Category Archives: Videos

No Hassle St. Patrick’s Day Entertaining

greenpopcorn

Who needs the luck of the Irish when you can entertain with super easy shortcuts…as in, grab some ready-made frosting and decorate cookies you buy at your grocery store bakery?  It’s the QT you’ll have with the kiddos when you decorate them that matters, after all!

frostedcookies

Pass the green beer, y’all and grab a cupcake!  If you don’t have time to bake, don’t sweat it.  Grab some store bought cupcakes and hit the dollar store for St. Patrick’s Day decorations– they make ordinary cupcakes pack some major “Wow Factor” when they’re served to your guests.  Plus, the kids will love them.

irishcupcakes

I found this recipe from the Yummy Life for making green popcorn that was by far the easiest…I initially tried making it the old fashioned way on the stove top and burned it all!  Green, burned popcorn– NOT awesome.  But, the microwave is the way to go– and it comes out like gourmet kettle corn!  Definitely a hit!

Here’s my segment where I shared these tips on The Dee Armstrong Show…

 

Chicken Sausage

Buffalo Chicken Sausage Bites 2 Ways

Chicken Sausage

Buffalo Chicken Sausage Bites

My new motto is “Sausage Swap,” y’all!  It really is the new bacon, if you haven’t heard.  Skewer some for a garnish on your Bloody Mary and add it to Dirty Rice for a “Quick and Dirty Dinner!”

I teamed up with Johnsonville again to bring you even more sausage delish– so you can sausage-ize your favorite Game Day dishes.  Instead of boring old buffalo chicken wings, swap out with sausage– I made 2 different versions of Buffalo Chicken Sausage bites.  You’re not only swapping out for big flavor, you’re also saving on calories, sodium and fat.  Chicken sausage has 50% less fat than classic smoked beef sausage and 25% less sodium.  I also love how versatile it is–  in one of these recipes, you’re simply slicing the sausage as is— in the other, you pull it out of the casing and form meatballs with the addition of jalapenos and mango for a sweet and spicy kick!  

You can use buffalo sauce right out of the bottle, but if you add a little melted butter, a few Tablespoons of blue cheese and a bit of white vinegar, the sauce tastes soooo much better.  Trust me on this one!

Another tip, once you form your chicken sausage meatballs, saute them in a pan to brown the outside– it also seals in the juicy flavor— and then cook them off in the oven.

Chicken sausage meatballs on the set of Great Day Washington.

Chicken sausage meatballs on the set of Great Day Washington.

Great Day Washington

With Great Day Washington hosts Chris Leary and Markette Sheppard.

It’s actually a miracle I made it to the set, since I got trapped in the “Pre-Blizzard Ice Storm” that hit the DC area Wednesday night!  I didn’t make it home with my groceries until after midnight (what should have been a 20 minute commute took 4 1/2 hours!) Thank goodness Mama Parker stepped in and helped me prep and cook till 3am!  

Here’s the link to the segment on Great Day Washington and see below for the recipes…..

*This post and segment was sponsored by Johnsonville Sausage, but all opinions are my own.

Buffalo Chicken Sausage Bites
Yummy, savory chicken sausage with buffalo sauce and blue cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Canola oil
  2. 1 package Johnsonville Apple Chicken Sausage
  3. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  4. 2 teaspoons corn starch
  5. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  6. 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  7. 1 cup sour cream
  8. ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
  9. 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. In a 4 quart saucepan, heat the oil on moderate heat. While the oil is heating, cut the sausages in 1/2 inch coins, and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the chili powder and corn starch and combine thoroughly.
  3. When the oil is hot (350 degrees), add half the Chicken Apple Sausage slices and fry until brown and the casings are shrinking just a bit.
  4. Remove and drain on a pan lined with paper towels and cook the remaining sausage. Coat with melted butter and hot sauce.
  5. Make the dip by combining the blue cheese and sour cream, adding lemon juice until it reaches your desired consistency.
  6. Serve with the buffalo chicken sausage bites.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Buffalo Chicken Sausage Meatballs
Spicy chicken sausage mixed with jalapeno and mango, drenched in tangy buffalo sauce with blue cheese dressing.
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For the meatballs
  1. 2 lbs. Johnsonville spicy chicken sausage taken out of casings
  2. ½ onion finely chopped
  3. 1 cup mangoes diced
  4. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  5. ¼ C. cilantro chopped
  6. 2-3 tbsp. finely diced jalapeño
  7. 1 eggs
  8. 1 Tb chili powder
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 1 tsp cumin
  11. ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  12. ½ tsp. ground black pepper
For the Buffalo Sauce
  1. 1 bottle of buffalo hot sauce
  2. 3 Tb melted butter
  3. 2 Tb white vinegar
  4. 3 Tb blue cheese
  5. Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and serve warm.
For the Blue Cheese Dressing
  1. 1 cup sour cream
  2. ¼ cup blue cheese (plus more if you want)
  3. 2 Tb fresh lemon juice
  4. kosher salt to taste
  5. chives for garnish
For the meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Add all ingredients into a bowl and combine thoroughly. Form into golf ball sized meatballs.
  3. Saute meatballs in 1 Tb butter and 1 Tb canola oil until browned all over (but not cooked through).
  4. Put meatballs on parchment paper or a greased rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
  6. Pour buffalo sauce over meatballs and drizzle with blue cheese dressing. Sprinkle with more blue cheese and chives.
For the Buffalo Sauce
  1. Combine ingredients in a sauce pan on medium heat and pour over meatballs (or dip in with sauce on side).
For the Blue Cheese Dressing
  1. Combine ingredients and drizzle over meatballs.
  2. Serve with chopped chives sprinkled over meatballs.
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/
Gator Eggs

