Sweet and Spicy Wings

My husband’s favorite food (and possibly mine) is HOT WINGS!  We love to order the spiciest wings a restaurant will make.  Thus far, Charleston’s hottest is the Braveheart wing at Wild Wing Cafe.  Makes you cry, but with happiness.

I made these wings for the big National Championship game.  College football season is officially over – so sad.  These wings are not very hot, but very flavorful – perfect for those of you who don’t like to be in pain.  I based the recipe off of the “Spicy Honey Drumettes” from John Folse’s cookbook, but I altered it.  The original recipe called for a whole cup of honey and just a little red pepper flakes.  I decreased the honey and subbed red chili paste with garlic (my fave Asian condiment – like a concentrated Sriracha with red pepper flakes in it).

Even though these weren’t our traditional super spicy buffalo wings, they were delicious!  Also, they are stupid easy.  And I’ll pretend like they are healthy because they weren’t deep fried like most wings.  Yeah, I’ll go with that.

**Next time, I would definitely get the wings crispier by cooking them longer at a high temperature before adding the sauce on them.  I just like my wings crispy.

Serve with french fries to sop up your extra wing sauce.  Serve with ranch, if desired.

Sweet and Spicy Wings

  • 24 wings (I used drummettes)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcesterchire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons red chili paste with garlic (Sambal Oelek) – or more if you want it spicier

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse wings and pat with paper towels to dry thoroughly.  Bake on baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add half of the honey sauce to your wings and bake for another 10 minutes.  Turn wings over with a tong.  Add remaining sauce and cook for additional 10 minutes.



Also, wings should always be served with beer.  It’s totally American.


Feta Dip

This is one of my favorite dips to bring to parties.  It takes almost no time and is always a hit.  It never fails that the easy recipes I bring places are far more popular than food I bring that was difficult to prepare.  The person who posted this recipe describes it as “embarrassingly easy” and that is a perfect description.

This dip is red and green, so it would be great for holiday Christmas parties!!

Feta Dip – from this site

  • Olive oil
  • 1 block of crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 roma tomatoes (or any tomato you want), chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • Greek seasoning (Cavender’s)
  • 1 baguette, sliced

Directions, simply put: combine ingredients except baguette. Done.

Stated more thoroughly:  Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil onto a platter.  Throw your green onions, tomatoes, and feta on top.  Sprinkle Cavender’s on top – about 1 T but just sprinkle however much you want.  Feel free to get creative with your seasonings if you don’t want to buy Cavender’s, like Italian seasoning or just whatever herbs you like.

Mix all together.  Eat – use that delicious baguette to scoop up the dip.


Thanks to Brittany Landry (aka Bird Dog) for the picture.  She made this over the weekend, so I’m using her pic!

Spicy Orange Pork Stir Fry

When I’m looking to cook something healthy with what I have on hand, I almost invariably cook Chinese food.  I have found the yummiest light Chinese recipes on Cooking Light’s website.  My favorite is the orange shrimp stir fry.  Well, I didn’t have shrimp or green onion for it, so I subbed it with pork and chopped onion, and it was still delicious.  I do think I prefer the shrimp, though.

Everyone is crazy about Sriracha now, but I love chile paste with garlic, which is like a concentrated version of Sriracha with red pepper flakes in it.  If you keep that, honey, ginger (which can be frozen), garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil on hand, you will always have the makings for a delish stir fry.

Spicy Orange Pork Stir Fry

  • 1 1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin or deboned pork chop, sliced into strips
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh juice from orange
  • zest of half an orange
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Sprinkle pork with cornstarch and toss well to coat. Set aside.

Combine juice, zest, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and chile paste, stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender.  Add your pork, ginger, and minced garlic and saute around 6 minutes or until your pork is cooked through.  Add your juice mixture and cook around 2 minutes until the sauce thickens up.

Serve over rice or noodles!


Aglio e Olio Pasta

And the pasta train continues…  I can NOT resist Rio Bertolini’s Fresh Pasta, the fresh pasta station at the Charleston Farmer’s Market, as you can tell by all my pasta posts.  They have everything an Italian-at-heart could want – pizza dough, flavored pastas, lasagna, ravioli with various stuffings, a few kinds of gnocchi, flavored butters, gelato, and more.

