Monthly Archives: June 2016

Bbq Chicken Cobb Salad

A Cobb Salad is one of the most ordered salads in our great country…I LOVE them!  However, in true Carly fashion, I wanted to give it a Texas twist with an extra punch of flavor! 

This is a great summertime dinner dish that doesn’t heat the home up and can be made in under 30 minutes!  The BBQ sauce doesn’t overwhelm when mixed with the ranch dressing, only compliments, and you get a extra great crunch from the tortilla chip topping!

*You can shred a rotisserie chicken in a pinch!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4-6 strips crispy bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 green onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeńo, thin sliced
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1 cup ranch dressing 
  • 1 cup bbq sauce, divided 
  • 1 cup tortilla chips/or strips 
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
     

Here we go!  First, in a bowl or mason jar combine the 1 cup of ranch dressing with 1/2 cup of bbq sauce.  Add in a pinch of salt & pepper and give a good whisk/shake and then refridgerate until the salad is complete. 

 

Next, simply rinse the produce and start the chopping and dicing of the vegetables and chicken! 

In a large bowl, add the cooked, chopped chicken along with the remaining 1/2 cup bbq sauce and toss together. 

  Finally, combine all of the ingredients into the bowl, drizzle with the Bbq Ranch dressing your made earlier and top with the crunchy tortilla strips/chips! 

  

Grilled Lemon-Dill Chicken w/ Greek Chopped Salad

I’ve loved the bright fresh flavors of Greek food far before the recipes infiltrated Pinterest or The Pita Jungle restaurant took off.  Crunchy vegetables, saltiness from the kalamata olives and feta and the brightness of lemon juice are my guilty pleasure.  Well wait, maybe guilty isn’t the correct word, because you never feel too heavy after eating this cool and fresh meal!  Besides the health benefits  of this recipe, I love how fast it all comes together! So it’s great for a weekday dinner or a quick meal to enjoy grilling and eating by the pool on a hot day…

The Starting Lineup

Chicken

  • 4-6 thin cut chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dill, fresh (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons, plus zest
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste  *I used lemon-pepper, because I had it on hand

Salad

  • 1 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 2 cucumbers, seeds removed and sliced
  • 4 to 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped (or cherry tomatoes halved)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste   

Beginning with the chicken, we’ll get the marinade ready.  In a small bowl simply combine the garlic/garlic powder, dill, lemon juice and zest, evoo and salt & pepper, whisk together.  In a large ziplock bag add in the chicken breasts and pour in the marinade.  Seal, place on a dish (to avoid spillage) and let marinate in the refridgerator for 1 hour.  *Do not let marinate too long, as the acid from the lemon juice can change the texture of the chicken. 

   On to the salad!  Prep your veggies by rinsing, chopping and dicing *For the cucumber, slice in half length-wise and take a spoon to gently scoop out the seeds/center.  This will also help to eliminate the salad from getting too soggy.  Also, drain the can of garbanzo beans and rinse/pat dry. 

   In a large bowl, combine the garbanzo beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and kalamata olives.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, evoo, oregano, salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and sprinkle on the feta cheese.  Give a gentle toss, cover and refridgerate while you cook the chicken. 

 Now here you can either start up your outdoor grill or use a grill pan indoors.  *Heck, I dont care if you decide to bake the chicken.  Do what makes you happy.  Remove the chicken from the refridgerator and place on your heated grill/medium-high heat grill pan.  Grill the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side and let rest for 5 minutes. 

   On a large family-style serving dish, pour on your Greek salad and layer the grilled, sliced chicken over top.  Enjoy!! 

 

Frozen Blueberry Buttermilk 

Wait, no ice cream maker needed you say??  Yes, it’s true!  This summer hybrid of ice cream & frozen yogurt (that tastes just like cheesecake!!) can be made with just the help of your mixer!

It’s fantastic for these hot & humid summertime months..especially as a great memory making activity you can enjoy with your family!  Think about upcoming 4th of July, simply add some strawberries to the mix and there’s your red, white & blue dessert!!  You’ll be everyone’s favorite guest!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Let’s begin!  In a saucepan over medium-heat, bring the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer and allow the sugar to melt and berries to slightly break down (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and cool.

