About a year ago I came up with an amazing cocoa rub for beef. It was flipping great and like Life will have it I lost the dang recipe. So a few months ago, I went back to the drawing board. I sat down and started the research all over again. For some reason I went into the pantry to get something and I saw it… chipotles. That got me to thinking, maybe I could make a spicy mayo tonight to use with some burgers. As I left the pantry with the chipotles in hand I saw the new cocoa steak rub and I put two and two together and this is how we developed our Chipotle Cocoa Rub. It is so full of flavor but once cooked down it is light on heat. Chipotle and cocoa should be together forever just like peanut butter and jelly.
It’s that time of the year… turkey, ham, cake, pie and trying to figure out what to get the wife for Christmas. I think this year’s presents will be a home run. I mean after last year’s fiasco which included gifts such as a book she already read, a hair dryer and Toe Tunes I can only go up from there. If you can keep a secret I will let you all in on what she is getting this year. Are you sitting down? Great it’s a… you know after thinking about it I’m going to take it back and start over. I’m fairly sure she already has a snow shovel and a Bacon Bath Kit.
This recipe for sausage and tortellini soup is so much easier than trying to figure out what to get your significant other for the holidays. I used dry tortellini for this soup but you can (and should) use frozen or fresh if you have the time. I don’t because I’m too busy returning gifts that I thought at the time were a good idea such as the Chatty Patty and the Potty Putter for Landon.
Shrimp and grits. Are there any other food combinations that just excite the heck out of you? PB&J, bacon and eggs, rice and beans, grilled cheese and tomato soup? Those are all great combinations but for me the best has to be shrimp and grits.
Growing up on the Gulf side of Florida, I never had an issue getting my hands on some amazing shrimp. They were so plump and flavorful. My mother would make a pot of cheesy grits, quickly cook the shrimp and dinner was served.
This recipe is just that easy. You can season your shrimp with just salt and pepper, Old Bay or Creole seasoning. I love to flavor the grits with butter and cheese. There is just something about cheesy grits that makes this dish so savory.
Sprinkle Creole seasoning on shrimp 1 hour prior to cooking
Bring broth to a boil and slowly add grits while whisking. Cook on medium heat for about 8 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Add butter and cheese to grits and combine. S&P to taste
Heat oil over medium heat and add the shrimp. Cook for about 3 minutes per side
To serve spoon grits into a bowl, top with roasted corn, add shrimp and sliced green onions
It really is that easy. I was raised on shrimp and grits and i think I pretty much nailed down the way my mother would make them. If you want to really step it up you can even cook diced bacon and them cook the shrimp in the bacon fat. Not that’s really amazing. As always, thanks for stopping by Life44… Live, laugh, love & learn
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There is nothing better in the world than homemade mac & cheese and I mean nothing. How can you take an iconic dish such as mac & cheese and make it even better? You can’t you just can’t… unless? We all know that bacon is the greatest vegetable ever known to man or woman or child or my dog. Why not add bacon to the mac & cheese? I mean….it could work, right? Well I am willing to take that leap and show you how to make bacon mac & cheese. You will not find this anywhere else. Also, please don’t google bacon mac & cheese. You will not get any results other than mine. Just trust me on this one.
Now, before we begin I want to let you know that there a million combinations for this mac & cheese. You could add pulled pork, smoked brisket, different combinations of cheese or just leave it the heck alone. It is completely up to know. To me recipes are meant to be a starting point. We all have different tastes and you should attack each one by using what you love. On that note, let’s get cooking.
There is nothing better in the world than homemade mac & cheese and I mean nothing. How can you take an iconic dish such as mac & cheese and make it even better? You can’t you just can’t… unless? We all know that bacon is the greatest vegetable ever known to man or woman or child or my dog. Why not add bacon to the mac & cheese?
