Category Archives: Main Dishes

Smithfield Ham

Holiday Ham with Raisin Sauce

Smithfield

Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham is always a crowd pleaser!

Nothing says the holidays like a spiral sliced ham!  Specifically, when you don’t have to bake, baste, roast or slice it!  I partnered with Smithfield for my recent holiday entertaining segment on Atlanta & Company and I almost had to fight to take MY ham home, since so many folks on set were eyeballing it!  The classic spiral sliced ham is in their signature red wrapper, but they now have 7, yes, 7 flavors:  Hickory Smoked, Brown Sugar, Brown Sugar Bacon, Caramel Apple, Crunchy Glaze, Pecan Praline and Orchard Peach.

Let me repeat– there is BROWN SUGAR BACON available and PECAN PRALINE…Wha-what??!  OH yeah, baby.  Tasting this ham transports me back to my Grandma Ronnie’s kitchen when she would serve our Christmas ham with her famous raisin sauce.  It was so fragrant, rich and just melted in your mouth– I can still picture her stirring her saucepan and adding her secret ingredient– currant jelly!  

In Ronnie's kitchen

In Ronnie’s kitchen

Smithfield hams are available at your local Walmart and other retailers.  What I love about these hams is that they are affordable and easy to prep, so that means you can spend more time with your guests, and less time working in the kitchen!

The combo of Grandma Ronnie’s raisin sauce with Smithfield’s Spiral Sliced ham will bring major holiday CHEER to your table!

Ronnie's Raisin Sauce for Ham
A fragrant, sweet and savory sauce for your holiday ham.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  2. 1/2 c. water
  3. 1/2 c. seedless raisins
  4. 2 Tb butter
  5. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/8 tsp pepper
  8. 1/4 tsp cloves
  9. pinch of mace
  10. 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  11. 1 Tb cornstarch
  12. 3 Tb orange juice
  13. 1 cup currant jelly
Instructions
  1. Bring ingredients through Worcestershire sauce to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
  2. Mix 1 Tb cornstarch with orange juice and add to the sauce.
  3. Add 1 cup currant jelly.
  4. Stir well and continue simmering until slightly thickened.
Notes
  1. Recipe may be doubled and stored for several weeks in the fridge.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Short Ribs

Hoisin Glazed Short Ribs 2 Ways

Short Ribs

Tender, juicy hoisin glazed short ribs.

Dinner the night before….

Short rib tacos

Yummy, tender short rib tacos!

Turns into yummy…….LEFTOVERS! (wait, wait!  Keep reading!  These leftovers are reallyreallyreallyreally goooooooood!)

Hoisin glazed short ribs have been a staple in my entertaining rotation.  You pretty much can’t mess them up!  As long as you sear them in a pan with some oil and brown them on all sides before popping them into the crock pot, you will have fall off the bone, slam dunk DELISH.

I teamed up with the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association to showcase a “two-fer” — a beef dinner recipe turned into a second meal for the next day.  Translation:  LEFTOVERS!  I promise y’all, it’s not going to taste like leftovers.  Which by the way, I never have understood why there is such an aversion to leftovers.  I swear, no matter how scrumptious my meals are and how much my family loves them, if I heat up the exact same meal the next night, there’s a groan that echoes around the room.  Like, REALLY?  I’m pretty sure everyone loved this last night….but no go for round 2?   I think it’s an emotional thing– as in, it’s never going to be as good as the first time, right?

Now, I’ve learned with a little creativity and a few fresh ingredients, you can transform your dinner into leftovers they’ll all love!

I actually discovered the hoisin glazed taco recipe on a fluke.  I was catering for a small dinner party and my short ribs were soooooo fall off the bone tender, that they had done just that.  They fell off the bone!  And they didn’t look stunningly gorgeous on the plate.  Like this pic which I snapped on the WCNC Charlotte Today set yesterday…

Charlotte Today set

Hoisin Glazed Short Ribs on the Charlotte Today set.

So, I made some quick decisions, grabbed some tortillas, some cilantro, jalapenos and cheese and transformed my short ribs into gourmet tacos.  My dinner party guests never knew about the swap out!  But necessity is the mother of invention, right?  Now, I had the perfect plan for my segment on Charlotte Today with my friends at the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association.

Taco toppings

Get creative with your taco toppings! I love adding cilantro, scallions, cheese and lime!

Beef is big business in North Carolina — there are 810,000 cattle throughout North Carolina’s 100 counties.

NC Cattle

There are over 800,000 of these guys in North Carolina!

And there are big benefits to having beef as a regular part of your diet:

  • A single 3-ounce serving of beef – about the size of an iPhone or a deck of cards – provides more than 10 essential nutrients and about half of your Daily value for protein in around 170 calories.
  • Protein-rich foods – like beef – can help you satisfy your hunger and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Research shows spreading protein intake evenly throughout the day may be the most beneficial for overall health & wellness. Aim for around 25-30 grams per meal, plus snacks, to start feeling the benefits of protein.

