Bird Dogs

Picture it: Belton 2001. One day when the Marshall Primary School menu for the next week was released everyone’s attention was immediately captured by something we never heard of, bird dogs. None of the other kids knew what it was, and to add insult to injury none of the adults did either. Not even the lunch ladies!

What we got was a total game changer. Bird dogs consist of chicken fingers, bacon, honey mustard, and cheddar tucked into a hot dog bun. When I explain it to people who never lived in Anderson county, South Carolina they never seemed to get it, but honestly it’s so perfect. Somehow the hotdog bun proportions are so much more satisfying than the normal chicken sandwich and I will die on that hill.

Clearly I’m not the only one to think so because these little buns of glory became a cultural icon in my hometown. They worked their way into mom and pop restaurants, sleepovers, and I even went to a banquet where they were served!

If you ever wanted a super obscure southern dish that you can’t even find on Google that doubles as stoner food then look no further! I mean come on, look at that!

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Cheesy Baked Bacon and Cauliflower

Anyone who has attempted to be halfway healthy has learned that cauliflower is a miracle vegetable. Floating around the internet you can find recipes for cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower bread, and other types of witchcraft. But did you know that you can use cauliflower as a thickening agent in sauces and gravys instead of a roux? Because you totally can!

That’s the magic to this recipe. You get all the warmth and gooiness of a bacon mac and cheese (cooking the cauliflower in bacon grease doesn’t hurt), but you’re also doubling down on the veggie goodness. Is it the healthiest thing on the planet? Not quite. But can you feel relatively guilt free about this? Of course! It makes an awesome side or main dish.

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Pumpkin Gnocchi with Pancetta and Sage Brown Butter

The month of October, like the Walmart seasonal aisle, has two sides. First you have the spooky Halloween side with all the fake blood and skeleton decor your heart could desire. Then you have the warm, autumnal items. Think burlap wreathes and pillows with stitching that reads “thankful” or “blessed.” I made it a goal this month on fancy redneck to capture the duality of October with my recipes. After all, it is Libra season and balance is critical.

First up to capture warmth and fall flavors I have pumpkin gnocchi. Usually when I make gnocchi at home I use sweet potato, but really wanted to stretch myself with an ingredient I never use, pumpkin. The combination of the fried sage, pancetta, brown butter, and pumpkin together really create a symphony on the tongue with the only component missing being the crunch of leaves on the ground.

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Pasta Carbonara

carbonara

Over time pasta carbonara has become one of the most controversial dishes out there. You would think with a simple preparation of pancetta, egg, parmesan, and black pepper it would not be a big deal. However not too long ago I read an article about Nigella Lawson posting her recipe for the dish on twitter, and people flipped out on her. All because she puts cream in her sauce. In all honesty despite any lack of authenticity cream might provide I tried her recipe and I enjoyed it.

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