Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Relaxing Evening at Almost Heaven South - Smoked Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing

Larry from Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings invited A.J. and me and Chris from Nibble Me This and his wife, Alexis for a relaxing evening on his boat docket which he affectionately calls, "Almost Heaven South".  

Larry's boat dock has been the scene for three East Tennessee Blogger Get Togethers.  A.J. and I always look forward to spending time with Larry and Bev and Chris and Alexis.  

We were all down for fun at Larry's little cove on beautiful Lake Tellico!

We never run out of things to talk or laugh about.

Chris suggested we keep the food fare simple so we could spend more time socializing.  None of us put up an argument, especially if Chris was cooking the brats!

A.J. obviously smelled the brats on the grill.  

Keeping the menu simple left more time for socializing and isn't that what it's all about?

Chris' brats and spicy dogs.

Chris also brought some Bush's Grillin' Beans.  Who could turn these down?

My Grilled Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing.  Recipe below.

Before you knew it, it was after 11:00 PM.  I can't wait to get together with my blogging buddies again soon!

Thanks Larry, Bev Chris and Alexis for a fabulous Evening!

Smoked Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing:
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled, par boiled in 2 tablespoons Zatarain's Pro Boil or salted water, drained an chunked
2 teaspoons dill
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons Canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons prepare horseradish
2 tablespoon brown whole grain mustard (I prefer Zatarain's Creole mustard)
2 teaspoons honey 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat grill to high heat

Toss the potatoes in the Canola oil and then add the 2 teaspoons of dill and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.  Place the potatoes in a mesh grill basket and grill until they begin to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the mayo, apple cider vinegar, horseradish, mustard, honey, salt and pepper to thoroughly combine.  then slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil.

Drizzle a tablespoon or two of the dressing in the bottom of a shallow serving bowl.  Place the grilled potatoes in the bowl.  Sprinkle a little smoked paprika over the potatoes and then drizzle the remaining dressing over the potatoes and serve warm.

Pin It

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Girards Flavor Innovators

I was one of several food bloggers invited to be a member of Girards Flavor Innovators panel.  We began our quest in June "hanging out" on Goggle+ to brainstorm with Girards' team to develop new flavors for their salad dressing line up.


Based off our first hangout in June, Girards sent each of us eight salad dressings to sample, take notes on various aspects of each dressing such as taste, texture and our overall impression.

We got together last week to provide feedback to Girards and narrowed down the eight salad dressing to our top four favorites. I found it particularly amazing how much in sync we were overall on the dressing we absolutely loved and the dressings we thought need a little something more.


PhotoAs individuals, we picked apart the salad dressings in unique areas but we all seemed to agree on the basics. We even played around with the names the dressings were originally given.  The original names are in bold and the variations are listed below.

Artichoke Sundried Tomato Dressing 
·          Sundried Tomato Artichoke
·          Sundried Roma Tomato
·          Sundried Roma Tomato with Artichokes

Mediterranean Hummus Vinaigrette 
·          Roasted Garlic Hummus Vinaigrette
·          Hummus Vinaigrette
·          Original Hummus Vinaigrette
·          Classic Hummus Vinaigrette

Garlic Honey Pepper Dressing  
·          Garlic Honey Pepper
·          Sweet Garlic & Pepper
·          Sweet Garlic Peppercorn

Espresso Balsamic Vinaigrette
·          Coffee-Kissed Balsamic
·          Balsamic Americano
·          Barista Balsamic
·          Espresso Balsamic
·          Café Balsamic Vinaigrette
·          Java Balsamic
·          Balsamic Vinaigrette (“With A Hint of Coffee “- printed smaller underneath the flavor name)


Many of you have been involved with Girards and know their salad dressings are the best not to mention how wonderful and easy they are to work with. The Girards Flavor Innovators experience was a lot of fun plus learning about the R & D and the effort Girards expends in making sure they are putting a quality product out for consumers completely "WOW-ed" me.

Girards wants to know what you think of these flavors and the potential names.

I can't wait to read your feedback!

Disclaimer:  I have a business relationship with Girards and this is a sponsored post.

Pin It

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I Heart Grilled, Cheesy Chicken!

Did you know you CAN have it all?  Oh, yes you can, boys and girls.  You can enjoy the unparalleled flavor of marinated chicken that has been grilled and then paired with a crunchy, flavorful topping containing a mixture of choice cheeses. This is an adaptation of a recipe I found at I decided to go with grilling in lieu of baking and changed up the cheese combination to give this dish a more "WOW" factor.

You can easily get the chicken marinating the night before or first thing in the morning.

Place 2 lbs. of chicken tenders or 6 chicken breast cutlets in a re-sealable plastic bag

In a small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup, whisk together:

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon juiced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon White Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Ranch Salad Dressing

Pour the marinade over the chicken, seal the bag an refrigerate at least 4 hours.  The chicken can marinate over night.

Pre-heat your grill to medium-high and spray the grates with non-stick cooking spray.    Whether you are using chicken tenders or chicken breast cutlets, they will cook quickly.