Plus, short ribs are affordable— they average just over $5 bucks a pound.  That’s a deal!

Check out the recipe here on Charlotte Today.

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions and recipes are my own.

 

Hoisin Glazed Short Ribs Turned into Tacos
The perfect dinner of tender, juicy, short ribs turned into the perfect leftovers...Tacos!
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For the short ribs
  1. 2-3 pounds of short ribs (about 10 ribs)
  2. Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  3. 5 Tb vegetable oil
  4. 6 garlic cloves unpeeled
  5. 1 whole jalapeno
  6. 1 large sweet onion peeled and quartered
  7. 1 bottle of amber or dark beer
  8. 2-3 cups beef stock
  9. 3 Tb rice wine vinegar
  10. 3 Tb molasses
  11. 1 Tb soy sauce
  12. 1 cup hoisin sauce (plus an entire bottle of hoisin for the glaze)
  13. 2 Tb fresh ginger (or fresh from the Gourmet Gardens tube)
  14. Chopped scallions and sliced orange for garnish
For the glaze
  1. 1 jar of hoisin sauce
  2. 3 garlic cloves chopped
  3. 1 Tb butter
  4. Juice from ½ an orange
  5. Orange zest from ½ an orange.
  6. 3 Tb rice wine vinegar
For the tacos
  1. Leftover short ribs
  2. Leftover glaze
  3. flour tortillas (taco size)
  4. fresh chopped cilantro
  5. fresh chopped jalapeños
  6. Mexican Cotija cheese (or your favorite shredded cheese)
  7. Chopped tomato or pico de gallo
For the short ribs
  1. Pat the ribs with paper towel to dry them off. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot with a lid over high heat. Brown the ribs on both sides, in batches, about 3 minutes per side. (Don't crowd them or they won't brown evenly) . Remove the ribs and pour off all but a couple tablespoons of the rendered fat.
  2. Meanwhile set crockpot to low. Put unpeeled garlic cloves, quartered onion and jalapeño and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt.
  3. Put ribs in the pot. Add all of the other ingredients. Ribs and veggies should be submerged in the liquid-- if not, add a bit more beef broth.)
  4. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
For the glaze
  1. Saute chopped garlic cloves in butter on medium heat in a saucepan. Add entire bottle of hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, juice from ½ an orange and the zest from ½ an orange. Stir until combined and warmed.
  2. After the ribs have cooked in the crock pot, remove and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush glaze on ribs and broil for one minute to caramelize the sauce.
  3. Garnish with scallions and sliced oranges.
For the tacos
  1. Spread a spoonful of glaze on each tortilla
  2. Shred leftover short ribs with 2 forks (like you would do with pork bbq)
  3. Top tortillas with shredded short ribs, cilantro, jalapeños, cheese, tomatoes and any other of your favorite taco toppings.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Asian Meatballs

Asian Meatball Sliders with a Hoisin Glaze

Asian Meatballs

Juicy Asian Meatballs get a fresh boost from Thai Basil, cilantro and hot peppers.

These meatballs are a show stopper tailgating dish, just sayin’.  I mean, hello, tender, juicy meatballs with an Asian Persuasion vibe that makes you wanna shout, “Kanpai!”  Yup.  Your welcome!  You can do all pork, all beef or even a turkey or chicken version.  The combo of flavor power is going to deliver, no matter what meat you choose!

CUSliders

And when you decide you want to throw back a cold one?  

Beer Pairing

Pair the Asian sliders with an Amber Ale.

Pair Asian Meatball Sliders with a Hoisin Glaze with an Amber Ale.  An American Amber Ale has a malty backbone which brings together the exotic, spicy flavor of  the sliders.  Fruity, caramel notes accentuate the sweet, tartness of the Hoisin sauce while the fuller body of this beer balances each bite.

SlidersAboveShot

 

Asian Meatballs with a Hoisin Glaze
Juicy Asian meatballs with a fresh pop from Thai Basil, cilantro and hot peppers with a savory Hoisin glaze.
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For the meatballs
  1. 1 pound ground pork
  2. 1 pound ground beef
  3. 2 Tb fresh ginger
  4. 1/4 cup plus 1 Tb chopped scallions
  5. 1 jalapeno chopped (no seeds)
  6. 4 garlic cloves minced
  7. 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (sauteed until browned in 1 Tb butter)
  8. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  9. 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  10. 1 egg
  11. 1 Tb tamari or soy sauce
  12. 1 Tb chili garlic sauce
  13. 1/2 cup panko
  14. sesame seeds for garnish
For the sauce
  1. 1 cup hoisin sauce
  2. 1 Tb chili garlic sauce
  3. 1 Tb tamari
  4. 1 Tb rice wine vinegar
  5. Slider buns (optional)
For the meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Fold in ingredients until well mixed (do not over handle the meat or it will get tough)
  3. Shape into golf size balls.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through. (Turn over after 15 minutes to brown evenly).
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.
For the sauce
  1. Mix ingredients together and spoon onto meatballs when ready to serve.
  2. Top onto slider buns.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

Jalapeño Corn Muffins Topped with Pulled Pork and Slaw

Mini corn muffins topped with pulled pork

Mini jalapeño corn muffins topped with pulled pork and slaw.

