Appetizer

Spicy Sriracha Shrimp

Spicy Sriracha Shrimp

Recipe: Spicy Sriracha Shrimp

These make great finger food at a party. Turn it into a meal by tossing over field greens or baby spinach and adding grilled pineapple, bell peppers, and a spicy Sriracha-pineapple salad dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Sriracha
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds large shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined

Instructions

  1. Mix together the Sriracha, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, cilantro, and sugar. Season aggressively with salt and pepper. Put in a 1-gallon plastic bag, add the shrimp, and mix together in the bag. Marinate in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours. Or longer.
  2. Heat a grill. Skewer the shrimp (4 to 6 shrimp per skewer) and grill until pink and delicious, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  3. Remove the shrimp from the grill, slide the shrimp from the skewer using a fork, and pile on a serving platter. Sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro, and throw a few toothpicks in a few shrimp. Watch them disappear.

Quick Notes

If serving over a salad make a quick and spicy Sriracha-pineapple salad dressing by blending together two slices of fresh pineapple, a couple tablespoons pineapple juice, a couple tablespoons lime juice, a couple tablespoons olive oil, and a tablespoon of Sriracha.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Inspired By: Spicy Shrimp

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Food52

Recipe: Lentil and Sausage Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup French green lentils (or regular lentils)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 poultry sausages made with herbs and/or garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup sturdy red wine
  • 3 stalks of celery, and their leaves if possible
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram or an equivalent amount of fresh
  • 5 large carrots
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Red wine vinegar, to taste

Instructions

  1. Fill a tea kettle with water and put it on the stove to boil while you do the following step.
  2. Gently saute the sausages with one of the bay leaves, if they are not already cooked. If they are pre-cooked (or if not, once you’ve cooked them), slice them into ¾“ slices and brown them. Remove the sausage slices with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
  3. Rinse the lentils in cold water two or three times, pick out any stones or other debris, and put the lentils on the stove in a saucepan with at least three cups of hot water from the kettle. If it hasn’t boiled at this point, don’t worry about it. Stir the lentils and cook them over medium heat, while you chop the vegetables. Be sure to keep an eye on the cooking lentils and stir them occasionally. Add more hot water as they cook, if they start to look dry. (You don’t have to do this step if you have a lot of time to make this soup. I.e., you can put them in the soup, uncooked, with the hot water, after you have cooked the onions and garlic.)
  4. If time is short, heat your stock in the microwave or on the stove so it will be nice and hot when you need it, in a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, dice the onions so they are about ½” square; chop the garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pan in which the sausages were browned; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the onions start to look a bit translucent, push them aside with a spoon and add the wine. Cook for a minute or two to deglaze the pot.
  6. Stir the lentils in with the cooking water. It doesn’t matter whether they are cooked. Just add them now, and add the stock.
  7. Chop the celery into small dice and chop a small handful of the celery leaves, if you have them; add to the soup. Add the marjoram and stir well, continuing to cook.
  8. Cut the carrots into slices or chunks, depending on how thick they are. Add them to the pot, with the reserved sausages, and the salt and pepper to taste, and stir well. (I add the sausages at this point, rather than earlier, because the kind I use tends to fall apart, even after browned, if I cook them much longer. You can add them when you combine the lentils and their cooking water, if that’s not a problem for you.)
  9. Cook for at least another ten minutes, adding more water if necessary and stirring occasionally, to prevent the lentils from sticking. At this point, you can also turn it down to simmer, if you have the time, but do keep an eye on the lentils, please, and add more water if necessary.
  10. Add the ketchup and stir well. Cook until the carrots are tender.
  11. Test and correct the seasonings. Add the spinach and the parsley. Heat until the soup is very hot.
  12. Pass the red wine vinegar separately, for people to add, to taste. Serve with a hearty whole grain bread and fresh butter.

Number of servings (yield): 6

Inspired By: Lentil and Sausage Soup for a Cold Winter’s Night

Hands-Down Best Chicken Wings

Recipe: Hands-Down Best Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. chicken wings and/or drummettes
  • 12 oz. Red Hot

Instructions

  1. Pour the hot sauce into one large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag, and turn the bag several times so the sauce coats the chicken. Put the bag in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours or, for best results, overnight, turning the chicken occasionally to make sure all surface areas are covered with hot sauce.
  2. Set up your grill for indirect grilling. When the grill is hot, place the wings in the center of a cooking grate over indirect heat. Close the lid of the grill and allow the wings to cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until they begin to brown. Flip each wing and allow to cook for another 20 minutes, until the wings are crispy and cooked through.
  3. Transfer the wings to a serving platter. Serve with celery, blue cheese, and a cold beer.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Inspired By: Hands-Down Best Chicken Wings

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta

Recipe: Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 pound ground turkey sausage
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta, or any small pasta
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, brown the sausage. Remove from pot. If there is a lot of fat left in the pot, pour this out but do not wipe out pot.
  2. Add onion, carrot and olive oil and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft.
  3. Add garlic and saute about a minute more.
  4. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, some salt and pepper, the drained beans and the sausage and cover the pot.
  5. Cook for an hour over low heat, at a gentle simmer.
  6. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick for your liking, you can add more chicken broth.
  7. Serve with grated cheese on top.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Inspired By: Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta

Sopa de Tortilla

Recipe: Sopa de Tortilla

Sopa de tortilla is a classic Mexican soup.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (13 oz) or 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cooked corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • corn tortilla strips or chips
  • 1 avocado

Instructions

  1. Chop the onion, garlic, celery, and zucchini in small pieces.
  2. Warm a saucepan over medium heat. Once the saucepan is hot, add the oil and vegetables to it. Cook until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Add all the other ingredients, except the avocado and tortilla strips. Stir often and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. When you are ready to serve, slice the avocado. Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Add some avocado and chips to each one.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Jalapeño Bites

Recipe: Jalapeño Bites

Craving a Jalapeno Popper, but looking for something healthier. This snack is easy to make and low calorie.

Ingredients

  • 6 halved jalapeños, seeds removed
  • 2 wedges light garlic/herb Laughing Cow
  • 1 stick reduced fat string cheese
  • 1 Tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 500F.
  2. Divide the Laughing Cow cheese and string cheese among the jalapeño halves. Top with panko bread crumbs and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Tomato-Basil Skewers

Recipe: Tomato-Basil Skewers

Skewering mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes makes them easy to nosh at a party.

Ingredients

  • 16 small fresh mozzarella balls
  • 16 fresh basil leaves
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Instructions

  1. Thread mozzarella, basil and tomatoes on small skewers. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle some with a balsamic vinegar reduction is desired.

Cooking time (duration): 10 min

Inspired By: Tomato-Basil Skewers
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Hummus

Hummus

Recipe: Hummus

Ingredients

  • 2 Cans of Garbanzo Beans
  • 3 Tbsp Tahini
  • Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of Sea Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Optional Flavoring Components (See variations below the main recipe)

Instructions

  1. Empty one can of garbanzo beans with juice into a blender
  2. Drain the 2nd can of garbanzos into the empty first can to reserve the juice
  3. Empty the drained 2nd can into the blender
  4. Stir the tahini aggressively to blend any oil that may have separated
  5. Add 3 Tbsp tahini to the blender
  6. Add a few grinds of black pepper
  7. Add a reasonable dash of sea salt
  8. Add “Flavoring Components” (see variations below)
  9. Blend on Medium, stopping occasionally to scoop up any garbanzos that get trapped under the blades
  10. Blend until reasonably smooth (based on your preferences)
  11. If the hummus appears too thick, add in some of the earlier reserved garbanzo juice (a little at a time), leaving it a bit thicker than you prefer since you can add more later
  12. Taste it!
  13. Add more salt, pepper, tahini, and flavoring components to taste.
  14. Stir in any additions to get them somewhat mixed into the hummus
  15. Blend again
  16. Taste it and adjust flavors as necessary by adding more of what you think it needs.
  17. Once you have the flavors where you want them, give a final adjustment to the consistency by adding any more reserved juice that you think it needs (or not)
  18. Give it a final blend if needed
  19. Empty hummus into a serving dish and refrigerate
  20. Before serving, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and optionally sprinkle with a bit of paprika, chipotle, parsley, or fresh ground black pepper

Variations

Lemon Pepper Hummus: Lemon Juice to taste (around ½ cup – add somewhere around step 5 above – BE CAREFUL OF YOUR CONSISTENCY – this will thin the hummus). Add copious amounts of fresh ground black pepper at step 6 above.
Garlic Hummus: Add two heads of Roasted Garlic.
Spicy Hummus: Chipotle to taste. Cayenne to taste. Copious amounts of black pepper.

Feel free to mix and match! (Garlic & Lemon, Cumin Chipotle, etc)

Mike’s Buffalo Wings

Buffalo Wings

Recipe: Mike’s Buffalo Wings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken wings, cut into three pieces, discard tips
  • 2 2/3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
  • 1 2/3 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • Blue Cheese Dressing and Celery Sticks

Instructions

  1. Bake wings 40 minutes at 425°F or deep fry 15 minutes at 400°F.
  2. While wings are cooking, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add hot sauce, Tabasco, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Slowly add flour while constantly stirring to avoid lumps. You can adjust the amount of flour to adjust the thickness of the sauce.
  3. Lower heat and keep warm until ready to use.
  4. When the wings finish cooking, transfer the wings and sauce to an airtight container. Shake container to fully coat wings in sauce. Server immediately with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.

Cooking time (duration): 1 hr

Recipe By: Michael Penza

Conyer’s Beer Cheese

Beer Cheese

Recipe: Conyer’s Beer Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz. container Heluva Good Sharp Cheddar Cheese Food (not port)
  • 1 8 oz. brick of cream cheese
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup beer (Budweiser)
  • 1 Bob Seger album

Instructions

  1. Start Seger album.
  2. Make sure the cheese is sufficiently soft. Mix cheeses together, gradually adding beer and garlic.
  3. Throw up one fist pump, two fist pumps, and…wait for it…jump kick. Commence eating.

Recipe By: Matt Conyer, aka The Commish

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