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21  No-Boil Mac and Cheese in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: October 12, 2012 07:57:16 AM
Been working up a recipe for Mac and Cheese that uses raw macaroni. I am also using all the main ingredients in their pre-packaged size amounts, the idea is to be able to make this with just a pan and a spoon on the grill with no need to measure things out or boil the pasta.

It turned out really good! I would have never guessed that the pasta was not boiled first.

Here is a list of ingredients. I picked up everything at Walmart.

    1 12oz. bag of Skinner Large Elbows macaroni
    1 8oz. bag of Velveeta shreds
    1 8oz. bag of Kraft Triple Cheddar with a touch of Philadelphia
    1 8oz. bag of Cheddar cheese
    1 8oz. container of sour cream
    1 quart milk (4 cups)
     stick of melted butter
    1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon of mustard
    2 teaspoons of salt
    2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper
    1 to 2 tablespoons of paprika

Basically, everything gets mixed in a pan except for one bag of cheddar cheese and the paprika.

I baked the whole thing on the grill at 350F for 50 minutes covered, and then added the leftover cheese and paprika on top and bake another 10 minutes uncovered.

There are more detailed instructions and pictures here on my blog.

I was really happy with the results, creamy, gooey, cheesy. Pasta had the right texture.

Best thing, I had only one pan to clean up!
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22  How to BBQ Chicken in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: September 28, 2012 02:19:58 PM
Made some BBQ chicken that turned out great! A lot of people make the mistake of try to cook them like burgers which usually makes a mess of it.
Here are some pics and 5 tips on barbecuing chicken.  

I like adding some honey to my BBQ sauce to make a glaze out of it.

BBQ the chicken with a rub and add the glaze in the last 15 to 30 minutes of the cook.

Here are some tips for the next time you fix BBQ chicken.

1. If you have the time, brine. Brining will make your chicken stay extra juicy and moist, even if you accidentally over cook it a little. Brining is easy to do (check recipe link below), but it does take a little extra time. So plan ahead and buy your chicken a day before you plan to grill it.

2. Legs and thighs. If you end up having to buy your chicken the day of the BBQ with no time to brine, you might consider skipping the white meat and just cooking legs and thighs. Legs and thighs are a lot more forgiving on the grill, so there is less chance of dry, overcooked chicken.

3. Low and slow. BBQ Chicken needs to be grilled over indirect heat at a temperature of around 300F (check recipe link below), so you need to fix up the grill accordingly. On a charcoal grill move the hot coals to one side of the grill, on a gas grill turn on only half the burners. Grill the chicken on the side of the grill without the hot burners/coals and with the lid closed. You can still grill your burgers and hot dogs on the hot side of the grill, just give the chicken an hour head start.

4. Rub, then sauce at the end. A common mistake when barbecuing chicken is to apply the BBQ sauce too soon, or even at the beginning. The sugar in the sauce then burns, leaving a bitter taste. Apply a BBQ rub at the beginning and sauce the chicken the last 15 to 30 minutes.

5. Get an instant read thermometer. You can cut into the chicken pieces to see if it is done, or check for clear running juices when poked. But the best way is to use an instant read thermometer if you really want to know when things are done on the grill. White meat is done at around 160F and dark meat is done a 165F. Be sure to get a thermometer with a fast instant read response time. Some instant reads can be pretty slow. ThermoWorks makes some of the best and are super fast. You can find them on Amazon starting at $19.

Recipe and more detailed instructions and pictures here.

The chicken turned out great! The glaze on the chicken has a nice caramelization, but is not burned. When I cut into the breast the meat actually looked wet. Now that is a juicy piece of chicken. I am really glad I took the extra time to brine it. Now for the taste, sweet, tangy, savory and juicy... I would call this perfect.
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23  Bacon wrapped meatloaf stuffed with cheese in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: September 10, 2012 01:35:59 PM
Fixed my favorite meatloaf last weekend. Bacon wrapped meatloaf stuffed with cheese. I used a bacon weave to wrap the meatloaf. If you have not tried making a bacon weave it is pretty easy. It does a real good job of trapping in all the moister and flavor, making for a juicy meatloaf.

Here are some pics.

Bacon weave

To make a bacon weave you need a pound of thin sliced bacon.

Lay down 7 or 8 slices of bacon side-by-side, until you have a square of bacon on top of some aluminum foil.

Fold alternating slices of bacon in half length wise, then lay a slice of bacon across the alternating slices of bacon next to the fold.

Just keep repeating.

You should have a square of bacon that looks something like this.

Loaf pan lined with bacon weave

Then stuff.

