you’ll have!  Be sure to park a knife beside the plate and a big ole napkin! 

This is such an easy dish to make and fool folks into thinking you REALLY worked hard!  Go ahead!  Invite the boss over for dinner!   You’ll be getting a raise!!!  Invite the preacher!  He’ll love it!  Might even nominate you for sainthood!  Or just serve it to your Tall Skinny Man (or non-skinny man—-this blog does not discriminate on the basis of weight!) and ankle biters.  They’ll clean the kitchen and mop the floor for you after they eat this.  Well, not really.  But it was worth a shot to hope for, huh? 

You can serve it with a little bit of anything!  Green Beans, Corn on the Cob, Baked Potatoes, a big salad, Fresh Asparagus, you name it!  I served it with the Super Honkin’ Kicked Up Loaded Baked Potatoes I shared with you recently and a big salad. 

Alrighty!  There ya go!  Dinner for tonight is decided!  :o)  Now what are you going to do with the rest of this gloriously sunny summer day???  Have a great one!

Super Honkin’ Kicked Up Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

Alrighty!  Here we go!!!  Finally, at long last, a new recipe!  Well, new to y’all…..not so new to my family and me.  I’ve been making these potatoes for years!  We loved “Twice Baked Potatoes,” but I wanted something a little more substantial, so I started playing around with some ideas.  And that’s how these Super Honkin’ Kicked Up Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes came to be.  Trying saying that name 3 times really fast!  Betcha can’t do it! 

Let’s make some!  They’re a little time and labor-intensive, but OH, SO WORTH IT in the end!  Here’s what you’ll need:

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Potatoes, of course!  Get some big ones!  Those little squirrely ones just won’t hold up to the Super Honkin’ part of this recipe!  Some green onions, red bell pepper, a can of whole kernel corn, frozen broccoli, garlic, fresh peppercorns, sour cream, Jane’s Krazy Salt and cheese of choice.

Start out by scrubbing your potatoes and sticking them in the oven to bake.  I like to bake them naked…..just lay them on the racks of the oven like this:

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Now while they’re baking, let’s mix up the goodies that will go into the potato mixture later.

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Trim up the green onions and get them ready for slicing.  I take the “hairy” end off each one and then the cut tips of the greens.  I also peel the most outside layer of the onion off.  There’s no rhyme or reason as to why I do that particular step other than I have major OCD issues and think it MUST be done.  You’re welcome to skip that step if you aren’t obsessive/compulsive!  :o) 

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Now give them a little diagonal slice like this.

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Now cut the pepper in half and scoop out the insides.  Remove all the seeds and discard them. 

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Slice each half into thin strips like this.

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Slice the strips until you have a small dice like this.

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Go ahead and throw them into a bowl together.  They’re going to be good friends!  See!  Don’t they look pretty together?! 

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Open and drain the can of corn.  Now add it to the peppers and onions in the bowl.  If you prefer, you could use a can of cream corn instead of the whole kernel. 

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Go ahead and throw the bag of broccoli in there now.  Use as much or as little as you think your family will like.  My family LOVES broccoli.  So I use the whole bag not matter how many potatoes I’m making.  This time, I used chopped broccoli.  I had company coming with kids younger than mine.  So I used the smaller cut broccoli to make it a little easier for little people to eat.  Usually, I use broccoli florets so there are large hunks of broccoli in there.  Ankle Biter #2 could eat his weight in broccoli!

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Now give it a good mix.  Looks how gorgeous that is!  Couldn’t you just swan dive into it!?

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Throw in some fresh-cracked pepper.  I sure wish these screens had a scratch and sniff feature because you can’t even wrap your head around how amazing this smells!

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And some Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt………….that’s some GOOD stuff right there!

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And what would this world be without a big scoop of minced garlic!?  So toss some of that in too!  Give it a good stir and just set it aside until the potatoes are done.

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Cut each potato in half length-wise.  Notice I’m holding the potato in a pot-holder.  You’ll need to do this step while the potatoes are hot or they’ll get gummy on you.  So I highly recommend using a pot-holder or a towel to hold the potatoes or you’ll have some seriously charred flesh!

