BBQ Cajun Grilled (Half) Chicken

It’s crazy that we’re 8 posts in and haven’t showcased a grilling recipe. Jon loves is obsessed with grilling. Whether it is 100 degrees or 20 degrees, you can always count on him being outside cooking something up. This particular chicken that he cooked has got to be one of my favorites. It is so flavorful and moist, and the leftovers are perfect for a soup or pot pie.

Begin by cleaning one whole chicken, discarding the innards and cutting it in half (or just purchase a half chick at the grocery store).

Grilled half chicken

Liberally season with our favorite Cajun Rub – don’t be afraid of over seasoning here.

Grilled half chicken

Place on a preheated grill on indirect flame. Cook for 2 hours, checking and rotating periodically.

In the meantime, prepare the barbeque sauce. This particular sauce is pretty sweet, which works well with the spiciness of the Cajun Rub. In a small pan over medium heat combine the following: ketchup, beer, minced garlic, ground mustard, Worcestershire sauce, honey, brown sugar, chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic salt and celery seed. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes. One the sauce has thickened, marinate the chicken while it is still on the grill. Continue marinating every 15 minutes for the last 45 minutes of grilling. Insert a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken has reach 165 degrees before removing from the grill. Let the chicken sit 10 minutes before serving.

DSC01751 (1)

BBQ Cajun Grilled (Half) Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, cut in half
  • Cajun Rub
  • For the barbeque sauce (I normally don’t measure, so these are pure estimates. Adjust the amounts to your preference)
    • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP minced garlic
    • 3/4 cup light beer
    • 1/2 TBSP ground mustard
    • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 TBSP honey
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
    • 1/2 tsp celery seed

Directions

  1. Preheat grill. Clean chicken, removing innards, and cut in half. Liberally season with Cajun Rub. Place on grill, in indirect flame, for two hours. Check and rotate periodically.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the barbeque sauce by combining the ketchup, brown sugar, minced garlic, beer, ground mustard, Worcestershire sauce, honey, cayenne pepper, black pepper, chili powder, garlic salt, and celery seed in a small pan over medium heat. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
  3. Marinate the chicken for and additional 45 minutes, applying sauce every 15 minutes. Insert a thermometer to test that the chicken is at 165 degrees before removing from grill. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Cajun Rub

This is the best. dry rub. ever. I’m serious. It’s a recipe that Jon’s mom and dad put together and we use it all the time. Put it on chicken, fish, ribs, you name it. Anything that needs a little spice and flavor – this will be your go to!

Cajun Rub

Cajun Rub

Cajun Rub

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Sprinkle on fish, chicken, or pork ribs before grilling.

Mom’s Meatballs & Pasta Sauce

This is my mom and grandmother’s meatball and pasta sauce recipe. It’s really the only meatball and sauce recipe you need to know. The sauce is simple, flavorful, and perfect for any type of pasta you want to use it with. It’s a simple meal, but nothing tastes better than a homemade sauce.

Meatballs and Pasta Sauce

For the meatballs, mix together ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Roll the meat into small balls, about an inch in width (one pound of ground beef should get you about 35 meatballs). Heat oil in a large pan and fry the meatballs until they are browned on all sides, about five minutes.

Meatballs and Pasta Sauce

Remove the meatballs from the pan, reserving the liquid, and set aside. In the same pan, add tomato paste, tomato puree, 1 can water of each, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a basil leaf. Simmer sauce for 30 minutes, add meatballs back in and simmer together for an additional hour.

Meatballs & Pasta Sauce

Use sauce for pasta, lasagna, ravioli, or freeze for later use.

Meatballs and Pasta Sauce

Meatballs and Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP oil
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 can each water
  • 1 basil leaf
Directions
  1. Heat a large Dutch oven with oil. In a medium bowl, mix together ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Form into small ball.
  2. Place the meatballs into the Dutch oven and cook until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Reserve the liquid.
  3. Add the tomato paste, tomato puree, 1 can each water, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 basil leaf, salt and pepper to taste, to the Dutch oven. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for another hour.

World War II (Chocolate) Cake

This cake recipe is my grandma’s from WWII. During that time, they were unable to get eggs and butter, so this recipe was a creative way to bake a cake without those ingredients. I personally think it tastes better than any cake that has eggs or butter in it anyway! I wanted to make this quickly, so I only did one layer, but this would be perfect for a 2-layer cake.

Start off by putting all of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, salt) directly into your ungreased cake pan. Mix until well combined.

World War II Cake

World War II Cake

Next, make three wells in the mixture. Pour the canola oil in one, the white vinegar in one, and the vanilla in the other. Pour water over the mixture and stir until well combined.

World War II Cake

Place in an oven at 350 degrees and bake 35-40 minutes. Let cool and top with the frosting of your choice. I used a confectioner’s sugar frosting for this one, but I personally thought it was too sweet for the cake. A cream cheese frosting would probably be perfect with this.

World War II Cake

World War II (Chocolate) Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 TBSP cocoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 TBSP white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sift flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt in an ungreased 8-inch cake pan. Mix until well combined.
  3. Make 3 wells in the mixture and put canola oil in one, vinegar in one, and vanilla in the other. Pour water over the entire mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool and top with the frosting of your choice.

World War II Cake

 

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

I love stuffed mushrooms. There are so many different types of stuffed mushrooms, but I really prefer this recipe because (1) I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand, and (2) the stuffing is light, fresh and isn’t too rich if you want to eat a handful of them. They are a perfect year-round appetizer and only take about 20 minutes to make. All you need are mushroom caps (any type of mushroom you prefer), fresh parsley, garlic, olives, red pepper flakes, and canola oil.

