Grilled Bacon Jalapeno Poppers


~Amanda~

I had completely forgotten how much I love jalapeno poppers until we went to the Frisco BBQ Challenge the other weekend… there was so much amazing BBQ to try and we were going from stall to stall trying ribs and pork and tacos (yes, the tacos were so amazing that I had to recreate them, see my recipe for Pulled Pork and Veggie Tacos with Mango Slaw Here!). While walking down the street we saw a stand selling Jalapeno Poppers and the line was quite short so Conor ran over and bought a few just as a little snack between stalls, I wasn’t expecting much but I had one bite and they instantly became one of my favorite things of the day!


Jalapeno Poppers kind of have it all  when it comes to flavor; the jalapenos have just the right amount of spice – I love spicy food, but too spicy and I turn all red and start coughing so I really appreciate the spice of jalapenos because it’s not overwhelming. To offset that spice, they are filled with cool, creamy cream cheese. For my recipe I mix in some cheddar cheese with the cream cheese to add a little variety of flavor and a little gooey-ness, that’s a word right? And finally, probably the best part of these jalapeno poppers, they’re wrapped in bacon! I mean we were at  BBQ festival, so they had to be wrapped in bacon of course. The savory crispy bacon wrapped around the spicy pepper and creamy cheese is pretty much heavenly.

Jalapeno poppers are such a great appetizer, or side, for any party or meal because they are super easy to make and quite affordable – the ingredients to make these ten poppers cost less than ten dollars and the prep took about ten minutes. It takes about 20 minutes to grill them, but that doesn’t count because you can just sit outside with a nice cold drink and some good company while you have them on the grill… plus the smell of that bacon grilling will get your mouths watering and you’ll be so ready to eat them the second they come off the grill! With the 4th of July right around the corner, these are the perfect recipe to make for your celebration and everyone is sure to enjoy them… happy grilling!


Grilled Bacon Jalapeno Poppers
Yields 10
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Ingredients
  1. 5 jalapeno peppers
  2. 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 2-3 tablespoons cheddar cheese, shredded
  4. 10 slices bacon
  5. Toothpicks
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to high heat (alternatively heat your oven to 400 degrees).
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and cheddar cheese.
  3. Cut each jalapeno and cut in half lengthwise then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and membranes.
  4. Stuff the cheese mixture into each of the jalapeno halves.
  5. Wrap each jalapeno completely with bacon ensuring the cheese is covered (I do some with a full strip of bacon and some with half). Secure with toothpicks.
  6. Place jalapenos on grill cut side down and grill just until bacon begins to crisp, about 6 minutes. Flip jalapenos over and reduce heat to medium-low and cook an additional 10-12 minutes until bacon is cooked and cheese is melted.
  7. If cooking in the oven cook for about 20 minutes until bacon is crispy and cooked through.
  8. Remove toothpicks and enjoy!
The Sisters Kitchen http://www.thesisterskitchen.com/

Pulled Pork and Veggie Tacos with Spicy Mango Slaw


~Amanda~

Last weekend we were up in Frisco, Colorado for the world famous BBQ Challenge and it was ahhh-mazing! Every year before the BBQ challenge starts up on Saturday afternoon, they have a morning race called the BACON BURNER – it’s a 6k along the lake in Frisco and they have delicious, crispy, warm bacon at the halfway point, can you think of a cooler run?! We love this race not only for the bacon, but because if you run a 6k in the morning, you’ve earned yourself the right to eat all the BBQ you want in the afternoon… we’re pretty sure we end up eating way more than we burn off from the run, but who cares when it’s the best BBQ ever!


(The Frisco BBQ Challenge, left, and my taco inspiration)

We ate our way through the festival trying anything and everything we could and left at the end of the day with so much inspiration for new recipes and ideas. We had ribs, brisket, pulled pork, jalapeno poppers, Nutella ice cream, and my favorite thing of the day – Pulled Pork Tacos with Grilled Veggies and Mango Salsa! These tacos were seriously to die for… the line was down the street, so you know they have to be good. The pulled pork was so juicy and tender, the veggies were covered in grill marks and so tasty and the mango salsa on top of the cool coleslaw was just the perfect topping.

When I started to think about how to make my own version of these tacos, I obviously had to start with the pulled pork. I have never made pulled pork before and after scouring the internet I know why – it takes forever! I was making these on a weeknight and didn’t have time to roast (and check on) the pork for 8 hours in my crockpot, so I did the next best thing, I went to CostCo and bought their frozen pulled pork. I know what you’re thinking, pre-made pulled pork? Am I crazy? No, I’m not – this pulled pork from is maybe one of their greatest products. We buy it all the time because it only takes 7 minutes to make and it is the most savory, delicious, tender and juicy pork ever. It makes you wonder why anyone would ever try and make it homemade. BUT if you have the time and want to do it, go for it, I applaud you!