This time, I bought porcini ravioli.  So, I had to go on a search for a basic sauce for it.  Something that wouldn’t require me to go to the grocery.  Again, Ina to the rescue.  Aglio e Olio sauce – aka garlic and oil sauce.  It was perfect on the ravioli.  Feel free to use any type of pasta with this sauce.  I halved the recipe for my ravioli for two.

Aglio E Olio Pasta

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound favorite pasta
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used more, but we like spice)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.  Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold the pasta.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until garlic begins to turn golden on the edges – don’t burn it!  Carefully add the reserved pasta water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third.  (This is half the salt Ina calls for – I found it overly salty.  Feel free to add more salt at the end if you think it needs more.)  Remove the pot from heat and add the parsley and parmesan.


Add the drained pasta immediately and toss to combine.  Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes before serving for the sauce to be absorbed. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with extra Parmesan on top.


Crusty, Rustic, and Amazingly Easy Bread

First off, I have never baked bread before.  Also, I don’t have a bread maker and don’t know how to knead.  I was still crazy successful with this recipe!  You do need time during the day, as it requires hours for rising, but there is minimal actual work.

Crusty Rustic Bread – found on http://www.kitchentrials.com/2012/04/03/crusty-rustic-no-knead-bread-aka-the-easiest-bread-youll-ever-make/

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp yeast (yes, that’s all the yeast you need!)
  • 1½ cups warm water (not hot, but more room temp)

In a large glass bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and yeast.  Stir in the water thoroughly with a wooden spoon.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.


Let this dough rise for 12-18 hours on the counter. Alternatively (as I did), you can place the bowl in the oven with only the light turned on. This method takes about 6 hours to rise.


After your dough has risen and is removed from the oven, pre-heat your oven to 450ºF with a rack in the middle position.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured counter.  Add additional flour to the top of the dough and quickly form into a ball.  Just continuously fold up the sides until it resembles a ball.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.  Mine was more of a flat “ball.”


While the dough is resting, place a large Dutch oven, with the lid on, into the pre-heated oven to warm for 30 minutes. You can also use any large, lidded cast iron or pyrex dish, as long as it can handle 450ºF.

After 30 mins of resting, place the dough ball into the heated Dutch oven.


Put the lid on your Dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and return to the oven, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.  If you want to use a thermometer, make sure it is at least 190 degrees F in the inside of the bread.  Let the bread cool on a wire rack before cutting.


Balsamic and Honey Glazed Pork Chops

So I wanted to make something for dinner that was healthy but not a “low-fat recipe.”  Specifically, my body needed a break from all the starchy food I’d been eating.  Piggly Wiggly had a sale on pork chops, sooo I went from there.  As an aside, this was my first time at a Piggly Wiggly, and it was quite frightening.  Someone (presumably on drugs) kept yelling at us over the loudspeaker – not a pre-recording list of sales and whatnot, just random phrases, only some of which were actually related to  items in the store.  And I mean yelllling.  I was so nervous trying to get out of there, I felt like I was on supermarket sweeps!  I sure hope this was unique to this particular store.

Anyway, back to porkchops.  I found this recipe originally on saveur.com, entitled Sweet and Sour Glazed Pork Chops.  This recipe, so delicious and so very simple, had a misleading name – I think of “sweet and sour” as Chinese food.  The sweet aspect is the honey and the “sour” part is the balsamic.  It also has a little fresh rosemary, which brings a great flavor to the dish.  Whatever you wanna call it, it is a great healthy weekday meal.  I served mine with parmesan peas.  The husband said to “remember this recipe.”

Balsamic and Honey Glazed Pork Chops

  • 4 pork chops (bone-in would be best, as it stays more moist, but I just got the boneless kind since it was on sale)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter (the original recipe called for 4 tbsp. butter, but I found that a bit excessive – if you are really skinny, go for 4 tbsp, and I hate you)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, torn into 1″ pieces

Drizzle the pork chops with oil.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Let pork sit for 30 minutes.  