 Onto the base of it all!  In a stand mixer or with your hand mixer, combine the buttermilk, heavy cream and pinch of salt to a bowl.  Beat together on high speed just till medium stiff peaks form.  Slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk and the Greek yogurt till combined.

Pour half of the cream mixture into a loaf pan.  Next, pour in half of the cooled blueberry compote and create a swirl effect with a spoon, etc.  Repeat with the remaining half of cream & blueberries, again, slightly swirling together.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours…enjoy!!

Brisket Burgers w/ Grilled Tequila Peach Slaw

Do you want to impress your dad this Father’s Day??  Then it’s a must that you try this sweet-heat burger that also has a hint of booze!  

Here in the south, peaches are a summertime staple and what better way to enjoy them then grilled, soaked in a sweet tequila bath and overtop a ground brisket burger that has a kick from fresh jalapenos…a true Texas delight!  Enjoy!🍔🌞

The Starting Lineup

Brisket Burger

I had my butcher mix me:

  • 1lb of ground chuck 
  • 1lb ground brisket
  • Kosher salt & pepper, outside of patties
  • Soft bakery hamburger rolls
  • Pepper jack cheese, slices

Grilled Tequila Peach Slaw

  • 4-5 ripe peaches
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup tequila anejo
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced or diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt & pepper, to taste 

Begin this summertime fave by firing up your grill!  Slice up and skewer the peaches before brushing the melted butter over top.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the pineapple juice and the honey.  Whisk together till smooth.  Bring to a simmer and let cook till slightly thickened, about 15 minutes and then remove from heat.
 

Now that your grill is hot and ready, grill your skewered peaches for just a few minutes.  Remove, chop up and add to the pineapple/honey syrup.  Pour the tequila over top and give a gentle toss.  Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes.

While the peaches are soaking, prep the veggies for the slaw. 

 

Combine all the ingredients for the slaw together, including the soaked peaches.  Toss, cover and refridgerate while you get the burgers ready. 


Prepare your meat into about 1/4lb patties (8 all together) and press your thumb slightly in the middle of each patty to prevent puffing up while grilling.  Sprinkle the outside liberally with kosher salt and pepper.  Now with the grill ready to go once again, add the beef/brisket patties and cook till desired doneness. *I prefer mine cooked about 5 minutes on the first side and then 3-4 minutes on the other, flip just once please ;).  Once you’ve flipped your burger, add the pepperjack cheese to each patty.  Cheese NEEDS to be melty-good here folks!
*I also like to split my hamburger buns, lightly spread mayonnaise on each cut side and place on the grill for a minute or two.  The mayo will caramelize over the flame leading to a nice crunch and less soggy burger!  Winning!! 

 

Loaded Pulled Pork Fries w/ Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce

So after eating a few healthy meals, I remembered that you only live once and I wanted to dig into some southern comfort food.  I couldn’t decide what exactly, so I just mashed a few of my favorite recipes together and came up with this delight!  Man…come football season, these are going to be on my game day menu for sure!!

A couple of things that are awesome about this recipe is A.  It’s actually easy!  You basically put all the ingredients into two different vessels and walk away for HOURS!  Assemble once finished and done!  B.  Any leftovers can be used for other meals!!  Pulled pork? Sandwiches, wraps, etc.  Cheese sauce? A fantastic chip, cracker or veggie dip, pour on the sandwiches, quesadillas, etc.  Man the ideas are coming to me now!

So please do your family a favor and try this out ASAP!

*You can also cook the pork in a crockpot as well..if possible, still sear the meat and then place in your slow-cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

The Starting Lineup

Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce

  • 8oz block cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup evaporated milk, divided
  • 4oz can green chilis, with juice
  • 4oz jar Pimiento’s, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced (I keep the seeds in)
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • A pinch of kosher salt & ground pepper

Braised Pulled Pork

  • 3 lb pork butt/pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
  • 16oz beer
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Your favorite bbq sauce (I use Franklin Barbecue ‘Texas Style’) 
  • French fries (homemade or store bought)

Garnish

  • Green onions, sliced
  • Red onion, chopped
  • Jalapenos, slices
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Bbq sauce drizzle 

    Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce

    Braised Pulled Pork

Let’s begin! 