Now that the pork is taken care of, we can think about the rest of the tacos; the veggies are simple – just toss some zucchini, peppers and onions with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them on the grill. Instead of recreating the mango salsa they had at the BBQ challenge, I decided to make a spicy mango coleslaw that I’ve made before to go with pulled pork sandwiches. The base is Greek yogurt and lime juice and a little Siracha adds some kick. To assemble the tacos, you top your tortillas (gluten-free corn ones of course) with the pulled pork, a few veggies, some slaw and avocado, cilantro and fresh lime juice to finish it off. If that doesn’t sound like one of the best tacos ever, I don’t know what does. Enjoy and Happy BBQ Season!


Pulled Pork and Veggie Tacos with Spicy Mango Slaw
Serves 4
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For the Mango Slaw
  1. ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  2. 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  3. 2 limes, juiced
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 16-ounce package coleslaw mix
  6. 1 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  7. 1 cup fresh cilantro, diced
  8. ½ red onion, diced
  9. 2 mangos, peeled and finely chopped
For the Tacos
  1. Pulled Pork (buy premade - CostCo has the BEST or make your own homemade recipe), warmed
  2. 2 medium zucchini
  3. 1 large red bell pepper
  4. ½ red onion
  5. 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  6. Salt and pepper, to taste
  7. 8 corn tortillas
  8. 1 avocado, chopped
  9. 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  10. 1 lime, sliced in wedges
Make the Mango Slaw
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together greek yogurt, Sriracha, lime juice and salt. Set aside.
  2. Add the coleslaw mix, purple cabbage, cilantro, red onion and mango.
  3. When ready to serve, toss coleslaw mix with dressing until evenly coated.
Grill the Veggies
  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Cut each zucchini into about 4 long strips, cut the pepper into 4 sections, and thinly slice the red onion.
  3. Toss the veggies with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  4. Grill veggies for about 4-5 minutes per side until tender.
  5. When the veggies are almost done, throw the tortillas on the grill to warm for about a minute.
  6. Remove from grill and cut in bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Assemble the Tacos
  1. Place the pork at the bottom of each tortilla and top with the veggies and mango slaw.
  2. Garnish with avocado, cilantro and a fresh squeeze of lime juice.
  3. Enjoy!
The Sisters Kitchen http://www.thesisterskitchen.com/

Apricot, Orange, & Rosemary Chicken

~Jackie~

The other day I was going through all our recipes and noticed that we have very few with chicken. This was surprising to me because I eat chicken 3 or more times a week! I decided that I need to start sharing more of my weekly go-to recipes, because chicken really can be delicious and easy to cook. Chicken is not only healthy and lean, it is a blank canvas for adding almost any kind of flavor. From chicken burgers, to chicken curry, and chicken stir fry, I have incorporated chicken into just about every type of cuisine. I love to slow cook and grill chicken, but sometimes I think baking it is the easiest and best way to keep it tender. I also recently invested in a meat tenderizer, which I have found is an easy way to quickly tenderize chicken as well as other meats in less than a minute! 

Everyone can probably already guess that my favorite TV channel is Food Network and I will watch any show anytime of the day. I certainly have my favorites (The Pioneer Woman, Giada, Bobby Flay), and some unmentionable not- so favorites, but I always find new inspiration on what to eat and how to cook it. A few months ago, Trisha Yearwood’s cooking show was on and she made this really easy chicken with a side of orzo pasta. I was needing a new chicken recipe so I decided to try it out and fell in love with the simplicity and sweet and tangy flavors. The sweet jam, spicy dijon, and salty soy sauce are the perfect base to add you own flavors to. I really enjoy the fresh orange zest and rosemary, but have tried other combinations as well (lemon & thyme!)

I can’t say I would make many recipes that Trisha does on her show, but for some reason I can’t stop coming back to this one. You can make the marinade in the same pan you cook the chicken in and serve right out of it – so easy and less dishes for me later. To make the marinade: microwave apricot jam for about 20 seconds to loosen and transfer to baking dish. Add olive oil, mustard, tamari, orange zest, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper and mix with a small whisk to combine. Add the chicken to the marinade and spoon over until they are fully coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes (or overnight). Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite pasta, rice, or vegetable side. This recipe is great any time of the year and for any occasion. Happy cooking! 

Apricot, Orange, & Rosemary Chicken
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 5 ounces apricot jam
  3. 1/8 cup olive oil
  4. 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  5. 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce - not gf)
  6. 2 teaspoons orange zest, freshly grated
  7. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  8. 2-3 branches fresh rosemary, chopped
  9. salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Begin by making the marinade: microwave apricot jam for about 20 seconds to loosen and transfer to a medium sized baking dish. Add olive oil, mustard, tamari, orange zest, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
  2. Add the chicken to the marinade and spoon over until the chicken is fully coated.
  3. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes (or overnight).
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Spoon remaining marinade on top of chicken.
Notes
  1. Original recipe can be found: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/baked-apricot-rosemary-chicken-3470718
The Sisters Kitchen http://www.thesisterskitchen.com/

Brussels Sprout Salad with Lime, Avocado and Pistachios


~Amanda~

If you asked me ten years ago if I would ever serve Brussels Sprouts in my house, the answer would have been a definite no, as I’m sure it would have been for most people. However, in the last few years the vegetable that we always thought of as being absolutely disgusting has somehow become one of the most popular and favorite vegetables by many – including this girl, I am pretty much obsessed with them now. Once I realized that roasting Brussels Sprouts in the oven with some good seasonings and oil until they are caramelized and crunchy could make them taste heavenly, I started researching other recipes to use them in. This salad that I have adapted from DietHood quickly became one of my favorites.