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Not the best picture ever, but I can’t hold a potato in one hand, a spoon in the other and take pictures with my toes.  I’m just not quite that dextrous.  So Ankle Biter #1 had to help his ole mom out with this one.  Scoop the potato out leaving a little potato around the edges so it will hold its shape.

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Collect all the potato’s innards in a large bowl.  No sissy bowls for this.  You’re going to need a BIG one! 

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Here’s what your potato shells should look like.  Line them up on a baking sheet for stuffing.

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Get your trusty potato-masher and have a go at those tater innards!  You don’t want the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Leave a few lumps, but not huge chunks.

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Now add the sour cream to the smooshed potatoes.

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Stir until all the sour cream is combined well with the potatoes.

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Dump in the bowl of veggies you prepared earlier. 

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Give it a good mix.  Man alive, this stuff is GOOD!

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Dump in about 2/3 of the bag of cheese.  Reserve some of it for the tops of the potatoes.  Now give it a good mix.

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Start stuffing the potatoes.  Be generous!  You’ve got plenty!  Really mound it up!

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See, like this?  Don’t be stingy!  You’ll have more than enough to really pile them high!

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Give the potatoes a good sprinkle of cheese and stick them back in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt.

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Now dig in!!!!!!!!!

It’ll take you a little time to make these, but they are SO worth it!  And if you want to make them a complete meal in themselves, add some of last night’s grilled chicken into the potato mix.  Just diced it up and toss it in when you add the veggies.  Leftover ham or grilled pork chops would also be good.  You can’t really go wrong with it! 

If you like asparagus better than broccoli, substitute that!  Roasted red peppers as opposed to raw red peppers would be amazing!  Change it up to suit your fancy! 

I served it alongside Smoky Mountain Chicken (recipe will be available here in a few days!) and a Wedge Salad.  But it makes a wonderful accompaniment to most any grilled or baked meat.  And if you don’t want to take the time to do all that potato baking, scooping, and refilling you can just peel some potatoes, boil them like for mashed potatoes and just add the ingredients and bake in a casserole dish.  Or………you can fake this one really well!  Make up some instant mashed potatoes using sour cream and then add all these other goodies, top with cheese in a casserole dish and bake.  Nobody will ever know you didn’t peel potatoes until your little fingers nearly fell off the bone! 

These potatoes are a HUGE summertime expectation at my house.  When we grill, they make frequent appearances!  I hope you all enjoy them as much as my family does!

Amy’s New Kitchen

So I’ve been missing for a while……….couldn’t be helped………..I’ve been getting a new kitchen.  Well, it’s the old kitchen, but it got a MAJOR facelift!  Heck, I think it might’ve even got it’s boobs lifted and it’s tummy tucked and it’s fanny lipo’d too! 

We started this project 2 days after Christmas by turning my stairwell to the basement into a laundry room/pantry.  Then we started on the kitchen.  And it’s been a LONGGGGGGGGGGGGG, drawn out process.  And honestly, we’re STILL not finished.  The new tile flooring for the kitchen and dining room is not yet installed and the hardwood flooring in the living room and down the hall is not yet installed either.  But I thought since I’m functional again, y’all might like to see why there have been no new recipes around here in such a long time.

Here are some photos of the old kitchen.

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Think 1979 in all it’s glory!  That was my kitchen before!  No built-in dishwasher!  And harvest gold EVERYWHERE!  BLECH!

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This was the bar before. 

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This was the sink side of the kitchen before.  Notice the roll-away portable dishwasher.  That’s the best I had…….and it was pretty pitiful!  In this picture, it’s where my refrigerator used to be.  It’s now in the new laundry room/pantry. 

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This is the stove side of the kitchen.  My stove and oven are fairly new, having been added since we moved in here 9 years ago.  So neither of them was replaced.  The vent-hood above the stove was though.

