Category Archives: Spicy

Quick Tomato Sauce

I have a basil plant this summer and it is still alive.  I tell you this because, until this summer, the only living thing I have managed to keep alive for any length of time has been children. Well, this pasta sauce has given me great incentive to keep my little basil plant alive. It was so good and so easy, I could eat it once a week. And, as a big bonus, both of my kiddos liked it too. The great thing about this sauce is that, with the exception of the basil, all of the ingredients are things I always keep in my pantry. The whole meal came together in about 30 minutes. That was 30 minutes with my precious children running around like maniacs.  I’d say that ain’t too shabby for a weeknight dinner. This one is going in the keeper file. I hope it goes in yours too.

Quick Tomato Sauce

Cook’s Country 2/2005

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon sugar

1. Cook the oil and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the crushed and diced tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the basil and sugar. Season with salt to taste. When tossing the sauce with pasta, add some of the pasta cooking water as needed to loosen the consistency of the sauce.


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Filed under Sauce, Spicy

Fried Pickles

Yes, you read that right. If you are reading this and you aren’t from the South, you are probably thinking, “Ewwww, why would someone fry a pickle????” Well, we here in the South fry all manor of things, but fried pickles are the BEST. We even have a restaurant near here called the Fickle Pickle that is famous for their fried pickles. These are pretty much as good as those. The sauce recipe comes from another restaurant called Smokejack that also has awesome fried pickles with a spicy sauce. I have made that recipe before, but it is a bit more involved than these and I think these are just as good. So, if you are having friends over and are feeling adventurous, make these pickles. They will LOVE you for it.

Fried Dill Pickles

from Food Network

  • 1 pint sliced dill pickles, undrained
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ c. yellow cornmeal (this is my addition and I love it!)
  • Vegetable oil
  1. Drain pickles, reserving 2/3-cup pickle juice. Press pickles between paper towels. Combine 2/3 cup pickle juice, egg, 1 tablespoon flour, and hot sauce. Stir well and set aside.

2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour with ground red pepper, garlic powder, salt, and paprika.       Blend   well.

3. Dip pickles in egg mixture, then dredge in flour mixture. Fry coated pickles in 375-degree oil until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Hot Pink Dipping Sauce

Recipe from Smokejack Restaurant

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce (We used WAY more than 1/2 TBS)

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and the Sriracha and mix well.

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Filed under Appetizer, Sauce, Spicy

Awesome Chicken Satay

Last night, Ren and I had one of the most awesome dinners we have had in a long time. I absolutely adore Chicken Satay and I could probably drink the peanut sauce that it is served with. I have had this countless times at different Thai restaurants, but for some reason, never made it at home. But, I can assure you, this won’t be the last time we make this. It was outstanding and pretty easy to do. I served this with a wonderful Asian slaw that Ren devoured. I mean, he seriously devoured it. So, if you want a yummy meal to serve your family over Spring Break, try this one. You will be happy you did.

Chicken Satay

From Everyday Food

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each), thinly sliced lengthwise into 12 strips

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

  1. In a bowl, toss chicken with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and teaspoon red-pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Thread each chicken strip lengthwise onto a skewer.
  2. Grill chicken on a grill pan or grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve with spicy peanut dipping sauce.

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

½  C. smooth peanut butter

¼ C. hot water, plus more if needed

2 TBS soy sauce

2 TBS lime juice (I should tell you to use fresh, but I didn’t)

2 TBS Asian chili sauce (Sriracha sauce)

1 TBS dark sesame oil (I probably used more than this since the original recipe didn’t even call for it, but I LOVE IT)

1 TBS dark brown sugar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1. Whisk the peanut butter and hot water together in a medium bowl.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients.

**The original recipe only called for ¼ cup of hot water, but I like  my sauce a little more thinned out, so I added a little bit more.

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Black Bean Salad

I am a crappy blogger. I just can’t get my stuff together enough to post very often. Oh well. That just makes it all the more special when I do. 🙂 I made this salad this past weekend to go with grilled chicken. My dear friend Amy LOVES black beans and avocados, so I made this for her. It is the perfect warm weather salad and we eat it all summer long. It is also super yummy with tortilla chips. I had to keep the boys from eating it all with chips before we ate so we would have some to go with our lunch. I really wanted to make homemade tortilla chips to go with it but my crew shot me down with “Get off the crazy train woman”. Maybe next time.

Black Bean Salad

Adapted from

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 cup of corn, frozen or canned
3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1 small purple onion, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I used 2)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Whisk together lime juice and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add corn, black beans, and remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Cover and chill 2 hours.