It’s pretty much the perfect bite.  A sweet, spicy jalapeño corn muffin topped with savory pulled pork and a crispy, sweet slaw on top to refresh the palate.  Bring. It. On.  

Corn Muffin Sliders

Perfect combination of textures and flavors!

The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t actually have to make anything from scratch.  Got a great BBQ joint?  Pick up the pulled pork with sauce and some slaw.  Grab a dollar box of Jiffy corn muffins, add some jalapeños and bake in mini muffin tins.  Cut the top off those baby muffins and then top with pulled pork and slaw.  Done!  My favorite recipe for pulled pork is done in the oven and cooked overnight.  It’s more work than ordering from your favorite BBQ spot, but I personally think it’s worth it.  The coleslaw recipe I always come back to is Emeril’s.  I haven’t found a better, more delicious version! 

Turning this meal into a “mini” version with the tiny muffins makes it even more of a crowd pleaser.  It’s perfect for your tailgating party because these are bite-size and easy to manage.  The rich pork BBQ is off-set by the tiny portion, so dig in!

Beer and Pork Pairing

Pair BBQ pork muffins with a Farmhouse Saison.

Pair Jalapeño Corn Muffins Topped with Pork BBQ & Slaw with a Farmhouse Saison.  Saisons are earthy and spicy with a fruity tartness that bring together the smoky, layered flavors of these mini pork corn muffins.  The finish is crisp and quenching, a perfect companion to these savory morsels.

Chili in Mason Jars

Chipotle Chili Layered with Cornbread in Mini Mason Jars

Chili in Mason Jars

Layer chili with cornbread in mason jars for awesome presentation and convenient clean up!

I’ve been a pretty good cook for a long time, but presentation is the one part of the culinary process that doesn’t exactly come naturally.  I’m so consumed by making sure my dishes taste fabulous, that the prettying up the presenting is sort of an after-thought.  I know, I know, that goes against every culinary instinct that most chefs have– your food should look as stunning as it tastes, right?  Maybe it’s my ADD brain– I can only focus on one thing at a time, LOL!  Anyhoo, when presentation is easy, I’m all about it.  Chipotle chili layered with cornbread?  Oh yeah.  This is a brilliant way to not only make your chili look incredible, but you get to combine bites of my delish cornbread for added texture and flavor, AND it’s easy clean up.  Didn’t finish the whole jar?  Put the lid on and put it in the fridge or back in your tailgating cooler…Doneski.

I’ve posted the recipe for my cornbread before– it’s sturdy (not a muffin-like or crumbly texture) so it’s easy to cut into the shape of your mason jars.  I didn’t have a biscuit cutter, so I literally just took the top of each mason jar and pushed through the cornbread to cut out the exact shape of the jar.  

Cornbread layered Chili

Use the top of the mini mason jar as a makeshift biscuit cutter and your cornbread will be in the exact shape to fit inside.

I always come back to this chili recipe…not just because it’s won two awards, (let me just brag for a minute!)  but because it’s That. Damn. Good.  Recently, I sent the recipe to a girlfriend of mine who made it for a potluck party.  She promptly declared– and I do quote: “Oh dear God, Parker.  I’m not kidding.  That’s the best chili I’ve ever tasted!  And I live in Texas.  I’m giddy with excitement to take it tomorrow!”

I never get tired of hearing applause compliments for my recipes— mostly just because it makes my heart happy to share food, and for me, it’s sharing pure L.O.V.E.

The show-stopper ingredients in this chili are the hint of chocolate (1 Tb cocoa) and the chipotle peppers.  Once you brown all the ingredients and combine, you can let it simmer on the stove or in a crockpot on low for about 3 hours, but don’t keep it going in the crockpot all night or it will dry it out.  Just put it in the fridge and thin it out in the morning with a bit of beef stock.  I know there are a LOT of ingredients, but don’t let that intimidate you.  Aside from a little chopping and browning of meats, you pretty much just dump it all in there.  DO it.  You won’t be disappointed!

Pale lager paired with chili

Combine a pale lager with chipotle chili to bring down the heat and cool your palate.