I always love a delicious salad to serve when I’m grilling out in the summer. Nothing goes better with some hot grilled brats or chicken or burgers (anything really!) than a nice cool salad. This Brussels Sprout Salad with Lime, Avocado and Pistachios is absolutely perfect because it goes with just about anything and it’s a play on your traditional coleslaw but way healthier and way tastier! When you shave down the Brussels sprouts, they look just like any coleslaw and they hold up to so many added flavors. One of the reasons I really love this recipe is because it’s so simple with a short ingredient list and it can be made in minutes on any busy evening – I send Conor out to the grill to cook the meat while I quickly throw this together and we’re always done at the same time and ready to eat!

So what’s in this magnificent salad?! Brussels sprouts (of course) that are shaved super thin then combined with some sauteed red onion and cooked for a few minutes so they are just slightly softened and warmed through. For a hint of sweetness, I add a touch of honey and to complement that I love some fresh and tangy lime zest and juice – the zest is key, it adds so much flavor. Finally you get some good crunch from chopped pistachios and just a little creaminess from avocado chunks. And that’s it! What’s not to love about this!? You can make a half recipe for a dinner for two or make a double for a big BBQ with friends, everyone will be sure to love it. Enjoy!


Brussels Sprout Salad with Lime, Avocado and Pistachios
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed
  3. 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  4. salt and pepper, to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon honey
  6. 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  7. 1 lime, zested and juiced
  8. 1 avocado, cubed
Instructions
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed
  3. 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  4. salt and pepper, to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon honey
  6. 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  7. 1 lime, zested and juiced
  8. 1 avocado, cubed
The Sisters Kitchen http://www.thesisterskitchen.com/
 

Lemony Asparagus and Artichoke Pasta


~Amanda~

Spring has sprung and it is gorgeous and green outside, and it has been so wondefully warm this past week… although, it’s pouring rain out now and snow is also potentially on the way so that’s kind of interfering with my spring time vibes in this post. Oh well, I’ll reminisce about last night when it was still nice out and I was in the mood for a nice light dinner made with one of my favorite spring/summer ingredients – asparagus! Asparagus is such a great vegetable that can be used in so many dishes; you can roast it with sundried tomatoes and garlic for a yummy side dish, you can put it in your favorite breakfast fritatta to add a new spin to it, or you can incorporate it into an awesome lemony pasta dish, like I do here! This is not just a perfect dish for spring, but it’s also super quick and easy to prepare, making it the perfect weeknight meal when you don’t want to spend a long time cooking after a long day.


You may be surprised that as someone with celiac disease that I am absolutely obsessed with pasta – but it’s only because I discovered the best gluten free pasta EVER made by Ancient Grains. I’m sure you’ve seen me post about it many many times, but that’s just because it’s so good and I love that it’s made out of quinoa and has a good amount of protein in it. In this recipe I use the Rotini pasta. When you make it, you can use regular or gluten free pasta and Rotini, Bow Ties or something similar in shape will do just fine. Now back to our star spring ingredient, the asparagus; to make the asparagus, I love to saute it in some olive oil rather than boiling it. I think this is so much greater because you keep the crisp texture while softening it just a bit and you get a little added flavor too. I also add the artichoke hearts to the pan with the asparagus to saute as well and infuse more flavor into everything.


What really makes this dish taste light and spring-y is the lemon. Both lemon juice and zest add layers of citrusy flavor to the pasta. I love lemon in pasta because it adds so much flavor to the dish without being heavy like a cream sauce would. However, you gotta have a little something creamy and rich when you’re making a pasta dish which is where the goat cheese and parmesan come in. When I have made similar dishes in the past, I have used only parmesan cheese, but I had some goat cheese in the fridge too so I tested it out and will always be using both going forward! The salty parmesan combined with the creamy and savory goat cheese is just divine. And when that’s combined with the crisp asparagus, tangy artichokes, and citrusy lemon you have just enough of every flavor and texture to make this the best pasta dish ever that you are sure to love… Enjoy!

Lemony Asparagus and Artichoke Pasta
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. ½ pound asparagus, cut in 1½“ pieces
  2. 4 cups uncooked rotini or bow tie pasta (can use GF)
  3. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 14 ounces canned artichoke hearts, drained and cut in quarters
  5. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  6. ½ teaspoon cayenne
  7. ¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
  8. ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  9. 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  10. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and then drain and place pasta back in pot and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and saute for about 5 minutes, then add the artichoke hearts and saute for another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, cayenne, half the lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
  4. Add the asparagus mixture to the pot with the pasta along with the goat and parmesan cheeses and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Toss until cheese has melted and everything is combined. Add some of the extra pasta water if the mixture seems to thick.
  5. Serve topped with the rest of the lemon zest and juice and enjoy!
The Sisters Kitchen http://www.thesisterskitchen.com/