Category Archives: Game Day

Habanero Cheddar Brat Pizza

If you have never been to Wisconsin, you should. I know that sounds selfish and everything, but Wisconsin is so awesome for about 5 months out of the year. I say that from an outsiders viewpoint, but being from Wisconsin, it is fairly OK, the remaining 7 months if you can survive the cold and often times harsh winter months. But during the summer months, grilling brats are a big deal. I’ve known people to say ‘I ate so many brats this past weekend that I can’t even think of eating another brat’. Brats as we know them, or bratwurst are a big deal when it comes to grilling in the summer months, and it is almost as stereotypical as it is the cheese curd or beer association for this state, and we are all OK with that. With that said, I’ll admit, I love the bratwurst. A few establishments around the city are twisting up versions of brats whether that be Philly cheesesteak brats, or chicken and feta brats. There is one brat that I totally love, and that is the habanero and cheddar brat. When grilled, it has the perfect heat, and with that said, I decided to slice a couple of them up and top them on a pizza. It was freaking killer.

Habanero and Cheddar Brat Pizza

Now if you cannot find a habanero cheddar brat, try and find a jalapeño and cheddar brat as they are equally as good, but the habanero packs in a bit more heat, with I love.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 habanero cheddar brat, grilled and sliced into 1 inch rounds
  • Your favorite pizza dough, about 14 inches in shape
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce

I’ve been playing around with pizza dough for some time now. It feels like years, trust me, it does. I think I’ve found my go to pizza dough now as I have been using my Kettle Pizza, and my pizzas are turning out fairly well. They still need work, but I’m coming close to a great dough. Regardless, use or make your favorite pizza dough.

If you do not have a Kettle Pizza, preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone inside.

Toss and shape your pizza dough, then add the pizza sauce, just a thin amount. If you want more sauce, go for it. Top with the cheeses, and the sliced brats. Shower the top with the sliced onions.

Add the pizza to the preheated stone. I used a pizza wheel for this, lightly coated with semolina or fine cornmeal so it slides right onto the stone.

How to make a Habanero Cheddar Brat Pizza

Cook in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust is nice and cooked, and the cheese is nicely melted. If you are using a Kettle Pizza, well that is done in about 5 minutes (hence why I love that thing).

Slice and serve.

The result is everything you love in a pizza. Heck, I could even just go with the cheese and onion pizza, but the addition of the habanero cheddar brat just set this thing over the top. You think it might be a regular Italian sausage until you get that great heat from the habanero. It’s not too hot in heat, it’s just perfect and makes this pizza possibly one of my favorites.

 

If you are looking for something different to put on your pizza, give this one a shot. It’s a winner in my book. Hope you enjoy, and hope you give the brats a try, especially when visiting Wisconsin!

Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

Do you ever get that craving for something but don’t have the urge to make them, or heck even purchase any store bought brands? I recently had that craving, and it was for jalapeño poppers. I have never found a frozen, store bought jalapeño popper that I even came close to liking, and that is why I have made my own in the past.  But I will admit, they take a bit of time to make and that’s when I decided to take a different approach and come up with a new idea around the whole thought of jalapeño poppers.  I decided to take all that I loved in that appetizer, and turn it into an egg roll style. Man were these ever awesome.

Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed
  • Egg Roll wrappers
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cups Canola oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Take each jalapeno pepper, and slice it in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and ribs, and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining jalapeno peppers.

Drizzle a bit of canola oil over the peppers, and season with a bit of salt. Place in the oven, and roast the peppers for about 10 minutes. You will want a bit of texture to the peppers.

Remove from the oven, and let them cool. During this time, heat a pot on the stove over medium heat. Add in the remaining canola oil and bring it to 350 degrees.

How to make Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

Fill each jalapeno with a generous amount of cream cheese.

Take an egg roll wrapper, and lay on a plate with the points facing you, and away from you as pictured above. Add the stuffed jalapeno to the center, then fold over the bottom, gently pulling in towards you to tighten the fold.

Roll about a 1/2 inch, then fold over each side. Brush the exposed, top part of the egg roll wrapper with the beaten egg, and continue to fold to seal the egg roll. Repeat.

Once your oil is heated and the egg rolls are rolled, carefully drop about 3-4 into the pot, or as many that can comfortably fit, and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove with some tongs and place onto a paper lined sheet to let any excess oil drain.  Repeat.