Chompin’ at the Bit Bloody Mary and Gator Eggs

Chompin at the Bit

Fans will be “chompin’ at the bit” when they taste this delicious Bloody Mary!

Gator Eggs

Nothing like a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth Gator Egg washed down with a delish Bloody Mary!

It’s one of the most famous college rivalries EVER.  Florida vs. Georgia.  Georgia vs. Florida.  The game was first played in 1915 and has been played every season since 1926 with the exception of a war interruption in 1943.  Pretty cool history, eh?  The match up attracts huge crowds to Jacksonville, Florida (because the Dawgs and the Gators need to play on neutral ground!) which happens to be where I am spending a couple days showcasing some scrumptious “rival team inspired” drinks and dishes!

I actually got accepted to the University of Florida back in 1993, but I didn’t get assigned on-campus housing and my parents weren’t about to let my 18 year old self live off campus (and out of state) so young!  So, I never became a Gator– and by default, after living in Atlanta for almost a decade, I’m this close to being considered a Georgia fan!  (Just don’t call me a DAWG, y’all!!)

I teamed up with my friends at Johnsonville to make a Bloody Mary spread that will have you cheering with capital TEAM SPIRIT!  You know I have called myself the Bacon Babe from time to time…well, I have a new title.  Sausage Siren.  Oh yeah, baby!  Bacon Bloody Mary’s are soooooo last tailgate season.  Adding some smoky sausage as a garnish adds so much flavor to the drink, combined with a bit of Gatorade (emphasis on the GATOR!) makes it a smoky, citrus concoction that will have you and all your friends “chompin’ at the bit!”  What’s great about these Johnsonville sausages are that they’re already cooked, so it makes prepping so simple– you can just slice and go!  Garnishes are what make Bloody Mary’s so unique and such a stand out cocktail….the sausages look so good skewered on the top of the glass, don’t they?

Bloody Mary and Gator Eggs

Garnishes make a Bloody Mary a signature cocktail – I love the skewered Johnsonville sausage with cocktail onions.

Deviled eggs are one of my favorite things on the planet— if I’m at a restaurant and they have deviled eggs, I always have to order them and sample a new version, a different flavor.  When I make them at home, I add in a secret ingredient: Soft, salted butter.  It makes the yolk filling super velvety and rich!  Give these gator eggs a try– I loved them so much I scarfed down a few in my car on the way to my cooking segment at The Chat!  See video below and stay tuned for the Barking Bloody Mary tomorrow— I’m not playing favorites, y’all!

