Sunday, May 7, 2023

Smoked Chicken Tostadas

 This recipe came about because I had left-over smoked chicken thighs...I obviously didn't want to throw out the chicken, so I had to find something else to make with it for dinner over the next couple of days.  This is the end result.  I will be providing you the recipe for "smoked chicken thighs in this dish, but you can just as easily grill these chicken thighs if you don't have a smoker available, or if you just don't care for smoked meat (what is wrong with people that don't like smoked meat)?



  • 10 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (I know, this isn't what you normally see in my recipes)


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper


  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of the spice rub from above
  • 2 tablespoons of barbeque sauce (your choice)


  1. Prepare your smoker by preheating to 225-250 degrees F.
  2. Combine all of the rub ingredients together.
  3. Rub the spice rub all over the chicken thighs, massaging some under the skin as well.
  4. Place the thighs, skin-side up in your smoker.
  5. Smoke using a fruitwood like apple or cherry.  I use a mix of the two.  If you want to make them a little "smokier" add some hickory to the smoker.
  6. Prepare your mop by mixing all of your ingredients together.
  7. After about 45 minutes mop the thighs, then every 30 minutes after that until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  8. Remove from the smoker and allow to rest for 15 minutes before shredding for use on your tostadas.

Assemble your tostadas!

  1. Place your tostada shell on your plate.
  2. Smear some pre-heated refried beans on the shell or skip this step if you prefer.
  3. Top with your freshly shredded smoked chicken.
  4. Sprinkle with three-cheese blend or cheddar cheese.
  5. Add jalapenos to the top.  (I used my candied jalapenos; the recipe is here on the blog).
  6. Add a dab of sour cream, as much or as little as you like.
  7. Squeeze blueberry habanero hot sauce on top of your tostada.  I use Blueberry Habanero hot sauce from Heartbeat Hot Sauce.  This hot sauce isn't what I would call "hot" but it does have a little kick along with the sweetness of the blueberries. Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co. 
  8. Enjoy!!!

Drink Pairings:

Wine: As with most smoked meats, a red wine is ideal with this meal.  I recommend Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon.  

Home | Dreaming Tree Wines

Beer: Lockpuerto Cerveza from Lockport Brewing or Negra Modelo. 

Brewery | Lockport Brewery | United States (
Casa Modelo | Casa Modelo Mexican Beer (

Cocktail: I would recommend a Blueberry Margarita with this dinner.   






Skillet Shrimp Fajitas

This easy recipe makes fantastic and flavorful shrimp fajitas.  This recipe works well in a fajita bowl with rice and sauce or wrapped in a flour or corn tortilla.  This is a recipe that you can prepare quickly, usually in about 15 minutes or so.


  • 1 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 3-4 bell peppers of different colors, sliced
  • a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Tortillas for serving (we use the "Carb Smart" from Mission)

Fajita Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika (you can use sweet paprika instead, but I prefer the smoky flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt or kosher salt


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all fajita seasoning ingredients.
  2. Add the shrimp to a shallow bowl and sprinkle with half of the seasoning.  Mix well to coat, then set aside.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
  4. Add the remaining seasoning and mix well, remove vegetables from pan and set aside.
  5. Heat the remaining oil and add the shrimp.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.
  6. Return vegetables to the skillet and mix to combine.  Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro and serve with warm tortillas.
  7. Top the tortillas with cheese, sour cream and guacamole or eat it as is...whatever you prefer.
  8. ENJOY

Drink Pairings:

Wine: A nice white Sangria goes perfect with this meal.  (I will be sharing a white Sangria recipe in the future)

Beer: If you are local to this area (northeast Ohio) then I recommend Lockpuerto Cerveza from Lockport Brewing.  Enjoy this Mexican-style dark lager with or without a lime.  If you can't get Lockport beers then I recommend that you move closer.  If that isn't possible, then I would go with a Negra Modelo. 

Cocktail: The Tequila Sunrise cocktail pairs very well with this dinner, especially if you are enjoying it "al fresco" on your patio or deck.  To make a Tequila Sunrise cocktail you only need three ingredients, tequila, grenadine, and orange juice.


  1. Add the tequila and then the orange juice to a chilled highball glass filled with ice.
  2. Top with grenadine, which will sink to the bottom of the glass, creating a layered effect.
  3. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.








Chipotle Pepper and Adobo Chicken Burrito Bowl


You don't need a trip to Chipotle for a chicken burrito bowl if you make this recipe.  The marinade takes the chicken to the next level and in my opinion, is better than what you get at Chipotle.

Marinate the chicken ahead of time and grill it right before you are ready to serve the burrito bowls.  Just like the restaurant, what you put in the bowl is your choice.  You can use white or brown rice, pinto beans or black beans, get the idea...right????


For Marinade:

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

For the Burrito Bowl

  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups of cooked white or brown rice (I use white rice and add lime juice, dried cilantro and some garlic to the cooking process to give it more flavor, but that isn't necessary)
  • 2 cups of shredded lettuce (I don't use this, but many people do)
  • 1 can of cooked black beans (I add chopped onion and smoked paprika to my beans)  
  • Shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • Salsa (whatever type you like)
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole (Julie likes this)


  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the onion, chipotle peppers and sauce, garlic, chicken broth, lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano, and pepper.  I actually use a hand blender in a glass 8 cup measuring cup to make the sauce.
  3. Put your thawed chicken in a 1-gallon zip lock bag, then pour the marinade over it.  Seal and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to a maximum of 4 hours.  If you marinate it for too long, the lime juice will start to cook the meat and effect the finished product.
  4. When you are ready, pre-heat your grill.  Sear the chicken on both sides to lock in the juices then lower the heat on the grill to medium and cook until an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees F.  Remove from the grill and allow the chicken to rest for at least 5 minutes.
  5. Chop the chicken to the desired size.  Serve it on top of the rice along with lettuce, beans, cheese, salsa, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, and guacamole.  (Or any combination of toppings that you prefer.)
  6. ENJOY!!!

Drink Pairings:

Wine: A nice robust red wine goes very well with this dish.  Apothic Red is a very tasty wine and is typically found for around $10 per bottle.  A nice Sangria would work will with this dish too. (Recipe coming soon)

Beer: For this dish, of course you have to enjoy a "Mexican" beer such as Modelo, Tecate. Sol, or if you can't find anything else, a good old Corona.

Cocktails: The best cocktail to pair with this dish is a Margarita...seriously, were you expecting something else? 






Monday, May 1, 2023

Bloody Mary Brats---Give them a try, you will not be disappointed.


I love this recipe.  These brats are good on game day or just if you want to have some friends over for a gathering on your deck or patio.  Your dinner guests will ask for this recipe, there is not question about it.  Everyone that I know, loves these brats.  Served up on a "crusty bread bun" is the best way to serve them, in my opinion but many people will just eat them sliced up on their plate with the peppers and the sauce.


  • 10 brats, I prefer spicy brats but any style works with this recipe.
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 orange pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper, sliced
  • 1 bottle of Bloody Mary mix. (I use Zing Zang bold but any type of mix will do)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 10 Hoagie or Sausage buns


  1. Melt butter in a pan/skillet add in onion, celery, peppers.  Cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the bottle of Bloody Mary Mix and allow to simmer uncovered.  While the sauce is simmering grill your brats, once the brats are fully cooked, add them to the sauce and pepper mixture and allow them to simmer for a few more minutes.
  3. Serve in a bun topped with the vegetables and ladle out a small bowl of the sauce for dipping.
  4. ENJOY!!  
I prepared this entire outside on my patio.  I used my Charbroil Commerical grade infrared grill with side burner.  I have had this grill for several years and it has been the best that I have ever owned.  If you get a chance, check it out on the charbroil page linked below.


4-Burner Gas Grill | Commercial Series™ | Amplifire™ | Char-Broil® (



Drink Pairings

Beer or Ale-Any style of beer will compliment this diner.  I would recommend something like Ruckus IPA from Lockport Brewing or Falls IPA from Hoodletown Brewing company.  French Ridge from Millersburg Brewing is another strong choice for this meal.

Wine-I would definitely recommend a "hearty" red wine with this meal.  Dusty Dewey from French Ridge Vineyards is a good choice as is the Cabernet Sauvignon from Josh.

For a cocktail, what better choice than a Bloody Mary, if you are really feeling adventurous you could use a chunk of the bratwurst as a garnish along with a celery stick and a couple of jalapeno slices. 


Brewery | Lockport Brewery | United States (

Hoodletown Brewing Company - Brewery in Dover, Ohio

Millersburg Brewing Company | Craft Beer | Millersburg Ohio

French Ridge Vineyards

Bloody Mary Mix – Zing Zang





Garlic Butter Chicken and Green Beans Skillet (Low Carb)

 Garlic, Butter, Lemon, Chicken...what more do you need?

This is another recipe that is sure to become a favorite.  It has plenty of flavor with the garlic but adding fresh lemon juice really kicks it up a notch.


  • 3-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika (I used smoked paprika for a bit of a smoky flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper or more to taste
  • juice from 1/2 lemon, and additional slices for garnish
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon of hot sauce (I used Sriracha but you can use any hot sauce that you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley


  1. To make the lemon garlic butter chicken thighs with green beans: In a small bowl, combine onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Season the chicken thighs generously with the spice mixture.  Set aside while you prepare the green beans.
  2. Arrange the green beans in a microwave safe dish with a 1/2 cup of water.  Cook in the microwave for 8-10 minutes until almost done, but still crisp.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Lay the seasoned chicken thighs in one layer in the skillet.  Cook for 5-6 minutes then flip and cook another 5-6 minutes, until cooked through and a cooking thermometer displays 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  If chicken browns too quickly, lower the heat.  Adjust timing depending on the thickness of the chicken thighs.  Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, lower the heat and melt the remaining butter.  Add chopped parsley, garlic, hot sauce, red crushed chili pepper flakes, and pre-cooked green beans and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly until the beans are cooked to your liking. (I prefer mine a bit crunchy) Add lemon juice and chicken stock and allow to simmer until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened.
  5. Push the green beans to one side of the skillet and add the cooked chicken thighs back to the pan and reheat quickly.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve the lemon garlic butter chicken thighs and green beans immediately, garnished with more crushed red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and a slice of lemon if you like.
  6. ENJOY!!!

Don't be afraid to experiment with this recipe.  It is nearly impossible to ruin it.  Use different types of hot sauce.  You will be surprised at the difference in taste with a change from Sriracha to something like Frank's Hot Sauce.  If you really want it hot, I recommend finding a good quality Habanero hot sauce or if you want, try using "Hot Honey" instead.

Drink Recommendations:

Beer:  This dish pairs well with many types and brands of beer that are available.  I would recommend a Gateway Cream Ale from Lockport Brewing or a Hellz Yeah from Hoodletown Brewing.  If you live somewhere that you can't get these brews...move closer...seriously, any of the "mindless corporate swill" products would pair well with this dish.

Wine:  This is another dish that goes well with "white wines".  Cupcake Butterkissed Chardonnay is good as is the Sauvignon Blanc from Josh Cellars.  Both of these wines are "affordable" and won't break the bank when you purchase them.

Cocktails:  I would enjoy a vodka and tonic with this drink as well as a gin and tonic.  For something a bit stronger, you might want to try a "smoked" Old Fashioned.  That really brings out the smokey flavor if you used smoked paprika when you prepared the dish.