Pizza Muffins

Recently I was thinking of making another batch of my taco cups.  Gosh we loved those, and what’s not to love about using a muffin tin to batch out something that everyone is going to love, in bite sized form.  That’s when it dawned on me as I was looking at a batch of pizza dough that I could probably get away with molding that dough into the muffin tins and make pizza muffins! Low and behold these things were dynamite, and they were such a huge hit that one of my kids (they all devoured them) said I could make those any time for him. I knew that was a sure sign.

Pizza Muffins Recipe
Pizza Muffins Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough, room temperature
  • cooking spray
  • your favorite pizza sauce
  • sliced pepperoni, diced
  • mozzarella cheese
  • shredded colby jack cheese, optional
  • Other favorite pizza ingredients, optional

My kids all agree (for the most part) on cheese and pepperoni pizza, hence this style of pizza muffin, however feel free to use your favorite pizza ingredients.

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Next, spray your muffin tin with cooking spray.

Take a generous ball of dough, enough dough to mold into each muffin tin, and then to each ball, form into the muffin tin. Repeat with each ball of dough.

I kind of went deep dish style on this one where I placed the meat on the bottom layer, but you create your own style.

Place diced pepperoni onto the bottom of each formed dough ball. Top with mozzarella, then some shredded colby jack cheese, then cover with pizza sauce.

 

Pizza Muffin Ingredients
Pizza Muffin Ingredients

Place into your preheated oven, and cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Once cooked, remove them from the oven, and using a butter knife, wedge each one out onto a serving plate. Shower with fresh parmesan cheese if desired.

Now dig in. These reminded me of hand sized deep dish pizzas, but in muffin form. And if you want to talk about something delicious, and additive, these are the ones to go for. Hope you enjoy!

Simple Burger Sauce

Grilling season is coming to an end for many in the state of Wisconsin. I think this is officially the last day of summer, and as much as that pleases me (I love fall in Wisconsin), it disappoints me as well. I mean winter is coming, and that can get pretty long here in our state. With that said, my grill continues to heat up all year round, but for those that tuck them away until spring time, I figured I would give you my simple burger sauce recipe. Think of it as the ‘Big Mac’ sauce in a way, and one that really brings a great grilled burger together.

Yes, I ate that, well most of it.

Special Burger Sauce Recipe
Special Burger Sauce Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp French dressing
  • 2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tbsp minced white onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp white vinegar

That’s it. Pretty much things most folks might have in their refrigerator. As I love a burger with just mayonnaise and pickles, I figured I would step it up and mix these together to give a sweet, tangy, and creamy sauce. This one totally delivers.

Special Burger Sauce Recipe Ingredients
Special Burger Sauce Recipe Ingredients

Place all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and whisk until thoroughly combined.

When your burger is done grilling, slather it on the top, and bottom buns and enjoy. This one was stacked with a sauced bottom bun, lettuce, burger, pickles, onions, more sauce, another sliced bun, cheese, burger, bacon, tomato, more lettuce, sauce, and top bun. IT WAS A DOOZY.

If you are looking for a great sauce, not only for a burger, but along the lines of a great club sandwich, give this one a shot. It only gets better after a couple of days stored in the refrigerator as well.  Hope you enjoy!

Crawfish Etouffee

If there is one thing my oldest loves, it has got to be crawfish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but he’s my pickiest of eaters, 16 now, and when he tore into eating crawfish years ago I was flabbergasted. So on his most recent birthday I decided we would do a crawfish boil. I ordered 10 pounds of live crawfish from the Louisiana Crawfish Company figuring the ‘party’ would devour the boil. As much as my kids and I ate, the others simply ate a small handful, meaning I would plenty leftover. My kids and I probably spent a good 45 minutes, post party, peeling (and sucking the head juices) the tails to be used for a later dish. That dish being crawfish etouffe.

Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

If you have never heard, nor tried crawfish etoufee, it is a standard dish found in the creole or cajun area of our nation. It’s almost a staple. Etouffee is translated to ‘smother’ in French terms, and I make mine with a darker roux only to deepen the flavor and making this a super comforting recipe.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing

Sounds like a bunch of stuff, but it’s really pretty basic, and trust me it’s full of comfort.

Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.

Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.

Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.

Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe
Ingredients for making Crawfish Etoufee Recipe

Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.

Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.

Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.