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

Chompin' at the Bit Bloody Mary and Gator Eggs
Serves 4
Florida fans will be chompin' at the bit with this smoky, citrus infused Bloody Mary and melt-in-your-mouth deviled eggs.
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
For the Bloody Mary
  1. 1 cup Vodka
  2. 3 cups Bloody Mary Mix or tomato juice
  3. 3/4 cup lemon lime Gatorade
  4. 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  5. 4 JOHNSONVILLE Beddar with Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links, grilled and sliced in one inch pieces
  6. 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  7. 1 orange, sliced into wedges
  8. 8 gimlet onions
  9. 4 skewers
For the Gator Eggs
  1. 12 eggs
  2. 2 Tb softened, salted butter
  3. 1/4 cup mayo
  4. 1 Tb dijon mustard
  5. pinch kosher salt
  6. 2 Tb sweet red pepper relish
  7. black olives for garnish
  8. smoked paprika for garnish
For the Bloody Mary
  1. In a shaker or pitcher, mix vodka, Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice, Gatorade and hot sauce.
  2. Pour into 4 glasses with ice.
  3. For the garnish, assemble each of the four skewers with pieces of Johnsonville Beddar with Cheddar Smoked Sausage and gimlet onions on a skewer. Place a lime and orange slice on rim of the glass.
For the Gator Eggs
  1. Put eggs in a large sauce pan and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil and then turn heat off.
  3. Let sit in simmering water for 12 minutes.
  4. Take shells off and slice hard boiled eggs in half.
  5. Scoop yolks into a bowl and mix with butter, mayo, mustard, salt and red pepper relish.
  6. (I like to use an electric hand beater to really whip it all together for a nice texture.)
  7. Put filling in a plastic bag and pipe into hard boiled egg whites.
  8. Garnish with black olives and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
 

Team Tailgate Trees

Light up Your Tailgate Like a Christmas Tree

Team Tailgate Trees

Turn your tailgate ON with gorgeous team themed trees and decorations from At Home!

Christmas in October?  Nope!  It’s Tailgate Season, y’all!  This is the hottest trend since bacon stuffed burgers!  At Home is selling these 4′ trees in multiple colors for only $24.99 that you can decorate in licensed decorations in both NFL and SEC team colors and logos.  Score!

Dallas Cowboys Tree

At Home Tree decorated in Dallas Cowboys licensed decorations.

Texas Longhorns Tree

At Home tree decorated in Texas Longhorns licensed decorations.

Not only does At Home have all the licensed team decorations (check out the adorable Tailgate Trailer in the above pic!) but they have lots of tailgating accessories like this 18″ football grill.  

Football Grill

18″ Football grill from At Home.

Aaaaaaaand, just consider At Home your one-stop-shop for plates, platters, beer mugs, and table accessories. I mean, football shag rug, anyone?  Hello Man Cave! 

Check out the video here from Daytime @ 9 in San Antonio….

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

 

Fall entertaining

Fall Entertaining on San Antonio Living

Fall entertaining

Fall is Here! Let’s decorate!

 

While most people are groaning about summer being over and the days growing colder and shorter, I’m loving every minute of the foray into fall!  It’s absolutely my favorite season– the smoky smells of fireplaces crackling to life after a year of slumber, the crunch of amber and golden hued leaves under my boots (yay boot weather!) and well, all the things I can cook with pumpkin.  This is the first year I have spent as much time thinking about decorating as I have about cooking.  Part of that inspiration is a new partnership with At Home, the Home Décor Superstore!  They are expanding all over the country– -which is really good news if you’re like me and need a little inspiration to get the design ball rolling.  

In preparation for a fall entertaining segment in San Antonio on San Antonio Living, I dragged my friend shopping with me, promising it would be a quick in and out.  OMG!  I felt like a little kid in a candy store….FEAST for the eyes!  Everywhere we looked, there was more to choose from!  I wanted to put together a sophisticated spread, but I didn’t want it to feel to “decorator-y.”  You guys KNOW what I mean.  Have you ever been to someone’s house and everything is SO well put together, it feels more like a museum and you don’t want to touch anything??  Instead, I wanted the visual element to be gorgeous, but with the “I could put that together too” vibe.  

I like choosing one inspirational item when I’m entertaining and build my aesthetic around it.  At Home’s glass pumpkins are beautiful conversation pieces, and I immediately knew I could create a table scene around them.  

Glass Pumpkin

At Home’s signature Glass Pumpkin comes in several sizes and colors.

Little secret here….I have never put together my own floral arrangement aside from the ones you pick out and pre-order from a florist.  The floral section was loaded with stunning fall colors and I had to start picking out my centerpieces because I still had grocery shopping to do!

Centerpiece

Don’t be afraid of big, bold colors to accent your table.

I put together 2 floral centerpieces– this was my favorite.  One of the things I’ve learned from my man, JP, who is a genius with color– he’s an artist, after all, is to not be afraid of bold color.  The entire spread doesn’t have to be wild, but integrating some big pops of color adds a really cool vibe that brings your party to life!

Working with the hues of that gorgeous mosaic pumpkin (in the foreground of the pic) I chose bright yellow accented with a rich plum.  