When you are ready to serve, just dig in and take a bite. It’s everything you love about a jalapeno popper, but in my opinion a heck of a lot better. I think the egg roll wrapper is actually a much better vehicle instead of the cornmeal exterior.

If you are looking for a great appetizer, or some great game day grub, give these shot. Hope you enjoy!

Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Our vegetable garden is really starting to take off and as I have mentioned in the past, we are picking bowls of a variety of tomatoes on a daily basis, along with fresh herbs, and recently we harvested our broccoli. My wife and I did not plant broccoli last year, but a few years ago we did, and to this day we admit that was probably the best broccoli we had ever tasted. That was no joke. So when I saw the heads of broccoli, I got pretty darn excited, I’ll admit that. As I wanted to simply lightly steam the heads of broccoli, I decided to go a different route and bust out a classic Chinese beef and broccoli, only because my sister-n-law had mentioned it and it was stuck in my head.

Chinese Beef and Broccoli Recipe

This recipe is super easy to make, and granted it uses a couple of ingredients that you may, or may not have (but probably should), and it is just packed with good old comfort.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb flank steak, 1/4 inch thick slides
  • 1 head of broccoli, trimmed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups iced water
  • Cooked rice
  • 4 tbsp canola oil

For the Beef Marinade:

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp sherry cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Start by adding your sliced beef to a bowl. Mix the marinade and pour over the beef, and give it a good toss. Marinade for at least one hour in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to make the Chinese beef and broccoli, remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Bring the water to a simmer, and toss in the broccoli florets. Cook for about 3 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon into a bowl of iced water.  Once cooled, drain the broccoli and set to the side.

Next heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil, then toss in the beef, stirring along the way. Cook for about 5 minutes until the beef has some great color, then remove the beef onto a plate.

How to make Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Wipe out the skillet, and add the additional two tablespoons of oil, bringing to medium-high heat. Add the sauce, and give it a good stir. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the broccoli, and return the beef to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes until everything is warmed through and the sauce has slightly thickened.

Did I mention I love corn starch, especially when making a great sauce?

When you are ready to place, add cooked rice to the bottom of bowl, and ladle on the Chinese beef and broccoli, ensuring you get plenty of that great flavored sauce.

This was a real winner and it was a perfect use of that broccoli, and again, some of the best broccoli we have had this year. Hope you enjoy!

Crispy Oven Fried Chicken

One of my favorite meals of all time has to be fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn. Hands down. Typically this type of meal is only served in the cooler months of the year as it is my true comfort food, but lately I COULD NOT RESIST MAKING IT. I’ll admit, I broke down and could no longer tolerate my craving for this meal. However instead of frying it in a cast iron skillet, I decided to take a spin on it and go for an crispy oven fried chicken. The name itself doesn’t really make much sense as there is no frying involved, however, the result is everything you would expect in an awesome fried chicken, without cooking it in oil, and a lot less cleanup as well.

Crispy Oven Fried Chicken

This is pretty much a classic way of preparing fried chicken and it’s super easy and pretty much hands off, which is great during a busy work week.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole fryer chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 tbsp additional seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tbsp additional cracked black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Start by adding buttermilk to a large sealable bag, or large bowl. Add in 1/2 tablespoon of the cracked black pepper, along with 1 tablespoon of seasoned salt.  Stir. Add in the chicken pieces (breasts, wings, thighs, drummies), and make sure all is coated.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Next, add the flour, additional salt and pepper to a brown paper bag, or large sealble plastic bag. Shake well.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and place in the bag. Seal, and shake the crap out of it. Make sure all is coated.

Remove the chicken from the bag, shaking off any excess, and place on a rack, and let the flour mixture mellow a bit on the chicken.

How to make crispy oven fried chicken

During this time, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly spray the cooking spray on each piece of chicken, and place the rack onto a baking sheet.

Cook in the oven, for about 45-60 minutes, or until golden and crispy and the chicken registers 165 degrees.

Plate and serve with your favorite sides, and well, in this case you know what I served mine with.

If you are looking for a no fuss, non-oil, crispy style fried chicken, this is the one. It’s crispy, it’s juicy, and well, it’s just darn delicious. Hope you enjoy!