Like most southerners, we enjoy us some good barbecue around our house. Greg smokes a Boston butt that would win first place at barbecue cook-offs everywhere. Wes enjoys smoking ribs, and his method is flawless. Savannah and I have several homemade barbecue sauce recipes that we keep on hand too.
Barbecue chicken is not one of our specialties, though. That is, until recently when I tried a new barbecue sauce recipe. It’s a smoky sauce with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that tastes amazing! It is the number one flavor that I am craving these days.
We have been eating this sauce on everything since I saw Valerie’s Home Cooking. We have had it on Barbecue Nachos, barbecue burgers, barbecue shrimp, and on these delicious Barbecue Grilled Chicken Sandwiches.
Another important step, not to be skipped, in making these mouth-watering sandwiches is the brining of the chicken. In my opinion, there is no better Thanksgiving turkey than a brined turkey. I don’t fry chicken often but when I do you can bet I will brine it first.
The salt in a brine allows the chicken to retain moisture. A couple of things to remember when you brine chicken are first, try to use kosher salt or sea salt. Also, do not brine the chicken over two hours. It can get rubbery when overbrined.
Smoky Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
- ¼ c. coarse salt
- ¼ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 20 whole black peppercorns
- 1 c. hot water plus 3 c. cold water
- 1 lemon, thinlhy sliced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a cleaver
- Smoky Barbecue Sauce:
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 1 lg. or 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 c. ketchup
- ½ c. molasses
- ⅓ c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, seeded and roughly chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grilled Chicken:
- 2 lg. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half vertically, then cut into thin cutlets, horizontally
- 4 lg. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lettuce leaves
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced red onion
- Sliced Colby Jack cheese
- Additional Barbecue sauce, if desired
- To make the brine: Place the salt, brown sugar, and peppercorns in a large glass bowl and add hot water. Whisk until the salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Stir in the cold water and let cool to room temperature. Pour the brine over the chicken and stir in the lemon slices, onion, and garlic. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let stand in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning the chicken once of twice.
- To make the barbecue sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook about 30 seconds. Add ½ c. water and the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, chipotles, a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store the sauce in the refrigerator.
- To grill the chicken: Preheat the grill to high. When ready to cook, brush the grate with oil. Arrange the chicken on the hot grate and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F. During the last 2 minutes or so, start basting the chicken on both sides with barbecue sauce. Remove chicken from grill and assemble sandwiches right away.
Finding a low-carb breakfast, that I enjoy, has been a struggle for me. I tend to crave everything that I’m told I shouldn’t eat…French toast, scones, and muffins. I’ve never been a big fan of eggs, even though I will eat cheese eggs occasionally. Omelets aren’t my thing, and bacon or sausage is just an occasional indulgence for me. What to do, what to do?
I have been on a mission to find a way to eat eggs that I actually enjoy. Even better, it was a bonus if my family liked them too. I have tried recipe after recipe. One recipe that I hit on early was Huevos Rancheros “rancher’s eggs”. After tweaking the recipe, I now make this easy and delicious dish at least twice a week.
Traditionally, these eggs are served over fried corn tortillas with refried beans. Adjust the spices and hot pepper to your taste. I like the look of the small skillet for individual servings. However, if you want to serve a family, and you don’t have several small skillets lying around, use a 10 to 12-inch skillet and increase the ingredients to your need.
Huevos Rancheros for One
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. diced onion
- Chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper, to taste (a tsp. or so)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ c. canned pinto beans, drained
- 1 tbsp. water
- ⅛ tsp. ground cumin
- ⅛ tsp. smoked paprika
- ⅛ tsp. ground ancho chili pepper
- 1 egg
- Queso Fresco
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Serve with: diced avocado, chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, sliced lime, additional Queso Fresco, sour cream, and hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Heat skillet, add olive oil and heat.
- Add onion, pepper, and garlic to hot oil and saute for a minute or so, until tender. Add beans, water, cumin, paprika, and chili pepper. Stir to combine and heat just until the mixture starts to bubble.
- Crack the egg in the center, on top of the bean mixture. Place skillet in the preheated oven and bake until the egg is cooked to your liking and the beans and hot and bubbly. Usually about 5 to 7 minutes for a well cooked egg.
- Garnish and serve immediately.
For those of you who subscribe, I know you have already received a notification for one post today. I am not a computer whiz. Far from it, so sometimes running this blog has me quite confused. I’ve been trying to make a few changes on here today. Probably nothing that you will even notice. However, to make sure that I have done everything correctly I am going to post a second recipe today.
School starts in our county on Monday. The reason I know this is because Wes has a job there this year! Those of you that have put a child through college will understand the pure joy of him having a job, making money, earning a living. I wish I could stay young forever, with little kids forever, but that’s just not happening. College may possibly be the catalyst that parents need to push them to the point of “letting go”. I mean, the thought of no more tuition makes me want to do a dance!! (Well, no more tuition for one child anyway.) Just knowing that he can pay for his own insurance and his own gasoline thrills me! I could go on, but I think I’m getting a little too excited!
