Evil Shenanigans
Cheesy Grits Cups with Bacon and Eggs
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 19:00:39 +0000

Creativity is hard. Really. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do and be my best. It comes from my father. Growing up he would expect me to be the best, no exceptions. For example, I struggled with math when I was in school. I had to study very hard and diligently to understand even the most basic concepts. When I had a big exam coming I would study each night, training hard to remember how to solve each different type of equation. Usually I did well, but well was not enough. Let’s say I brought home a math test where I scored 95% (a very good score for me). My mother would be thrilled knowing how hard I worked. My father would ask me, “If you were in an airplane and it only made it 95% of the way to the destination, would you be satisfied?” When put into those terms it was hard to be happy with less than 100%. This mentality has followed me into adulthood. I want to be the best I can be in whatever field I am working in, and nothing short of my best is a major disappointment. You may wonder who is grading me? What standard am I looking to when measuring success? I am judged only by myself and my own ridiculously high standards. And they are ridiculous, just ask Mr. Shenanigans and he will be glad to tell you. So, when I say creativity is hard I look at it from a couple of perspectives. First, there is nothing new under the sun. It is hard to find new and exciting ways to prepare food because humanity has been preparing food since the dawn of our evolution. How many ways can one make a blueberry muffin unique? What makes my apple pie any better and more exciting that the other million or so recipes for apple pie out there? If I can’t find a way to make something really and truly unique, better, or more fun I won’t post it for the blog. Second, how can I make a recipe that will look and taste as good for you, my darling readers, as it does for me? Success for you is important to me. I want you to feel like you can make my recipes and have then turn out as well, if not better, than mine. I am often so focused on the perfect look that I discount taste because we eat first with our eyes, and on a blog you look at the photos. A pile of ugly brown food, even if it tasted amazing, isn’t likely to inspire many to make it. Well, today I tucked away part of my neurosis for perfection. This is a big step kids! The recipe I present to you almost made it into the rubbish bin. These cheesy grits cups didn’t look the exact way I wanted. In my mind I wanted smooth grits on the outside, and a […]

This post first appeared as Cheesy Grits Cups with Bacon and Eggs on Evil Shenanigans by Kelly Jaggers

Fudge Brownie Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie
Wed, 18 May 2016 15:00:18 +0000

Oh, hello there! It has been a while! Since last we spoke I have traveled to Ireland for my Kerrygold adventure, lost my sweet little beagle Zuzu, and spent the last seven months (and counting) in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities with my father who has been given two death sentences only to recover and go back to rehab. He is stubborn! I have also written another cookbook (The Everything Dutch Oven Cookbook out in August and available for pre-order), worked on some really fun freelance projects, and won a pie contest. (I was the only person to enter a pie into this contest, but a win is still a win!) It has been a rough ride, and I am committed to making time for the blog again. Blog time is really me time, and I have had very little time for me lately. When you get down to brass tacks, I love my little blog and the recipes I create for it. Late last year I struggled with where Evil Shenanigans was going. Should I make changes to the content, start making (really bad) videos because they are super trendy right now (even though I am terribly camera shy), or even start adding lifestyle content (ugh!). Dealing with my father’s extended illness, the loss of my little dog, and taking on an abundance of freelance work taught me to treasure what I really love and not to get too wrapped up in what other people are doing, or what they think is important. So, I am going to continue sharing fun recipes. Nothing too serious, certainly nothing too heavy, and never anything too trendy. I am about good, solid, terribly naughty recipes. So, I return to you my dears with a pie contest ‘winning’ pie that had people buzzing. My part-time day job (yes, I still have that) has a baking competition every spring. This year I submitted the following pie, and I won. Now, you might not think much of that, but let me tell you how people responded to my entry. One co-worker sent me an email saying she knew the pie must be mine, and letting me know it was better than the pie she gets from our local, critically acclaimed pie shop. High praise. I also got a number of instant messages from others asking if I made the pie, and that it was their favorite entry of the whole competition. Buzz, buzz, buzz. One co-worker told me she wanted to start a religion with the pie as the deity, and that she would have more members than a certain celebrity religion that involves space ships and rudimentary lie detectors. Fun?! This pie is a study in textures. Crunchy, buttery graham cracker crust. Thick, chewy fudge brownie filling. Lighter than air salted caramel cheesecake topping. It hits the bliss point – the point where you want to keep consuming the pie even though you are full, it is pretty rich, and you want […]

