App-Eh-Tizers

Roasted Kale Potato Salad

Roasted Kale Potato Salad

Two Things:

  1. I spent 72% of my life living as a Southern Baptist. What does that mean? That means 71% of that 72% of my life was spent at pot-luck dinners, Wednesday night pre-church meals, and other various events with Super-Baptist Foods. And if you think to yourself, “what the Hades is ‘Super-Baptist Food?’” Well, keep reading my child.
  2. When I graduated high school and my mother would call and/or visit me, one of her first questions was, “What was the last green vegetable you ate?” The second would be a series of questions like, “Have you ever done drugs? Has anyone ever offered you drugs? Do you know what you would say if someone offered you drugs?” My mom is ultra-precious like that.

So, throw those two bullet points into a blender and out comes the recipe I created for Roasted Kale Potato Salad: Super-Baptist AND including a green vegetable.

(Hollers aloud: THIS ONE’S FOR YOU MOM)

Balsamic Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

I’M BAAAAAAACKKK!!!!

I bet you thought you were rid of me, didn’t you? You probably thought to yourself several times over the past few months, “My inbox has been so much less obnoxious without those foolish emails of ridiculous recipes! Praise Yeezus!”

Well, you’re rude and I hate you and Yeezus isn’t a real person/place/thing. And right after I learn exactly what cyber-bullying is, I’m going to do it to all of your social media accounts.

Anywazzzzzze, I have been soops biz (that’s how the “cool kids” say super busy now) cooking up some new recipes and fun ideas. Not to mention, I’ve obviously learned some neat new lingo that makes me much cooler as a person.

So, come along, won’t you? Won't you join me on this exciting journey?

*Extends Arms with Warm, Non-Creepy, Open Mouth Smile* 

This recipe is something I’ve spent several attempts at perfecting. And let me tell you:

I.

Done.

Did.

It.

This is now my go-to, absolute favorite marinade in general. You can use it for ANYTHING and it is oh-so delicious. You can even use it as a salad dressing.

THAT’S RIGHT.

Today I’m going to show you how to use it with mushrooms but, remember what I said two sentences earlier. You can use this same marinade on anything. Don’t be dumb. Use it on anything. And everything. Stop asking questions.

Balsamic Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

Balsamic Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

1 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar

Juice of ½ Lemon

2-4 Cloves of Fresh Garlic

1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence(Or Italian Seasoning)

2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika, approximately

2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary

Fresh Cracked Salt & Pepper, to taste

Honey, to taste

2-3 Bay Leaves

Combine all of your ingredients (sans the mushrooms and bay leaves, obviously) in a blender and pulse until completely smooth and inter-mingled, at least 30 seconds-1 minute.

**A little trick I have learned is that oil and vinegar do not separate when blended. You heard here first (or not first at all because you already knew that), gang.

If you don’t have access to a blender or it’s in the back of your pantry buried by canned goods from the 1960’s, feel free to use a jar or plastic bag. You choose your journey.

Make sure to taste-test the marinade and adjust the honey/salt as needed. If you don’t have enough salty-sweetness, your life is going to be severely incomplete.

Pour the marinade over (washed & dried) Portobello mushrooms and toss in your bay leaves. Let them chill (preferably an hour or so) until you’re ready to cook.

**I’ve also recently discovered my real, lasting love for bay leaves. It’s magical. It’s deep. It’s real.

Whenever you’re ready to party, grill or sear the mushrooms on each side for about 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat. They’ll get tender, juicy and delicious you’ll want to slap an infant.

But don’t.

I hope you enjoy!

Jalapeno-Honey Cornbread

Jalapeno-Honey Cornbread

When I was a small child, my grandparents lived in Graham, Texas. As that small child, I remember taking road trips for what felt like 2.5 years in the car to go see them. But once we got there, it was magical. Because, duh. It’s the grandparent's house.

My grandpa had the most amazing garden, always. Specifically, he planted “snapdragons” every year. If you don’t know what those are, they are the most majestic flower because they snap when you squeeze them just right. And if you’re a small child, that will really get you going.

Anyway, my grandmother kept a really cool “den” area where we always had our big, family meals. One specific meal I remember, we had cornbread. And for some reason, when I had this piece of cornbread, it made me cough. Cough, not choke. As a child, I was a weird, weird human. But for some reason, that moment has stuck with me for my whole life. And my family was known for delicious meals, but that moment scarred me for cornbread forever. From that point, cornbread was the food that forever betrayed me.

Anyway, 700 years later, I’ve discovered a way that I LOVE cornbread. See? People can change.

Also, I'm still slightly inclined to exaggeration. Kinda love it.

Jalapeño-Honey Cornbread

1 Stick Butter

1 Cup Milk

1 Large Egg

1 ¼ Cups Yellow Cornmeal

1 Cup All-Purpose Flour

½ Cup Granulated Sugar

½ Teaspoon Salt

1 Cup White Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1 Can Sweet Corn, drained and rinsed

2 Jalapeños, Seeded and diced

2 Tablespoons Honey, approximately

Jalapeno-Honey Cornbread

In a large mixing bowl or Kitchen-Aid, combine Flour, Sugar, Cornmeal and Salt until they’re thoroughly mixed. Melt ½ of the butter and mix in along with the egg and milk. When it is thoroughly combined, mix in the corn and shredded cheese.