While the grill is heating up, you can quickly get the rest of the ingredients together.

Combine 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese and 1/3 cup Ranch salad dressing and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of Panko crumbs, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 1-1/2 teaspoons Morton's Nature's Seasonings. Once thoroughly combined, moisten with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and set aside.

Grate 1 cup of Fontina cheese or 1 cup of your favorite melty cheese.

Scout has an eye out while the grill is heating up.

Kaitlin is on deck...literally making sure the chicken doesn't flame up.

Sear the chicken 4 to 5 minutes per side and move to indirect heat and continue grilling another 4 to 6 minutes.  

Remove chicken and place on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Now on to the assembly!  Seriously, are you ready for this?  I don't think you are...

Ladle the Asiago cheese/Ranch dressing over each chicken tender.

Sprinkle the Fontina cheese on next.

Top it off with the bread crumb mixture.

Place your masterpieces under the broiler for a couple of minutes until golden brown.  Now sit down with a knife and fork and spoil yourself silly!

Pin It

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meatball Casserole

When I do find the time to make Spaghetti and Meatballs, it pains me to see any of it go to waste.  Even with the influx of lots of teenagers practically eating us out of house and home this summer, I had way too many meatballs leftover from this weekend to allow to go to waste.  Let me ask you this, doesn't hungry and teenager go hand in hand?  

After a Monday that was REALLY a "Monday", I threw this together.  This was the ticket and the best part, well actually there were two best three best parts...I had no leftovers, we all loved it, I had everything and didn't have to make a trip to the grocery store!

If you don't have leftover meatballs, buy a bag of the frozen meatballs and use a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce.  Also, if you don't have the Johnny's Garlic Spread Seasoning, instead make a blend of 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon dried basil.

2 cans crescent roll dough
1 block (8 oz.) of light cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. leftover meatballs (depending on size, cut in half or quartered)
3 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick coking spray.  Unroll the crescent roll dough and press into baking dish, covering bottom of dish and pressing it half way up the sides of the dish.

Place the cream cheese in a small bowl and mash it with a fork.  Add in the Johnny's and thoroughly blend it in the cream cheese.  Spread the cream cheese in a thin layer over the crescent roll dough.  I found it easier to spread it out with my fingers than using a spatula.

Combine the meatballs and spaghetti sauce in a large bowl and the carefully pour or spoon it over the cream cheese and dough.

Sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella cheese over the top and pop that baby in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.

Yum, melted Mozzarella cheese wrestling! Is that a sport?

If I don't get my fair share there will be some serious yelling going on!

I am so glad pictures of melty, stringy Mozzarella cheese are against the law (yet).

Pin It

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grilled Pork Chops Rule!

I have become a real grilling dork queen around here.  Something about meat, especially pork lovingly grilled outside on an open fire just gets my creative juices flowing.

By the way, have you visited the  Grill Mates Grillerhood lately?  You should, not only can you find out about the latest McCormick Gill Mates Products, but you can also download so much very cool free stuff!

Now, let's check out how easy it is to grill some great flavor some thick, boneless pork chops.  Once again, I enlisted the help of another McCormick Grill Mates product, Spiced Brandy & Herb Marinade.

Check out how easy this is!

1 package McCormick Grill Mates Spiced Brandy & Herb Marinade
1/4 cup Canola Oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
4 boneless center cut pork chops
1 tablespoon finely chopped Rosemary

Mix the marinade per the package directions. Place the pork chops in a self-sealing plastic bag, pour the marinade over the chops, making sure to coat them thoroughly.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

After one hour remove the chops to a platter and dispose of the marinade.  Sprinkle and press in the Rosemary on both sides of the chops and allow them to come up to room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the grill to medium-high heat and lightly grease the grates with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.

Sear the chops for 5 to 7 minutes per side over direct heat.

Move the chops and allow the to finish cooking over indirect each for another 10 to 12 minutes per side.

Look at those juicy pork chops!

Grill Mayor of 2012 Contest!!

I know all of you would like to win the title of Grill Mayor of 2012!  Well, here's your chance.    Food Network is hosting a contest and you, yes you could be named Grill Mayor PLUS win all of this fantastic swag:
  Grand Prize: 2 trips to New York City for winner and a guest.
   2 nights first-class hotel accommodations.
   $100 Food Network gift card.
   Food Network Grilling Cookbook.
   Omaha Steaks grilling kit.
   Assortment of Grill Mates products.
   Dinner for Grand Prize Winner and one guest at a Food Network’s chef restaurant in New York City.
Two VIP access passes to a premiere New York City BBQ Festival.
Tour of the Food Network kitchens in New York City.

All you have to do is click on the Food Network contest entry page and share your best grilling tip or a piece of advice. Entries must be 100 words or less and include a picture of your tip in action. See the contest rules for official stuff but the contest runs through July 31, 2012.  Hope you win!

Disclosure - I have been compensated by McCormick in all relevant communication mediums, including without limitations on Facebook, Twitter, any blog posts.

Pin It