Categories
Appetizer Main Dish Side Dish Snack

Kick football season off with a bang by making shotgun shells

Smoked Shotgun Shells
These smoked shotgun shells are made with seasoned sausage stuffed into manicotti shells and wrapped in bacon. They are a fantastic dish for a football snack table.

As soon as the weekly forecast came out, telling us that the opening weekend of football would be perfect for spending some time outside, Joey announced we were going to invite some folks to watch the games and throw some food on the smoker.

Of course, I had to stick my nose in and announce to him that I already found the perfect recipe to try, and being completely used to me regularly doing this to him, he immediately agreed—even though the name caught him off guard for a second.

I wanted to make shotgun shells.

The recipe is actually aptly named, considering it consists of stuffed manicotti shells. I suppose it sounds a little more macho than calling them stuffed tubes.

Also, I know I have given you a couple smoker recipes of late, but these can also easily be made in your oven or on a normal grill (as long as you watch your temperature).

This comes from the website “Or Whatever You Do” by Nicole Johnson. You can find the original post at https://www.orwhateveryoudo.com/2022/05/traeger-smoked-shotgun-shells.html. I added garlic and extra spices to my version and used sausage instead of ground beef.

Smoked Shotgun Shells
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Smoked Shotgun Shells

These smoked shotgun shells are made with seasoned sausage stuffed into manicotti shells and wrapped in bacon. They are a fantastic dish for a football snack table.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword bacon, barbecue rub, barbecue sauce, barrel smoker, Big Green Egg, football snack, garlic, ground sausage, Kamado Joe, manicotti, shredded cheese, smoker, Traeger

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1 cup shredded cheese I used Mexican blend
  • 2-3 tablespoons barbecue seasoning
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 12 manicotti shells uncooked
  • 12 slices bacon not thick sliced
  • about 1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Instructions

  • At least six hours before you want to start cooking, prepare your shotgun shells.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sausage with the cheese, seasoning and garlic. Once it is well combined, stuff each manicotti shell with the sausage and wrap each one with a strip of bacon.
  • Place the assembled shells in an airtight container or on a plate wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerate for six hours or overnight.
  • To cook them, preheat your smoker or oven to 250 degrees. Place the shells about an inch apart on the grill and let them cook with the lid closed for at least one hour before opening to check the temperature (you’re looking for 160 degrees for done sausage) and turning them on the grill to make sure they cook evenly.
  • Just before the shells are finished cooking (ours took about one and one-half hours), baste them with barbecue sauce on all sides.
  • Once the sausage in the center of the shells is cooked through and the bacon is crispy, remove them from the grill and serve.

These were absolutely fabulous. We didn’t have a single shotgun shell left by the time Sunday Night Football came on TV—and I made a double batch. It was absolutely perfect, both for lunch and for snacking during the later afternoon games.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, the manicotti cooked all the way through on the smoker. Joey and I were both really skeptical and almost par-boiled the shells just in case, but I decided to trust the process, and they were perfectly al dente by the time the sausage and bacon was done. It was a strange sort of magic that I don’t understand but definitely appreciate.

Hopefully we’ll have a few more weekends of dragging our TV outdoors for football and enjoying good food with good people in our backyard. But even if winter comes quickly and drives us indoors, I think shotgun shells will remain a regular on the menu.

This piece first appeared in print on Sept. 15, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Breakfast

You don’t have to work hard for ‘egg’cellent pizza

Breakfast pizza is easy to make and gives you all the flavors of sausage gravy, eggs and fried potatoes in one, handheld meal.

In January, Joey happened upon a post for a local restaurant that was going to serve breakfast pizzas for their New Year’s Day brunch.

We weren’t able to make it, but he kept mentioning it over the next few weeks—noting that we could surely figure out how to make a fantastic breakfast pizza ourselves.

After all, we are pretty good at breakfast at our house. Of course, we mostly just eat it for dinner, opting for boring items like granola bars and cereal in the morning, but I think it still counts.

One of our favorites is making biscuits with sausage gravy, and that became the base for our breakfast pizza idea. After some brainstorming, we came to a consensus and created this week’s recipe.

As you will see, it’s simple to customize. You can easily make it spicy or substitute some frozen hashbrown potatoes in place of a fresh spud. You can even use a gravy mix, if you like. I won’t tell anyone.