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Filed under Beans, Salad, Side Dish, Spicy

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I adore pulled pork sandwiches. I am, after all, a good Southern girl. We Southerners take our barbecue very seriously. In fact, I can name at least 5 barbecue joints within a 5 mile radius of my house. My favorite thing to get is a pulled pork sandwich and put coleslaw on top of it. Now, to the uninitiated this probably sounds revolting, but trust me, it rocks. You must try it at least once. Even my cabbage-hating hubby loves his sandwiches this way. The other thing that makes this sandwich kick butt is the Coke BBQ sauce. I am from ATLANTA, home of Coca-Cola, so I only use Coca-Cola. Coke. The Real Thing. Please, for the love of all things good and holy, do not use Pepsi. If you must, do not tell me about it.

Slow Cooker BBQ Pork

Adapted from Southern Living magazine

1 (3-4 lb) boneless pork picnic roast

1 can of Coca-Cola (do NOT use diet!)

1 bottle of cheap barbecue sauce (do not spend money on the good stuff, save that for the sandwich)

  1. Place pork in 6 qt. slow cooker; pour barbecue sauce and Coke over roast. Cook on high 6 to 7 hours or until meat is tender and shreds easily.
  2. Remove pork from cooker and shred with 2 forks. After shredding you can add a little of the juices from the slow cooker to keep the meat super moist, but this isn’t imperative.
  3. Serve on buns with good barbecue sauce and coleslaw.

Coke BBQ sauce

From Steven Raichlen

1 C. Coca-Cola  (Do not use diet)

1 C. Ketchup

¼ C. Worcestershire sauce (I always use Lea and Perrins)

¼ C. A-1 steak sauce (I used Bold and Spicy A-1)

½ tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. black pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.   Reduce heat to gentle simmer and simmer until reduced by ¼, about 6 to 8 mins.

Creamy Spiced Coleslaw

Adapted from

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons hot sauce, if desired

1 (16 ounce) package shredded

coleslaw mix (If you use an angel hair type of slaw, grate up some carrot into the mix)

1. In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, sugar, salt, pepper, celery seed, garlic powder, onion powder and cider vinegar. Toss coleslaw mix with dressing to coat. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

***I usually halve the amount of dressing because I don’t like my coleslaw too creamy or soupy.


Filed under Pork, Sandwiches, Sauce, Spicy

Tamale Pie

This is the first time I have ever made Tamale Pie. I have had this recipe for 5 years and just never could get it together and make it. Every time I try a new recipe I have this moment of total panic as I am about to serve it. I always worried it is going to suck and then I have wasted my time, energy and ingredients making a crappy dish. Well, my worries over this one were for naught. It was really good. I wouldn’t say it was my all time favorite recipe ever, but it is definitely something I will make again. The only thing is, it was a bit of trouble to make on a weeknight. But, it was tasty. The topping doesn’t taste like cornbread. It is more like an authentic tamale flavor. I know, I know, it isn’t a real tamale, but the topping has the same flavor. I think Ren really loved it because he is from Arizona and adores tamales.  This would also be very good with some shredded chicken instead of beef. Oh yeah, one other thing, if you are a salt-a-holic like me, this will need some serious salting. If you are normal, just ignore this suggestion.

Tamale Pie

from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound 90% lean ground beef

1 onion , minced

1 jalapeno chile , stemmed, seeded, and minced (I used 2)


2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried (I left this out)

2 cloves garlic , minced

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans , rinsed

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

Ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup coarse cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (I used more than this. I love cheese.)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up large clumps, until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.

2. Stir in the onion, jalapeño, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beans, the tomatoes and their juices, and corn and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.

3. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and then slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking vigorously to prevent clumping. Turn the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the cornmeal thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

4. Stir the cheese into the beef mixture, then scrape into a deep-dish pie plate (or other 3-quart baking dish). Spread the cornmeal mixture over the top and seal against the edge of the dish. Cover with foil and bake until the crust has set and the pie is heated through, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Beans, Beef, Casserole, Cheese, Spicy

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

I know. I know. You are wondering what my obsession with all things Buffalo is. I think I would try any recipe that had Buffalo in the title. Anyway, I made these the other night for about the 5th time in just a couple of months. These are perfect for those nights that you have some leftover chicken and don’t know what to do with it. I clipped recipe out of the AJC many years ago with the intention of making it and I never did. When I finally got around to making it for the first time, Ren and I ate the whole quesadilla standing up. We didn’t even have the decency to sit down. They are that tasty and that easy.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution

1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast

Enough Frank’s hot sauce to really coat the chicken

4 tortillas (We used 6)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Crumbled blue cheese

1. In a bowl, combine chicken and hot sauce.

2. Butter the tortillas. Turn on griddle or skillet to medium heat.

3. Sprinkle tortilla with cheddar and blue cheeses, then top with chicken. Then, sprinkle with a little bit of extra cheddar to help top tortilla stick. Top with second tortilla and cook until golden brown. Carefully flip and cook until underside is golden and cheese has melted. Yum.

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Spicy