And here’s how it all looks now…………

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This is actually not the kitchene at all……….it’s my new laundry room/pantry just off the kitchen.  The fridge lives there now.  It’s hard to imagine that this used to house the stairs to my basement!  Currently, there are no stairs to the basement.  That’s another project for another day……….We’ll eventually put new stairs elsewhere in the house, but for right now, we have to go outside to get to the basement……but we’ll live!

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This is my new bar.  We extended it out several inches so we could put bar stools up there.  Before, it wasn’t deep enough to use stools.

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This was taken standing in my dining room angled toward the sink side. 

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This is standing at the end of the bar looking toward the stove and oven side of the kitchen.  Notice the new pulls on the cabinets.  They’re a brushed bronze to match the new faucet on the sink.

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The stove with the new marble tile backsplash and new vent-hood.

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My new sink and faucet.  The sink is a composite that isn’t supposed to scratch, dent, chip or ding!  It’s called “granite” so it looks like a granite sink, but it’s whatever this composite stuff is!  LOVE IT!  9’5″ deep!  FABULOUS for washing my deepest pots!  I had trouble doing that in my little tiny sink!

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Now ignore the fact that the floor still looks cruddy!  It will soon have Sicilian-Stone tile!  This entire area was empty before the remodel.  My brother built the new cabinet at the end and we added a built-in dishwasher!  Praise the Lord and pass the turnips!!!!  Finest thing I’ve ever owned!  He also built the little cabinet above the counter for the microwave so it wouldn’t take up valuable countertop space. 

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And here’s a view of the whole thing!  I’m just thrilled beyond belief with it! 

So now that I have a brand spankin’ new kitchen, y’all can expect some brand spankin’ new recipes coming soon!!!!  I can’t wait to share new goodies with you!  Stay tuned!

Scalloped Cabbage a la Candy

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Hello friends!

It’s been a while!  Life has gotten in the way of my cooking and my blogging.  There’s a little thing called work.  And 2 little things called Ankle Biters.  And 1 huge thing called “the tyranny of the everyday.”  Oh yeah, and then there’s also that little thing called “remodeling hell”…………cuz I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO there!  My kitchen is STILL not finished!  ACK!

But enough of all that whining.  We’ve got cooking to do together!  It’s been way too long since we’ve done that.  Speaking of cooking together, that brings me to the recipe I want to share with you today.  Ladies and Gentlemen, today I give you Scalloped Cabbage a la Candy!

Candy is a dear, precious friend that I made via Moms Online.  We’ve traded recipes and kitchen secrets for years now.  And I’ve had the distinct pleasure of visiting with Candy numerous times in person. 

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Here’s Candy, me and Candy’s mom a couple summers ago when they were traveling through TN on their way to visit family.  Candy is an absolute computer GENIUS!  She has the ability to correct my computer just by me having a thought to call her.  NO JOKE!  My new laptop was acting wonky and no matter what I did, it wouldn’t act right.  I picked up the phone, called Candy and left her a voicemail to call me back.  It cringed in fear of Candy and begin functioning correctly immediately.  This has happened a number of times!  No kidding!  Not that any of that has a thing to do with cooking…………..

But here’s the thing……..Candy and I never get to visit long enough to actually get to cook together.  That makes me sad because based on this recipe and some others Candy has shared with me over the years, I know she’s a PHENOMENAL cook!  And we would have an incredible time in the kitchen together!  Someday…….

Ages ago, Candy shared a recipe with me that I knew I would love before I ever made it!  She talked about making this Scalloped Cabbage dish and my mouth watered!  I LOVE cabbage……..pretty much anyway you can think of!  And the first time I made it, my family went WILD over it!  Now granted, I took a few personal liberties with Candy’s original because y’all know I can never leave well enough alone. 

So without further ado, let’s make some!  Here’s what you’ll need:

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A head of cabbage, an onion, some garlic, flour, margarine/butter, milk, pepper and a spicy processed cheese (like Mexican Velveeta, but I used the Kroger brand) and some chips.  Chips?  Huh?  Oh, just you wait!  It’s awesome!  Really!

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Start by cutting the cabbage head into roughly 1″ pieces.

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Put it in a large pot, cover with water and boil 10 minutes.