In your non-stick sprayed crockpot, simply add in all of the Spicy Pimiento Cheese sauce ingredients: cream cheese, cheddar cheese, 1/2 evap milk, green chilis, pimientos, jalapeño, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Place the cover on and set to low for 2-3 hours.  Stir a couple times while melting and add the remaining milk half-way through to slightly thin.  Done!  Easy, right?  *This is soooo good, I had at least a couple spoonfuls 😬👍 

   On to the pork!!  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine all of the spices together while heating the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot to med-high. *Reserve 1 Tbsp of the spice blend, set aside. 

Evenly coat your pork with this spice blend and sear all sides of the roast to create a nice crust on the outside.  *Typically takes 10-15 minutes. 

    

Follow the searing by tossing in the cut onions and pouring in the beer. *If you’re over 21, take a swig!  

Now simply cover the pork with the lid and place into your preheated oven for about 3 hours. *If you’ll be away longer, you can drop the temp down to 275 and give yourself another couple of hours.

As your house is smelling magnificent, wipe the cheese sauce you’ve been sneaking from your chin, and start to chop and dice your garnishes. 

 Now that everything is ready to go, remove the pork from the oven and begin pulling it, literally.  Shred with two forks (careful, it’s hot!!) and toss in your desired amount of bbq sauce.  *Here is where your oven is now free and you can bake your french fries if not using a deep fryer.

Assembly time!  Once your fries have finished cooking, sprinkle them with a bit of that reserved spice blend and then top with a good amount of the warm pulled pork and a drizzle of bbq sauce.  Now ladle the Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sauce overtop and garnish with all your favorites!  Dig in and enjoy!  *I hope you bought a six-pack of beer, because it goes great with this!! 

Baja Avocados

Summer is here!  Especially for my friends and family in Arizona..118 degrees this weekend?? Eek!  Given the brutally hot temps, who wants to start up their stove or oven?  I sure the heck wouldn’t!

So growing up, we always had a traditional shrimp cocktail at our holiday parties and I ate every bit…Then I got older and discovered “Mexican shrimp cocktail”. Wow!  Just wow!  The spice, the tang, the freshness!  I just can’t ever seem to go back to my childhood favorite of the traditional variety anymore.  We kind of broke-up.

Now flash forward to today…my hubby and I wanted a light dinner and being a self-described ‘Mexican food guru’ I knew just what to concoct!  Serve alongside a light rice or beans and you have a full and healthy meal!  *Heck, you can eat with crispy corn chips or just a spoon and straw for that matter!  I’m not one to judge in these instances.

So this quick, easy, ‘no cook’ meal fits the bill!  It doesn’t hurt a swimsuit body either 😉

*Pico de gallo is simply a mix of diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt.  I know, I know…it’s ridiculously easy to make and 99.9% of the time I make my own, but in a pinch of time you can by premade from the produce section.  I just doctored up mine up for more flavor and heat!  I promise it won’t happen again 😉 

The Starting Lineup

  • 3+ large avocados (I.e. Haas)
  • 1 Lb large shrimp, cooked and tails off
  • 1 cup Clamato juice
  • 1 cup pico de gallo*
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • A couple dashes of Mexican hot sauce (I.e. Tapatío)
  • Pinch of pepper 

We’ll begin by halving the avocados and carefully scooping out most of the avocado flesh, cut into 1″ chunks.  *You’ll want to keep a thin line of flesh against the skin to help it hold together and not fall apart on you. Keep the skins!

 Next, in a large bowl add together the avocado chunks, cooked shrimp, Clamato juice, pico de gallo, like juice, salt, cumin, pepper and hot sauce.  Gently mix together.  *You can cover and place in fridge for 30-60 minutes to meld flavors and chill OR serve immediately.

 Now you simply take a few spoonfuls and fill the hollowed out avocado skin.  Serve alongside a scoop of lime-cilantro rice for a light, summertime meal!  Enjoy!

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