Beer can chicken

I picture it something like this:

A kitchen…

Folks preparing a cold chicken for frying…

“Hey Vern! Watch this!”

Friends collapse in hearty guffaws

… crickets …

“Hey, what if….?”

And there you have it. Just like that, beer can chicken was born.

This chicken is so good and so easy! All the crispy goodness of fried chicken without the added fat or highly flammable liquids. And it’s so low maintenance that it’s great for serving a crowd — no standing over a hot stove required. What’s not to love?

The pan itself we’ve had so long that I don’t even remember where I picked it up, but you can get a really basic model for about ten bucks. All it really needs to do is help the beer can, and therefore the chicken, stay upright on the grill. You can do it just on a beer can without a pan, but it’s pretty tippy that way.

So beyond the pan all you really need is:

  • A chicken (duh)
  • A can of beer
  • Spray cooking oil
  • Whatever spices strike your fancy at the moment
  1. Start by opening the beer and drinking about 1/3 of it. I know, I know, but these are the sacrifices we make for cooking
  2. Using a church key, make a few more holes in the top of the can (like you’re opening canned milk) and dump in some spices; we use Char Broil It as raved about mentioned here along with some salt and pepper
  3. Now place the can in the pan (this feels like Green Eggs and Ham); put the chicken over the can, then spray the chicken with Pam. Got that?
  4. Now pat your spice mix of choice onto the chicken. Don’t be shy — get plenty on there
  5. Put the whole thing on the grill or in an oven — either way at about 350F
  6. Roast for about 30-45 minutes, or until internal temp is 180F

That’s it, people! A whole chicken done! This is great with roasted broccoli and some fresh bread. Enjoy!

Classic chocolate chip cookies

Just makes you want to reach for a glass of milk, doesn’t it?

These are classic, easy, ridiculously nom-worthy chocolate chip cookies from my very favorite cookbook. Get the oven heating!

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup softened shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar — half brown, half white
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 oz. chocolate chips (about 1 1/4 cups, or half a bag)

And then:

  1. Mix together butter, shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla till creamy, but not fluffy
  2. Sift together and stir in flour, soda, salt and mix in with wet ingredients
  3. Add in chocolate chips and stir
  4. Chill dough while oven is preheating to 375F
  5. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, about 2″ apart
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes until they are just barely starting to brown — Betty says “delicately browned.” I love that
  7. Cool slightly on the cookie sheet, then move to a rack to cool completely

Makes about 3 dozen 2″ cookies. And they don’t last long.

BBQ chicken pizza

This is a perfect meal to throw together during the middle of the week. Quick, easy, and so delicious!

You will need:

  • chicken — I used three boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • dough — your refrigerator dough, homemade dough, or even store bought
  • barbecue sauce
  • cheese

And then:

  1. Start with the chicken: three chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, thrown into the slow cooker set to low in the morning — no barbecue sauce yet because you don’t want the sugar in it to cook as long as the chicken
  2. About two hours before supper time you’re ready to shred the chicken; since it’s in a crock pot this may be as easy as breaking it up with a wooden spoon, but you can take it out and shred it if need be. Return the meat to the slow cooker set to low and add in enough barbecue sauce to fully coat all the meat
  3. About an hour before baking time pull out some refrigerated dough, form it into a ball and set it in a olive oil brushed cast iron skillet to rise for about 45 minutes
  4. After 45 minutes, start your oven preheating to 400 degrees
  5. Now assemble your pizza! Pat out the dough, then top with barbecue chicken, extra sauce, and whatever else your little heart desires: onions, garlic, pineapple, you name it. Then sprinkle on the cheese and bake at 400F till the cheese is melted and the crust is done — this probably won’t take more than ten minutes or so

Enjoy!

Emergency chocolate cake

You know how it works: it’s 10:30 at night and you just. have. to. have. chocolate. cake. right. now. NOW. Nothing else will do. What’s that? No cake in the pantry? Well in three minutes there will be one in your hot little hands.

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for a while now, purely in the name of research (what??), and this is the best incarnation I’ve come up with. I do not use the egg that most recipes call for because it’s just too much; all you taste and feel is boiled egg. I use cake flour because AP flour can feel dense in this and make the cake too heavy, but obviously if you’re experiencing an Official Chocolate Emergency, use what you have.

So next time you’re dying for chocolate cake, try this:

Start by spraying the inside of a coffee mug with nonstick spray. Then put into the mug:

  • 2 Tbsp. cake flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. oil
  1. Stir together with a fork until well blended
  2. Microwave for 60 seconds
  3. Turn out onto a plate; eat it plain or top with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, or both!

Isn’t that easy?

Emergency chocolate cake

You know how it works: it’s 10:30 at night and you just. have. to. have. chocolate. cake. right. now. NOW. Nothing else will do. What’s that? No cake in the pantry? Well in three minutes there will be one in your hot little hands.

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for a while now, purely in the name of research (what??), and this is the best incarnation I’ve come up with. I do not use the egg that most recipes call for because it’s just too much; all you taste and feel is boiled egg. I use cake flour because AP flour can feel dense in this and make the cake too heavy, but obviously if you’re experiencing an Official Chocolate Emergency, use what you have.

So next time you’re dying for chocolate cake, try this:

Start by spraying the inside of a coffee mug with nonstick spray. Then put into the mug:

  • 2 Tbsp. cake flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. oil
  1. Stir together with a fork until well blended
  2. Microwave for 60 seconds
  3. Turn out onto a plate; eat it plain or top with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, or both!

Isn’t that easy?

Key Lime Martini

This may be the perfect summer cocktail! Sweet and tart and limey (is that a word?) all at the same time. I’m in love! From Crazy Sista Cooking (one of my very favorite cookbooks).

You will need:

  • 1 oz vanilla vodka
  • 1/2 oz Licor 43
  • 1/2 oz KeKe Beach Key Lime liqueur
  • 1/4 oz key lime juice
  • 1 fresh lime wedge
  • Crushed graham crackers

To mix:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with lots of ice
  2. Add in vanilla vodka, both liqueurs and key lime juice
  3. Shake, shake, and shake some more
  4. Make a slice into the lime wedge and run it around the rim of a martini glass, then dip the glass rim into the crushed graham crackers
  5. Strain the cocktail mix into the glass, filling to the top
  6. Garnish with the lime wedge and enjoy!

Key Lime Martini

This may be the perfect summer cocktail! Sweet and tart and limey (is that a word?) all at the same time. I’m in love! From Crazy Sista Cooking (one of my very favorite cookbooks).

You will need:

  • 1 oz vanilla vodka
  • 1/2 oz Licor 43
  • 1/2 oz KeKe Beach Key Lime liqueur
  • 1/4 oz key lime juice
  • 1 fresh lime wedge
  • Crushed graham crackers

To mix:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with lots of ice
  2. Add in vanilla vodka, both liqueurs and key lime juice
  3. Shake, shake, and shake some more
  4. Make a slice into the lime wedge and run it around the rim of a martini glass, then dip the glass rim into the crushed graham crackers
  5. Strain the cocktail mix into the glass, filling to the top
  6. Garnish with the lime wedge and enjoy!