Whiskey BBQ Sliders

I was reading an article last night, a survey of different dishes being ranked from most favorite – to least, by chefs all across the country. At the top of their list for “foods that are going out of style” was sliders. Which, who orders a slider in a fancy place anyway? I don’t know about you guys, but these tiny bundles of burgers will never go out of style in our house!

The first time I had these was at a book club meeting. The hostess made them for us, and I immediately requested the recipe! Sliders are so much fun, you can put anything on/in them – and besides that, they’re just so darn cute! I’ve made them a couple of times since then, usually for lunch on a weekend. But, they would be just perfect for one of the big games we have coming up!

Don’t be scared off by the pickled jalapenos. These sliders aren’t very spicy, the peppers really add more flavor than anything. It’s a low and slow kind of heat, and we love it. But if you’d like to leave them out, that’s fine. Maybe add a splash of vinegar to the sauce instead, just for a little bit of acidic bite to round out the flavors.

Beer-Candied Bacon

I had my first taste of beer-candied bacon on a burger at my other favorite local brewpub, Evolution’s Public House. While I don’t really remember anything remarkable about the burger itself, that beer-candied bacon really resonated with me. And, I tucked it away in the “make sure to try at home” file.

So, when I went into bacon-hoarding overdrive during the Holidays – and had about three pound in the fridge after Christmas, I decided to give the beer-candied bacon thing a go to have for New Year’s Eve munching. Takes less than 1 minute to throw the glaze together, then some cooking time in the oven. Which, by the way, if you haven’t been cooking bacon in your oven you’re missing out. No grease splatter, no bacon sticking to the pan, no more uneven cooking. Just perfectly crisp bacon, every time. If you line a baking pan with aluminum foil, it’s super-easy cleanup too!

With the playoff games ahead of us, as well as Super Bowl, these sweet and salty little bites of heaven would “drop the bomb” on anyone who tried them.  I served them in my favorite pint glass (yes, that’s a honey badger) which I thought was cute. It was almost like a bouquet of bacon; there’s an idea for Valentine’s Day, ladies! I used a stout for the glaze, but I think that most beers (maybe aside from an IPA) would work for this application. It’s a quick and easy appetizer that’s so fun and different – a great start to the new year in my book!

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and the list of who I want to give “a little something” to continues to grow. That’s why over the years I’ve turned to making homemade gift baskets. To me, there is nothing more special than a gift from someone’s kitchen. So, here’s a few of my favorites that I wanted to share with you guys!

Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread – I find myself baking this loaf to enjoy for breakfast weekly. Kicks the pants off of anything you’d buy in the store. And, who wouldn’t be tickled with a home-baked loaf of fresh bread for a gift?

Chiotle-Honey Roasted Peanuts

Chipotle-Honey Roasted Peanuts – love the sweet and spicy combination on these guys. Packaged up in a cute little tin, they make a great gift. Beware though, they’re addicting!

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Granola

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Granola – everyone loves a fresh, healthy start after the Holidays. Some homemade granola is a great way to help them get kick-started!

DIY Strawberry Vodka

DIY Strawberry Vodka – a bottle of vodka. Some strawberries. 1 week. That’s all you need to make this vibrant strawberry vodka at home. Wonderful in cocktails, on it’s own – this is a great way to warm up a cold winter’s night!

Pimento Cheese

Homemade Pimento Cheese – it always astonishes me when people say they’ve only had pimento cheese from a jar. Do them a favor, and make this! It’s perfect for any Christmas party or buffet.

Homemade Caramel Sauce

Homemade Caramel Sauce – and last but certainly not least, caramel sauce. There isn’t much that I don’t put this stuff on – it really is just glorious. This was my first year getting familiar with making caramel in my kitchen, so I’m looking forward to including this in my gift baskets this year!

I hope you guys are having as much fun getting ready for Christmas as I am. Looking forward to menu planning for the Holidays this week, then get started on all my baking. Look for a cookie roundup here sometime in the next week or so. Happy Holidays!

Cranberry sauce has long been my favorite thing at the Thanksgiving dinner table. For many years I preferred the kind from the can. There was something about that sweet-tart magenta cylinder of gelatin that I adored. Then I made my own a few years ago, and couldn’t go back to store-bought. Imagine that!

At first I started with a pure, unadulterated cranberry sauce. But over the years I’ve added things. Orange juice and zest, as well as toasted pecans. It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s tart – it’s wonderful. And, leftovers are killer on turkey sandwiches. I’m looking forward to sharing a few other Thanksgiving recipes with you guys next week, so make sure to check back. Have a great weekend, everyone!