Coleslaw

No summer meal is complete without a bowl of coleslaw. Some tips to make your coleslaw beat any store bought coleslaw, hands down.

Shred the Cabbage at Home
This point cannot be stressed enough. Pre-shredded cabbage from the grocery store turns limp faster than freshly shredded cabbage it simply pales to fresh in taste. Shredding cabbage is easy, just thinly slice it and it will turn into crunchy, delicious shreds. For the carrots, use a box grater.

Add Vinegar
Mayo dressing is the classic when it comes to coleslaw. Mayo based dressing can sometimes be too heavy or sweet and fatty. Adding some vinegar along with some Dijon mustard will lighten up the dressing. Don’t be afraid to try different vinegars like apple cider, red wine, white wine, or champagne vinegar work well too. If you want some spice, toss a teaspoon or two of your Tabasco sauce in.

Wait To Mix It All Together
Hold your shredded veggies and dressing separate in the refrigerator until serving time. Your vegetables will be fresh and crunchy, not limp and sauce laden.

Ingredients
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons celery seed
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 large head green cabbage, thinly sliced
3 large carrots, grated

Directions
Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, and celery seed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add cabbage and carrots and mix to thoroughly combine.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad, this is a must have dish every summer. I can’t imagine summer without it!

This is a tried and true version, I always hope for leftovers the next day. You should consider making a double batch.

Macaroni salad is a great dish to out ahead of time. To keep the macaroni from absorbing all of the dressing, don’t toss everything together until about an hour or so before. The drier your pasta is, the less it will absorb so make sure your macaroni is drained well first.

If you want to cook the macaroni more than an hour serving, toss with a little olive oil after draining. If it starts sticking together, run it under warm water to break it up.

Any type of short pasta works great macaroni salad. Penne and fusilli are among the favorites, I just use up the type of pasta I have on hand to keep it simple.

Macaroni salad works well with most any vegetable you want to add. Try adding broccoli, pimento peppers, tuna, hard boiled eggs, and bacon.

Macaroni salad goes great with any grilled food. Try serving it along a burger or grilled pork chops.

Macaroni

Macaroni

Ingredients
For the pasta salad
3/4 pound elbow pasta, cooked
2 stalks celery, chopped thinly
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
1 medium carrot, shredded
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

For the dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Directions
In a large bowl, combine elbows, celery, bell pepper, olives, and carrots.

Dressing: In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and stir until combined.

Pour dressing over pasta mixture and toss. Garnish with parsley before serving.

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Shredded Mexican Chicken

This is an easy to make, great tasting main dish that can be used as a key ingredient in most any Mexican style dish that calls for meat.

Ingredients
2 pounds chicken breasts
olive oil
1/2 cup medium salsa
3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 4 ounce can mild diced green chilies
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

Instructions
Rub chicken breasts liberally with olive oil and place in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Cover the chicken with the salsa as much as possible.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over everything, keeping it as even as possible.

Add the diced chilies to the slow cooker.

Add the tomatoes, spreading them evenly across the chicken.

Measure the remaining dry ingredients into a small bowl. Once mixed, sprinkle the spice mixture over all the chicken.

Drizzle the Liquid Smoke over the mixture.

Cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.

Remove chicken to a cutting board, and let rest 5 minutes before shredding (there will be liquid remaining). Return shredded chicken and let cook on low for an additional 20 minutes to absorb some of the liquid/juices.

Shredded Mexican Chicken

Shredded Mexican Chicken

Serve as taco meat, for nachos, burritos, enchiladas, etc..

(I shredded the chicken with 2 forks in the Crockpot itself, much easier than messing around taking it out only to put back in.)

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Pork Rub

I use this on all sorts of pork cuts; ribs, tenderloin, chops, you name it. This works well on nearly anything.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Pack on the dry rub onto your next rack of ribs.

Note, for a really great pulled pork, cover your pork shoulder in yellow mustard, then use this rub all over. Let it set in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours, then roast as normal.

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Chicken Chile Verde

A low-carb green chili recipe that fits into most any diet. It’s gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and delicious!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 pound tomatillos
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken (breasts, thighs, or both)
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Possible garnishes: cilantro, avocado, lime

Instructions
Peel and wash the tomatillos so they are not sticky. Remove the stems as well. Then cut the tomatillos into quarters. Peel and chop the remaining vegetables.