This recipe is great for a cast-iron skillet. If you do not have a couple of BFF's or Grandparents who would gift you with a cast-iron skillet, use a regular cake pan or casserole dish. But, I’m going to continue as-if you are using a cast-iron skillet. Modify as necessary with your little bitty brain cells. You can do it.

Add diced jalapeño to the skillet with just a “smidge” of olive oil and cook over medium heat until they just begin to brown.  Mix in the cornbread batter so that the jalepenos get incorporated all the way through, and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Melt the remaining butter and stir in honey. Drizzle all over the top of the cornbread so that you have an even coat, and continue baking for 5 more minutes.

This recipe goes GREAT with literally any soup or this chili.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

I’m going to be real honest: I watch a lot of cooking shows. And I always find it strangely interesting how different people describe their specific “cooking style.” Don’t get me wrong, I definitely do not dispute that this is a thing. I think we can all agree The Pioneer Woman has a style that is slightly different from Gordon Ramsay’s. However, it’s just always a little bit funny when people find the most elitist way to describe their designated cooking style.

Like, “Hello, my name is Jean-Claude Gueggenheimer and I only cook farm-to-table Classic French with a Modern Twist of ‘I’m Better than You' on the side of every dish.”

That’s just an example of what my favorite descriptions typically consist of.

In contrast, I was raised under the doctrine of “go cook something that tastes good.” And in East Texas, there definitely was no French Restaurant within 150 miles. Modern or Classical.

It was BBQ or Sonic Drive-In. That’s it. Bye Felicia.

I love when simple recipes *sparkle* into something delicious and great because that’s pretty much how I was raised. That’s why I love recipes like this one, exactly. Make it and make your whole family happy and love you more than they do now. Because that’s how all this works, right?

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

½ Butternut Squash, approximately

1 Small Package Fresh Blueberries

Candied Walnuts

Spinach & Arugula Lettuce Mix

Fresh Grated Parmesan

Vinaigrette:

1 Cup Apple Juice

½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1-2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 inch Fresh Ginger Root

Orange Peel

Start with the vinaigrette. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and allow it to simmer, uncovered for at least 20-30 minutes. It will reduce and become oh-so delicious. Trust.

Peel the skin from the butternut squash and dice it into about 1 inch chunks. Depending on how much you want to use in your salad (which that will probably be a lot) guesstimate about 2-3 cups of squash.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Spread the squash on a cookie sheet and lightly drizzle olive oil, salt and cracked black pepper all over. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Shake it around, flip it over and stuff and then bake for another 10 minutes.

When you’re done roasting, allow the squash and vinaigrette to cool.

In a large bowl, add the lettuce and top with all your delicious toppings.

Be sure to save this recipe because you’re going to want it all about 100 times before fall is over.

"Easy" Blooming Onions with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

I’m about to give you yet another delicious, healthy recipe. Why? Because I am such a giving and lovely person, that’s why. And I feel that deep within your heart, you probably already knew that to be true. So, I’m probably just doing a little bit of repeating myself right there. But you know what? That’s okay. Cause it’s good to be reminded sometimes.

This recipe is so delicious and way easier than you would ever dream it to be. Plus, it is a great appetizer for a BBQ or random get-together because it takes about 5 minutes to prep. Maybe.

So, in those times when people are all like, "Surprise, I'm coming to your house in .5 seconds!" And you're all caught off guard and stuff, now you'll have an easy little appetizer to serve.

Anyways, get your life together and make these beautiful little flower blossoms of onions.

Roasted Blooming Onions

1-2 Large Onions (Red or Yellow)

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Rubbed Sage

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Panko Crumbs (or regular Bread Crumbs)

Now, this sounds like it could be super-complicated but it’s really super-not. Start by slicing the top of the onion off, just enough to get the dry “stem” part off. Set it on a flat surface with the roots facing the roof (roots-to-roof, that's fun) and make four cuts going into the center of the onion. Imagine the onion like a clock, make a cut at 12, 3, 6, and 9. These slices will be your “base.” Then, rotate the onion, doing the same thing until you have about ¼ inch strips.

If you’re better with visuals, click this link. It’s super easy, especially since there are pictures.

Flip the onion over so that the “cut” side is up. Drizzle olive oil so that it gets just a little bit everywhere and wrap the whole thing tightly with foil. Roast for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees and move to the next step.

Unwrap the onions and they should “fall” slightly to start looking like the beautiful flowers that they are. If not, don’t be afraid to get in there and loosen things up a bit. Sprinkle Salt & Pepper, Garlic, Italian Seasoning, and Sage (or any seasonings you feel so inclined to use) all over the “blossoms,” followed by Panko or Regular Bread Crumbs.

Place them back in the oven (this time at 400 degrees), unwrapped and open until they just begin to lightly crisp. About another 15-20 minutes.

While that is happening, work on your honey mustard dip.

Honey Mustard

1 Cup Mayonnaise

Spicy Brown (or Dijon) Mustard, to taste

1 Tablespoon Honey

½ Lemon, juiced

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whirl away until smooth. Or whip it together with a whisk and your hand like the Pilgrim's used to make their honey mustard.

Give it a little taste test and feel free to adjust as necessary. Some people like less mustard and that makes them bad people. But whatever. Some people like more mayonnaise and that definitely makes them bad people. But again, whatever.

However, you're going to want to save this little recipe though because it's delicious. And because if at any point in your life, you or someone around you eats one or more chicken nuggets, you're going to want it. Hard.

Serve with the roasted onions and dip with wild abandon!