Barbecue Chicken

I think that the secret to this chicken is in the brine. It’s really not all that difficult to brine meat that you plan on barbecuing. When you get up the day of your event, just throw the chicken in the brine and forget about it. For parties I prefer to buy all drumsticks. The other key step in this recipe is the slow cooking. Time allows the development of the flavor. I finish these on a charcoal grill and coat them with KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce. If you do not plan on grilling the chicken legs and want to finish them in the oven, cook them at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until their internal temperature is 165 degrees. I wish I could take the credit for this dry rub recipe, it is from Smitten Kitchen.

20130817-100147.jpgnull

The Best Barbecue Chicken

5 Lb chicken parts
Your favorite barbecue sauce

Brine:
4 cups water
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped onion

Dry rub:
6 tbsp packed brown sugar
4 tbsp sweet paprika
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground red pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

Brine the chicken

Mix together all brine ingredients in a large tub. Add the chicken. Allow this to sit in the fridge for 6 hours. (If you are short on time, at least one hour.)

Prepare the chicken

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Mix together all dry rub ingredients.

Prepare two jelly roll pans fitted with wire racks. Cut two large pieces of foil that you can fold your chicken up into. Remove the chicken pieces from the brine and pat dry. Rub the spices on. Be generous! Place half the chicken in each of your foil packets. Place these on the prepared jelly roll pans with racks.

Bake the chicken for 1 hour and rotate the pans, bake for another hour. Transfer the chicken to the grill and cook until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. All grills are different, but on a medium heat charcoal fire this should take 15 minutes.

Brine and dry rub recipes adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

We won’t have that crisp cool fall air in Eastern North Carolina until thanksgiving time. But that is not stopping me from pumpkin indulgence! And in preparation for fall baking I have invested in this 32 ounce bottle of Nielsen-Massey Bourbon Vanilla Extract. My BFF brought a super cute little girl into the world recently and I wanted to take something tasty to the hospital. I made these fabulous muffins in under an hour. These muffins are definitely a reason I always keep pecans in my pantry during the fall season. When a muffin recipe says “mix until just combined” it is key that you follow this direction. It’s important not to saturate all the flour, this will make the muffins heavy.

20130916-084359.jpg

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Makes 18 muffins.

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp brown sugar

Pecan Streusel Topping:
4 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
5 tbsp white sugar
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into quarter inch pieces

Muffins:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

Make the cream cheese filling
With an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla and brown sugar, until the mixture is smooth.

Make the streusel topping
Mix together the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and pecans in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with two knives.

In a large bowl, combine together flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spices and salt. Mix in the eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla extract. Do not over mix. You should still see some flecks of flour when you are done mixing.

Scoop approximately 3 tbsp of batter into each muffin well. Scoop one tbsp of the cream cheese filling into each one. Cover with the pecan streusel topping.

Bake for 20 to 24 minutes. Remove muffin pans from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Adapted from allrecipes.com.

Ground Beef Tacos

20130815-123039.jpg

20130815-123044.jpg

Ground Beef Tacos

1 Lb ground beef (at least 93% lean)
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 recipe flour tortillas

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 6 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook over medium heat until fully cooked, 6 minutes.

Add in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Proscuitto Macaroni and Cheese Cups

This is mac and cheese innovation. You can serve mac and cheese at parties or at your tailgate and no one needs a fork! I even served them at Thanksgiving. The cheese sauce here has an amazing flavor that beats all other recipes. And I don’t think I have to say it, but proscuitto is an amazing complement to mac and cheese. You will be surprised at how quickly these come together. Serve these with something bubbly, like Friexenet Cava.

20130906-124759.jpg

8 oz elbow macaroni
12 thin slices of proscuitto
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp all purpose flour
1 14 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 oz)
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook untilal dente, based on the package directions. Drain the past and reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place each slice of proscuitto in each muffin well, lining the bottom and edges.

In a small frying pan melt one tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until browned and toasted. Remove from the stove and set aside.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large sauce pan on medium low heat. Add in the flour and stir constantly. Cook the flour for 2-3 minutes until slightly brown in color.

Whisk in the milk slowly and continue whisking out any lumps. Cook for 7 minutes, simmering, until thickened. Remove from heat. Add in the cheeses, mustard, sriracha, salt and pepper. Mix cheese sauce into the noodles.

Scoop the macaroni and cheese into the prepared muffin wells. Sprinkle with the panko. Bake for 25 minutes.

Adapted from chow.com.

Tortillas

I can’t believe we are halfway through September! The best part is that I only have 9 days left of horrifying ICU hours and I can get back to important things, like baking and blogging. Football season is well underway which means lots of at home gatherings. I wanted to throw together ground beef tacos the other day but had no shells or tortillas. After making these homemade tortillas, I will never settle for store bought. The fresh flavor is unmatched. They are truly simple to create and well worth the time. And you don’t need a tortilla press! Sometimes the dough can be troublesome to roll out, so just let it rest a minute and try again. I froze half of my tortillas and they were just as delicious a few weeks later. My husband made breakfast burritos with the leftover tortillas and they could not have tasted more delicious.

20130821-175655.jpg

Flour tortillas
Makes 12

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp shortening (or softened unsalted butter)
3/4 cup water

In the bowl of your food processor with the dough attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and shortening.

Pulse until the mixture is crumbly, 5 seconds. Scrape down the bowl. With the food processor running, slowly pour the water into the mixture in a steady stream. Add just enough water that the dough forms a ball.

Process for 30 seconds more to knead the dough. Add flour if the dough is too sticky.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured counter and divide into 12 equal pieces. (I weigh them to be precise with this awesome scale.) Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Pat one dough ball at a time into a disk with flour and roll into a thin circle, approximately 8 inches diameter.

Place the tortilla into a heated skillet and cook each side for 10-20 seconds, until lightly browned. Do not over cook! Repeat with each dough ball. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats.