The Yankee recently made a discovery, and I’m in love.
I used to buy gallons of fruit tea from a BBQ joint called JJ’s in Spring Hill, TN. It was amazing, and usually came in a washed out gallon-size pickle or mayonnaise container. Fine by me, as long as it ended up in my kitchen.
We moved away from Spring Hill about nine years ago, though, and I have been fruit-tea-less and bereft.
The Yankee found Alley Cat Tea at our local Publix and bought some for me to try. It is the real deal, folks. So much so that they don’t even know I’m writing this review/recipe — they didn’t give me any free or pay me, I just think it’s so great that y’all should know about it. To be fair, they DID offer to give me some tea, but our schedules do not mesh well. 🙂
My favorite is to just drink it straight, but a little Jack Daniel’s in it doesn’t hurt either. 😉 I wanted to find a way to cook with it, too, so I made this fruity/fruit-tea (see what I did there) chicken salad and it’s SO GOOD. It has sweetness from the tea, pineapple, and craisins; it has a tiny bit of sour from the lemon juice, and the chicken holds it all together. It does not have celery, because I don’t like eating dental floss.
To make your own:
- 2 chicken breasts, marinated (see below)
- 1 cup fruit tea, divided
- 2 ounces mayonnaise
- 1/2 granny smith apple, diced
- 1/4 cup craisins
- 1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
- juice of one lemon
- Salt, pepper
- Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks, and marinate in 3/4 cup fruit tea — at least a couple hours, preferably overnight
- Cook the chicken in the tea; I did mine in a slow cooker for about 2 hours, then shred the chicken
- Mix cooled, shredded chicken with mayo, apple, raisins, pineapple, lemon juice, plus remaining 1/4 cup fruit tea, then add salt and pepper to taste
This is amazing served as a sandwich on Hawaiian rolls, and also great with crackers for little appetizers. Enjoy!
I am really, really lucky.
And by really, really lucky I mean I live about a mile away from Martin’s BBQ Joint. This is nationally acclaimed BBQ practically in my back yard!
One of my favorite things there (which is a pretty major decision; it’s all amazing) is the Alabama white sauce. It’s incredible on Martin’s smoked wings, but it’s also incredible on turkey sandwiches, meatballs, you name it. Fortunately Pat Martin shared the recipe with Garden & Gun a while back, so I get to make it at home now, too. I scale it way down to 1/4 of his recipe (see below); you can see Pat’s original proportions here.
Alabama white sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s)
- 5 ounces cider vinegar
- 3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt (heaping)
- 1/2 tbsp. black pepper (heaping)
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Stir it all together (I use a whisk), then store in a squeeze bottle or Mason jar
- Add to everything you can think of.
This is one of those fabulous recipes that is so simple and easy to make, but tastes like you spent a long time on it. BONUS.
It originally comes, I’m told, from Brennan’s in New Orleans; I found it here on Food.com.
The sauce is rich and creamy without being complicated, and because I used chicken tenders rather than chicken breasts, this cooks up really quickly — perfect for a weeknight meal. I used more cream than the original recipe called for because I wanted enough sauce for the pasta too; I also added some olive oil, and some cayenne pepper for a little kick.
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3/4 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 pounds chicken tenders
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup butter, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Angel hair pasta
- Get a large pot of water boiling for the pasta
- Combine spices and sprinkle over both sides of chicken tenders
- Heat olive oil and 2 Tbsp. butter in heavy pan until sizzling, then cook tenders till the pink is gone, about 4 minutes a side
- Add remaining butter and cream and simmer till sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes or so
- Cook pasta while sauce thickens, then serve chicken and sauce over pasta
Now here is my question: who is good at reheating cream sauce? Know any tricks? This is amazing the right out of the pan, but I have not yet learned how to reheat cream sauces without them separating and being weird. Who can school me?
Out of desperation comes one of my favorite new snacks! Isn’t that often the way?
My friend Traci made me some firecrackers (fire crackers? Two words?) last summer and was kind enough to scribble down the recipe for me. I made some more of them last week but was trying to talk myself into something more substantial than crackers for lunch, when it occurred to me I had a cold roasted chicken in the fridge. Enter inspiration.
I shredded the chicken, tossed it in some ranch dressing, and put that on top of the firecrackers. It’s spicy with the peppers and cool with the ranch chicken, and oh so tasty!
