Dry Rub Chicken Pasta featuring SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub

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Proper and quality seasoning is the cornerstone to any stovetop recipe. So when I come across one that is a cut above the rest, my interest is immediately piqued. That was the case with SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub.

I was introduced to the owner of this fantastic product, Demond Mullen, via Facebook. A caterer, chef and creator of Sweeetheat brand, his passion and heartfelt belief in his product was resounding. He emphasized their versatility and how they were more than just spices, rubs and BBQ sauces, instead he presents them as an essential condiment to any kitchen dish. From using his BBQ sauces as a base on pizzas to giving his deviled eggs a savory pinch with his seafood spice, Demond was able to provide color to what differentiates his brand.

Allowing me to put his confidence to the test, he sent me his suite of sauces and rubs which included bottles of his Spicy Homey Honey, Sweeet St. Louis and Kansas City Classic BBQ sauces as well as his Savory Seafood Spice, Southern BBQ Blend and All Purpose Rub. The sauces and spices have become a quick go to for a number of dishes in my household, which have include using the Sweeet St. Louis sauce as a dressing for pasta salad, and seasoning my roasted vegetables with the Southern BBQ blend. Of all the SweeetHeat offerings, which will now be a mainstay in my kitchen, my go-to has been the All Purpose Rub.

 SweeetHeat’s All Purpose Rub includes a blend of sugar, Spanish paprika, sea salt, oregano and bells seasoning. Its hint of sweetness is what makes it extra special, and  Ihave found it pairs well with any meat, especially well ribs, steak and of course, chicken! Although I have made several dishes with this rub, one of my favorites was a one-pot chicken pasta made with a parmesan creme sauce.

As a child my mother would always add a little sugar to our pasta sauces, and as an adult, pasta just doesn’t seem right to me without a little sweetness. Using the SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub to season the chicken for this pasta took me back to my childhood, while getting to use these wonderful product in an unconventional way. Gathering a little inspiration from my good friend Quin, who made an awesome Cajun Chicken Pasta on her blog Butter Be Ready, certainly helped to bring this recipe to life!

Check out my recipe for Dry Rub Chicken Pasta below, and grab some SweeetHeat to upgrade your dishes!

Dry-Rub Chicken Pasta with SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (Cubed)

  • 2 Tablespoons SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub

  • 1 Tblspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 Tblspoon Minced Garlic

  • 2 Servings or 1/2 Box of Penne or Cavatappi Pasta (or any pasta of your choosing)

  • 1 Red and Green Bell Pepper

  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red pepper

Instruction

  1. Cut the chicken breast into cubes, and season with SweeetHeat All Purpose Rub. Place in the refrigerator to marinade for up to 1 hour.

  2. In a cast iron skillet on high heat, heat the olive oil, add in red and green peppers and cook until they begin to soften (approximately 5 minutes).

  3. Reduce the heat to medium, and add marinated chicken and garlic to skillet and cook until it is brown.

  4. While the chicken is cooking prepare the pasta  (use package instructions) and parmesan sauce (use the package instructions).

  5. To prepare the parmesan sauce, pour heavy whipping cream into a medium sized saucepan and heat on medium heat until it come to a boil. Using a whisk, stir in the parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper until it thickens.

  6. Drain and place cooked pasta into the skillet.  Pour the parmesan cheese sauce overtop of all the pasta, cooked chicken and peppers. Mix together with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are well coated.

  7. Serve in a bowl topped with additional parmesan cheese.

Happy eating!

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Shrimp Boil Foil Packets

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This year while many of my friends and family members hosted or attended cookouts, my husband and I celebrated our holiday by preparing a meal together. Battling the mid-week blues this July 4th holiday brought us, we decided to continue an annual summertime tradition of curating a surf and turf feast.

In exploring ways to make our dinner a little less labor intensive (as it has been in the past), I came across a  simple recipe for  foil packets made with shrimp, potatoes, hot sausage and corn on the cob. I modified the recipe to add a little "Geo flare," adding some spice and minced garlic to give the packets a more savory punch. Fortunately, they were an instant hit with the hubs and will now be a staple in our household.

We paired these with medium-rare New York strip steak, and snow crabs legs to complete our surf and turf dinner. Check out the recipe below.

Shrimp Boil Foil Packets Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Raw Shrimp, Deveined
  • 2 Ears of Corn (Cut into 4 pieces each)
  • 1 pound Marble Mixed Potatoes
  • 1 Package Hot Italian Sausage (Sliced Thinly
  • 4 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

For the seasoning (yields 4 tablespoons)

  • 4 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 4 Teaspoons Dried Parsley
  • 2 Teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoons Chili Powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 Degrees. While the oven heats, cut four sheets a foil (about 1 foot long) and divide shrimp, corn, mixed marble potatoes, and hot Italian sausage evenly among the four packets
  2. In a small bowl blend together kosher salt, paprika, chili powder, dried parsley and crushed red pepper to make the seasoning. 
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of the seasoning, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic to each packet. 
  4. Fold all sides of each packet, and securely seal. Shake packets to ensure even coating of seasoning and olive oil. Place foil packets in oven and bake for 20-22 minutes* (or until potatoes are cooked through).

Enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Kebabs

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The deeper we dive into the warmer months, the more anxious I become about getting my tastebuds on some of my favorite summer-time cuisine. This list is quite exhaustive ranging from potato salad to cheeseburgers to fried oreos, and each year I seek out opportunities to get my a taste of each. This year is no different. 