Pair Chipotle Chili & Cornbread layered in Mini Mason Jars with a Pale Lager.  The depth of smoky spice that explodes in this chili/cornbread combination will be well balanced with a pale lager that cools and quenches.  A lighter Lager will celebrate the powerful combination of ingredients with a refreshing dryness that is clean tasting and crisp.

Chipotle Chili Layered with Cornbread
Layer the flavors (and textures) of scrumptious chipotle chili and homemade cornbread in mini mason jars.
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For the Chipotle Chili
  1. 2 pounds ground beef (sometimes the butcher will label it “chili mix”– the beef is thicker than regular hamburger meat)
  2. 1 pound spicy sausage (I use Jimmy Dean HOT sausage)
  3. 3 Tablespoons butter
  4. 2 medium or 1 large yellow/white onion diced
  5. 4-5 garlic cloves diced
  6. 2 jalapeno peppers diced (not seeds)
  7. 2 cans Rotel tomatoes (original)
  8. 1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
  9. 1 can of red beans with juice (Kidney)
  10. 1/4 cup honey
  11. 4 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
  12. 1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  13. 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (diced with seeds), plus 4 Tablespoons of sauce (if you want to cut down on the spice, omit the actual peppers and just use the sauce.
  14. 1 12 oz bottle amber beer
  15. 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  16. 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  17. 1 Tablespoon Cocoa
  18. 2 cups of beef stock (I prefer using “Better Than Bouillon” paste. You boil 2 cups of water and add 2 Tablespoons of the paste and mix.)
  19. 2 Tablespoons Cumin
  20. 4 Tablespoons Chili powder
  21. 1 Tablespoon Garlic powder
  22. 1 Tablespoon Onion powder
  23. 2 Tablespoons Paprika (Hungarian/spicy is best)
  24. 2 Tablespoons Brown sugar
  25. 1 Tablespoon Cayenne pepper
  26. 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  27. 2 Tablespoons Black pepper
  28. 4 ears corn on cob, cut off cob
  29. Bunch of Scallions chopped to garnish
  30. Shredded cheese to top
  31. Sour cream to top
For the cornbread
  1. 6 slices bacon
  2. 2 cups Cornmeal Mix (not plain cornmeal! I use White Lily’s Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix)
  3. 2 1/2 cups Buttermilk
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1-2 jalapeños chopped up with seeds (optional)
  6. 1 egg
For the chipotle chili
  1. In a large saucepan, brown chili meat and sausage. Do not drain.
  2. In a separate frying pan, melt butter and saute onion, garlic, jalapeno and corn until soft, 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add to beef saucepan and stir to combine.
  4. Add all the spices to the beef mixture and saute over medium heat until combine.
  5. Pour in everything else and simmer for 2-3 hours!
  6. Top with chopped scallions, sour cream and shredded cheese.
For the cornbread
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together buttermilk, egg, salt, cornmeal mix and chopped jalapeños. It should be about the consistency of pancake batter.
  3. In a cast iron skillet, cook 6 bacon slices on medium high heat until they’re crisp and all the fat is rendered in the pan.
  4. Take out the bacon and turn up the heat until the bacon drippings start to smoke.
  5. Pour cornbread batter into the skillet immediately. (The hot bacon fat makes a decadently crispy crust to the cornbread.)
  6. Then put the skillet in the oven uncovered and bake at 400 for 40 minutes.
To layer in mini mason jars
  1. Using one mini mason jar as a "biscuit cutter" push into cooked cornbread to cut a perfect circle of cornbread to fit into bottom of the mason jar. Spoon chili on top. Repeat with a second circle of cornbread, spoon more chili into jar and top with sour cream, chives and cheese.
Notes
  1. Make sure to keep the mason jar tops-- you can simply put the tops back on to save leftovers and pop the jar into the fridge or back into your tailgating cooler.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Wings 2 Ways

Wings Two Ways

Wings 2 Ways

2 times the Tailgating fun with 2 times the flavor!

The biggest complaint I have (and hear) about most chicken wings is that they just aren’t crispy enough.  Most people think that the only way to get that perfect “crisp” is by frying.  That is a wing MYTH!  The key to making these wings super crispy is to simply baste them in flour (no other seasoning required because the punch of flavor comes from the sauce) and bake them at a high temperature.  Remember, the sauce goes on after they come out of the oven.  If you put it on before, the wings will be rubbery and won’t crisp up!  Just make sure you have extra sauce on the side so you can get in some extra dipping action!  And don’t forget to bring some extra napkins, because these bad boys will have you smacking your chops and licking those fingers!  The duo of flavors is just freaking fantastic– the buttery herb sauce has an Asian flair, while the more traditional hot honey BBQ is always a crowd favorite.  Crack open a cold one and dig in, y’all!

Wings paired with an IPA

Pair these crispy, juicy wings with an IPA for maximum flavor.

