Easy peasy recipesie

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Today is National Oreo Cookie Day! Coincidentally, it is also National Dentist Day. Here's a quick and easy dessert that is delicious, nutritious, and will make your dentist happy.

(Only one of those is true.)

1 package Oreos
1 package large marshmallows
4 Tbsp butter

  • Put Oreos in a large ziploc bag and crush until there are no large pieces left.
  • Melt marshmallows and butter in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, until you can mix it together well.
  • Combine Oreos into the marshmallow mix and blend well.
  • Pour into a well greased 8x8 pan.
  • Let cool until set, then cut into bars.


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Perfect smoked brisket

You have no idea how many poor cows died in my quest to create a smoked brisket that was tender and flavorful. Brisket is so tough that it's easy to have it end up some chewy mess, which is why so many people put it in the crock pot or pressure cooker instead of smoking it like God intended. Here's the secret, given to me by none other than Chubby's BBQ in Emmitsburg, which is some of the best Q you will find outside of Lockhart, TX:


Take a whole brisket (10-12 lbs).
Marinate it for 12 hours.
Drain, dry rub, and let sit in the fridge for 12 hours.
Finally, smoke it for 12 hours.

The marinade and rub can be your favorite recipe - I have dozens of them but typically make it up on the fly - but the reason your smoked brisket doesn't turn out is because you're not smoking it long enough. 12 hours sounded like a really long time to me because previously I'd been smoking my brisket for 6 or 8 hours. No. That's wrong. A whole brisket needs to go for 12 hours, period. This results in a tender slab of beef with spectacular burnt ends ( which are the best part of the brisket, right Vince and Monello?).

A whole brisket is a lot of meat, but it's so good it gets gone fast. You can also freeze it, which will keep it good for recipes and such but you lose that crispy fat that is the second best part of the brisket. DO NOT TRIM THE FAT!!! Fat is what lubricates your meat and adds flavor. No fat = suckage brisket. You can trim it after smoking.

TIP: a cooler makes a great marinating vessel for a large piece of meat, including brining a turkey. And friends, if you have never brined your turkey before cooking you flat do not know what you're missing.

ANOTHER TIP: Make soft tacos with brisket, shredded cabbage, and Southwest Ranch dressing drizzled on top.

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Make today a "Try Day". Try something that you've never eaten before but are curious about. Quinoa, kale, beets, kiwi, Sonic chili cheese tots....

When my kids were young we used to have "Eat Like a Grownup Night" once a week. I'd make something more adventurous (for them) for dinner, and they had to eat at least some of it without complaining. If they were seriously repulsed, they could go make a sandwich after they'd had a few bites. We had some hits - smoked salmon alfredo, and grilled chicken spinach pizza were two favorites - and a few misses (they still talk about "Ham Voila").

The original idea behind this was to get them used to different foods so they wouldn't be embarrassing when served something new at a friend's home or out somewhere. Since it was just one night a week, it was tolerable and we could go back to spaghetti or fish sticks the rest of the week.

Now that *you're* a grownup, why not choose a night and eat like one? Pick up those zoodles you keep seeing at the grocery store. Roast some beets. Try the veal. You never know, you might find your new favorite food!

Rachael Ray's Clam Pasta

1 pound linguini or fettuccini
Extra-virgin olive oil, 4 turns of the pan
6 fillets flat anchovies, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine, 2 turns of pan
1 (15-ounce) can whole baby clams, with their juice
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt to taste

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the linguini and cook to an extra chewy al dente, 7 minutes or so. The linguini will continue to cook in sauce, later.
  • To a large skillet heated over medium heat, add oil, anchovies, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes.
  • Cook together until anchovies melt into oil and break up completely.
  • Add wine to the pan and give the pan a shake.
  • Add clams and their juice.
  • Drain pasta and add it to the clam sauce. Toss and coat the pasta in sauce with clams until the pasta absorbs the flavor and juices, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and season with salt, add parsley and serve.


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I once made a terrific meal for four using cocktail garnishes. My friend is rich and doesn't cook - she has someone do that for her. It happened to be the staff's day off (!) and we were sitting around getting hammered on wine and considering what we should do about food. She had a pack of chicken breasts in the freezer, a box of fettuccini in the pantry, and a few odds and ends. What she really had, though, was a full bar stocked with every kind of drink garnish you could possibly want. So I grilled the chicken and sliced it up; boiled the pasta and tossed it in butter with some garlic and herbs; then tossed it all together with marinated mushrooms, black olives, artichoke hearts, baby corn, and a squeeze of lemon. Amazing.

The point is that you probably do have something to eat in the house, even when you think there's nothing.

Got a pack of ramen? There's not a whole lot that butter and parmesan cheese won't dress up. Throw the salt bomb pack away, cook the ramen, toss it in butter, then hit it with parmesan and sprinkle it with oregano or parsley. Pretty!

A can of tuna? Spread slices of bread with a tiny bit of mayo, top with chunked tuna, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and run them under the broiler. OR you can boil up pasta (any type), toss it in butter or olive oil, then add the chunked tuna and a squeeze of lemon.

If you have eggs, you have a meal that you can serve to company because they go with anything. Leftover rice was born to mate with eggs as a fried rice dish, then add whatever veggies/meat you happen to have in the freezer or left over. A darn fine frittata can be made out of eggs and any leftovers - like my mother's "garbage eggs" with a nicer presentation.