Being a city dweller with limited access to grilling equipment - I’ve had to get a little creative when it comes to executing a few of the dishes on the list. Quick and easy, these sweet and spicy chicken kebabs were made in the oven, but would work well on a grill! Using Williams Sonoma’s BBQ spice, a little crushed red pepper and a hint of brown sugar - these babies  encompass all the flavors that make summer special.

You are bound to make these a staple on your summer bbq list! Check out the recipe below!!!!

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Kebabs

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into two inch cubes
  • 2 Small Heads of Broccoli
  • 6 Campari Tomatoes
  • 1 Large White Onion
  • 3 tablespoons Williams Sonoma BBQ Spice
  • 1 tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • Fresh Lime Wedges

Instructions

For this recipe I used metal skewers, which have been a life saver and much used addition to my kitchen. You can purchase some inexpensive ones here. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 12 hours before using them for this dish.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While the oven preheats, whisk together olive oil, Williams Sonoma's BBQ spice, crushed red pepper, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the cubed chicken to the bowl and toss, ensuring all pieces are fully coated. Set aside to marinade for 10 - 15 minutes.
  2. Cut tomatoes, onions and broccoli into bite sized slices. Once complete, you can begin to build the skewers by using the tomatoes as bookends, and alternating the broccoli, onions and chicken cubes. Each skewer should have approximately 4 cubes of chicken, 3 pieces of broccoli, 3 onion slices, and 2-3 tomatoes.
  3. Lay the kebabs on a baking rack, leaving approximately 2 inches of space in  between each. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, flipping the kebabs about halfway through baking time. (Quick tip: Prior to baking, I typically spray a light coat of cooking spray on all sides of the kebab.)
  4. Remove the kebabs from the oven and let rest for approximately 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a wedge of fresh lime. 

Enjoy! 

Home-Cooked: Sweet Potato Cornbread

Every so often I get a nagging craving for something that lingers until satisfied. This unfortunateturned blissful occurrence, presented itself just a few weeks ago. After binging on episodes "Chopped" and seeing a chef do a clever take on "cornbread," my own culinary creative juices start flowing. I decided not only was I going to get what I wanted, but I was going to add in a little "Geo" flavor and flare to modernize the classic cornbread recipe.

With a pinch of luck, (and some sweet potatoes that I needed to use quickly) - I was able to upgrade the classic "Jiffy" cornbread recipe and turn it into a skillet-baked Sweet Potato Cornbread. The end result was absolutely delicious, and I am happy to share the recipe with you!

SWEET POTATO CORNBREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
  • 2/3 Cups Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Teaspoon of Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees, and place a cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, whisking until well mixed. 
  3. Carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven, and coat the bottom and sides with cooking spray.
  4. Pour in batter and spread evenly in the skillet.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 25 - 30 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Home-Cooked : Fried Oreo Beignets

Much to the dismay of my waistline, my sweet tooth is a little bit out of control. Although I have made solid attempts to curb my cravings, when presented with options that include a high sugar content, I simply cannot resist. As was the case on a recent late-night outing with a friend.

As we concluded our meal, the server handed us the dessert menu and posed  the age old question, "Did you save room for dessert?" Although my stomach was sending signals of satiation to my brain, my eyes zeroed in on one item, the "Oreo Beignets." That was all she wrote.

The fried dessert served with a side of dulce de leche ice cream was heaven, and my sweet tooth was quickly soothed. An instant fan, I scoured the internet for recipes so I could attempt to recreate the dish at home. With some small edits, I found a simple recipe involving bisquick, crushed oreos and oreo filling (for glaze). My partner, Mark, gave two thumbs up to my creation, and it may begin to make frequent appearances in our home.

The recipe (which yields 5-6 servings) can be found below. Happy eating!

Fried Oreo Beignets Recipe

Prep Time: 15 mins| Cook Time: 15 minutes (Approx. 2-3 mins per beignet) | Total Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup crushed Oreos (filling removed and placed in a microwave safe bowl)
  • 1 pack "Bisquick Complete" (7.5 oz bag)
  • 1/3 Cup Hot Water
  • Canola Oil

Instructions

  1. Take approximately 10-12 Oreos and remove filling (place in a microwaves safe bowl and put to the side for later use).
  2. Place Oreos in a 1 gallon plastic bag and use your hands crush the cookies into smaller pieces. Measure 1 cup of crushed cookies and place to the side.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the pack of Bisquick with the hot water stirring with a wooden spoon until it becomes a dough-like consistency that is easy to handle.
  4. Take a small handful (about a quarter cup) and flatten dough in your hand. Place a spoonful of crushed Oreos in the center. 
  5. Fold dough over crushed Oreos and mold the dough into small balls (Oreos should be completely surrounded by the dough.)
  6. Repeat beignet making process until there is no remaining dough (approximately 5-6 beignets).
  7. To fry, heat the canola oil in a medium sized sauce pan (about 2 inches deep) on medium heat until hot (375 degrees). 
  8. Place uncooked beignets in pan. Watch closely as they will cook very quickly ( within 2 - 3 minutes).
  9. When the dough turns a golden brown, it means they are done!
  10. For the topping, place bowl of oreo filling in the microwave for 1 minute or until fully melted. Use a spoon to drizzle topping over hot beignets.

These were absolutely wonderful and are best served FRESH out of the fryer!