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While the cabbage is par-boiling, dice up an onion. 

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Melt butter or margarine in a pan.  Pick a pan that’s big enough to make your sauce.

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Add some minced garlic to the melted butter.  You don’t want the temperature to be too high or your garlic will burn. 

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Add the onions and stir.  We’re not cooking the onions here, just “sweating” them out a little.

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Now add a little fresh cracked pepper to the onions and keep stirring. 

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See the color on the onions here?  They’re perfect!  So go ahead and add the flour to the mix.

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Now give it a stir.  Most of the butter will soak up the flour.  That’s cool!  It’s supposed to do that!  We’re making a “roux.” 

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A who, you say?  A “roux.”  It’s French.  (HI SARAH!!!!)  When you mix the same amount of butter and flour together, you have a roux (pronounced “roo.”)  It’s the base for lots of traditional sauces.  Once the butter soaks up all the flour, you’ll add some milk to the mix and whisk.

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Whisk until the milk is completely incorporated into the roux making a thick sauce.  It should be smooth………well, as smooth as it can be with the pieces of onion.  The point is that the sauce itself shouldn’t be lumpy.  If the only “lumps” are the pieces of onion, you’re good!

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Now cut the cheese into chunks…….it just makes it easier for the cheese to melt if it’s not in huge pieces when you put it into your sauce.

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Now add the cheese to the sauce and cook on low heat until all the cheese is completely melted.

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Your sauce is ready!  So let’s get the cabbage ready.  Drain it well.  You don’t want any of the cooking liquid to water down that amazing sauce!  So make sure the cabbage drains as much as possible.

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Add the drained cabbage into the sauce and give it a good toss making sure all the cabbage is coated with the cheese sauce.

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See?  You want it completely immersed in all that glorious sauce!

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Pour cabbage and sauce into a WELL-sprayed casserole dish.  This sauce is so cheeeeeeeeeeesy that if you don’t spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray before you add the sauce, you will be sorry!  You’ll be like Lisa Douglas from Green Acres……tossing your pots and pans and dishes out the kitchen window! 

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Remember those chips?  Put some in a ziplock bag and crush them up.  Don’t snarl up your nose!  Trust me here!  Have I ever caused you to go astray before?  Of course not!  Go ahead!  Crush ‘em!  I’ll wait.

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That was therapeutic now, wasn’t it?!!?  Now sprinkle the crushed chips on top.

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Like this!  Now go stick it in a preheated 350° oven and leave it alone for half an hour or so.

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And when it’s done, you’ll have this ooey, gooey, fabulous chees-ified cabbage goodness.

Scalloped Cabbage a la Candy

*  1 head cabbage

*  1 onion, diced

*  1 Tbsp. minced garlic

*  freshly cracked pepper to taste

*  1/2 cup flour

*  1/2 cup butter or margarine

*  2 cups milk

*  1 pound peppery cheese product such as Mexican Velveeta

*  2 cups crushed chips

I’ve had folks ask me for “something different” so many times.  So here you go!  Here’s something different for you!  I served this with that pot roast I posted a couple weeks ago.  I’ve also made it to go along with chicken and pork chops.  And if you added a little cooked ground beef to it, you could have a complete meal, easy!  It’s just a new idea for a side dish to put beside your meatloaf or fried chicken instead of that tired, boring old slaw! 

Give it a try!  I think you’ll love it! 

And Candy, THANK YOU for a wonderful recipe and for being such a precious friend!  You’re a true gift from God and I could never tell you enough how much I appreciate Him sending you to me!  I love you!  Keep those recipes coming, friend!

Comfort Food: Pot Roast

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Having been so crazy busy at work lately and also having a kitchen semi-under construction, my cooking has been very sporadic as a result.  I haven’t been able to get in the kitchen and really cook meals for the most part.  It’s been as my Granny used to say, “Catch as catch can.”  We’ve eaten a lot of frozen pizza and we’ve also eaten out quite a lot.  