Dig in the back of your pantry and find all those odds and ends that you've been collecting - the jars of strange sauces and condiments, the fancy spinach pasta you bought at the farmer's market a year ago, the dip mixes that you bought at the fair, and, yes, the jars of cocktail garnish that seemed like a good idea at the time. Chances are good that you can repurpose them into a meal that will astound your family.


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Here's a cool and delicious salad that is my go-to when I can't think of anything else to take to a party or am pressed for time: Watermelon Feta Salad. It's sweet and salty, refreshing and colorful, and has always been a big hit when I've made it. Out of all the food I've made for friends, this is the most frequently requested recipe.

1 seedless watermelon (10 to 12 cups of chunks)
1 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 3 limes
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped (FRESH mint! Do not use the dried stuff because it's not the same.)

  • Cut your melon into 1" chunks.
  • Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, toss the melon and mint together.
  • Drizzle the dressing mixture over the top, folding and tossing as you go to evenly distribute.
  • Toss in the feta crumbles right before serving.
The reason you don't want to add the feta and let it sit too long in the melon and dressing is because it starts to dissolve and get somewhat pukey looking, which is about as unappetizing as it gets. Fresh made it looks like springtime and dances over your tastebuds like a festival.


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I thought I ran out of good tips and recipes, and I hate to bombard with blather. Reading three pages from someone who has nothing to say and is just filling space is seriously annoying, so I try not to do that.

But yesterday I ate something at a seafood restaurant right outside of Dauphin Island, AL that I had to share with you. It's called West Indies Salad, and it's a lower Alabama classic. Light and refreshing for those hot summer months, looks fancy and super easy to make.

1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
1 lb fresh lump crab meat, claw preferred
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice water - cold as you can get it!
Salt and pepper to taste <---do add salt or the salad will be bland

  • In a medium bowl, spread half of the onions.
  • Top with crab meat.
  • Top with remaining onions.
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste on top of that.
  • Pour oil over the whole thing.
  • Then pour the vinegar over it.
  • Then pour the ice water. DO NOT STIR!
  • Let marinate overnight in the fridge, then toss before serving.
You can eat West Indies Salad LA style (that's Lower Alabama, ya'll), which is plop some in a bowl and eat it, or you can top a lettuce salad, or you can serve it with crackers as an appetizer. If you want to fiddle with it, you can add a few shakes of hot sauce. This salad recipe looks like it needs something, but trust me on this - it's delicious right as is.

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For Father's Day, throw some steaks on the grill and try this marinade! I originally found it affixed to a pack of Shiner Bock beer:

1 12 oz Shiner Bock (Sam Adams lager works well, too)
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp red onions, minced
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 shakes Tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp coarse brown mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil

Whisk together and use to marinate up to 4 large steaks (make them ribeyes FTW).

Gallon freezer bags are the least messy and most efficient way to marinate meat and veggies. Place your food in the bag, pour in the marinade, seal it up and give it a shake to distribute. Place on a plate in case of leakage and refrigerate, turning to redistribute every so often.

Fun With Words: "marinade" is the liquid concoction; "marinate" is what you do with it. Marinade=noun. Marinate=verb. Marinate the meat in the marinade.

And while we're on the subject of grilling, did you know that fruit becomes an amazing treat when grilled? Pineapple is particularly good, just brush it with vegetable oil first so it doesn't stick. Local peaches (Trossbach's, I'm talking to you!) are perfect on the grill. Peel, pit, and halve the peaches, brush with vegetable oil and grill on both sides, serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with cinnamon for a simple dessert that will knock your socks off.

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Jack up your Taco Tuesday by skipping the boxed shells and frying your own.

Crunchy Corn Tortillas
  • Get a pack of corn tortillas at pretty much any grocery store.
  • Line a cookie sheet with paper towels.
  • Heat a bit of vegetable oil on medium-high in a pan - doesn't need to be a lot, you can replenish as needed.
  • When the oil is hot cook tortillas one at a time, frying for 15 seconds on each side.
  • With tongs, pick up the tortilla so that it's draped over the tongs and let it drain in the pan for a few seconds. This will give it time to crisp up and take shape.
  • Place the cooked tortilla open side down on the paper towels, so it's standing up like a tent.
  • Make all the shells and let them cool before you fill them.
Flour Tortillas for soft tacos
  • Give your frying pan just a tiny bit of oil and spread it around the pan.
  • Fry your tortillas 5-10 seconds on each side.
  • Place them on the paper towels to de-puff and fill with meat immediately, then fold.
  • Do that until you run out of tortillas or meat.
It only takes a few minutes to make your own taco shells and the difference is amazing. It's a quick and easy way to impress your family or guests.


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Easiest creamy tomato soup recipe EVER!

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 large onion, cut into large wedges
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, we prefer to use whole peeled or crushed, see notes for fresh tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water, low sodium vegetable stock, or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste

  • Melt butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large saucepan.
  • Add onion wedges, water, can of tomatoes with their juices, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally and add additional salt as needed.
  • Blend the soup, and then season to taste. The soup doesn’t need to be ultra-smooth, some texture is a nice touch. An immersion blender does make quick work of this, or you can use a blender. If you use a regular blender, it is best to blend in batches and not fill the blender as much as you usually would since the soup is so hot. We like to remove the center insert of the lid and cover it with a kitchen towel while blending — this helps to release some of the steam and prevents the blender lid from popping off (which can be a big, hot mess).
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