Bacon, Mac & Cheese
16 oz Elbow Macaroni
8 oz Gouda cheese shredded
8 oz Colby Jack cheese shredded
3 tbs Flour
3 tbs Butter
2 cups Milk
6 Slices Bacon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat oven to 375 and place bacon on a sheet pan
Cook bacon until nice and crispy (about 12-15 minutes). Allow bacon to cool and then dice
Fill a pot with water and salt the heck out of it and then bring to a boil
Cook macaroni al dente (fancy word to cook until still a bit firm to bite, not soggy)
Once the macaroni has been cooked, drain and set aside
In a skillet heat butter over medium heat until melted and bubbly
Add flour and whisk to incorporate, cook for another 4-5 minutes
Add milk slowly and in batches whisking as you add the milk
Continue whisking and cooking until milk thickens and slowly bubbles
Remove from heat and add shredded cheese and S&P to taste
Fold macaroni and diced bacon into cheese sauce
This is an easy simple recipe. I think the most difficult part is making the roux. Also, please trust me on this… do not use Velveeta. I love Velveeta but it has no place in this recipe. Also, make your own cheese sauce and don’t buy that pre-shredded crap either. These simple two things will elevate your mac & cheese to heights unimaginable. Thanks for stopping by Life44.com… Live, laugh, love and learn.
I love a good piece of fried chicken. I really do. In my younger years, I would even eat gas station fried chicken, Yes, I know. I am still amazed that chicken did not leave me in a big state of disarray. But that was quite a few years ago and I am positive that if I tried eating that chicken again… well let’s just say I would be preoccupied for a few hours at least.
So, now that I am getting older and there is much more salt than pepper on what hair I have left, I really try to eat much better. You know… fruits, vegetables, whole grains and bacon. All right, I really do not eat as much bacon as I used to but dang a good piece of bacon just starts the day right. So fried chicken is something I very seldom make but when I make it, I really want it to be special. This recipe goes from my mother and of course, I had to make a few adjustments. Now my mom’s chicken was good and all but, I wanted to take it up a level or two. And I’m ok writing this to everyone because I know for a fact my mother does not read these posts. Heck, I’m 99% sure she doesn’t even come to this web site.
So a few notes about this fried chicken. I used chicken thighs for it. I just love the flavor that the thighs provide and to me it just can’t be beat. You can use any piece of the chicken that you want and the results will still be great. So let’s get started…
Soak chicken in buttermilk for at least four hours. I soak mine overnight
Heat peanut oil in a large dutch oven to 375
In a mixing bowl whisk eggs, water and hot sauce
In another large bowl mix flour with paprika, cayenne, garlic and onion powder
Remove chicken from the buttermilk, allow excess buttermilk to drip off and sprinkle with a little S&P
Dredge chicken in flour mixture, then egg mixture and once again in flour
Working in batches place chicken in oil and cook for 7 minutes on one side and then flip chicken and cook for another 7-8 minutes until done.
So, that’s my kicked up fried chicken recipe. The whole family really loved it. I will say that it was not too spicy for me but you can always adjust the peppers and hot sauce to your tastes. Now I always use Franks Hot sauce for this recipe. I love the flavor and it really blends with the other spices. Thanks for stopping by Life44.com… Live, laugh, love and learn.
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The wife came home the other night and told me that she had a pot luck at work the next day. It was going to be a Mexican theme. After much discussion and her telling me no you can’t do that, we decided on this recipe for Mexican Pasta Salad. Well, actually she decided on the Mexican Pasta Salad. I have been married long enough now to know that I was making Mexican Pasta Salad. Being married is really easy, just do as your told, take the trash out and she is always right…always. Love you sweetie. Now on to the pasta salad…
I really think this is going to be my go to pasta salad for those warm summer months. This pasta salad has great flavor. You can easily adjust the heat to this pasta salad by increasing the number of chipotle peppers. One more pepper would have been great in this recipe, but the wife said no more.
Begin by heating up your salted water for the pasta.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce
Drain the can of corn and place into a cast iron pan, Add a tablespoon of butter and S&P and place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Once your salted water has begun to boil empty your pasta into the water and stir and cook for 8-12 minutes. Once pasta is al dente remove and drain pasta.
Cool pasta under running water and allow to drain
Add roasted corn, black beans, tomatoes, green onions and cilantro to sauce and fold into the sauce
Add pasta and refrigerate for at least one hour
The pasta salad was a hit at the potluck. I did get a chance to taste the pasta salad I must say it was pretty darn good. If you can allow it to mellow in the refrigerator overnight I promise it will be even better. Thanks for stopping by Life44…Live, laugh, love & learn.
Fried BLT “Fried Bologna Sandwich”–We all have fond memories of certain foods from our childhood… that one thing your mother or father would make for you when your day didn’t go so well or maybe you got a great report card. The food that brings back your childhood with just one bite. You know what I am talking about. We all have the one thing.