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Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast pizza is easy to make and gives you all the flavors of sausage gravy, eggs and fried potatoes in one, handheld meal.
Course Breakfast
Keyword cheese, eggs, pizza, potatoes, premade crust, sausage gravy

Ingredients

  • 2 packages pre-made pizza dough I used 7.8-ounce crusts
  • 1 pound sausage I used sage
  • flour amount will vary, see directions
  • milk I used skim (amount will vary, see directions)
  • 1 medium potato thinly sliced
  • an egg for each person
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 2 cups shredded cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to whatever temperature is listed on your pre-made crusts. Roll them out onto pizza or sheet pans (place them on parchment paper for easier cleanup).
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat, saute the sausage, crumbling it as it browns.
  • Once the sausage is cooked through, do not drain the fat from the pan. Sprinkle flour into the pan, a little at a time, while stirring. Add just enough flour to soak up all of the fat in the pan. You’ll know you have enough when the sausage is no longer shiny.
  • Cook for a couple minutes, and then add about one cup of milk. Stir, scraping the bottom of the skillet as you do to get any cooked on bits.
  • Add more milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until you reach your desired gravy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I also normally add some more sage and some cayenne pepper to mine.) Remove it from heat.
  • Spread the gravy out on the crusts to within about an inch of the edge. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the gravy, and then top with potato slices.
  • Carefully crack one egg for each person you’re feeding toward the center of the pizzas and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Bake the pizzas for the amount of time on the crust packaging.
  • Cut into slices and serve.

We really enjoyed this for supper. It kind of combines all the great flavors of breakfast into one easy-to-eat meal. Plus, it reheated really well, too.

Variations we thought about were you could wait until halfway through the pizzas baking to crack the eggs on top to get a runny yolk, and we’re going to go out of our way to use spicy sausage next time, too.

It’s always nicer when somebody else cooks for you, and if we get a chance at some restaurant-made breakfast pizza sometime, I’m sure we’ll take it. But now that we know how to make this ourselves, staying home for dinner is pretty great option, too.

This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 10, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish

It’s ‘Tim’ to try a brand new sandwich

The Timbo sandwich is the creation of Tim Daniels, a podcaster, who said he wanted to cement his legacy by creating his own signature sandwich, which features melty cheese, caramelized onions, and a spicy kick.

Quarantine has been a strange time for all of us. 

Despite many businesses and people moving to regular operations, especially as some people have been able to receive a vaccine, I still consider myself in quarantine.

Joey and I have a very small group of people in our “COVID bubble,” and socializing has been relegated to either those few, select souls or electronic means. I can’t imagine I’m the only one feeling a bit stir crazy and craving more interactions.

That’s probably why I did something weird this week: I made a sandwich from a podcast I listen to, and I decided to share it with you.

The podcast, “The Complete Guide to Everything,” is the brainchild of New Yorkers Tim Daniels and Tom Reynolds. Every week, they riff on a new topic, and I find the two of them and their dynamic hilarious. Back on Jan. 3, Tim announced that he wanted to use his New Year’s resolution to create a legacy for himself by getting a sandwich named after him. He described his prototype and said it was called the “Timbo.”

Now, over a month later, fans of the podcast have been posting photos of the Timbo online and talking about the creation. It’s a little silly. It’s a little weird. But it’s a way to reach out and interact with someone and something new.

So, this week, I’m sharing the Timbo with you, both to help a long-distance friend I’ve never met cement his legacy and to give you something new to try, too.

You can listen to the explanation of this sandwich on “The Complete Guide to Everything” website at tcgte.com. The episode is entitled “Hot Beverages.” I chose not to tweak the recipe this time, outside of adding some amounts and directions, since I figured it should remain the way Tim envisioned it.