But last weekend, I couldn’t take it anymore!  I HAD to have some good ole grub!  Comfort food.  The kind of stuff that makes you remember why it’s good to be alive!  My friend Christie (The Lurker around here!) came home for a visit.  She lives WAY too far away and only gets in to visit a few times a year.  So since she was coming, I decided to make a big ole pot roast.  There are few other things that scream comfort food quite like a roast does. 

I generally prefer a sirloin tip roast.   And in all honesty, I should’ve stuck with what I prefer as opposed to getting a different cut that looked “alright” that was on sale.  I should’ve paid the other few pennies to get what we all really like.  But I didn’t.  And you can’t put the crap back in the horse.  So move on and dance with the one who brung ya, huh? 

I ended up with a beautiful chuck roast.  It just didn’t end up nearly as tender as my beloved sirloin tip roasts always do.  So lesson learned.  If you have a favorite cut of roast, get it even if it’s not on sale.  You’ll be glad you paid the extra $ for what you really like!  Lesson learned.  But I digress………..

Now here’s a little thing about me and roast.  I’m not a “Roast with Carrots and Potatoes” kind of gal.  I’m a “Roast with Carrots” kind of gal.  I think roast should have a big ole pile of mashed potatoes beside it and gravy to smother both of those in.  So I only put carrots in with my roasts.   If you like potatoes in with yours, by all means, add them.  I just don’t happen to prefer mashed potatoes with my roast.  And I also LOVE the carrots out of a roast.  So I always put an insane amount of carrots in with my roasts so I can have leftover carrots to eat one for a few days.  But roast would be good with any number of other vegetables in it.  So add whatever you and your family really like!

How’s about we make a little Pot Roast, shall we?  Here’s what you’ll need:

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A roast, some carrots (and any other veggies you choose,) a packet of dry Italian dressing mix, a packet of Beefy Onion Soup mix, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  Take a close look at the Worcestershire sauce.  It’s a new “thick” version.  And I have to say that I’m in LOVE!  But then, I was in love with the regular stuff too.  This new thick sauce really adheres to the meat.  Either kind would work fine though.

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Start with a large roasting pan (or your crockpot.)  I like to cut the carrots on the bias (at an angle) and then if they’re large, I cut them in half.  I want the carrots to cook completely through.  The family likes carrots anyway they can get them, but I am no fan of crunchy carrots in a roast.  So I cut them into as evenly-sized pieces as possible so they all cook through and through.  If you have other vegetables you enjoy in a roast, add them to the bottom of the roasting pan.

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Next take the fresh-cracked peppercorns and pat them into the meat. 

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Once the meat is peppered all over, place it on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.

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Sprinkle the Beefy Onion Soup Mix on top of the meat.

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Now give it a nice massage.  Really pat it onto the meat so it coats it evenly.

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Sprinkle the dry Italian dressing mix on top.  You’re probably sitting there wondering how Italian dressing mix can work with a roast.  The first time I did it, I was going for an “Italian-tasting” roast.  What I got was an amazingly flavored roast, but it didn’t taste “Italian” at all.  So PLEASE don’t eliminate this step thinking you’ll have a strange-tasting roast.  The flavor this little packet imparts to the roast is unbelievable!

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Pour the Worcestershire sauce over the meat.

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Add water to the roasting pan to create a little steam.

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And here’s what you’ll have when it’s ready to go in the oven.  I used my Pampered Chef roaster so it has a lid that goes over it.  Whatever you use, make sure it either has a lid or you cover with foil to keep the meat moist.

Pot Roast

*  1 roast of choice

*  vegetables of choice:  carrots, potatoes, onions, parsnips, celery, turnips

*  1 packet dry Italian dressing mix

*  1 packet Beefy Onion Soup Mix

*  1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

*  fresh cracked pepper, to taste

*  1 cup water

Prepare roast by cutting off large pieces of fat if necessary.  Peel and prepare vegetables.  Cut vegetables in pieces that are comparable in size so they all cook evenly.  Add them to the roasting pan.  Sprinkle the roast with freshly cracked peppercorns.   Place roast on top of vegetables.  Add the packet of soup mix to the meat and ensure it’s entirely covered.  Sprinkle dry Italian dressing mix over meat.  Drizzle meat with Worcestershire sauce.   Pour warm water into the roasting pan.  Put lid on roasting pan or cover with foil.  Roast in a 350° oven approximately 4 hours, but will depend on the size of your roast. 