Meanwhile, combine balsamic vinegar and honey in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced to ¼ cup.  This took me about 10 minutes.  You’ll see that the sauce thickens a little when it’s ready.  Stir in butter and rosemary and set sauce aside.


Heat a grill pan on medium-high heat.  (The original recipe wants you to grill this outside.  I would totally do this if I had a grill and wasn’t so lazy).  Add the pork chops and sear each side quickly to get that nice fake-grilledness.  Then, lower the heat to medium and baste your chops with your yummy sauce until the pork is cooked through.  The amount of time will obviously depend on the thickness of your chops and whether the chops are bone-in or not.  Mine, the cheapo kind, took only a few minutes to cook through.  A google search showed me that pork should have at least an internal temp of around 145 to 160 degrees, if you want to go that route to be sure.

The pork is now done! Make sure you’ve basted all the sauce onto your chops, and remove from heat.  Garnish with rosemary, if desired.


Cacio e Pepe

Ok I have another super simple basic pasta recipe.  If you caught my Cheesy Garlic Pasta post, you’ll notice a trend.  I like cheese.  I promise I make things other than pasta, but it’s such an easy cheap meal to make.  And these pastas are like a hug in your tummy.  Kind of my version of mac and cheese.  Also, I needed to use up some of the pasta I bought at the Farmer’s Market.


This pasta is bucatini – similar to spaghetti but with a hole running through the center to give it an extra bite.  Another similar pasta is pici pasta.  When I showed my brother Jimmy a picture of my pasta, he replied with, “You are making cacio e pepe, huh?”  See how well he knows me?  We had this pasta when we were in Italy with the family.. By family, I mean the extended Jones family, around 20 of us.  Quite the adventure!  I fell in love with this simple cheese and pepper pasta.

Ok, first I will get all Ina Garten on your butt (whom I love, but is ridiculous about requiring only the BEST ingredients).  You MUST use freshly ground black pepper and good cheese (parmigiano reggiano or pecorino romano – or both).  So do not use pre-ground black pepper in that McCormick spice container or that waxy cheese in the shaker that I’m pretty sure doesn’t even require refrigeration.  🙂

Cacio e Pepe – originally from http://www.weareneverfull.com/cacio-e-pepe-a-spicy-creamy-simple-cheap-and-satisfying-roman-meal/  Serves around 3 (depending if you have a side), but it’s really easy to adjust. I divided the recipe when making it just for Geoff and me and served with sauteed veggies.

  • 3/4 pound of spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • a bit of the pasta cooking liquid (just save some of it in a cup and set aside after boiling pasta)
  • Cheese – 1 cup.  Can be 1 c. of pecorino or 1 c. of parmigiano or 1/2 c. of each.  This time I went with 1 c. of the pecorino, but I switch it up depending on what I have

First, boil your spaghetti until al dente.  Remember to reserve some liquid from pasta before draining.  After draining, return your (now empty) pot to the pan.  Try to keep the pasta warm in the meantime. On low-medium heat, add butter, oil, and half the pepper.  Let butter melt.

Add a bit of the cooking liquid to the pot and swirl the pot.  Start by adding a little cooking liquid (around 1/2 c) – you can add more later if the pasta is too thick.  Put the heat on low and add the spaghetti and toss just until warm – you don’t want to overcook your pasta.

Next, turn the heat off.  Add all the cheese and the rest of the pepper and toss the spaghetti again in the pot.  Plate the pasta, garnishing with a little extra grated cheese and grated pepper, if desired.  I’ll take any excuse to add more cheese.



Honey Semifreddo with Pistachios

I went on a search for a dessert recipe that would feature the awesome honey I just bought at the Farmer’s Market.  I found the perfect candidate.  It has simple flavors of honey and cream, is pretty much ice cream (no ice cream maker needed), and is topped with salty roasted pistachios. Mmmmmm.  Also, it has few ingredients and is easy to make.  Here it is!

