Taco Flavored Fried Brussels Sprouts and Lemon-Lime Yogurt Dip

Every so often I write a recipe that completely changes the game for me. A recipe that makes me proclaim to the void and all the gods, old and new that this will be my legacy. And let me tell you, managing to make crispy but oh so tender brussels sprouts that taste like the classic ground beef tacos you had as a kid is that moment.

And the process is simple: just drop the bad boys in the fryer for a few minutes and absolutely coat them with a super easy and basic homemade taco seasoning blend and that’s that on the sprouts. Then to top it all off I find the lemon-lime dip so fun. When you hear lemon-lime it takes you back to thinking about Gatorade, candy, fruit snacks, etc. But in all actuality it packs plenty of zing and coolness from the yogurt to cut through the spicy and semi-charred flavor of the sprouts. Every time I make this I’ll take a sample sprout to see how I did, and then I just keep going and going.

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Sambal Arrabbiata

In all fairness I owe a lot of what’s written to my brother, Sean. He’s basically my 24/7 hotline for bouncing recipe ideas off of someone, and getting editing suggestions. Sometimes he’ll even blurt out, “you know what would be cool…,” and then hit me with some nifty idea that I try and work up. This was one of those times.

He threw the idea of putting sambal in arrabiata sauce. For those of you who don’t know arrabiata is a pasta sauce that consists of tomato, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. That’s it. I tried making this with just subbing out the chili for sambal and it was fine, there just wasn’t any magic.

Then I decided to add a couple of flavor friends, fish sauce for salty funk and ginger for extra pep in my step, and the flavor profile felt full and packed with umami.

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Salmon With Matcha Noodles and Kinda Dashi Broth

Ok so in the past I’ve gotten bad about feeling the need to do some intense diet and exercising for the new year. I usually lose weight for a while, but end up feeling restricted, overworked, and not very happy by Summer. Instead for 2020 I’m going with a goal of “happy food.” I aim to cook what’s making me happy in that moment no matter how weird or out of my normal culinary zone it may be. I’m on a new path of chasing after happy dances.

That being said, like many of you this holiday season got me jacked up. Spiked hot cocoa, tons of red meat, and all the latkes I can eat are really cool, but I needed a major reset button to start 2020 feeling fresh and clean.

One of my favorite things to have in the morning is a huge mug of matcha to get me perked up and ready to go, which was the jump off point of this dish. The surrealistic pondscape consists of some of my favorite clean flavors: salmon, cucumber, nori, roe, and dashi. The effect is a really cool combination of oceany flavors from the fish and dashi with the earthiness of matcha to create something that feels very nature inspired.

Even though we’re in the middle of winter the lightness and freshness of this dish can’t help but make me feel like spring is around the corner. Another cool perk is it can be served at any temperature and still work.

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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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Curried Corn and Salmon Chowder

Somehow, despite it being mid October we don’t have fall yet. To say I’m salty is a massive understatement. To bridge the gap between this weird fall one day summer the next weather I wanted to combine flavors that to me are quintessential to each season.

In the summer seafood is my favorite thing to make, and I’ve been on a huge salmon kick due to the health benefits. And then in the fall I’m all about decadent soups and curry. Then of course you have corn which is an ingredient that belongs to both seasons.

It may seem like a weird combo but it actually really works. I love the flavor of curry and salmon together, and then the corn adds nice little pops of sweet freshness.

Is it a fall or summer dish? Yes. Continue reading “Curried Corn and Salmon Chowder”

Double Decker Fried Bologna Breakfast Sandwiches

Truth be told I’m not the best about eating breakfast. I’m really bad about opting to sleep every available second during the work week and end up running out the door in a rush. As sad as it is to say, a good breakfast has become a bit of a weekend indulgence for me.

For my latest indulgence I wanted to go full country and make a broke and southern staple, fried bologna. It’s a similar concept to fried ham steak or bacon in that it’s crispy, salty, meaty goodness, just a little more humble. Like any good breakfast sando we have plenty of melty cheese and an overeasy egg on top. And then because I can’t help myself and love a good condiment; we have maple-mustard mayo to cut through the richness and add a little kiss of sweetness, like any good morning should have.

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Beer Can Chicken with Kickass Butter

Today we’re definitely putting the redneck in The Fancy Redneck. I mean what’s more country than putting a can of beer up a chicken’s butt, letting it just hang out in the oven for a while, and calling it dinner?

All horrendous visuals aside there is a method to this madness. The beer creates a nice steam inside the chicken that keeps it moist while cooking and gives a subtle eau de beer perfume to the meat. When paired with an ultra spiced compound butter for the baking the result is like a rotisserie chicken that your local grocery store could never.

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Juicy Lucy

Sometimes life provides you with serendipity. On my blog’s Instagram page I posted a poll asking if my next post should be something healthy or naughty. Turns out about 70% of people wanted to see something decadent. Right after I posted this it was time to start planning what to make for the Fourth of July. And maybe it’s obvious, but a kickass burger felt like the only way to go.

To me Juicy Lucy’s are a special burger because it’s like the savory version of a Hostess cupcake and its hunt for the cream filling. But instead of chocolate and cream we have meat and cheese, and I’m not the slightest bit mad at that. Topped off with homemade pickles and a honey dijonnaise we have the perfect bite of meaty, cheesy, creamy, crunchy, and tangy. For a burger that creates a full on sensory experience look no further. Continue reading “Juicy Lucy”

Beer-Battered Fries

I’m going to keep it real with y’all. I’ve been all about going healthier lately and finding healthy substitutions for carb and fat heavy dishes. But when it comes to fries I say screw it. My hot take is that there is no perfect fry substitute. Sweet potato fries? Close, but they’re always kind of flacid. Zucchini chips/wedges? I’d eat it, but don’t give it to me and tell me it’s supposed to fill my fry craving. Those breaded cauliflower sticks in the freezer section? Bro, no.

Eating healthy is great and awesome, but sometimes you just need some potatoes and a pot of grease. To up the anty we’re also going to dunk these babies in a spiced beer batter for optimum crunch and flavor. Everything in moderation, right?

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Eggplant Lasagna with Mushroom Ragu

In an almost Garfield level consistency my boyfriend and I crave lasagna. Do I really need to explain why??? I’m no stranger in trying to find slight ways to “health up” lasagna. But I wanted to take it even farther. So I came up with this version that promises no carb bombs or meat sweats.

Instead of a classic bolognese I made a mushroom ragu to give that meaty texture and flavor, and swapped out noodles with layers of roasted eggplant. The end result is kind of like eggplant parm meets lasagna. And. Im. Am. Into. It. And the best part? Despite eating a bowlful I still feel ready to take on the world, or in this case my house cleaning.

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