When roast is finished cooking, set on a cutting board for about 10 minutes prior to slicing.  While the meat is resting, make gravy with the wonderful juices created in the bottom of the roasting pan.  Slice meat and top with gravy.

And with all that said, let me just say that my pot roast will NEVER hold a candle to my Aunt Jane’s.  She made the most phenomenal roast I’ve ever put in my mouth!  THAT was truly comfort food!  Her daughter, my cousin Kimberly, can come MIGHTY close to her mom’s pot roast.  But I have never been able to.   This roast I’ve shared with you is good, no doubt about it.  But it’s not Aunt Jane’s!  I miss her and I miss her amazing roasts…..and cakes……and macaroni and cheese…….and pea salad……OK, I could go on and on.  I hate y’all never got to have her pot roast.  You missed one in a million! 

Despite this pot roast not being like my beloved Aunt Jane’s, I hope you enjoy it anyway!  We had Mashed Potatoes, English Peas, Fried Squash (details coming here soon!), Fried Corn, Macaroni and Cheese, Scalloped Cabbage (details coming here soon!) and Cornbread with this Pot Roast last weekend.  The whole point of comfort food it so keep eating until you’re not comfortable anymore!  LOL  So that’s just what we did! 

Now go hug your family and show ‘em some love with some Pot Roast or whatever comfort food lets them know you love them! 

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings

So um, did you miss me?  Sorry to leave you all high and dry!  It’s been beyond wild at work lately!  But thankfully, I think the “wild” is over……or at least for a while anyway!  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve missed cooking and sharing with you these last few weeks!  It’s good to be “home!” 

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while.  I actually made these wingies for our Super Bowl party that turned into nothing but a Food Fest (THANK YOU, Charter Communications!)  I also made traditional Buffalo Wings, but I wanted to do something a little different too.  So I started pondering what I could make that might be a little hot and spicy, but sweet too.  And this recipe began to develop in my head.

Since all we could do was sit around and eat that night (THANK YOU AGAIN, Charter!) these got quite a lot of attention!  In fact, they were more popular than the Buffalo Wings! 

Jamaican folks have been “jerking” meat for a long time.  Traditionally, “jerk” is a very hot and spicy dry rub applied to either pork or goat.  Since neither of those beasts have wings, I decided to branch out a little with my jerk.  “My jerk” not to be confused for Tall Skinny Man, mind you.  He doesn’t have wings either.  But I digress.  So I ended up using a package of frozen wings and drummies for this recipe.  You can certainly use fresh if you’re a mind to do all that cutting up of raw chicken.  Me?  Not so much of fan of that process.  Therefore, frozen worked like a charm for me!

In addition to wings, of course, here’s what you’ll need:

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Fresh ginger, an orange, crushed red pepper flakes, fresh garlic, soy sauce and any variety of Jamaican Jerk seasoning.  I got my Jerk seasoning from Sam’s.  You could certainly make your own, but why reinvent the wheel if there’s a perfectly good wheel sitting around in the spice cabinet? 

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Wingies!  They’re pretty doggone important if you’re going to be making Jamaican Jerk WINGS!  I bought these in the freezer section of Kroger.  They’re already cut up for you!  All you have to do is thaw them.  Once they’re thawed completely, put them in a large mixing bowl.  This was about 3 pounds, give or take a wing or two.

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You’ll need about 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger, 2 Tbsp. Jamaican Jerk seasoning, the zest from one orange, 1 heaping Tbsp. fresh garlic and as much or as little crushed red pepper flakes as you can take.  Since we all like really hot and spicy, I used a lot.  But it’s better to start out with a little and build than to roast your tongue out of your mouth with too much.  Maybe start with half a tsp. the first time.  If that’s not hot enough, increase by half tsp. the next time. 