This post first appeared as Fudge Brownie Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie on Evil Shenanigans by Kelly Jaggers

Mac and Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
Tue, 20 Oct 2015 15:45:06 +0000

I have had a lot on my plate lately. I think that calls for some comfort food. My father, who has been in and out of the hospital for the last few years, is back in the hospital. He has an infection and other complications that require him to stay there for the foreseeable future. My mom, ever the trooper, has been staying with him as much as possible, and when she can’t be there I go in her place. He is in good spirits, but it seems like one medical issue is fixed in time for another to take its place. All this to say he isn’t getting out anytime soon. On top of that, I am still playing catch-up from a recent vacation – the details of which I will share soon – and my part-time day job has been crazy busy the last few weeks. So, to say my plate if full is not an understatement. What do I want when I am dealing with work and stress? Comfort food, and in this case it is a modified version of my legendary ‘Super Evil’ Bacon Meatballs stuffed with creamy macaroni and cheese. To be sure, it isn’t in the least bit healthy and I can’t be bothered to care. I modified my ‘Super Evil’ Bacon Meatball recipe so it would be a little easier to handle. The original is half ground bacon, which is tasty but rather tricky to handle. Since you have to wrap the meatball mixture around scoops of macaroni and cheese I decided a more sturdy mixture would be best. I reduced the bacon by half, so the meatballs themselves are still super-freaky-naughty with a distinct bacon flavor and the mixture is easy to work with. Win! This macaroni and cheese relies heavily on sharp cheddar for its flavor, and also a touch of cream cheese. The cream cheese helps keep the cheese smooth even after baking. If you have a favorite cheese for mac and cheese – or even a tasty blend – feel free to use it. Just remember, it needs to be strong enough to stand up to the meatball surrounding it. While baking the meatballs may ooze cheese toward the end of the baking time. That is completely ok, and also quite tasty if you are the type that likes crusty, browned cheese. I know I am. I like to eat these topped with a little tomato sauce, but you could also use a creamy sauce, or forego the sauce entirely. It is up to you. These make a hearty meal with paired with a salad or some roasted seasonal vegetables. They also make a ridiculously good hoagie with mozzarella and tomato sauce broiled on top. I imagine these would also be a much discussed cocktail party nibble or appetizer. However you eat them, they are sure to hit the comfort spot. Print Mac and Cheese Stuffed Meatballs Author: Kelly Jaggers Recipe type: Dinner Cuisine: American Prep time:  45 mins Cook time:  20 […]

This post first appeared as Mac and Cheese Stuffed Meatballs on Evil Shenanigans by Kelly Jaggers

Cheesy Roasted Baby Potatoes
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:00:45 +0000