Pair your Wings Two Ways with an IPA.  An English-style or milder American IPA will transform these wings into a different flavor experience, complementing both the buttery herb sauce and the tangy, honey BBQ.  The IPA has a juicy, malty backbone that mirrors the tender, juicy wings. The milder malt character with spicy hops intensifies the layers of zesty, tropical flavor.

Wings Two Ways
Double your flavor with these 2 scrumptious recipes for crispy, juicy wings.
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For the wings
  1. 1 family pack of chicken wings
  2. flour for dredging
For the Vietnamese Buttery Herb Sauce
  1. 1 1/2 cups cilantro
  2. 1/2 cup Thai Basil (regular basil is fine)
  3. 1/2 cup mint
  4. 3 garlic cloves
  5. 2 Tb fish sauce
  6. 2 Tb honey
  7. 1 lime squeezed
  8. 1 stick butter melted
For the Hot Honey BBQ Sauce
  1. 2 shallots chopped
  2. 4 garlic cloves diced
  3. 2 Tb butter
  4. 1 chopped jalapeño
  5. 1 1/2 cups BBQ Sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s)
  6. 1 cup Buffalo Wing Sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot Wings)
  7. 1/2 cup chili garlic sauce (I use Sriracha Hot Garlic Chili Sauce, aka “Rooster” sauce)
  8. 1/4 cup honey
  9. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  10. 1/4 Jack Daniel’s Bourbon
For the Wings
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with canola oil.
  3. Dredge wings in flour and put on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes, flipping over after 30 minutes.
For the Vietnamese Buttery Herb Sauce
  1. In a food processor, blend cilantro, basil, mint, garlic cloves, fish sauce, honey and lime juice. Add 1 stick on melted butter slowly until emulsified. Keep sauce warm until wings are done or butter will start to solidify.
For the Hot Honey BBQ Sauce
  1. Saute shallots (substitute a medium onion if you need to) and garlic cloves in 2 TB butter on medium heat until soft but not browned, about a minute.
  2. Add chopped jalapenos and saute for another minute.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well combined.
  4. Let simmer on stove top on low heat until wings are done.
  5. Dip wings in sauce after they come out of the oven and serve immediately with additional BBQ sauce on the side.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Mac and Cheese with Rosemary

White Cheddar and Gruyere Mac and Cheese Cups

Mini Mac and Cheese Cups

Turn ordinary Mac&Cheese into mini bites of delish

There’s nothing that says comfort food like Mac and Cheese!  I have tried dozens of variations of recipes over the years and there are 2 key parts to success:  1. Making a roux and 2. Using really, really good cheese.  Yeah, the orange stuff out of the box is easy, but a few simple steps can take ordinary Mac to Mac Daddy level!  These are baked in cupcake or muffin tins and are easy to transport to any tailgating party.  You can even make them in large quantities, freeze and reheat before the big game.  

Mac and Cheese with Rosemary

Sprigs of rosemary can add color and a beautiful, fresh touch to any platter.

Mini Mac and Cheese

For added color, pop a mini sprig of rosemary in the middle of your Mac and Cheese Muffin!

Looking for a great beer pairing?  Serve Mini Mac & Cheese Cups with a Belgian Blond Ale.

The creamy, full flavor of these Mac & Cheese cups need a beer to compliment it, so try a Belgian blond ale that is dry, fruity and lightly spiced.  The smooth malt sweetness extends over the whole palate with a balance of subtle bitterness that lingers and enhances the nutty notes of the Gruyere cheese.

Mac and Cheese Beer Pairing

Pair Mac & Cheese cups with a Belgian Blond Ale that is fruity and lightly spiced.

White Cheddar and Gruyere Mini Mac and Cheese Cups
Take ordinary Mac and Cheese to the next level with really great cheese and a presentation your guests will eat up!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 stick butter
  2. 3 cups milk
  3. 1 cup heavy cream
  4. pinch of kosher salt plus more to taste.
  5. 1/2 cup flour
  6. 1 cup gruyere
  7. 2 cups white cheddar (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  8. 1 box of macaroni
Instructions
  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions to al dente. Make sure to salt your pasta water! Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large saucepan.
  3. Add 1/2 cup flour and stir until roux thickens.
  4. Slowly add in milk, cream and salt. Continue stirring until mixture is smooth, about 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
  5. Add in gruyere and white cheddar and stir until cheese melts.
  6. Pour in drained macaroni to cheese mixture and coat all the pasta.
  7. Scoop mac and cheese into greased muffin/cupcake tins.
  8. Sprinkle extra cheddar on each cup.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes until browned on top.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Labor Day Entertaining

Labor Day Weekend Entertaining

Labor Day Entertaining

Things to do, drink and eat on Labor Day Weekend!

Hard to believe the summer is already over…feels like just yesterday, we were talking about Memorial Day Delish!  Now that the kiddos are back in school and it’s almost time to put the cover on the pool, let’s get the party started with some Labor Day weekend entertaining ideas and enjoy these last breaths of summer lovin’!

