Monday, October 19, 2015

Gourmet Hot Dogs: JDawgs Copycat

I hope you know how sincere I am when I say, I'm sorry.  This recipe has been in draft form for months and it is absolutely inexcusable that I never published it.  Because this recipe?  It's been a game changer for me.

So indulge me while I give some background.  In college there was this amazing hot dog place.  People would use their entire lunch break (me included) waiting in line for one of these hot dogs.  Fast forward 10 years and I've eaten a lot of hot dogs in a lot of places and I still miss those hot dogs from college.

Luckily, one of my good friends--and old college roommate--has a food blog (check it out!) and her recipe is as close to the real deal as I've had.  The two missing pieces were the marinade, and that sweet and tangy sauce.  Using just the marinade or just the sauce will result in a great tasting hot dog (or sausage!), but both combined are key.  

This is the only way I make hot dogs now.  If we're invited to a bbq, we bring the hot dogs pre-marinaded and with the prepared sauce and toppings.  I never thought I was a hot dog lover before, but this is the only way I'm going to make them from now on.

Gourmet Hot Dogs
(adapted from Heather Likes Food)
Printable Recipe
Makes 8

8 quality hot dogs or sausages
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup apple cider
1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup chili sauce (found in the ketchup aisle)
1/4 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1) Prepare marinade by combining garlic, apple cider, and brown sugar; whisk together until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.
2) Score hot dogs with an x-pattern and place hot dogs in marinade for 30 minutes or up to overnight (longer is better).
3) While hot dogs are marinading, mix together sauce ingredients.  Set aside.
4) When hot dogs are ready to cook, remove from marinade and grill until hot and slightly charred.
5) Serve hot dogs in toasted buns with prepared sauce, chopped onions, dill pickle spear, sauerkraut, and banana peppers.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Toasted Pasta with Caramelized Onion and Broccoli

For the first year of our marriage, my husband and I were both college students and were still eating as such.  Well, my husband was no longer eating corn dogs on a daily basis, but the fast, processed foods were our staples.  Things like rice-a-roni were reserved for Sunday dinners when we had a little extra time.  It seems funny to me now what was once considered fancy.

I haven't bought or eaten rice-a-roni in a lot of years, but this recipe reminds me of what I liked about those little boxes: fast, easy, with a great toasted flavor.  All similarities end there, though.  This pasta is delicious!  Plus, I will pretty much eat anything if it has caramelized onions in it.  My family devoured this recipe!

Toasted Pasta with Caramelized Onion and Broccoli
(adapted from Bakeaholic Mama)
Printable Recipe
Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 onion, halved and sliced
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups fresh broccoli
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1) Place 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add onion and cook on low for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden and translucent.  Remove onions from pan and set aside.
2) Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in the pan over medium low heat.  Break pasta in half and add to the pan, stirring frequently.  Toast pasta until about 1/3 of the noodles are golden.  Add garlic to saute for 1 minute.
3) Add about 1 cup broth, stirring occasionally, until pasta has absorbed the liquid, and then add another 1 cup broth.  Continue to stir and add broth until pasta is tender and then stop, even if you do not use the entire 4 cups broth.  When pasta begins to get tender (about 15 minutes into the cooking process), add broccoli.  Cook until pasta is soft and broccoli is fork tender.
4) Toss in caramelized onion and top with Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Spanish Rice

Growing up, my mom made her own version of Spanish rice which I faithfully made for the first few years of my marriage.  When we moved abroad, several years ago, I stopped making my mom's recipe and sort of forgot about it.  And then we moved to Texas and I've eaten more Tex-Mex in the past two years than the rest of my life combined.  All that to say, I needed a Spanish rice recipe like the ones I've been eating in the restaurants and not like the one I grew up on.  So for the past year I've been making this recipe anytime we have Mexican food for dinner and we've loved it.  (And--funny thing--it wasn't until I started making this recipe that my husband admitted that he never liked my mother's recipe in the first place!)

Spanish Rice
(adapted from Simply Recipes)
Printable Recipe
Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups basmati rice
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 green pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1-2 cloves minced garlic
2 2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro (optional)

1) Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium/high heat. Add the rice and stir it so that the rice is lightly coated with the oil. Cook on medium high heat, stirring often, until much of the rice is golden. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently another 3 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and bell pepper, cooking until the onions are translucent and softened, about a minute more.
2) Add the broth, diced tomatoes, salt, oregano and dried cilantro (if using) to the rice. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan, and lower the heat to barely maintain a low simmer. Cook for 15-25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is soft. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Easy Pork and Pineapple Tacos

Ok, I know I've been really MIA lately, but--surprise!--we have baby #3!  I'm still getting back into the swing of dinnertime, but I'm getting there.  In the meantime, here's a really great recipe for some easy pork tacos.  I can without hesitation say that I have never bought pork tenderloin before, but don't let the pork log deter you!  (Sorry for that weird mental picture.)  These tacos are amazingly easy to make and seriously delicious!  Corn tortillas are a must, and you can go easy on the toppings.  I liked mine with just a little hot sauce and some extra cilantro.

Easy Pork and Pineapple Tacos
(adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
Printable Recipe
Serves 6

2 lbs. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch of cayenne powder (omit, or add more if desired)
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
corn tortillas

1) In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Salt and pepper pork pieces and add them to the hot skillet.  Brown each side until golden brown (pieces do not need to be cooked through).
2) Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne powder and stir to combine.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
3) Add the pineapple and 1/4 cup reserved juice; simmer until pork is cooked through.
4) Stir in fresh cilantro.  Serve in pan fried corn tortillas and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter Vegetable Lentil Soup

If there's one thing I never tire of, it's soup.  Luckily, my kids are almost always on board and my husband kindly doesn't complain when we're having yet another soup for dinner.  This one is healthy and delicious and definitely hit the spot for me!

Winter Vegetable Lentil Soup
(adapted from Real Simple)
Printable Recipe
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into 1/4 inch thick halves
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
6 cups water
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bunch kale, thick stem removed and leaves cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
1/2 cup lentils, sorted
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1) In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, breaking them up with a spoon.
2) Add six cups water and bring to a boil.  Stir in the sweet potatoes, kale, lentils, thyme, salt, and pepper.
3)  Simmer until the potatoes and lentils are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Adjust seasoning, if needed.  Serve into bowls and garnish with parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!


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