Mine was a fried bologna sandwich and it had to be just right and the same every time. White bread, mayo, and thick slices of mystery meat…oops I mean bologna. The smell of the bologna as she was heating it up in the pan meant (at least to me) that everything was going to be alright. There was a time long ago when I was seven or eight that I had an appendicitis. Well due to this appendicitis I was in the hospital for almost five months. I had many surgeries and it was touch and go for me for awhile. I remember looking into my mother’s eyes and how strong she was trying to act in front of me but I could tell something was not right. So I lost a lot of weight. If I can recall I think I was down to below 50 pounds. The nursing staff would do anything to have me start eating more and I mean anything.
So one of the nurses, that had taken care of me for most of my time at the hospital brought in white bread, bologna and Miracle Whip and started making me sandwiches. Now these were no fried bologna sandwiches but they served their purpose. I started eating and gaining wait and eventually I was able to go home. Once home you all know what my mother made. Now I will confess that after eating that many sandwiches I can not even look at a jar of Miracle Whip anymore but I can still eat a good fried bologna sandwich.
As I have gotten older my taste buds have evolved as I like to say. So I took my simple and easy mother’s recipe for fired bologna sandwiches and elevated it just a little but it still has to have white bread. This is simple and so easy to make and it reminds me of a time when I really did not have too many cares or worries in the world. Well just one worry… will Rebecca say yes or no?
Heat up your pan with the butter over medium heat.
Once the butter has melted add your bologna (you may need to fry them in batches)
Fry both sides of the bologna until the edges are golden brown (3-4 minutes per side)
Stack bologna slices on top of each other, place back in pan, and place your slice of cheese and cover with a lid. Allow cheese to melt.
Slather on mayo on both slices of white bread.
Lay down lettuce and tomato slices on one slice of bread and add a little S&P
Add the bologna and cheese and top with the other slice of bread
In a lot of ways I did not change much to my mother’s recipe. I like to think that I just enhanced it. Yes, you could really elevate this but I was worried that if I changed it too much it just would not be the same. I wanted to bite into this sandwich and be brought back to a time filled with great memories and I was able to do that. I do not eat these sandwiches much anymore but when I want to be reminded that I was once young too, these are what I make. My mother is not in the best health currently but biting into this bologna sandwich took me back to a time where all was right in the world, even if only for just a few minutes. Thanks for stopping by Life44…Live, laugh, love & learn. Oh and Rebecca said no, but that’s ok. My mother made a fried bologna sandwich for me that night.
Our garden is staring to give us some great vegetables right now and the first things coming up are radishes. I love the peppery taste to radishes and these home-grown radishes have that taste. So I planted more than I probably should have so I needed to come up with some ideas with how to enjoy them. That then got me thinking back to Florida and the years I worked on my uncle’s farm and ranch. I remember carrying around a saltshaker in my back pocket because we grew cucumbers. I would grab a cucumber right off the plant and sprinkle a little salt on it and the taste was amazing. I could have eaten them all day long.
Well, my cucumbers are not ready yet but that got me thinking about a recipe my mother would make with cucumbers, red onions, mayo and vinegar. What about adjusting her recipe using the radishes? I know she doesn’t read my blogs so I should be OK adjusting her recipe to suit me. And that is what brings us here… cucumber radish salad. It is the perfect side dish/salad on a hot summer day. Which, in Florida was 355 days. Enjoy!
Egg Roll S’mores So an amazing friend (Andrea) from high school has been begging for this recipe for Egg Roll S’mores. I have waited to give it to her for a very long time because it is so simple and I know she will make so much fun of me.
It takes some time rolling each one, but it is very simple. So Andrea, here we go…
Craig catered our wedding and the whole night we heard about how great the food was! And we are still enjoying the... leftovers :) They were so professional and kind with everyone. Thank you life44 for helping to make our day so perfect!read more
Craig is one of the best guys I have ever met. A Veteran (give him a break.... he was Army), he took a chance on me,... gave me a job, and never gave up. The entire time I worked for him, he wouldn’t stop talking about his passion for food and he FINALLY decided to follow that passion and start Life44. I won’t vouch for too many people, but THIS guy is well worth it. Please check out his page and see what the hype is all about! You can’t get much better than this man!read more