Although Greg and I both enjoy cooking we love a good restaurant. Searching the internet for good reviews is one of the first things we do when we visit a new city. We have our local favorites, and we even plan vacations around the restaurants we like the most.
I am thrilled when we I can duplicate some of our favorite restaurant dishes at home! A few of my favorites are Hot Crab Dip, that we enjoyed several years ago at a restaurant with Greg’s brother. Pot Roast Stuffed Baked Potatoes are one of my favorites from a restaurant just down the road from our house. I had Heirloom Tomato Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette at one of our favorite places in Savannah on my birthday a few years ago. All of these recipes can be found on www.notjustsundaydinner.com.
Feisty Feta Dip with Shrimp is a new one to add to the list. We had this tasty appetizer at one of our favorite restaurants in Augusta, Georgia. It is super easy to make. Crab meat can be used instead of shrimp, or you can leave out the seafood completely. Serve warm with pita chips or warm pita bread.
Feisty Feta and Shrimp Dip
- 6-oz. crumbled Feta cheese
- ⅓ c. chopped jarred roasted red peppers
- ¼ c. chopped jarred artichoke hearts
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 to 2 tsp. hot sauce
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 to 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to ½ c. cooked shrimp, cut into large bite-size pieces
- Warm pita bread or pita chips, for serving
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the feta cheese, chopped peppers, artichoke hearts, onions, garlic, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Pulse until ingredients are well combined, but still slightly chunky. While pulsing add 2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil until the dip reaches desired consistency.
- Stir in cooked shrimp and spoon into a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until warmed through. Serve with pita bread or pita chips.
One of the best things about living on the Gulf coast was being introduced to Cajun food and Mardi Gras. One of the first things we did on the coast was to attend a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade. We were all caught up in the spirit of the celebration with moon pies and beads. We often visited Louisana while living in Pensacola, especially during the years that Wes played with a travel ice hockey team out of Baton Rouge. We enjoyed the people, their food, and their customs.
We do not celebrate Mardi Gras in a big way here in Georgia, but I say, there’s no better excuse to cook up some good Cajun food. I found this recipe on www.raisedonaroux.com, where I found many other recipes that I can’t wait to try! This chicken marinates for 48 hours for a wonderful flavor. It’s cooks up wonderfully crispy with the addition of corn starch, and it is incredibly moist and juicy. Don’t let the hot sauce scare you because it isn’t hot at all. The marinade simply gives it an excellent taste.
Fat Tuesday Fried Chicken
- Seasoning Mix:
- 3 tbsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. onion powder
- 2 tbsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp. white pepper
- 1 (3-lb.) whole chickens, cut into serving pieces
- 4 c. buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. Louisiana hot sauce
- 2 tbsp. Crystal hot sauce
- 4 c. all-purpose flour
- ½ c. corn starch
- Peanut oil for frying
- In a small bowl, thoroughly combine seasoning mix. Season chicken with 6 tbsp. of the mix. Reserve remaining mix. Place chicken in 1 or 2 large resealable bags.
- In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauces; pour over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for a least 4 hours or up to 48 hours, (the longer it soaks the better), turning occasionally.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and reserved seasoning mix.
- Set a rack on a large baking sheet.
- Working one piece at a time, remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into the bag. Dredge in flour mixture and shake off excess. Place on prepared rack.
- Pour oil halfway up the side of a large, deep skillet (preferably cast iron) and heat to 350° F.
- Prepare another large baking sheet lined with paper towels and a rack over top.
- Fry chicken in batches, starting skin side down. Do not overcrowd skillet. Once chicken is added to oil, the temperature will drop. Maintain cooking temperature of 315° F for ideal frying. Fry, turning, until golden brown and cooked through to reach an internal temperature of 165° F. Remove to rack and allow to drain. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.
The Olympics are over and what am I going to do now? That has been my pastime for two weeks! I have enjoyed watching this year more than any other in the past. My favorite sports to watch were anything that was on the water and gymnastics. Did you see Simone Manuel’s reaction when she won? Not only was I in tears watching her but seeing Michael Phelps overcome with emotion while the Star Spangled Banner played pretty much had me sobbing.
Getting right back on track I whipped up some Buffalo Butter to go with grilled Chicken we will be having for dinner tonight. I enjoy adding a little flavor to any grilled meat. Sometimes with a marinade or a rub but sometimes with flavored butter. I have a great recipe for Ranchman’s Steak Butter here, on NJSD. It is fabulous on beef or pork. Buffalo Butter is delicious too but we usually eat it with chicken or shrimp, and I even like it on grilled or steamed vegetables!
This butter is made with four ingredients; it’s easy to mix up and have on hand. It can be frozen and will last for months in the freezer or weeks in the refrigerator.
- ½ c. butter, room temperature
- 2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 tbsp. Frank's Red Hot Sauce or other vinegar-based hot sauce
- 1 tbsp. chopped chives
- Mix the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean counter. Spoon the butter mixture onto the bottom third of plastic wrap, then roll into a log. Refrigerate for one hour, or until firm.
I was recently invited to be a judge at a chili cook-off in Savannah, Georgia. I tasted many delicious chili’s but the winner, and the one that really intrigued me, was a Buffalo Chicken Chili. I took no more than 2 bites of each chili but honestly, the Buffalo Chicken Chili left me wanting more! So much so that I started working on a recipe the very next day.
My family just happens to be nuts for anything “buffaloed” so I knew this would go over well at my house. When I researching different recipes and liked bits and pieces from several different recipes, including my own White Chili. I came up with my base recipe then went to work, making a few changes along the way, but the end result was delicious!
This chili has 1/2 c. hot sauce, which gives it that distinctive buffalo taste. I feel that you need this amount for flavor. The end result is a flavorful bowl of chili that isn’t too hot and intimidating. Serve with additional hot sauce for those that want more heat. I enjoyed my chili topped with blue cheese crumbles and my family liked shredded cheddar on theirs. This is definitely a new favorite at my house!
Buffalo Chicken Chili
- ¾ c. diced celery
- 1 c. diced carrots
- ½ c. diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15-oz.) can white beans (I like Navy or Great Northern)
- 1 (14.5-oz.) diced tomatoes
- 2 c. cooked and shredded chicken
- 32-oz. chicken broth
- ½ c. Frank's Hot Sauce
- 3 vegetable bouillon cubes
- 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 8-oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 to 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- Blue cheese crumbles or shredded Cheddar cheese
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté until onions are translucent and soft.
- Add celery, carrots, beans, diced tomatoes, shredded chicken, broth, hot sauce, bouillon cubes, oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots and celery are tender, stirring occasionally.
- When carrots and celery are tender, add cubed cream cheese and gently stir until the cream cheese melts. Simmer an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
- To serve, top with blue cheese crumbles, or shredded cheddar, and additional hot sauce, if desired.