To add some depth and contour to the flowers, I filled a large At Home cylinder with an assortment of pine cones and crab apples.  I love how the colors play off each other and it creates such a terrific focal point on the table.  To accent the purple hued reeds, I used chargers of the same color.

Don’t be afraid to make more than one “centerpiece”– or create different “scenes” on one table, if you’re setting up appetizers on one side and desserts on the other, buffet style.

I didn’t have a cake stand, so I got creative and took another cylinder container and filled it with mini gourds and pumpkins, then put my No Bake Double Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake on top.  (That recipe is coming tomorrow!)

Cheesecake Stand

You don’t need a traditional cake stand! Get creative and place your (No Bake Double Layer Cheesecake!) on a cylinder filled with mini pumpkins!

When you’re setting up a table, think of multi-layers, alternating the heights of what you’re presenting.  I took some cool looking candelabras that I found at At Home and used one for a candle, and topped the other 2 with pumpkins.

Instead of using a boring old basket lined with a napkin for silverware, I took a mosaic container and filled it with forks, knives and spoons.  

The tablecloth I kept simple– a solid chocolate, since I was going to be working with so much color, but I accented it with gold leaf placemats which were subtle, but accentuated the other elements of the table.  

I knew what I wanted to accomplish in my mind’s eye, but it was so gratifying when it all came together on the set of San Antonio Living!  Here’s the segment so you can get some close ups of the gorg- and also check out some fall recipe ideas.  Stay tuned for No Bake Double Layer Cheesecake, Curried Butternut Squash Soup!  

Making a signature drink is always something that impresses guests…This is sort of the best combo of signature drink AND dessert!  Pumpkin Beer float, anyone?  DEEEEE-LISH!

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

Beer Floats

At Home has these adorable mason jar mugs that you can personalize for your guests with name tags! Cheers!

Pumpkin Beer Floats
The yummiest combo of a signature drink and dessert all in one!
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Ingredients
  1. Vanilla Ice cream (Caramel would be really delicious too!)
  2. Pumpkin Ale or Pumpkin Hard Cider
Instructions
  1. Scoop ice cream into mugs.
  2. Pour Pumpkin ale or cider on top.
  3. Serve immediately!
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!

Tailgating and beer

Tailgating & Beer Pairings

Tailgating and beer

Take your tailgating party to a whole new level with beer pairings!

Football season means tailgating and tailgating means it’s time to get your eat and drink on!  I’m so over burgers and brats— you can really impress your party people with some unique twists on the classic tailgate.  I’ve learned so much in the last couple months about beer since partnering with Let’s Grab a Beer– I now qualify as the “BEER BABE,” y’all!  In terms of versatility, lagers  are a great choice – they offer crisp and well balanced flavors with malty sweetness and complex hopping, which accentuate the flavors in foods without being overpowering.  Read:  They make everything taste better.  And lagers come in all flavors and styles, including pale, golden, amber or dark.

Go to LetsGrabA.Beer for more expert tips on beer and food pairings, beer trends and more.  

Here are a few of my fave tailgating snacks and the perfect pairings:

Chocolate Chipotle Chili and Cornbread layered in a mini mason jar:

Pair chili with Bud Light

An American Lager, like Bud Light, will bring down the heat of chili and be refreshing.

Hello, fabulous!  Look how stinkin’ cute this presentation is?!!  I made my “award winning” (it’s true, 3 trophies, people!) Chocolate Chipotle Chili with Jalapeno Cornbread.  And, not to get all braggy, but friends of mine have won their neighborhood competition with my recipe for 2 years running!)  

Chocolate Chipotle chili

It’s an award winner, y’all!

You want to pair the chili with an American Style Lager like Bud Light. An American style lager will allow you to enjoy the chili and cornbread flavors because it will cool the burn of the heat and open up a whole new flavor experience with the right balance of crisp hoppiness that doesn’t overpower the dish. 

Glassware: Pint Glass. Pint glass will keep the lager colder for longer and releases the natural carbonation quicker, keeping it crisp and refreshing.

Mini Mac and Cheese with Bacon Cups:

Mac & Cheese pairs with a Belgian Blonde

Pair Mac & Cheese with a Belgian Blonde Ale like Leffe Blond

The creamy, smokiness of this dish needs a beer which can mirror it, so try it with a Belgian Blond Ale like Leffe Blonde that is dry, fruity and lightly spiced for a perfect balance of strength and subtlety. The bitterness is delicate, extending over the whole palate and lingering as a subtle aftertaste that will complement the dish and enhance your normal Mac & Cheese experience 

Glassware: Goblet or Chalice Glass. The glass helps preserve the beer’s aroma and creates the perfect, creamy head.

Mini Mac & Cheese Bacon Cups
Smoky bacon and Gruyere takes this Mac & Cheese to a whole new level of delish.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 box macaroni
  2. 6 slices of bacon
  3. 1 Tb bacon fat
  4. 1 stick butter
  5. 3 cups milk
  6. 1 cup heavy cream
  7. 1/2 cup flour
  8. 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese grated
  9. 2 cups white cheddar grated
  10. 1/2 cup Parmesan grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Snip bacon into bite size pieces and saute until cooked. Reserve 1 Tb bacon fat and set aside.
  3. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  4. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large sauce pan and add flour, stirring for a minute.
  5. Pour in milk and heavy cream slowly and keep whisking-- mixture will seem thick but will even out as you pour in the rest of the liquid.
  6. Stir butter/flour/milk/cream mixture until smooth, bringing to a simmer, about 2 more minutes on medium/high heat.
  7. Add in all cheese (except parmesan) and stir until smooth.
  8. Combine with cooked macaroni, bacon and 1 Tb bacon fat.
  9. Once macaroni is thoroughly and evenly coated, spoon mixture into greased muffin tins/cupcake tins, filling to the top.
  10. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of mac & cheese muffins and then bake for 30 minutes until browned on top.
  11. Let cool slightly before scooping them out and serving.
Notes
  1. You can also put this entire recipe into a casserole dish and bake it the traditional way.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

Mini Meatball Sliders

Meatballs and IPA

Pair meatball sliders with an IPA like Goose IPA

I freaking LOVE sliders.  It’s the mouth feel, it’s the bite size delish, it’s the fact that I can eat one and not feel stuffed, while still saving room for the good stuff, like BEER.  Specifically, pairing meatball sliders with  An English-style or milder American IPA like Goose IPA.  The IPA will transform these mini meatball sandwiches into a different flavor experience, bringing out all the seasoning & spices while complementing both the sweetness of the sauce and meatballs to add another layer of zesty and spicy hop notes.

Glassware: Tulip glass. IPAs have a great color and aroma that are best displayed in a stemmed tulip glass allowing you to admire the walnut and amber colors, topped off with a creamy head. Glasses that curve inwards toward the top, such as tulips, focus beer aromas at the rim of the glass so the shape releases the warming aromas.

I had a hard time deciding what meatballs to make for this segment— I did a spin on Rachael Ray’s Florentine Meatballs with Cheese Sauce, but instead of using parmesan in the balls, I used Gruyere.  OMG.  They’re YUMMO, as Rach would say!  But check out some of my other signature meatball recipes, like Thai Meatballs with a Coconut Green Curry Sauce, Hoisin and Ginger Glazed Meatballs,  and Asian Meatballs with a Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce. Apparently, I kinda have an Asian theme going with my favorite meatball recipes!

Walking Taco

Walking Taco & Montejo

Pair your walking taco with a Mexican lager like Montejo

Hello, taco in a bag!  This is also known in tailgating circles as The Walking Taco and it’s so dang easy (and fun to make) you’ll never go classic taco shell again!  Just make all your favorite taco fixings, open up a bag of Fritos (or your favorite corn chip) dump it all in and shake it up!  Bam.  You’re welcome.  Pair your Walking Taco with a Mexican-style Lager like Montejo.  Mexican lagers have a great balance of refreshing sweetness and crisp hoppiness that will cleanse your palate and provide the refreshment you need to ensure you get all the flavors that pop with your walking taco. 

Glassware: Pint Glass. A Pint glass will keep the lager colder for longer and releases the natural carbonation quicker, keeping it crisp and refreshing.

Check out my segment in Greenville on Studio 62!

 

*This was a sponsored post by Let’s Grab a Beer, but all opinions are my own.

Easy Weeknight Meal

7 Layer Turkey Bake

Easy Weeknight Meal

Inspired by a Mexican 7 Layer Dip, this is an easy, weeknight meal!

I love to get creative with simple ingredients.  When I was invited to come on Charlotte Today as a guest, the producer told me the theme was “Easy, Weeknight Meals.”  Now that I’m traveling so much, the easier the prep is, the better!  Don’t get me wrong, I love to plan elaborate meals– but only when I have the time to pull them off without stress.  I may not have kiddos, but I know all too well the feeling of coming home after a long day and not having the energy or the imagination to figure out dinner.  