If you want to take the “Labor” out of Labor Day, forget the cooking and order from my favorite BBQ restaurant in town, 521 Kitchen & Que, helmed by the talented Drew Kirkland.  Here are a few of his speciality BBQ dishes (and while I don’t have a pic, his kale coleslaw is so freaking good, I was literally eating it with my hands in the studio! OMG.  Scrumptious!)  Check out the perfect beer pairings as suggested by my friends at Let’s Grab a Beer!

Pair Chicken with a Lager

Smoked Chicken from 521 Kitchen & Que

If you’re serving grilled or smoked chicken this Labor Day, consider pairing with an American Lager, the most versatile of all beers.  Lagers have a malty sweetness, which will accentuate the juicy tenderness of chicken.  Bud Light has some subtle fruit notes and a crisp finish which pairs perfectly with this dish.

521 Kitchen & Que Wings

Can you smell the delicious wafting up from this hot tray of wings?

Who doesn’t love wings at a Labor Day party?  By the way, if you’re making your own, try this insanely good version I came up with recently with a Vietnamese flair!  If you’re serving hot wings, try pairing them with an English style IPA which has a crisp, zesty hoppiness.  Goose IPA is a hop lovers’ dream!  It has a fruity aroma, a dry malt middle and a long hop finish.

Pork Sliders from 521 Kitchen & Que

BBQ Pork Sliders from 521 Kitchen & Que

Pulled Pork would rank right up there on the, “if I had to pick a last meal” list.  Drizzled (not drenched) in reallllllly good BBQ sauce….The pic above is food-gasmic.  I just wish y’all could have tasted it!  Serve this sammy with a Farmhouse Saison, which has spicy notes and a fruity tartness.  It brings together the smoky and spicy seasoning of the sliders.  Atalanta, from local Orpheous Brewing has acidity and fruitiness to make it an ideal compliment.

Brisket

Melt-in-your-mouth Brisket at 521 Kitchen & Que

Everyone on set yesterday was freaking out over the brisket from 521 Kitchen and Que!  Recently, when I’ve sampled brisket from other joints, it’s been way salty and not super tender.  This brisket was smoked perfection.  It’s rich and tender and melt-in-your-mouth, just the way brisket is meant to be!  Pair this with a Bock style dark lager which has a balance of hoppiness and roasted caramel sweetness.  This bring out that deliciously smoked meat.  Michelob Amber Bock is a perfect compliment because of the dark, roasted malts.

Myrtle Beach

photo courtesy www.visitmyrtlebeach.com

If you’re looking for a last minute beach getaway for Labor Day weekend, look no further than Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!  TravelChannel.com recently named Myrtle Beach as one of the Best East Coast Beaches.  There are 60 miles of sandy beaches, an assortment of great live entertainment and family friendly attractions, world-class golf and delicious Carolina Coastal cuisine and fresh seafood.

Plus, the bonus is, it’s only about a five and half hour drive from Atlanta or a 45-minute plane ride and boom— you’re right at the beach.  This weekend, there are 2 fabulous events going on– especially enticing for foodies!

The Beach Boogie and Barbeque Festival is the Official BBQ Festival of South Carolina and is a free event that runs on Friday and Saturday. A $10 wristband gets you unlimited barbeque samples. They will also have a wing competition, a car show, corn hole tournament and other kids activities and games for the whole family.

Myrtle Beach’s annual food and wine festival Coastal Uncorked is also taking place Friday through Sunday. There will be a moonshine mixology and dessert event with a competition of local bartenders, a craft beer festival and a large wine tasting with food and local music.

If you can’t make it this weekend, Myrtle Beach just kicked off a “Relax and Unwind” initiative for the fall meant to combat stats revealed by the U.S. Travel Association showing that 40% of Americans don’t use all of their paid time off (PTO). To help encourage people to take their time off, Myrtle Beach has created some incentives for those traveling to the area this fall. Things like budget friendly lodging and attraction deals, perks for vacationers willing to temporarily disconnect from their phones at restaurants and other ideas for relaxing and unwinding in the area. There are ideas for every kind of traveler – from girlfriend getaways to family vacations, cultural enthusiasts to romantics – make sure to visit www.visitmyrtlebeach.com for all of the details!

The Great Plate

The Great Plate– and the ONLY plate you’ll ever need.

I already introduced you guys to The Great Plate last week, but it’s such an incredible product, I have to share again.  The past 2 times I’ve done TV segments with the plates, people keep coming up to me on set asking to take one (or 3!) home with them!  It really is that cool.  And, you can now order an assortment of colors and in packages of 4.  It’s shareable, it’s portable, it flies and it floats!  Check out all of The Great Plate’s incredible (and unlimited) uses here.

