Big Game, Big Flavor

Avocado-Krab Dip


1 package of imitation crab flakes
2 green onions, sliced (green part included)
1 lemon
2 avocados, peeled and cut into chunks
¼ cup mayo
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp. capers, drained
Ground cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

In a big bowl, flake the crab. I know it’s called “crab flakes,” but you have to break apart the unit of crab. At that point, it actually resembles the real stuff.

Add the zest, juice, and green onions.

Then add the avocados, mayo, capers, and grate in a clove of garlic.

Add cayenne to taste, then sprinkle in a good amount of salt and a little bit of pepper.

Stir to combine. Serve with crackers

Try it with my cocktail sauce:

Here’s my recipe:
1/2 Cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. Sriracha
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cloves garlic, grated
Pinch of salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Whisk till smooth.

Inside-Out Pimento Cheese

16 oz. extra-sharp cheddar
16 oz. mile cheddar
8 oz. softened cream cheese
¾ cup mayo
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 jars of sweet cherry peppers (approximately 40 peppers), drained
4 slices of bacon, cooked

Grate the cheese by hand or shred it in a food processor.

Use a mixer to combine it with the mayo, cream cheese, spices, Worcestershire, and salt.

Using a paring knife, cut out the stem from each cherry pepper. Then, use your finger to scoop out the seeds. This is a tedious task, I won’t lie. I tore the peppers in most cases.

Truth be told, you can find the peppers already prepared in the olive bar at The Fresh Market.

Once the peppers are prepared, use a piping bag or corner-less re-sealable bag to fill each pepper with the cheese mixture.

Top each stuffed pepper with a shard of crispy bacon. Serve at room temperature, otherwise the cheese will be hard.

I call this Inside Out Pimento Cheese, because there are no peppers IN the cheese. The pimento is the cup holding the cheese.

When you bite into the pepper it practically bursts. I mean that in terms of texture and flavor. The cherry pepper is briny, a tad bit spicy, and the cheese is rich and creamy. I think it’s the perfect combination.

The bacon adds a salty, smoky flavor, and a bit of a crunch.

Cranberry-Chipotle Jam

1 can of cranberry sauce, the whole berry kind (not the jelly cylinder)
1 can unsalted diced tomatoes
1 chipotle pepper
1 tsp. of the adobo sauce in the chipotle can
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder

I chose the whole berry cranberry sauce because you’d still get bits of the berry throughout the jam.

If you have them, put on rubber gloves and chop up the chipotle pepper. If you don’t have gloves, be sure to avoid touching your eyes, nose or lips after handling the pepper.

Put the cranberry sauce, the chopped chipotle, and all the other ingredients, including a good pinch of salt, into a medium-sized pot. Stir.

Bring the mixture to a boil and let it boil for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

You’ll be able to track the progress of the reducing process by looking at the line around the pot. It’ll get lower and lower as time goes on. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Allow the jam to cool or at least reach room temperature before serving.

Serve with corn chips.

You could also or turn this into turkey crostini:

You’ll need 1 or 2 baguettes
Olive oil
Poultry seasoning
Whipped cream cheese
Good deli turkey, like Boars Head

Slice the baguettes on the diagonal into half-inch slices.
Spread slices on cookie sheets, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with the poultry seasoning. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool the crostini, smear with the whipped cream cheese, add a dollop of the jam, and top with a small piece of the deli turkey.

I got this recipe from my Mom. Serve it with tortilla chips. It’s hearty, meaty, and slightly sweet.

1 12oz. package of bacon
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 can pork and beans

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and let drain on paper towels.

Drain bacon grease from skillet.

Add ground beef and onion. Cook until the beef is brown and onion is tender.

Add ketchup and brown sugar, stir to combine.

Stir in the pork and beans and the green pepper.

Crumble the bacon and add all but two tablespoons of it to the meat mixture.

Dump the mix into a 9×9 baking dish, top with the remaining 2Tbsp. bacon, and bake for 1 hour.

You can then dump this into a slow cooker set on warm for serving or just serve right from the baking dish.

You can double this recipe, but if you do, use a 9×13 baking dish.

Bourbon Chocolate Pudding

1 3.9 ounce box of instant pudding
¼ cup bourbon
1 ¾ cup milk
4 slices of bacon, cooked

Combine the bourbon and the milk. Stir it into the pudding powder according to the instructions on the box.
I portioned it out into little Jell-O shot cups and topped each one with Cool Whip. Let them set up in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Serve each cup topped with a large shard of bacon.

This recipe can easily be doubled.

There’s just a hint of bourbon flavor. It really pairs well with the chocolate and the bacon, and it kinda makes your tongue tingle.

Tip: My favorite, go-to snack is Lipton onion soup mix added to sour cream and served with ridged potato chips. For a healthier version, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.


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