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Now that you’ve got your seasonings ready, juice the orange over the chicken wings.  I like to use a citrus reamer to get all the juice and some of the pulp out of the orange. 

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Add 1/2 cup soy sauce. 

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Add the orange zest.  And can I just do a little PSA here?  I LOVE citrus zest!  LOVE IT!  The flavor it imparts is just unbelievable!  Please invest in a zester/microplane!  You’ll be glad you did!!!  We can love citrus zest together!

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Now add the  garlic.

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Fresh ginger going in!  Trust me on this……if you don’t use fresh ginger, the recipe is shot!  Fresh ginger and dried, ground ginger do NOT have the same taste!  Fresh ginger is CHEAP!  So use the good stuff, please!  I use my trusty microplane for the ginger too.

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Now toss in the crushed red pepper flakes and the Jerk seasoning. 

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Give it a stir and let it marinate as long as possible before cooking.  It’s best to let it soak up the marinade at least an hour, but several hours or overnight would be even better!

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Pour wings and marinade into a baking dish.  I highly recommend using a disposable pan for this so you don’t have to scrub when it’s finished cooking.  Bake 45 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked. 

Now don’t shoot me, but I failed to take pictures of a step in between here!  Halfway through the cooking process, I poured off the majority of the marinade/cooking liquid into a saucepan.  This step was twofold.  I wanted the wings to crisp up a little bit and I wanted to use the liquid to make a sauce to pour over the wings. 

I added half a cup of firmly packed brown sugar to the liquid I poured off the chicken and cooked it down until it made a thick sauce.  I simmered it on low until it was as thick as gravy.  And let me tell you, the aroma was INSANE!

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I also failed to add this to the “What You’ll Need” photo.  Sorry ’bout that!  I had about 18 different things going on at the same time and had to rely on Ankle Biters for any assistance because TSM was sicker than a dawg.  So I missed documenting a step or two along the way.  Begging pardon…….Sprinkle with toasted seasame seeds after pouring your thickened sauce over the wings.

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And you end up with these incredibly flavorful little wings……..WOW, I wish I had a scratch and sniff monitor right now!  These were “eyes rolled back in the head” good!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings

*  3 pounds chicken wings

*  2″ piece fresh ginger—1 Tbsp. grated

*  1 heaping Tbsp. fresh minced garlic

*  2 Tbsp. Jamaican Jerk seasoning

*  1/2 tsp.-1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

*  zest and juice from 1 orange

*  1/2 cup soy sauce

*  1/2 cup brown sugar

*  2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Place wings in a mixing bowl.  Zest the orange and set the zest aside.  Cut the orange in half and juice it into the mixing bowl.  Next add the soy sauce.  Add grated ginger, minced garlic, Jerk seasoning, orange zest, and crushed red pepper flakes to the bowl.  Allow to marinate at least 1 hour.

Pour wings and marinade into a baking pan.  Bake in a pre-heated 350° oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked completely through. 

About halfway through the cooking process, pour off the cooking liquid into a saucepan.  Add brown sugar to the liquid.  Simmer on low until sauce thickens to the consistency of gravy.

Pour sauce over wings and toss them to coat each wing with the sauce.  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  Serve hot.

Now let me share an idea with you.  This would be equally amazing on a pork loin or boneless skinless chicken breasts!  I would make the marinade in a bowl separate from the meat if doing either of those.  Then I’d pour half the marinade on the meat and let it soak overnight.  The other half would be in a bowl by itself.  I’d grill the meat and thicken the reserved marinade while the meat grilled.  When the meat is completely cooked, pour the sauce over the meat when serving. 

This would make an awesome summer-time meal!  In fact, I can’t wait for warm weather to get here so I can get that grill cranked up and try this very thing!

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  I truly can’t tell you how amazing these turned out.  They’re so different from the traditional Buffalo Wings you’re used to!  Still spicy, but with a sweet twist!  Give ‘em a try and report back! 

I’ve missed you people!  I hope my crazy work schedule is over for a while and we can get back to cooking around here!  See you soon with another new recipe!

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