When your done it should look something like this.

Recipe and more detailed instructions here.

The meatloaf turned out great! It was nice and juicy with gooey cheese running all throughout. Plus it had that great bacony flavor!
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24  Tips on making Texas style BBQ beef ribs in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: August 30, 2012 07:21:45 AM
Back from my trip to Raleigh, N.C. Had some great pork BBQ, but was wanting some BBQ beef when I got back to Cowtown.
So I made some Texas style BBQ beef ribs.

If you are used to cooking pork ribs and never had much luck with beef, here are a few tips.

1. Cook them low and slow if you want juicy, tender ribs. I BBQ my ribs at 225F for 3 to 5 hours and pull them when the meat thermometer slides through the rib meat with little or no resistance. The internal temperature of the rib meat should be somewhere between 190-210F. A lot of folks pull their ribs at 180F. While that may be fine for pork ribs, beef ribs need to go to at least 190F to be tender, and sometimes all the way to 210F.

2. Skip wrapping the ribs in foil. When I fix pork ribs, I wrap them in foil for 30 minutes to an hour toward the end of the smoking to help tenderize them. But with beef ribs, this process just makes a mess of the rack, and the meat shrinks so much that the ribs start to come apart. Just cook them at a low temp and mop them with a sauce to keep them moist.

3. Mop for moisture. Since I am skipping the wrap, I make a mop sauce from beer, onions, vinegar and a little rub, and mop the ribs once an hour.

More tips, pictures and recipe here.

Oh, be sure to get a rack that has some meat on the bones, this rack was a little over 5 pounds.
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25  Homemade Corned Beef in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: August 09, 2012 01:15:59 PM
Corning your own brisket is easy to do and taste way better than store bought corned beef. You just have to plan ahead, it takes at around 7 days for the brisket to cure into corned beef with use is Mortons Tender Quick.
This will give the brisket that red coloring similar to ham and bacon, which are also cured. I also use Penzeys Spices Corned Beef Spices mix (you can also use pickling spices from the grocery store spice isle).

Here are some pics 0f the steps:

Homemade corned beef brisket coated with a dry cure rub and pickling spices.

Meat cure and pickling spices.

Rub cure mixture deep into brisket on all sides.

Vacuum sealed brisket or use resealable plastic bag with all the air forced out. and let it cure in the refrigerator for 7 days.

More pics and the recipe here.
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26  Hot wings in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: July 31, 2012 07:07:11 AM
Made some hot wings this weekend on the grill.
They are pretty easy to fix using some store bought salsa as the base for the marinade.
I used a pretty hot salsa in mine, but you can substitute a mild salsa if you don't want the heat.

Here are some pics.

More pics and recipe here on my blog.
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27  Leaping Frog Chicken in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: July 21, 2012 11:40:39 PM
This could be one of my strangest posts yet, but did you know you can cut up a chicken so it looks like a Leaping Frog?
Well it was a new one for me.
The idea is to flatten your chicken so that it will cook more evenly, and the shape ends up looking like a frog. Gourmet magazine did a story about it in 2009 and I am just now hearing about it..

Here are some pictures of the technique.

I have more pictures and the recipe here.

The herbs are out of my herb garden project!

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28  Re: Spiral cut hot dogs in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: July 10, 2012 10:46:38 AM
Ooh I like your knife! I didn't even notice it before because I was looking at the dog! Cheesy

Thanks! I am big time into Japanese cooking knives. I wrote A magazine article last month on collecting Japanese cooking knives.

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29  Easy homemade chicken stock in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: July 09, 2012 01:13:52 PM
Next time you have a roast chicken for dinner, be sure to save the leftover carcass, bones and scraps to make chicken stock.

It is way tastier than the stock you buy in the store, and super easy to make in a slow cooker.

Here are some pictures of the process.

Leftover roast chicken

Roast chicken bones, carcass and scraps ready for making stock.

Roast chicken leftovers in slow cooker lined with cheese cloth.

Be sure to fill the slow cooker up with lots of roast chicken scraps and vegetables for a more flavorful stock.

Stock after 12 hours.

Clear stock left after pulling cheesecloth, no need to strain.

I have more pics of making stock and a recipe here.
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30  Rosemary branches as kabob skewers in Recipes and Cooking Tips by txweekendchef on: July 07, 2012 10:07:18 AM
If you have a Rosemary tree/bush you can use the branches as tasty kabob skewers.
You can also sometimes find Rosemary branches at the grocery store.

I also like using the branches to make herb basting brushes out of.

I have more pics of making kabobs and a recipe here.
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