Watch Labor Day Entertaining on Atlanta & Company below!

 

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own!

Vietnamese Wings

Vietnamese Chicken Wings with Buttery Herb Sauce

Vietnamese Wings

Crispy wings drenched in a fresh, buttery herb sauce.

I’m a wing fanatic.  They’re always my go-to dinner when I’m not in the mood for a complicated recipe that’s time consuming and requires a ton of ingredients.  I usually lean on my fall back recipes like Spicy, Smoky, Sweet, Chili Wings, Mardi Gras Wings, and my favorite White Girl Can Cook Wings.

But last night, I was in the mood for a new recipe with different flavors.  As I was browsing the International Aisle at my local Publix yesterday, I did a quick google search on my phone for chicken wing recipes.  I came across a group of Food Network recipes and one labeled Vietnamese chicken wings, with cilantro, garlic and fish sauce as the main ingredients.  I followed the recipe but wasn’t thrilled with it, so I doctored it and added Thai Basil from my garden, fresh mint and a bit of honey.  It totally took these wings to Flavortown, y’all! 

The key to making the wings super crispy is to simply baste them in flour (no other seasoning required because the punch of flavor comes from the sauce) and bake them at a high temperature.  Remember, the sauce goes on after they come out of the oven.  If you put it on before, the wings will be rubbery and won’t crisp up!  I always serve each plate with some sauce on the side so you can get in some extra dipping action!

What I love about wings is that you can throw a party with these as the main course and then offer a variety of dipping sauces to change up the flavors.  No need to splurge on expensive protein like steak when you can rock out wings that will have your guests begging for more (and the recipe!)

Vietnamese Wings
Serves 4
Crispy wings drenched in a buttery, garlic herb sauce.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
55 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
55 min
For the wings
  1. Family pack of chicken wings
  2. Flour
For the sauce
  1. 1 1/2 cups cilantro
  2. 1/2 cup Thai Basil (regular basil is fine)
  3. 1/2 cup mint
  4. 3 garlic cloves
  5. 2 Tb fish sauce
  6. 2 Tb honey
  7. 1 lime squeezed
  8. 1 stick butter melted
For the wings
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with canola oil.
  3. Dredge wings in flour and put on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes, flipping over after 30 minutes.
For the sauce
  1. In a food processor, blend cilantro, basil, mint, garlic cloves, fish sauce, honey and lime juice. Add 1 stick on melted butter slowly until emulsified. Keep sauce warm until wings are done or butter will start to solidify.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Pig Shot

Tailgating & Beer Drinking with The Great Plate (and more delicious recipes!)

Pig Shot

One creamy, bacony bite of awesome.

Introducing my latest edition of Tailgating Fabulous, Bacon babe reporting….

These might be illegal in 11 states.  We’re talking pieces of kielbasa wrapped in bacon and then stuffed with a mixture of cream and Mexican cheeses, sprinkled with a little brown sugar and BBQ rub.  OH yeah, baby.

When you wrap the bacon around the kielbasa pieces, the bottom of the bacon is flush against the sausage so there’s room to pipe the cheese and green chili mixture in.  You can secure them with toothpicks or put them on a skewer.

Bacon wrapped kielbasa

Wrap bacon around the kielbasa, and you’ll have room to pipe the cheese on top. *Pic courtesy of Egg Head Forum.

If you don’t have access to a grill, just put these bad boys in the oven at 300 for 45 minutes to slow cook that bacon– then crank it up to 450 for about 10 minutes to crisp up the bacon.  

Here’s the magic, y’all…

Ingredients:

2 (8oz) packages of full fat cream cheese

1 package thick cut bacon

1 package of kielbasa sausage (cut into 1/2 inch slices)

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

1/2 cup mild green chilies drained

BBQ rub, brown sugar & cayenne to sprinkle

Directions:

Preheat grill (or oven to 300 degrees)

Cut up kielbasa and wrap with bacon.  Secure with a wooden toothpick.

Mix the cream cheese with the Mexican cheese with green chilies.  Put in a Ziploc bag or a Pastry bag.  Fill cheese mixture to the top of the bacon.

Sprinkle with your favorite BBQ rub, some brown sugar and a little cayenne.

Grill until bacon is done to your favorite level of crispy!

Beer Pairing with Baconlicious Sausage Bites:

A classic American Lager with malty sweetness is going to highlight the flavor and texture of the bacon and the creamy cheese while balancing the spice of the sausage.

Asian Meatball Sliders with Hoisin Glaze

Asian Slider

This meatball packs major flavor with a spicy hoisin glaze (slider bun optional!)

My tailgating strategy involves small bites of utter delish.  You don’t want to stuff yourself with something too rich, so why not take the decadence of an Asian meal and turn it into a bite-size portion?  You’re welcome!

