Bacon Wrapped Scallops

IMG_1026My friend Holli Mcallister prepared these and brought them to our house.  They are absolutely delicious.  I promised that I would put her recipe on here.

16 Sea Scallops
16 pieces of bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay bacon flat on cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes but make sure the bacon is still a little soft.  Place scallops in a towel and press water out of them.  Place on a baking sheet and place scallops in oven for 3 minutes then flip them and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Wrap each scallop in a piece of bacon and insert a toothpick to hold together.  The next step is to rub thoroughly with the brown sugar.  In large skillet cook them until the brown sugar is caramelized.  Do not over cook or you will burn the brown sugar.  Enjoy Holli’s appetizer, CHEERS !!!!

Egg Plant Lasagna

IMG_1009Looking for the great taste of an Italian meal yet low in carbs, my egg plant lasagna is perfect and easy to make.

2 large egg plants sliced approximately 3/4 inch thick
16 oz marinara sauce of choice, I like homemade or prego traditional if I don’t have time to make my own sauce
6 tbs olive oil
kosher salt/pepper
1 large egg
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbs oregano
1 small package of sliced pepperoni
In large pot heat the marinara sauce and pre heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Place egg plant slices on 2 seperate baking sheets.  Brush olive oil on both sides of the egg plant and season with salt and pepper.  Place the egg plant in the oven and bake the egg plant until soft and golden brown.  Turn the slices halfway through approximately 20 minutes.  In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese leaving enough left to put on the top of the finished product and oregano.  In a baking dish spread some marinara sauce to cover the bottom.  Place the egg plant slices along the bottom.  Spread some ricotta cheese mixture on top of the egg plant.  Spread a little sauce over the ricotta and place another layer of egg plant down.  Repeat the process with ricotta and sauce.  Take the remaining mozarella cheese and spread on the top and take the pepperoni and place on the top like you would a pizza.  Cover and place in oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest approximately 10 minutes.  You now have a great low carb italian meal, CHEERS !!

Bubba Gump Style Shrimp

IMG_1004I have had shrimp cooked every way possible.  When we went to Universal Studios in Orlando we ate at The Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory.  The shrimp there were the best shrimp I ever ate.  I had never had shrimp that were sauteed with the shells on.  You can make this style of shrimp with different seasonings.  Cajun, jamaican jerk, or maryland old bay style for examples.  Life is like a box of chocolates but the Bubba Gump way of fixing shrimp is absolutely fantastic !!

1/2 cup butter
2 tbs chopped garlic
1 tbs seasoning I like to use old bay
2 dozen large gulf shrimp with shell left on
Put all ingredients in large pan except the shrimp.  On medium heat cook until butter is melted and hot.  Add shrimp, cook until shrimp are pink on both sides, approximately 5 minutes.  Don’t over cook the shrimp or the shells will stick to the shrimp.  CHEERS !!!!

Steamed Maryland Blue Crabs

IMG_1003Living in Maryland it is a staple in our diet to eat things made from a blue crab.  Crab Cakes, Crab Soup, Crab Dip are some examples.  However there is nothing like the ultimate feast, a pot of steamed blue crabs.  It’s  covering a table with newspaper, getting out the wooden hammers, the smell and most importantly the gathering of friends and family sitting around and picking crabs.   Have some fresh corn on the cob, some fresh veggies and of course the beer and life is good.  There are 2 ways that are different that I have seen in many places that serve crabs in Maryland.  Steamed with the seasoning  putting the seasoning on after they are cooked.  In my opinion there is no comparison, ALWAYS COOK THEM WITH THE SEASONING !!  There are also a few different seasonings out there but I say there is only one to use on crabs and that is OLD BAY !!!   The cooking instructions are the same whether cooking a dozen or a bushel.  You will need the proper equipment which is a large pot with a liner inside such as a turkey fryer.  I purchased an actual large pot for cooking crabs.  Here is the proper way to cook Maryland Blue Crabs:

Live blue crabs in any quantity
2 cups vinegar
1 can of beer
water, enough to bring the level where it is just below the bottom of the liner
old bay seasoning
Bring the liquid to a boil, using large tongs add the crabs to the pot a few at a time.  Be very careful because they will get you.   Sprinkle the old bay over the crabs and continue to add the crabs and old bay.  Cover and let cook in the pot for approximately 7 minutes.  Turn off the heating element, keep the lid on and let the crabs sit in the steam for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.  This step will allow the crabs to not be watery.  Remove the crabs by taking the liner out of the pot.  Serve on layers of newspaper and don’t forget the beer, CHEERS !!!!!
 IMG_0997 IMG_0999IMG_1002

The Most Different Meat Loaf Ever

IMG_0980I was in the mood for meat loaf but I wanted to create a meat loaf that was completely different and jacked up.  After much thought and walking through the grocery store this is what I came up with.  Keep in mind that when I cook something like this I don’t necessarily measure out certain ingredients I just throw some in there until it looks right.  I have one other interesting factor with this and that is I didn’t use any bread crumbs.  Here it is:

3 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground spicy italian sausage
1 small onion chopped
1 /2 red bell pepper chopped
3 jalepano peppers chopped
4 pieces of bacon cut into small pieces
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup heavy whipping creme
4 squirts of ketchup
2 squirts of spicy brown mustard
4 shakes of worchestershire sauce
2 tbs parsley
2 tsb garlic powder
2 tbs spatini or italian seasoning
12 oz grated cheddar cheese
12 oz grated mozzarella cheese
1 12 oz can crushed tomatoes
In large baking pan combine beef, sausage, and bacon.  Mix together very thoroughly.  Add onions and peppers and blend together.  Now in seperate dish mix the egg with the heavy whipping creme together and blend into the loaf.  Finally add ketchup, mustard, worchestershire sauce, parsley, garlic powder, salt/pepper, half of the crushed tomatto and grated cheese and mix together very thoroughly.   Form your amazing looking meat loaf.  Now pour the remaining crushed tomato over the top.  Add spatini (or italian seasoning) into the crushed tomato.  In pre heated oven at 350 degrees bake for 1 and 1/2 hours.  Approximately 15 minutes to being done spread the mozzarella cheese on top so it melts before being finished.  You now have the most amazing and different meat loaf you have ever had, CHEERS !!!!!