I’m not sure there is anything better than carbs and cheese. Seriously, they are the perfect union, and when I am hosting a party, having a BBQ, or invited over to a friends for dinner I always like to bring the carbs and cheese goodness. Also dessert. I’m an overachiever. Anyway, I have been working with Kerrygold to develop some recipes over the last year, and this month they wanted my very best side dish. Easy. Carbs and cheese! In this case the carbs are in the form of tri-colored baby potatoes covered in a creamy cheese sauce. Think of it as lazy persons super cheater version of potatoes au gratin. I love tri-colored baby potatoes. They are cute, festive, and perfect for salads or simply roasting. For this dish you can really use any waxy potato you like. A russet would also work, but it won’t hold its shape as well after roasting. It is also less technicolor wonderful. The sauce is basically a homemade ranch dip featuring dry dill, garlic powder, and onion powder. I also tossed in some crushed red pepper because I like to keep it spicy! You can serve this dish hot, warm, or room temperature so it is good year round. I will say, Mr. Shenanigans even likes it cold. Like eating it with a fork from the fridge cold. Whatever floats your boat. I don’t judge. While I did use the Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese for this recipe, you could use any cheese you like. I feel like the Kerrygold Aged Cheddar would also work well here. Play with it. It is carbs and cheese after all. There aren’t that many rules. Print Cheesy Roasted Baby Potatoes Author: Kelly Jaggers Recipe type: Side Dish Cuisine: American Prep time:  20 mins Cook time:  30 mins Total time:  50 mins Serves: 6   Ingredients 1 pound tri-colored baby potatoes, cut into ½-inch pieces 7 ounces Kerrygold Dubliner cheese, grated ½ cup sour cream, plus more to garnish 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 2 tablespoons Kerrygold butter, at room temperature 2 teaspoons dry dill ½ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon onion powder ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 6 strips thick cut bacon, cooked crisp and roughly chopped Fresh chopped chives, for garnish Instructions Heat the oven to 350 F and spray a 9x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium pot add the potatoes and add enough water to cover. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside. In a large bowl combine ¾ of the grated cheese, ½ cup sour cream, cream cheese, butter, dill, salt, onion powder. garlic powder, and crushed red pepper. Mix until everything is well combined then add the potatoes and fold to coat. Add the bacon and mix to combine. Pour the potato mixture into the prepared pan and spread so the potatoes are even. Top with the remaining cheese. […]

This post first appeared as Cheesy Roasted Baby Potatoes on Evil Shenanigans by Kelly Jaggers

Graham Coconut Caramel Cake
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 16:00:19 +0000

I have not made a cake for fun in a while. The problem with having a whole cake sitting around the house is I will eat a whole cake. I know I will. I have seen me do it. So, generally I do not make cakes to keep around the house, but I was feeling domestic the other day, and I was also feeling rather nostalgic. When I was little I would spend a few weeks with my grandmother Lola. She spoiled me with impunity, and would make me all kinds of treats to greedily devour. One treat she made was an icebox cake with graham crackers, whipped topping, chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce. It was not high cooking, but to my 8 year old taste buds it was bliss. It was that dessert that inspired this cake. The cake layers are made with graham cracker crumbs, so the finished cake has a buttery graham flavor, but a light, tender crumb. I decided to forego the chocolate sauce, as that would make things a little soggy, in favor of chocolate frosting. To make the cake look special, and a little more like grandma’s icebox cake, I decided to tort– or split – the cake layers. Each layer is filled with a thin layer of frosting, homemade caramel sauce, and – because I wanted it – some toasted unsweetened coconut. The flavor is not overly sweet, but the caramel sauce with the graham cake gives the cake a richness that means a small slice goes a long way. It is buttery, soft, and a little crunchy from the toasted coconut. I recommend making this cake a day ahead and letting it chill in the fridge so the caramel, coconut, cake, and chocolate can get really well acquainted. This is everything I loved about grandma’s icebox cake, just taken to a new level. Print Author: Kelly Jaggers Prep time:  60 mins Cook time:  23 mins Total time:  1 hour 23 mins Serves: 8   Ingredients For the cake: 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 sheets) 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt ¾ cup packed light brown sugar ¼ cup oil, coconut or vegetable ¼ cup butter, melted 3 eggs ½ cup buttermilk 2 teaspoons vanilla For the frosting: 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature ¾ cup cocoa powder 3 cups powdered sugar Pinch of salt ⅓ cup whole milk 2 teaspoons vanilla For the filling: 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut, toasted and cooled 1 cup caramel sauce Instructions Heat the oven to 350F and spray 2 8-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumb flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine then add the brown sugar and mix well. Make a well in the center of the flour and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the oil, butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk the mixture until it is thoroughly […]

This post first appeared as Graham Coconut Caramel Cake on Evil Shenanigans by Kelly Jaggers