This dish is inspired by my love of Mexican food and 95% of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry.  Cans make homemade easy!  A combo of canned black beans, refried beans, southwestern corn, and Mexican style chopped tomatoes are layered with tortillas, taco seasoned ground turkey, and cheese.  You can make this ahead so all you need to do is put the casserole dish in the oven when you get home.  30 minutes later, you’ve got a delicious dinner that tastes like you’re out at your favorite neighborhood cantina– add in a cold margarita for the adults, and you’re guaranteed to keep this in your “Easy Weeknight Meals” rotation.  And, you can add more layers to make a bigger casserole– it doesn’t matter what order you put the ingredients in.  This is the perfect dish to have your kids help with– they’ll love building up the layers of delish!

Charlotte Today host Eugene Robinson was pretty stoked when he tasted the final product!  Check out the video below…

Turkey bake

Get in My Belly! With Charlotte Today host, Eugene Robinson

You can also check out Cans Get You Cooking for more easy, healthy delish! 

*This is a sponsored post, but the recipe and the opinions expressed are my own.

7 Layer Turkey Bake
Inspired by 7 Layer Mexican Dip, this meal has ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground turkey
  2. 1 package taco seasoning
  3. ⅔ cup water
  4. 1 Tb canola oil
  5. package of corn or flour tortillas
  6. 1 can refried beans
  7. ½ cup sour cream
  8. 1 can fiesta corn with red peppers (drained)
  9. 1 can chopped Mexican style tomatoes (drained)
  10. 1 can black beans (drained)
  11. 1 can red enchilada sauce
  12. 1 can pickled jalapenos (optional if kids don’t like it too spicy)
  13. 1 package of Mexican style cheese
  14. Cilantro, avocado and black olives for garnish.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large skillet, brown turkey in canola oil. Add ⅔ cup water and taco seasoning. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat, cooking until thickened, about 6-7 minutes. (Unlike ground beef, you won’t need to drain the turkey because it’s so lean).
  3. Spread tortillas out on a casserole dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Mix can of refried beans with sour cream and spread on top of tortillas.
  5. Layer with seasoned ground turkey, corn, tomatoes, black beans, jalapenos and cheese. Pour can of enchilada sauce over entire casserole. You can add additional cheese to another layer if you want!
  6. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until cheese bubbles.
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and black olives.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Thai Cucumber Cups

Thai Beef Tenderloin Cucumber Cups

Thai Cucumber Cups

These yummy bites have 3 cooling ingredients: mint, cucumber and chili pepper

I love a food challenge, so when my producer from The Weather Channel called and said, “Can you put together a segment on foods that cool?”  I said, “COOL!  Yes, I can!”

One of the most interesting things I found in my research is that surprisingly, hot chili peppers are a cooling food….they make you hot initially, but sweating detoxifies and ultimately cools you down.  Cucumber is the most water dense solid food— a whopping 96% water!  And mint is soothing and cooling as well.  What do you get when you combine all three with some high quality beef?  Thai Beef Tenderloin Cucumber Cups.  Plus, they’re low carb– no wontons in this recipe!  The presentation is gorgeous and the bites are so yummy!

 

AIR HD 2015-07-31 09 55 41 (5) from Parker Wallace on Vimeo.

Thai Beef Tenderloin Cucumber Cups
Low carb cucumber cups stuffed with marinated beef tenderloin, mint and Thai Basil.
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For the marinade
  1. 1 tsp fish sauce
  2. juice from 1/2 lime
  3. 1 Tb brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp chili paste (I use Sambal Oelek)
  5. 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  6. 1 Thai Chili chopped
  7. 1 shallot sliced into thin rings
  8. handful of Thai Basil and fresh mint chopped up
  9. 1 piece beef tenderloin
  10. red bell pepper strips and sesame seeds (for garnish)
For the cups
  1. 1 English cucumber sliced 1 inch thick, the insides scooped out for a cup.
  2. Cucumber
Instructions
  1. Combine marinade ingredients.
  2. Slice and scoop out cucumber.
  3. Cook tenderloin to medium rare and slice thinly.
  4. Combine meat with marinade. Chill for 2 hours.
  5. Stuff marinated meat into cucumber cups.
  6. Top with sesame seeds and a single strip of red bell pepper.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/