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Clean the mushrooms using a damp paper towel and pull out the stems, ensuring not to break the cap of the mushroom. From there, I like to make the work really easy and throw the parsley, olives, and garlic into a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped. In a small bowl, combine the mixture from the food processor and plain bread crumbs. Slowly add in canola oil until the mixture begins to stick together.

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuff each mushroom cap with the mixture and place onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes (cooking time may vary depending upon the size of the mushrooms).

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • Mushroom caps, 1 package
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Olives, to taste
  • 1/2 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove stems. In a small food processor, combine parsley, olives, and garlic cloves. Pulse until well blended.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the mixture from the food processor, red pepper flakes, and breadcrumbs. Slowly add the canola oil until the mixture begins to stick together. Fill each mushroom cap with the breadcrumb stuffing.
  4. Place stuffed mushrooms on a greased baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Rick’s Chicken and Rice Casserole

This recipe was given to me by Jon’s mom because it was one of his favorites growing up. It’s a pretty rich meal, but it’s SO delicious (and easy to make)!

All you need for ingredients is one can each of cream of celery, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, and evaporated milk, long grain rice, butter, chicken, and a mixture of spices. We did a combination of chicken thighs and breasts, but you can do either-or (and you can definitely put in a lot more chicken than we did, since we’re just cooking for two).

Chicken & Rice Casserole

Assembly is as easy as it gets. Grease a 9×17 pan. Mix together the soups and milk directly in the pan and stir in the rice until it’s well blended. Place the chicken directly on top of the rice mixture. Generously season the chicken with the following spice mixture: paprika, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, salt & pepper. This mixture has the perfect amount of spice to it.

Chicken & Rice Casserole

Cut up small pieces of butter and place directly onto the chicken.

Chicken & Rice Casserole

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Chicken & Rice Casserole

Rick’s Chicken and Rice Casserole (recipe courtesy of Stacey Holaday)

Ingredients

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • Paprika
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a 9x17in pan and mix the soup and milk together. Add the rice and mix until well blended.
  3. Place the chicken directly on top of the rice mixture. Generously season the chicken with the following mixture: paprika, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Baked stuffed lobster has got to be one of my favorite seafood dishes. My mom would always make this for special occasions and it was a great way to introduce out-of-town guests to some delicious New England food.

This dish is both impressive and easy to make. Only a handful of ingredients are needed: lobster, margarine, ritz crackers, and white wine. When shopping for this meal, we normally look for lobsters that are around 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 pounds each.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

The first step is prepping the lobsters. Lay the lobster on its back and take a dish towel to hold down the big claws with one hand. With the other hand, take a large, sharp knife and cut into the top of the lobster. Continue cutting into the lobster through the center and down the tail. Clean out the inside completely, making sure to remove the vein that runs through the center of the shell.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Cut off the large claws and place them into boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Clean the meat out of the claw shells and set aside.Baked Stuffed Lobster

While the claws are boiling, place  1 1/2 sleeves of ritz crackers into a food processor and blend until finely crushed. Melt 1 stick of margarine. Assemble the stuffing by combining the ritz crackers, margarine, claw meat, and about 2 tablespoons of white wine. The stuffing should be a wet consistency; add more margarine if necessary.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Evenly distribute the stuffing into the lobsters, making sure to place the stuffing all the way down to the tail.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Bake the lobsters at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with melted butter.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Ingredients

  • 2 lobsters (approximately 1.5 pounds each)
  • 1.5 sleeves ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 stick margarine, melted
  • 2 TBSP white wine

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the lobsters and clean out the insides, making sure to remove the vein. Cut off the claws and place in boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Remove the meat from the claws.
  3. While the claws are cooking, place 1 1/2 sleeves of ritz crackers into a food processor and pulse until finely crushed. Combine the ritz crackers, melted margarine, claw meat, and white wine. Add more margarine, if necessary, to create a wet consistency.
  4. Evenly distribute the stuffing into the lobsters. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with melted butter.

Garlic & Herb Salad Dressing

Most of the ingredients for this salad dressing will already be in your pantry and it only takes about 5 minutes to make. Mix up a batch and save for salads or even use as a marinade.

Garlic & Herb Salad Dressing garlicandgrits.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder (substitute 2 garlic cloves if making a marinade)
  • 1 tsp. sugar or honey
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Mix ingredients together and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Garlic & Herb Salad Dressing garlicandgrits.com

Garlic and Herb Salad Dressing

 

Easy Bruschetta

Bruschetta is best in the summer when you can use fresh tomatoes and basil. But on a night like tonight, where it is a chilling 12 degrees outside, it’s nice to make something that tastes like summer. This is always a big hit as an appetizer because it is quick an easy to make and so fresh and tasty.

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com

I prefer to use a French loaf because the slices are small and perfect for an appetizer, but really any type of bread can be used. The same goes for tomatoes. I love the size and sweetness of the cherry tomatoes. You also want to make sure to use a good olive oil because the flavor will be front and center on this dish!

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com

Slice the loaf of bread (one loaf should get you about 15 pieces) and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes. The bread should be crispy with a light golden brown color. While the bread is toasting, quarter the tomatoes, chop the basil, and peel 1-2 cloves of garlic.

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com

Once the bread is finished toasting, the bruschetta is ready to be assembled. Take a garlic clove and rub it onto each slice of toasted bread. Next, press the tomato slices into each slice. Top with a little bit of salt, a generous amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with basil. Enjoy quickly – they won’t last long!

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com

Easy Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of French bread
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Cherry tomatoes (approximately 25)
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil

Directions

  1. Slice the bread into about 15 pieces and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 5 minutes. While the bread is toasting, quarter the tomatoes, chop the basil, and peel the garlic cloves.
  2. Rub each slice of bread with a garlic clove. Press the cherry tomatoes into the bread, sprinkle with salt, generously top with olive oil and basil.

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com