November 06, 2013 12:00 PM

GRILL-SPICED PECANS

Makes: about 3 cups Hands-on time: 10 min. Total time: 20 min.

½ cup sugar

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¼ tsp. ground red pepper

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

¼ cup unsalted butter

3 cups pecan halves

1. Preheat grill to 350° or 400° (medium-high) heat. Combine sugar and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Melt butter in a 13×9-in. pan on grill rack. Add pecans and stir to coat nuts. Sprinkle pecans with half of sugar mixture; stir to coat. Cook pecans, covered with grill lid, stirring often, about 6 to 8 minutes or until golden. Remove pan from heat; add remaining sugar mixture and stir.

GRANNY SMITH APPLE SALSA

Makes: 7 cups Hands-on time: 25 min. Total time: 8 hrs., 25 min.

1 tbsp. grated lime zest

½ cup fresh lime juice

1½ cups diced Granny Smith apples

5 cups seeded and chopped Roma tomatoes, drained

1 cup chopped cilantro leaves

1 cup chopped yellow onions

¾ cup seeded and diced poblano peppers

¼ cup seeded and finely diced jalapeño peppers

½ cup chopped shallots

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. coarsely ground pepper

Tortilla chips

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.

2. Combine tomatoes and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; add apple mixture and toss. Cover and chill 8 hours. Stir. Serve with tortilla chips.

CHOW-DOWN CHILI

Makes: 10 to 12 servings Hands-on time: 25 min. Total time: 2 hrs., 10 min.

4 tbsp. bacon drippings

4 cups chopped yellow onions

2 cups chopped green bell peppers

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped

2 tbsp. minced garlic

3 lbs. ground sirloin

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

1/3 cup chili powder

1/3 cup ground cumin

1 tbsp. kosher salt

Ground red pepper to taste

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

4 cups chicken broth

2 (28-oz.) cans diced tomatoes

2 (6-oz.) cans tomato paste

1 (10-oz.) can tomatoes and green chilis

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp. hot sauce

3 (15-oz.) cans kidney beans, drained

1. Cook onions, peppers and garlic in hot bacon drippings in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring often, until onions are translucent and peppers are soft, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add sirloin and sausage; increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until meat is no longer pink. Add chili powder and next 6 ingredients; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes.

3. Add chicken broth and next 5 ingredients. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring often, 1½ hours, adding beans for the last 15 minutes.

DEEP-FRIED COOKIE DOUGH

Makes: 8 servings Hands-on time: 35 min. Total time: 8 hrs., 35 min.

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

¼ cup light brown sugar

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

¼ tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

¼ cup chocolate chips

1 cup milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1¼ cups self-rising flour

2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Peanut oil

For garnish: powdered sugar, chocolate syrup

1. Combine all-purpose flour and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla extract and 1 tbsp. vegetable oil. Gradually add flour mixture and remaining oil. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide dough evenly into 8 balls. Cover and chill 8 hours.

2. Fill a Dutch oven 2/3 full with peanut oil; heat to 365°.

3. Combine milk and egg in a small bowl. Whisk together self-rising flour and 2 tbsp. powdered sugar in another small bowl. Dip dough ball in milk mixture; roll in flour mixture; dip in milk mixture again. Repeat process with ball 3 times until thickly coated; set aside. Repeat dipping and dredging process with remaining balls just before frying.

4. Fry balls in batches, 1½ to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil; drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar; drizzle with chocolate syrup. Serve immediately.

SHARP CHEDDAR BEER BREAD

Makes: 8 servings Hands-on time: 20 min. Total time: 2 hrs.

2 cups self-rising flour

1½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal

1/3 cup sugar

½ tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. ground red pepper

1 (12-oz.) bottle of pilsner beer

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

Butter (optional)

Cheddar cheese slices (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add beer, stirring until smooth. Spread batter evenly in a greased 9×5-in. loaf pan. Pour melted butter over batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove bread from pan to wire rack; cool completely. Wrap bread in aluminum foil until ready to serve. Serve plain, or butter and grill with cheddar cheese slices 2 to 3 minutes or just until cheese melts if desired.

BROCCOLI SALAD

Makes: 10 to 12 servings Hands-on time: 30 min. Total time: 8 hrs., 30 min.

10 cups broccoli florets, cut in bite-size pieces

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

½ cup chopped dried apricots

½ cup shelled sunflower seeds

¼ cup golden raisins

¼ cup chopped shallots

¼ cup chopped red onion

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. orange zest

¼ cup fresh orange juice

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1. Combine broccoli and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture; toss. Cover and chill 8 hours. Toss before serving.

CHICKEN-SWEET POTATO KABOBS

Makes: 12 kabobs Hands-on time: 35 min. Total time: 8 hrs., 50 min.

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in bite-size pieces

2 lbs. boned and skinned chicken breasts, cut in bite-size pieces

½ cup white balsamic vinegar, divided

2 tbsp. store-bought marinade for chicken

1½ tsp. salt, divided

1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper, divided

½ tsp. rubbed sage

2½ tsp. Dijon mustard, divided

1 cup olive oil, divided

1 each red, yellow and orange bell pepper, cut in bite-size pieces

1 medium size yellow onion, peeled and cut in bite-size pieces

12-in. bamboo skewers

1. Put sweet potatoes in water to cover in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 3 minutes or just until tender. Drain. Cool completely.

2. Place chicken pieces in a large zip-top freezer bag. Combine 1/3 cup vinegar, marinade, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, sage and 2 tsp. Dijon mustard; slowly whisk in ½ cup olive oil. Pour mixture over chicken; seal bag and chill up to 8 hours.

3. Combine remaining vinegar, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard; slowly whisk in remaining olive oil. Place sweet potatoes, peppers and onions in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Pour olive oil mixture over vegetables; seal bag and chill up to 8 hours.

4. Soak bamboo skewers in water to cover for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Drain chicken pieces and vegetables; discard marinade. Thread chicken and vegetables alternately onto skewers. Grill on lightly oiled grill rack 12 to 15 minutes until vegetables are softened and chicken is done. Serve immediately.

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