So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

As much as my kids loved tearing through boiled crawfish, I cannot say they were much fans of this particular dish. Most likely due to the stew like texture. My wife and I on the other hand? Well, we imagined ourselves being back in New Orleans, walking the streets all day, and ending up in a great restaurant eating one of their famous dishes; crawfish etouffee.  I hope you enjoy!

Crawfish Etouffee
Author: 
Cuisine: Cajun or Creole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 cups of celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1½ cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp creole spice mix
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to your taste
  • 2 lbs crawfish tails (if frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • Cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • Flat leaf parsley, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Start by getting a large pot onto the stove on medium heat. Add in your butter, and melt it down. Once you begin seeing the butter foam, tilt the pot, and use a spoon to skim off just the top of the foam. Discard the foam. Return the pot back to the heat, and toss in the flour.
  2. Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way. The flour will become blonde, then begin to darken a bit. Just be careful not to burn the flour.
  3. Add in your onion, celery, bay leaf, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes, and cook for about 10-15 minutes in the roux, stirring along the way. Cook until the onions become translucent.
  4. Once the onions turn translucent, add in the black pepper, salt, and cajun seasoning. Give a good stir, then add in your chicken stock. Stir well, and continue cooking on medium heat until the sauce thickens. I love this part and always have.
  5. Once the sauce thickens, add in the crawfish tails. Stir again, and once the crawfish are warmed through, roughly 5 minutes or so, you are then ready to plate and serve.
  6. Some like to serve rice on top, but my preference is to let the crawfish etouffee shine and serve on top of cooked rice.
  7. So get a serving bowl ready, add in some cooked jasmine rice, and ladle on a nice pile of crawfish etouffee. Garnish with chopped parsley and dig in!

 

Beer Braised Taquitos

The taquito. What’s not to love? It’s one of those menu items that often gets overlooked due to all of the other delicious items on a Mexican restaurant’s menu, but take a pause, slow down, and look at that name. The taquito. Some know the taquito as a flauto. Fine. But at the end of the day, the taquito is essentially a corn tortilla stuffed with meat and cheese, and typically deep fried. It’s crisp. It’s perfect, and I’m pretty sure I do not know anyone that would not pick one of these up and devour it. This is how my taquito started. A mistake if you will, but a great mistake at that.

Beer Braised Beef Taquito Recipe
Beer Braised Beef Taquito Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs beef chuck roast, exterior fat trimmed and removed
  • 12 oz can of your favorite beer (I used Oskar Blues Priscilla)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 package of fresh corn tortillas
  • 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • cooking spray
  • Guacamole, optional
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Your favorite hot sauce or salsa, optional

This is a slow cooker recipe, however if you decide to braise, by all means get in and go for it.

I initially started this slow cooked beef as my wife wanted kebobs on the grill one weekend. Well, time got away from me, and as I was not up for kebabs on the grill (laziness), I made something else, but decided I would add keep the beef cooking and use it the following day. Did I mention I love the slow cooker?

Start by cubing your beef. It does not matter how large or small. This stuff is going to cook for more than eight hours, if not longer. Did I mention I love the slow cooker?

Add the beef, along with the salt, pepper, and beer to the slow cooker. Set to low. Forget about it for about 6-14 hours, then return to it.

Slow Cooked Beer Braised Beef Taquitos Recipe
Slow Cooked Beer Braised Beef Taquitos Recipe

With a slotted spoon, or spider, strain the beef, reserving about 1 cup of the liquid mixture, add in the garlic powder, and shred the beef with a couple of forks. It should be falling apart tender.

Add in the reserved liquid, stir, and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take your package of corn tortillas, add them to a plate, and microwave them for about 1 minute.

Remove and cover with a clean towel, or place into your tortilla warmer.

Take a tortilla, add some shredded beef, a bit of cheese, and roll into a log. Place onto a baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with all tortillas, beef, and cheese.

Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and place into the preheated oven, and cook until golden brown, roughly 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to overcook.

Remove, and serve with your favorite side items.

The end result is not only an awesome taquito, but when taking a bite has you thinking ‘what the heck is that flavor in that beef?!’. Yep, that’s the beer, and the salt and garlic. It’s pretty slick to say the least.

So if you are looking for a great snack, lunch, or dinner, heck even breakfast, these taquitos are your go to. Hope you enjoy!