Ranch chicken firecrackers
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 package dry ranch seasoning
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 3-4 Tbsp. crushed red pepper, depending on your spice preference
- 3 sleeves saltine crackers
- Cold, cooked, shredded chicken
- Enough bottled ranch dressing to lightly coat chicken (these last two depend on how much you want to make, obviously)
- Add oil, seasoning, spices, and crushed pepper into a one-gallon zip top bag; seal the top and mush it all around till everything is well combined
- Add in the crackers and shake them around a little to coat them with the oil and spice mixture
- Let it all sit in the bag for a good 12 hours or so, flipping the bag over any time you think of it, till all the mixture is absorbed into the crackers
- Once those are ready, just shred some cooked chicken with a fork (leftovers are your friend, here), toss it in as much ranch as you like, and put that on top of your firecrackers. So good!
I kind of never know what to do with chicken thighs. Chicken breasts? No problem. Ditto whole chickens. But I wasn’t sure what to do with chicken thighs till I saw this recipe, which looked simple and delicious. The end result is fantastic! Very tasty, with crispy skin that makes it seem like you’re eating fried chicken.
Pan-roasted chicken thighs
- 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Preheat your oven to 475F. This takes my oven about two and a half years to accomplish, so start early
- Put the chicken pieces on a paper towel-lined plate, and season well with salt and pepper
- Heat oil over fairly high heat in a cast iron or other heavy skillet big enough to hold your chicken without it being too crowded
- Put chicken in skillet, skin side down, and cook two minutes; reduce heat to medium-high and set a timer for 12 minutes; you’re looking for crispy, golden brown skin on the chicken, so move it around as needed to make it evenly browned
- Transfer your skillet to the oven and cook for 13 minutes; flip the chicken skin side up and continue cooking till it’s cooked through, about 5-8 more minutes
- Transfer to a plate and let it rest five minutes before serving
I will warn you that this was crazy levels of smoky in my oven; you might want to turn the fan on before you get this going. But it was SO GOOD and SO WORTH IT. Let me know if you try it!
I have been wracking my brain (and my computer) trying to figure out the source for this recipe! I saw this Pin on Pinterest and thought it sounded great… but when I clicked through it went to a white cheddar chicken pasta recipe. While that also sounds fabulous, it’s not what I was looking for this time. I finally found the recipe, though, on The Girl Who Ate Everything. Yay!
I scaled down the recipe a bit because I had only two chicken breasts plus a couple tenderloins (what came in our CSA box), and tweaked the timing so the cream cheese wouldn’t cook to long and curdle. So I pulled together this:
Crockpot Italian Chicken
- Two chicken breasts + 2 tenderloins
- 1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 8-ounce block of cream cheese
- Cooked pasta or rice
- Put soup, chicken, and Italian seasoning in slow cooker and turn on low — you’ll want 4-6 hours of cooking time at least, but more is fine; I’ve never had anything overcook in the slow cooker
- About an hour before you’re ready to eat, take the chicken out and cut it into chunks, then return it to the slow cooker; add in the cream cheese and cook everything together for another hour, then stir so it’s all incorporated into thick sauce
- Serve over cooked pasta or rice
This was so, so good, and is definitely going in our supper rotation!
Do y’all have any suggestions for more slow cooker meals for fall?
I’m kind of a crazy woman right now with a teething baby and homeschooling Kiddo, so I’m going on the assumption that a yummy recipe with no picture is better than no recipe at all. Right?? 🙂
My sweet friend Traci sent me this recipe — her favorite standby meal. She makes it straight-up BBQ served over mashed potatoes instead of rice, and it’s her favorite comfort food. Heaven forbid I leave a recipe alone, of course, so I tweaked it a bit and came up with this. It is SO FREAKING GOOD. You must make it.
Traci’s tropical chicken
- 4-6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 bottle BBQ sauce of your choice
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- pineapple rings
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Melt 1 stick of butter in a 9X13 glass baking dish and place chicken breasts in the dish
- Whisk together BBQ sauce, sugar, chili powder and a pinch each of salt and pepper; pour over the chicken, then top with pineapple rings
- Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until chicken registers at least 165 degrees. BE CAREFUL pulling the pan out of the oven because, as Traci says, there will be lots of sweet, delicious, sploshy sauce. I love that!
- When the chicken has about 20 minutes left to cook, stir together rice and pineapple juice and add in the 1 Tbsp. of butter; cook either in a rice cooker or in a pot on the stove. We’re using pineapple juice INSTEAD of water here — do not also add water to it
- When everything is done, serve chicken over rice, then spoon some of the sauce over the whole thing
It is heavenly.