Honey Semifreddo with Pistachios – adapted ever so slightly (one ingredient) from Nigella Lawson. http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/honey-semifreddo-239


  • 1 large egg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 100 grams of honey (1/3 cup) plus extra for garnishing
  • 300 ml heavy whipping cream (1 1/4 cup)
  • a few tablespoons of chopped roasted salted pistachios

Line a loaf pan with saran wrap.  If you don’t have a loaf pan, just find something with that type of shape.  You aren’t baking anything, just molding it.  Next, beat the egg, egg yolks, and honey in a glass bowl.  Rig up a double boiler – have a simmering saucepan of water on the stovetop to then place your glass bowl in.  Once the glass bowl is in the saucepan, constantly whisk the honey mixture.  This picture is only blurry because I am so crazy fast at whisking that it cannot be clearly photographed.


Continue whisking until the mixture turns a light color and thickens a little.  It’ll then look like this.


Remove the mixture from the heat.  Now, in a separate bowl, use an electric hand whisker and turn that heavy cream into whipped cream!  Whip until there are peaks in the cream. Do not overwhip – I do it often.

Next, you will combine the two separate bowls – but hold up! You need to fold it in carefully.  Basically, you don’t want to cancel out the lightness and airiness of your whipped cream.  Add the honey mixture to the whipped cream in batches.  To fold, I like to use a spatula or something flat.  With spoons, my hands naturally “stir,” which you don’t want to do.  The final product should look something like this.


Next, pour the mixture into your lined loaf pan.  Cover the top of the mixture with saran wrap – have it touching the mixture.  Put in freezer for 2-3 hours.


From reviews I read, they suggested it tastes better when in the freezer longer.  I love any excuse to cook earlier in the day and then relax.  So mine sat in the freezer many hours.

When ready to eat, turn the loaf pan over onto a plate and remove the saran wrap.  Drizzle the top with some honey, and then top with the chopped roasted pistachios.


Slice, serve, and devour.  This is even better than it looks.  It is light and refreshing.  The honey shines.  Now go make it before it gets too cold to make ice cream.

Cheesy Garlic Pasta

I made my go-to pasta tonight.  Actually, it’s my go-to dish.  You know, the dish that usually doesn’t require you to go to the grocery, is easily adaptable, is quick and easy, and – of course – is delicious.  I have never complained that a dish is either too cheesy or too garlicky.  This dish stars these two delicious ingredients.  I serve this dish with a simple veggie side.

I found the original recipe on Pinterest.  This is the original link. http://thecheesepusher.tumblr.com/post/2719857351/creamy-garlic-pasta

Besides how yummy this pasta is, my favorite things about it are: minimal dish cleaning and minimal prep.  This pasta is a one pot dish.  Yes, the pasta cooks in chicken stock until the stock has evaporated.  No draining pasta and cleaning extra dishes!  Also, cooking the pasta in chicken stock gives it a richer flavor than cooking it in water.  As for preparation, I hate having to chop things forever before even beginning to cook.  Here, you chop garlic and parsley – otherwise, the ingredients are ready-to-cook, as is.

Here is the recipe!

Cheesy Garlic Pasta

  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ½ lb spaghetti
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley

In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat.  Add the minced garlic and stir until aromatic.  Don’t burn the garlic!  Next, mix in the butter until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste – keep in mind you are adding a lot of salty cheese in later, so don’t oversalt.  You can always salt more later if needed.  Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.

Once the mixture is at a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente.  By the time the pasta is at this stage, most or all of the stock should have evaporated.  If the stock evaporates before the pasta is done, simply add more stock (or even water if you have no more stock).

Once the pasta is done, reduce the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese until melted.  Then, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cream and parsley.  The original recipe called for 3/4 c of cream, so feel free to add more.  I think all that cream takes the focus from the garlic.

Next, scarf down this pasta.  We like to add a healthy dose of red pepper flakes for some kick but this is optional.


Another thing I love about this dish is how adaptable it is.  You can use chicken broth if that’s all you have –  even vegetable broth or stock is fine.  Water would take some richness out of the dish, but that could be acceptable as well.  Oftentimes, I don’t have heavy cream, so I will just add a heavy dash of whatever dairy is on hand, like milk or half and half.  If you don’t have parsley, no worries – it’s still delicious, though less colorful.