Put a large 6-quart stock pot over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, garlic, and chopped peppers. Sauté for 5-8 minutes.

Add the cut the tomatillos. Then add the whole raw chicken pieces to the pot. Add all spices and seasonings. Add the broth. Stir and push the chicken pieces to the bottom of the pot.

Simmer the chili for 25-30 minutes, until the largest piece of chicken is cooked through. Use tongs to move the chicken pieces to a cutting board.

Remove the bay leaf. Then use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables and broth base. It doesn’t have to be totally smooth, but the chunks of tomatillos should be blended in.

Shred the chicken. Then stir the chicken back into the chili.

Taste, then salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve warm as-is, or with lime wedges and sliced avocado.

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Seasoned Salt

Similar if not identical to Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons white sugar
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

Directions
Whisk salt, sugar, paprika, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, and cornstarch together in a bowl.

Use as your taste dictates.

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Slow Cooker Hot Cocoa

The slow cooker is your secret weapon for the easiest, richest hot cocoa for a crowd.

Ingredients
1 1/2 c.ups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
6 cups whole milk
Mini marshmallows, for garnish

Directions
Combine all ingredients except marshmallows in a slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Cook until everything is melted, stirring occasionally, 2 hours on Low.

10 minutes before serving, add marshmallows and let them melt a bit. Garnish with more mini marshmallows, if desired.

Note, if you are serving this at a party, I encourage you to double up the recipe. It’s that good!

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Buttery Turkey w/ Warm Sorghum Vinaigrette

Looking for holiday menu inspiration?

This one is from the @chefandthef archives, a showstopper for Thanksgiving

Buttery Turkey with Warm Sorghum Vinaigrette
Photo by Jennifer Hitchcock

from Chef Vivian Howard of the Chef & the Farmer, Kinston, NC

Ingredients

Buttery Turkey
One fresh 12-18 pound turkey
Salt and black pepper
4 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
1 orange, halved
2 pounds butter
1 lemon, halved
2×2-foot square of cheesecloth folded to cover the breast portion of your bird

Warm Sorghum Vinegar Sauce
1/2 cup small diced red onion
1/2 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sorghum syrup
1/4 cup honey

Directions

Buttery Turkey

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Remove the giblets from your turkey and rinse both the inside as well as the outside of the bird. Pat your turkey dry and season his skin and cavity thoroughly with salt and pepper.

Stuff the cavity with the rosemary, thyme, and halved orange. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and slide him into the oven.

Melt the butter along with the halved lemon in a small saucepan. After about 30 minutes of roasting, dip the cheesecloth into the lemon butter and lay it over the top of the turkey breast. Repeat this every thirty minutes (remove, dip in lemon butter, and replace) for the duration of the cooking time. The turkey is done when the juices run clear between the leg and the thigh, between 2½–3½ hours.

Remove the turkey from the oven and allow him to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Warm Sorghum Vinegar Sauce

In a medium saucepan, sweat the red onion in the butter. Cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add the nutmeg, black pepper, and vinegar. Bring this to a boil and add the syrup and honey. Simmer until it’s reduced by half. Serve warm.

Roast Turkey w/ Warm Sorghum Vinaigrette

Roast Turkey w/ Warm Sorghum Vinaigrette

Roast Turkey w/ Warm Sorghum Vinaigrette

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Creamed Celery with Pecans

This is a new favorite of mine.

If you are looking for something new and different for your meal, give this a try.

Fresh Celery

Fresh Celery

Ingredients:
4 cups celery, cut diagonally in ½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pecan halves
buttered bread crumbs

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Grease a 1 ½-quart casserole.

Boil the celery in enough water to cover until tender; drain.

Melt the butter over medium heat; stir in the flour and slowly add the milk to make a cream sauce, stirring until thick and smooth.

Add the salt and well-drained celery.

Spoon into the prepared casserole, top with pecans, and cover with buttered bread crumbs.

Bake at 400° F. for 15 minutes.

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Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots

I served these at my family Thanksgiving in 2017. They were a hit!

Ingredients
2 lb. carrots peeled and sliced on a diagonal
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Instructions
In a large, deep skillet, bring 1 inch of water to a boil.

Add carrots; boil 3 minutes. Drain.

In the same skillet, melt butter, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until bubbly.

Add carrots and cook 2 minutes more.

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