Mark’s Post Chicken Barbecue Chicken Salad

IMG_0975What to do with left over chicken after a barbecue, try my chicken salad recipe.  There are numerous recipes for chicken salad with grapes.  I say no to grapes but yes to apples in chicken salad.  Please keep in mind that measurements depend on the amount of chicken you use:  Here is my favorite way to prepare chicken salad with left over barbecued chicken:

2 cups of chicken finely cut into cubes (skin removed)
2 stalks celery finely chopped
1/4 of a medium onion finely chopped (green onions work great too)
1 small apple peeled and cored finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tsb sour creme
1/2 tsb dill
1/2 tsb brown sugar (yes I know I use brown sugar in almost everything)
1/2 tsb lemon juice
salt/pepper to taste
 In large mixing bowl combine chicken, celery, onion and apple.  In seperate bowl combine mayonnaise, sour creme, brown sugar, dill, lemon juice and salt/pepper.  Combine the dressing with the chicken mixture until mixed together well.  Let sit in refrigerator until chilled.  You now have something delicious, CHEERS !!!!

Mad Mark’s Fried Cabbage

IMG_0974I need a good side dish to go with chicken so I put my culinary imagination to work and came up with this awesome fried cabbage recipe.  I wanted to stay away from some traditional ingredients you find in fried cabbage like wine and vinegar.  It turned out awesome, here it is:

1 head of cabbage chopped into bite size pieces
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
4 pieces of bacon
4 tbs sour creme
4 squirts ketchup
1 tbs brown sugar
4 tbs olive oil
Before preparing anything place cabbage in mixing bowl and shake salt on cabbage. In large skillet fry bacon until crisp, remove and chop into bacon bits but leave the fat.  Add onion and carrots and cook until tender, approximately 5 minutes.  Add sour creme, ketchup and brown sugar and simmer for approximately 2 minutes.  Add some olive oil to the pan approximately 1/4 cup.  Now add the cabbage and mix together very well.  Let simmer approximately 30 minutes until the cabbage becomes soft and cooked.  You now have an outstanding side dish, CHEERS !!!

Chicken Saltimbocca

IMG_0970Saltimbocca means jump into your mouth.  When you combine chicken with prosciutto it’s so good your tongue will slap your brain clean out of your head !!  After checking out different recipes of this dish I have come up with my version.  Here it is:

4  boneless, skinless chicken breast halves pounded to an even  thickness
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of flour
4 tbs butter
4 tbs olive oil
1 tsb ground sage
4 large slices prosciutto
grated or sliced mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese
1/2 cup white wine
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.   Take the prosciutto and lay on top of the chicken and  pound until it sticks and the chicken is as thin as possible.  Dredge in flour until lightly coated.   In a large fry pan , melt the butter with the olive oil until very hot.  Add the chicken breasts and cook until the golden brown.  Remove the breasts and set aside.  Sprinkle breasts with parmesan cheese and top with mozzarella cheese.  Place in preheated oven at 350 drgrees until cheese is melted.  While the chicken is in the oven, add wine to remaining butter and oil and deglaze the pan stirring to scrape up any browned bits stuck on the pan bottom.  Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup.  When you take the chicken out pour the remaining sauce over the chicken.  CHEERS !!!

Homemade Italian Salad Dressing

IMG_0962When fixing a salad give my simple italian salad dressing a try.  It is very close to the dressing you get at The Olive Garden.  The Olive Garden’s dressing is one of the best I have ever had.  After having it several times I can tell the main ingredients in it.  Here is my close version of it and better:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs light corn syrup
5 tbs parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tbs italian seasoning
1/2 tbs basil
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Mix all ingredients in a bowl or glass. Stirr very thoroughly and let cool in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour before serving with your salad.  CHEERS !!!

Smoked Chuck Roast

IMG_0963Looking for something amazing, a chuck roast can be smoked at one third the cost of a piece of rib eye.  You will have to ask your butcher to take a piece between 8 and 14 pounds, roll it and tie it.  You can prepare this on a propane grill or oven.  If you fix it in an oven I recommend that you add some liquid smoke to the juice

1 large piece of chuck roast rolled and tied
20 cloves of garlic peeled
12 oz beef broth
3 large sweet onions cut into large slices
12 oz beef broth
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 sprig of fresh thyme
hot sauce optional
Apply lots of salt and pepper on chuck roast.  With a knife poke holes in the meat and stick the garlic cloves down inside.  In roasting pan place onion slices in bottom to create a rack.  Place roast on top of onions.  Pour the beef broth in bottom of pan and then place the rosemary and thyme in the broth.  If you desire put some hot sauce in the juice.  Place in smoker, grill or oven at 250 degrees.  Your cooking time will depend on the size of your roast.  You should cook it low and slow for approximately 5 to 8 hours.  CHEERS !!!