Monday, November 23, 2020

Thai Peanut Ground Beef

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Asian flavors, especially Thai, make my mouth happy. This easy Thai Peanut Ground Beef recipe is no exception.

Thai Peanut Ground Beef on the Big Green Egg

The heat and tastes that the peanut sauce brings to this recipe put a smile on my face and a song in my heart...or is that my belly? Either way, we love it so much that I've cooked it a few times in the past two weeks. 

The idea for this recipe came while making The Recipe Critic's popular Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls recipe. 

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

It was delicious and super easy. But even still, I immediately knew that I wanted to make a Thai Peanut version of it. You can also make this into Thai Cashew Ground Beef by swapping out cashew butter for peanut butter. That's how we made it the first time; both renditions are lip-smacking good. 

Thai Peanut Ground Beef

These would also be fantastic as the filling for lettuce wraps.

Thai Peanut Ground Beef

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Fire-Roasted Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

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The days are getting shorter, which means it is time for me to start turning more to comfort food. Cheese stuffed shells are something that we frequently make when we have leftover meat sauce for spaghetti. Our base recipe is a simple cheese filling, ut it is easy to experiment by adding spinach, sausage, or other ingredients to the mixture.

Fire roasted spinach and cheese stuffed shells on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Fire-roasted Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells on the Big Green Egg.

Of course, you can make these in the oven but cooking them on the Big Green Egg gives them the enhanced fire-roasted flavor.

Fire roasted spinach and cheese stuffed shells cooked on the Big Green Egg kamado grill

Here is how we make our Fire Roasted Spinach Stuffed Shells on the Big Green Egg. One tip: If your leftover meat sauce is extra chunky or "rustic," you might want to pulse it in a food processor. I think it is easier to work with a finer texture sauce with this one. 

Fire Roasted Spinach Stuffed Shells

Friday, November 13, 2020

Shaved Steak Tostadas

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 Life has been very busy in our house. Work and home improvement projects have collided to interfere with my time available for cooking so we have been doing a lot of 30-minute meals. 

This is one that I threw together last night - Shaved Steak Tostadas. These tostadas are loaded with skillet seared steak, peppers, onions, queso sauce, enchilada sauce, tomatoes, black olives, and green onion. 

Shaved steak from Certified Angus Beef
This started with a package of Certified Angus Beef® Brand Shaved Steak that I bought at my Food City. They just started carrying this product but it has fast become a staple here for quick and easy dishes. The obvious use is for steak and cheese sandwiches but it is also great for Korean bulgolgi, stir fry, and Mexican beef dishes. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Bayou Grits

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These are one of the best grits I have ever had. I was in Pensacola for the Pensacola Eggfest this time last year and had breakfast at the Dog House Deli in Downtown. 

Fabulous Bayou Grits from The Dog House Deli in Downtown Pensacola
I went with Bayou Grits, over-easy eggs, and smoked Duroc pork belly.

The Dog House Deli's Bayou Grits are thick, cheesy, bold, and amazing. Chef Nathan Holler and his crew saute bacon, ham, sausage, peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes and add them to their cheese grits with a touch of salsa.  They are shut-your-mouth good!

My version of the Dog House Deli's incredibly good Bayou Grits.

I was smoking a pork belly this weekend and decided I would make a version of their Bayou Grits. Here is what I did, starting with the pork belly.

Smoked Pork Belly

I started with half of a pork belly weighing just a smidgen over  5 pounds. I patted it dry, lightly oiled it, and gave it a moderate coat of my NMT Southern Sweet rub recipe (from my second book, The Offset Smoker Cookbook). You could substitute a general sweet BBQ rub, like Meat Church Honey Hog.

Smoking pork belly on the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill

I loaded my Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX with Kingsford Hickory pellets and pre-heated it to 200°f. I smoked the pork belly at that temp for about 4 hours. I spritzed it with apple juice every hour or so. Then I raised the temperature to 250°f and cooked the belly until it reached an internal temperature of 200°f, about 3 more hours. Then I glazed it with a homemade cherry-bourbon BBQ sauce similar to my Honey Bourbon BBQ sauce.

Friday, October 30, 2020

How I Restore and Maintain Cast Iron Skillets for Use On The Grill

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When I post pictures of my cast iron collection, I often get comments and questions about how I season and maintain them. As promised (ahem...months ago), here is what I do to keep my cast iron looking black, shiny, and beautiful. 

Some of the cast-iron cookware that I use day to day.

I'll start by saying this. Maintaining cast iron isn't about a magic product or special oil. Maintaining cast-iron skillets is a behavior. If you clean and spend 10 minutes reseasoning your skillets each time you use them, they will stay immaculate, non-stick, and last a lifetime. 

A second important point. Cast-iron is meant for use day-in, day-out. The best thing you can do to maintain your cast-iron cookware is to use it often.


A good story starts at the beginning so let's start with the 1930's era Griswold #8 skillet that I restored earlier this year. 

When Do I Need To Restore A Skillet?

Typically, when a skillet loses its seasoning or gets a little flaky, the cast-iron just needs a thorough cleaning, reseasoning, and frequent use. But when a piece of cast-iron cookware has been abused and has built-up carbon or large sections of rust, the restoration will make it as good as new. Restoration is time-consuming, but you should never have to do it again if you maintain your cast-iron in the first place. Restoring cast-iron includes: 

  • stripping/cleaning, 
  • establishing a base coat, and then 
  • repeated use to build up the seasoning.

How I restored this 1930's era Griswold cast-iron skillet
This skillet definitely needed restoration. It was made over 80 years ago and had definitely seen better days. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Gorgonzola and Bacon Burger

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The black and blue burger, a burger topped with blue cheese, is one of the classic burgers. You either love them or hate them. I'm a lover of these pungent flavored burgers, they make my mouth water like a car hitting a fire hydrant.  

I did a spin on this time-honored burger for happy hour tonight. Some folks are wary of blue cheese because of the intense flavor. Instead of the typical blue cheese crumbles, a thick, creamy gorgonzola sauce graced our burgers. The milder flavor works better on a burger for me.

Gorgonzola & Bacon Burger featuring fresh ground chuck from Food City
This burger is bursting with flavor! The sharp taste of the cheese sauce, the smoky/salty bacon, and fresh ground chuck patty make this a spectacular burger.

I start off making the cheese sauce because I like to give it time to rest and thicken. That way it stays on top of the burger on the grill instead of dripping off into the flames below.

NMT Gorgonzola Burger Sauce

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Steak and Cheese Sandwich on the PK Grill

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I haven't been posting much on here lately. That is because we have been busy on weekends doing home repairs. We are also renovating our basement patio, which we have never used much in 20 years, into an expanded grilling area. 

Here's a quicky that we did this past weekend when the heavy rains from Hurricane Delta's remnants kept us from working on projects. I made these super simple steak and cheese subs on the PK grill.

Normally, I will do these when I break down a whole ribeye, and I save one of the ends just for steak and cheese sandwiches.  I run it through my meat slicer on a near-zero thickness setting for shaved steak. I don't do that often because a whole ribeye is not inexpensive, and cleaning the slicer is a bit of a chore.