Tex-Mex Wedge Salad
Tue, 09 Jun 2015 18:31:33 +0000

Do you like salad? Believe it or not, I really like a good salad. In Texas, when the weather gets warm, it is nice to have a cool, crisp salad. Now, this is not to say I like a really healthy salad. This is me we are talking about. I like a rich, creamy dressing, lots of fresh toppings, some cheese, and – obviously – bacon. Kerrygold asked me to share with you a salad featuring their butter and cheese*, and that is exactly what I have delivered. The salad that I have made for y’all today is all the best things about a traditional wedge salad, but with a Tex-Mex twist. The dressing is a cheesy jalapeno cilantro dressing featuring Kerrygold Blarney Cheese. I also added some Kerrygold Aged Cheddar and jalapeno cheese crisps, and I fried some tortilla strips in Kerrygold Butter. You can either serve this salad as an appetizer or as a main course. If you are serving as an appetizer use half a head of iceberg lettuce cut into four small wedges. For a main course I would cut the head of lettuce into quarters and serve it with some grilled chicken or shrimp to round out the meal. As I said above, the salad is garnished with some cheese crisps and tortilla strips. The cheese crisps can be flavored anyway you want. I added minced jalapeno, but you could also add some cumin, chili power, or even taco seasoning. The tortilla strips I fried in butter to add a little extra richness, and nutty flavor. If you prefer to use oil, feel free. You can also add any extra topping you might like, such as black beans, crumbled smoked sausage, or even smoked chicken or pork. The sky is truly the limit here!   Print Tex-Mex Wedge Salad Author: Kelly Jaggers Recipe type: Salad Cuisine: American Prep time:  30 mins Cook time:  30 mins Total time:  1 hour Serves: 4 Servings   Ingredients For the dressing: 4 ounces Kerrygold Sweet Cheddar, ½ grated fine, ½ grated coarse ¾ cup mayonnaise ½ cup buttermilk ½ jalapeno, finely minced 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lime juice ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper For the cheese crisps: 4 ounces Kerrygold Aged Cheddar, coarsely grated ½ jalapeno, finely minced For the tortilla strips: 2 tablespoons Kerrygold Salted Butter 3 corn tortillas cut into ¼-inch strips Kosher salt, to season For the salad: ½ large head iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into 4 wedges ½ cup diced red onion ½ cup diced tomato 4 strips smoked bacon, cooked crisp and chopped 1 medium avocado, diced Instructions Begin by preparing the dressing. In the work bowl of a blender add the finely shredded Kerrygold Sweet Cheddar, mayonnaise, buttermilk, and half the jalapeno. Blend until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and add the coarsely shredded Kerrygold Sweet Cheddar, remaining jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Mix until well […]

This post first appeared as Tex-Mex Wedge Salad on Evil Shenanigans by Kelly Jaggers