Here is an easy and very versatile recipe for the kiddo’s as they head back to school. Use this folding method with the ingredients you like and you’ll have a delicious and easy portable breakfast. For convenience have a few packs of diced ham in the freezer for those rushed mornings. You could also cook the bacon or sausage the night before and have the veggies chopped for easy a.m. preparation. Cook the quesadillas while the kids are getting ready and keep in a warm oven. Wrap in foil for easy traveling.
"To Go" Breakfast Quesadillas
- 4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
- 8 lg. eggs
- 1 med. onion, finely diced
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
- 1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled, drained OR
- 1 lb. breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled, drained
- 1 lb. cooked ham, cubed
- 8-oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
- Salsa, if desired
- Melt butter in a skillet and saute onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño until softened. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Scramble eggs in the same skillet, set aside.
- Place a tortilla flat on counter. Add a little shredded cheese in the center of the tortilla. Keeping all ingredients in the center of the tortilla top with ¼ of the scrambled eggs and top with some of the onion and pepper mixture. Add crumbled meat of your choice. Top with some additional shredded cheese.
- Melt a pat of butter in your skillet while you assemble the quesadillas.
- With the tortilla in front of you, fold the bottom up over the filling to the center. Hold the folded piece in place and start working your way around the tortilla making folds around the quesadilla until you have completely covered the fillings. You will end up with a quesadilla that resembles a Taco Bell Crunch Wrap.
- Carefully place the quesadilla in the skillet, folded side down. Cook until lightly browned, then flip over and cook the other side until lightly browned. Serve with salsa, if desired.
Add chopped tomatoes, avocados, even cooked cubed hash browns to the filling, if desired.
Visit the Melton house any day of the week and chances are you will be here when we are serving something with buffalo sauce. Savannah is the buffalo sauce queen. It works out well for me, especially when I tell her that I’m craving one of her specialities and SHE cooks dinner! Because even though I enjoy cooking, I love a night off every once in a while.
These awesome buffalo chicken wraps are one of my favorites! On nights that we are grilling, we like to throw a few boneless skinless breasts on the grill to refrigerate and have later in the week.
When ready to assemble wraps, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and cut into cubes, then reheat in a skillet. Savannah assembles the wraps and then toasts them on a skillet or a panini press. They are delicious served with Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing.
Make sure your tortilla is large enough for its contents because you don’t want a “blow out” as you are eating dinner. A good rule of thumb is to buy tortillas that are at least twice as big as the contents you plan to put in it.
Savannah's Buffalo Chicken Wrap
- 2 to 3 boneless skinless chicken breast, grilled and cut into cubes
- Frank's RedHot Wings Sauce
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Shredded lettuce
- 2 to 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
- Purple onion, diced, optional
- Ranch or Blue Cheese salad dressing
- Large flour tortillas
- Carrot sticks
- Celery Sticks
- Toss the cubed chicken in desired amount of buffalo sauce.
- To assemble the wrap lay the tortilla on a flat surface. Spoon a small amount of dressing down the center of the tortilla, leaving about 2 inches at edges. Add cooked and cubed chicken on top of the Ranch. Top with shredded Cheddar, shredded lettuce, and diced tomatoes. Add onions, if desired.
- Roll the wrap by bringing the left side of the tortilla over the contents. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and over the contents, then the top down and over the contents. Bring the left side toward you and using the tortilla as a guide, slightly pull the contents toward you and using both hands roll the wrap away from you until completely rolled into a cylindrical shape. Let the wrap rest for a minute or two with the flap underneath the contents.
- Grill in a buttered skillet or a Panini press until it is warm, toasted, and lightly browned.
- Cut wrap in half. Serve with additional Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing and celery and carrot sticks, if desired.
I have not posted a lot over the past two weeks. You may think I’ve had a fall break but far from it. I have been working on a project for the newspaper for two weeks. I have fifteen new holiday recipes with photos ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This meant that even more than fifteen were tested. Some needed up in the garbage and some are my new favorite holiday recipes! I have new appetizers, main dishes, sides, and desserts that I can’t wait to share with you. Because we all know the holidays will be here before we know it!
Today I have a yummy pizza stuffed french bread recipe. This is cooked on the grill and has a delicious smoky flavor that you will not get in your oven. This is a recipe from Traeger, which happens to be the grill I use. It’s a really easy recipe that your kids will love helping you with. Although the recipe does not suggest cooking on a baking sheet, I did. I would suggest that you cook only the amount that you think your crowd will eat at one time. This is not very good left-over, so you may need adjust accordingly.
Pizza Stuffed French Bread
- French loaf
- 1 jar marinara sauce
- 1 pkg. sliced pepperoni
- 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 c. mozzarella
- Heat grill to high heat.
- Make X cuts ¾ of an inch down into the bread, leaving space between the X's so that your bread stays intact.
- Stuff the cuts with marinara and pepperoni.
- Sprinkle top of bread with cheese, pushing some of the cheese down into cuts.
- Place loaf on the grill and grill 15 to 25 minutes, depending on temperature of grill.