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The Timbo Sandwich

The Timbo sandwich is the creation of Tim Daniels, a podcaster, who said he wanted to cement his legacy by creating his own signature sandwich, which features melty cheese, caramelized onions, and a spicy kick.
Course Main Course, Salad
Keyword American cheese, caramelized onions, pickled jalapenos, potato bread, shredded cheese, spicy brown mustard

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 slices potato bread
  • 1-2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  • 3 slices American cheese
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Mexican blend cheese shredded
  • 6-8 pickled jalapeno slices

Instructions

  • In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and stir to coat them in the oil. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are completely caramelized to a nice, deep brown. (This could take quite awhile, so be patient.)
  • Once the onions are done, remove them from the heat and set aside.
  • Lightly spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat.
  • While the skillet warms, thoroughly butter one side of each slice of bread.
  • Once the skillet is hot, add the first slice of bread, butter side down, and spread a thin layer of spicy brown mustard on it. Place one and one-half slices of American cheese on the bread next, followed by the jalapeno slices, as many caramelized onions as desired and shredded cheese. Add the final slice and a half of American cheese, and complete the sandwich by lightly spreading mustard on the non-buttered side of the remaining piece of bread, before placing it on top of the sandwich, butter side up.
  • Let the sandwich toast for a couple minutes, flipping the entire thing over when the bread on the bottom reaches your desired level of toastiness.
  • Once you flip the sandwich, press it down firmly with your spatula to compress it. Let the sandwich toast for another couple of minutes until the bread has reached your desired level of toastiness. Remove it from the skillet and serve.

This was actually really delicious, especially if you like things that are just a touch spicy. The flavors melded well, and while it does seem like a lot of work to caramelize onions just for a sandwich, it was worth it, and now I have leftover onions to toss into something else, too.

Joey thought I was absolutely nuts while I was tossing the ingredients for this into the cart on our last shopping trip, but he did have to concede that making a sandwich from a podcast is not even close to the weirdest recipe I’ve tried over the years while writing this column.

Plus, if (and when) the Timbo really does become a worldwide sensation, we can all say we got in on the ground floor of history.

This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 25, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Appetizer Side Dish Snack

Dip into something awesome for game day

Cheesy bean dip elevates boring canned ingredients into something truly spectacular for your snack table.

Until the Chiefs became a part of the post-season, the best part of Super Bowl Sunday for me over the years has been the snack table.

From the days when our church youth group would watch the games while playing a football-themed bingo game to ones with friends gathered in our living room, there has always been a fabulous spread of great food to eat along with the fellowship the game brings.

Of course, it goes without saying that this year’s game will be very different than last year’s Chiefs victory. Last year, our house was packed with people, everyone screaming and yelling when the final seconds ticked down on the game clock, and we all realized we were the Super Bowl champs.

This year, there will likely be more yelling and screaming, and hopefully that will come along with another Lombardi Trophy, but it will be a much quieter din without the crowd of friends and family around us.

Despite the lack of a crowd, Joey and I will still be enjoying some favorite snacks, though, and after I test-drove this one for the AFC Championship game, I have to share it with you.

This comes from Lauren Allen over at her blog, “Tastes Better From Scratch.” You can find the original post at https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/cheesy-bean-dip/. I doubled the seasoning in my version below and substituted refried beans for whole pintos.

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Cheesy Bean Dip

Cheesy bean dip elevates boring canned ingredients into something truly spectacular for your snack table.
Course Appetizer
Keyword bean dip, cheese, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, salsa, sour cream, taco seasoning

Ingredients

  • 2, 15- ounce cans of refried beans
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened (I used fat free)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream or plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 packets 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup salsa any kind. I used a tomatillo salsa.
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In an eight-by-eight-inch baking dish, combine the refried beans, cream cheese, sour cream, taco seasoning, salsa and about 1/4-cup shredded cheese.
  • Mix it well so that the ingredients are evenly distributed, and then spread it evenly in the dish.
  • Top with as much cheese as you like and bake for 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown around the edges.
  • Serve with tortilla chips or as part of a taco bar.

This was absolutely amazing. I know it isn’t a health food by any stretch, but by using fat-free refried beans, fat-free cream cheese and non-fat Greek yogurt to make this, I felt a lot better about placing a big scoop on my plate during the game.

And it certainly did not taste low-fat, either. The variety of cheese gave it fantastic flavor, and the leftovers quickly disappeared over the next few days, as we integrated them into tacos for lunch.

It won’t be the same to watch the Super Bowl without a crowd of friends this year, but I’m hoping that a few fun dishes on the coffee table might make up for it. Of course, another Chiefs victory wouldn’t hurt, either.

This piece first appeared in print on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

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