Mango Chutney and Bacon Grilled Cheese
Tue, 05 May 2015 17:00:18 +0000

What is the fastest comfort food you can make? Aside from a bowl of ice cream, or something store bought, I think grilled cheese is probably the fastest comfort food recipe in my repertory. In about 10 minutes you can go from desperately hungry to content, and you only dirty one pan! This grilled cheese also satisfies my need for sweet and salty as it has hot utney and thick sliced smoked bacon added to the mix. This sandwich really ticks all my boxes for comfort food. Plus, it uses two kinds of Kerrygold cheese – Blarney Castle and Aged Cheddar – so it also satisfies their April challenge to create my ultimate grilled cheese. I must say, this is among my ultimate grilled cheese sandwiches. I love a good grilled cheese sandwich so much there can’t be one single sandwich at the top of my list! Don’t forget how terribly greedy I am. For this sandwich I wanted a sweet yet nutty bread, so I chose a seeded multi-grain bread. You can use whatever bread you have handy, but I highly recommend the multi-grain approach for two reasons. First, the bread has a lovely natural sweetness that his enhanced by the toasting it gets in the buttery pan. Second, multi-grain breads have a nutty flavor that pairs well with the Kerrygold cheese I selected for this sandwich – Blarney Castle and Aged Cheddar. Hot mango chutney also pairs well with the cheeses, so I spread about a teaspoon on each slice of bread. It not only tastes fabulous, it helps the shredded cheese adhere to the bread. The bacon I added simply because I like bacon, but it plays well with the chutney and cheese, and makes the sandwich a little more hearty and filling. This is good as a quick meal with a salad or cup of creamy soup, or you can make a few sandwiches and cut them into fingers for a cocktail party. Nothing soaks up the booze-woozies better than a grilled cheese. Print Mango Chutney and Bacon Grilled Cheese Author: Kelly Jaggers Recipe type: Sandwich Cuisine: American Prep time:  10 mins Cook time:  5 mins Total time:  15 mins Serves: 2   Ingredients 4 slices milti-grain wheat bread 1 heaping tablespoon hot mango chutney 2 ounces Kerrygold Blarney Castle, finely shredded 2 ounces Kerrygold Aged Cheddar, finely shredded 4 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cooked crisp 2-3 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Butter Sea salt, to taste Instructions Begin by preparing the sandwiches. Lay the bread slices out on a cutting board. Spread each slice with about a teaspoon of mango chutney, then top each with the shredded cheeses. Place two bacon strips on two of the slices of bread and then top with the cheese only bread slices. Spread the top of each sandwich with two teaspoons of butter. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Once the butter melts swirl so it coats the pan and add the sandwiches butter side up to […]

This post first appeared as Mango Chutney and Bacon Grilled Cheese on Evil Shenanigans by Kelly Jaggers

Strawberry Orange Cream Puffs
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:00:11 +0000

I love it when the trees get green, and the bluebonnets begin to bloom! It means spring has arrived, and with it all kinds of light and fruity desserts that I so adore. Keep your pumpkin spice and gingerbread, I will take fresh berries and sharp citrus any day! Right before I went in for shoulder surgery in February to repair a torn rotator cuff I jotted down a list of recipe ideas to make when I was better. I had a huge brainstorm just a few days before I would be unable to do more than make toast for at least a month. Isn’t that always the way? Well, I have been feeling much better these last few weeks, thanks to physical therapy, so I got back into the kitchen. I had been thinking about these puffs through my recovery, so once I hit the kitchen these were the first thing I made! You know, because what you really need when when you have been laid up on your rear for two months is cream puffs! Don’t judge! What I like best about these little puffs is how refreshing they are. They are certainly not light in the calorie department, but they have an inviting flavor that begs you to keep eating! I love the vanilla filling as it contrasts with the sweet/tart strawberries and the aromatic orange in the pastry dough. If you want an even lighter filling you can fold in a half a cup of cream that has been whipped into soft peaks. This will give the filling a mousse like consistency, but it is very perishable so only do this if you are serving within an hour of filling them. These would make a great ending to a heavy dinner, such as barbeque or steak, and would also be the perfect treat after a spring tea, or light lunch. Heck, these are perfect anytime! Print Strawberry Orange Cream Puffs Author: Kelly Jaggers Prep time:  30 mins Cook time:  60 mins Total time:  1 hour 30 mins Serves: 20   Ingredients For the filling: 1½ cups half and half ½ cup sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 eggs ¼ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon butter ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste For the pastry: ½ cup water ¼ cup butter 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons orange zest ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup all-purpose flour 2 eggs For the glaze: ¾ cup powdered sugar 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon orange juice 2 teaspoons butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste ½ cup finely diced strawberry Instructions Begin by preparing the filling. In the work bowl of a blender of food processor add the half and half, sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and salt. Blend until completely combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly until the mixture just comes to a boil, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and cook, whisking constantly, for 30 seconds more. Turn off the heat […]

This post first appeared as Strawberry Orange Cream Puffs on Evil Shenanigans by Kelly Jaggers


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