Asian Meatball Slider with Hoisin Glaze
A bite size morsel of ginger, jalapeno, hoisin deliciousness.
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For the meatballs
  1. 1 pound ground pork
  2. 1 pound ground beef
  3. 2 Tb fresh ginger
  4. 1/4 cup plus 1 Tb chopped scallions
  5. 1 jalapeno chopped (no seeds)
  6. 4 garlic cloves minced
  7. 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (sauteed until browned in 1 Tb butter)
  8. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  9. 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  10. 1 egg
  11. 1 Tb tamari or soy sauce
  12. 1 Tb chili garlic sauce
  13. 1/2 cup panko
  14. sesame seeds for garnish
For the sauce
  1. 1 cup hoisin sauce
  2. 1 Tb chili garlic sauce
  3. 1 Tb tamari
  4. 1 Tb rice wine vinegar
  5. Slider buns (optional)
For the meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Fold in ingredients until well mixed (do not over handle the meat or it will get tough)
  3. Shape into golf size balls.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through. (Turn over after 15 minutes to brown evenly).
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.
For the sauce
  1. Mix ingredients together and spoon onto meatballs when ready to serve.
  2. Top onto slider buns.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
 You want to pair this yummy slider with an Amber Ale, like Palmetto Ale from Palmetto Brewing Company.  An amber ale has a roasted caramel sweetness that’s going to bring together the exotic spices of these Asian sliders, like ginger,  jalapeno and sesame.  The spicy hops have a dry finish, making your palate crave that next bite!

The Ultimate Fan Dip

Creamy, spicy, sausage dip

Only 3 ingredients makes The Ultimate Fan Dip a Fan Favorite!

This remains my all-time favorite dip for parties and it’s a total winner for tailgating.  My original recipe is here— and it’s only 3 ingredients:  Spicy sausage, cream cheese and Rotel tomatoes.  Bam! The Ultimate Fan Dip needs a light lager with zesty and fruity flavors to bring out the creamy, spicy, bite of this dip.

Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

Mango adds a bright, sweet component to salsa

Before I really had any interest in cooking, this was one of the only dishes I laid any claim to— I made mango salsa and topped it on blackened salmon, served it with guacamole and even mixed it into omelets.  There’s just nothing like the sweet, tropical flavor of mangos– they’re pretty much the perfect fruit.  You can even add roasted red pepper for a little smokiness, or black beans for a heartier meal.  

Ingredients:

3 mangos diced

2 avocados diced

1/4 red onion chopped

handful of fresh cilantro chopped

1 jalapeno diced (no seeds)

1 cup cherry tomatoes diced

1 red bell pepper diced (optional)

juice from one lime

Directions:

Combine ingredients and serve immediately.

An IPA is going to have a juicy malty backbone that will accentuate the sweetness of the mango and spicy kick of the jalapeno.  There’s a distinct dryness in an IPA that really accentuates this dish.

Speaking of dishes, let’s talk about the PERFECT PLATE for tailgating. It’s appropriately called, THE GREAT PLATE.

The Great Plate

The Great Plate– and the ONLY plate you’ll ever need.

At first glance, you might think, “Oh yeah, a chip/dip plate.”  Well, you can do that, but The Great Plate is sooooo much more!  You know that annoying party foul that happens when you’re holding your drink in one hand and flimsy paper plate filled with food in the other and you keep on having to put one thing down to shake a hand, or pull out your phone, or grab your kid by the collar!  You can single handedly manage your food and beverage….And, it’s made right here in the USA.  Use it indoors, outdoors or even in the pool!  

The Great Plate

Float your drink (and snack) in the pool with The Great Plate!

The Great Plate is the brain child of Rick Kellow and Beth Kuehl, a Wisconsin couple who debuted their idea on Food Network’s Food Fortunes.  3 investors got on board and with an investment of 250K, The Great Plate is now sold all over the country at CVS, on their website and coming soon to some major retailers.

The inspiration for the idea?  Between them, Beth and Rick have six kiddos who would make a big mess when they are snacking or eating…this solved that and so much more.  This is seriously the Cadillac of plates– it’s made out of FDA virgin resin polypropylene so the plates are safe to eat off of, are dishwasher safe, microwave safe, 100% recyclable and even BPA free!

You know how much I hate cleaning up after parties– I’m not exactly Queen of Clean when it comes to entertaining, so I love that the plates unique design allows them to stack compactly, go right into the dishwasher (and come out dry!) You can stack them on the buffet table and separate them just as easily when it’s time to pass around plates to your guests.  

Great Plate Stack

Stack ’em easily for guests!

And, bonus….Flatten the plate and throw it like a frisbee!  Talk about a party favor!

You’ll be seeing a lot more of Parker’s Plate using The Great Plate, so stay tuned….

Check out my segment featuring these recipes on Low Country Live in Charleston!

 
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