Kid-Friendly · Party Food · Poultry · Recipes · Whole30

Default Wings: DIY

Wings are such a quick, easy, and often very cheap way to make everyone happy. They’re frequently labeled at the butcher counter as “party wings” and are already split up into the flat wing and the drumette, which is perfect for me because The Boyfriend prefers the drums and I want *all* the flats. For a little while I was preparing a new recipe each time we wanted wings, until I finally figured out my “go to” or The Default. If you love wings, but you and your meal buddy want different flavors, this is the recipe for you. The Default delivers perfectly crispy wings with a delicious dry rub every time, ready to be eaten as is or drenched in your sauce of choice.

Large glass pan

1-2 lbs “party wings”
2 tbsp cooking oil or animal fat of choice
1-2 tbsp granulated garlic
2-3 tsp Diamond Crystal salt

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease one or two glass pans with your fat of choice, using a silicone brush or other preferred utensil to coat the whole bottom of the pan and up the sides. (You may need two pans if you are making more than one pound of wings, if they are too close together, it can overcrowd the pan and they won’t cook as well or as evenly).

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Date Night · Kid-Friendly · Party Food · Recipes · Snacks · Vegetarian · Veggies + Side Dishes

Pucker-Up Pickle Pucks

After 21+ years of not eating pickles, I have fallen in love again just in time for Valentine’s Day. These aren’t the greasy fried pickles you’re used to seeing on pub menus, but they’re a great snack or side dish for dinner, and if your person loves pickles as much as The Boyfriend does, they’re the perfect pick for your home-cooked Valentine’s Day meal!

2 large whole pickles
3/4 cup chickpea flour
2 cups vegetable or coconut oil

1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
2-3 tsp Cocky Cajun Seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper


Pour 2 cups vegetable or coconut oil in a small pot and heat on medium-high to 350*F – the pot doesn’t need to be full, just enough to cover the pickle rings. Note: if you do not have an oil thermometer, which I don’t, a great way to see if your oil is hot enough is by dipping the handle end of a wooden utensil in the oil. If bubbles begin to form around the wood and float up, your oil is hot enough and you’re ready to start frying.

Using a sharp knife, remove end pieces from pickles in a thin slice then cut pickles into rings about 1/2″ thick. In a medium-sized bowl combine the chickpea flour, salt, Cajun seasoning, cayenne, and black pepper; mix well. Toss the pickle rings in the flour mixture and coat evenly on all sides.

Prepare a clean plate with a paper towel. Fry the pickle pucks in batches for 1-2 minutes and remove to the paper towel to drain. Finish with a pinch of salt.

Serve immediately, as is or with sauce of choice (I mixed mayonnaise with 1 tsp of chipotle powder).

Beef · CrockPot · Lamb · Recipes

Lamburger Chipotle Chili

So many peppers!
So many peppers!

*Moving to Oregon: 17 days*

It is absolutely freezing today, so it’s safe to assume that I’m craving chili. Since we’re in the throes of vide le congélateur (empty the freezer), I decided to whip up something new instead of grocery shopping for North Philly Chili that I made a few weeks ago. While this recipe has a few more “specialty” ingredients, this batch is a bit thicker and richer, just what I wanted today! I really do love my crock pot.

Don’t tell The Boyfriend, but I actually used a pre-mixed pouch of herbs and seasoning today. With all-natural Lysander’s Original Chili Seasoning and Rick Bayless’ Chipotle Garlic Skillet Sauce, this chili packs a ton of flavor and a nice little kick of lingering heat. I purchased both products at local stores like Di Bruno’s and even found the skillet sauce at Wal-Mart, but you can find them online too.

1 lb ground lamb
2 lbs 80/20 ground beef
7 oz tomato paste
1 packet Chipotle Garlic Skillet Sauce
1 15-oz can black beans
4 hot peppers (I used 2 Serrano, 1 jalapeño, and 1 cayenne)
1.5 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 large clove elephant garlic (or 3-4 cloves regular garlic), finely chopped
2 tbsp grass-fed unsalted butter e.g. Kerrygold (olive oil is okay too)

2 tsp salt
2 tbsp Lysander’s Original Chili Seasoning
1 tbsp Cocky Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp Chipotle Powder

In a large stock pot, melt the butter on medium-high heat and add all three pounds ground meat. Stir occasionally until most of the meat is cooked through and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, chipotle garlic sauce, and 2 tsp salt to the pot and stir well. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes. Dump all contents of the pot into your slow cooker.

Finely chop the garlic and onion, half and thinly slice the peppers, and add to the crock pot. Using a colander, rinse beans under cold water until water runs clear. Drain beans and add to crock pot. Add Lysander’s chili seasoning, Cajun seasoning, and chipotle powder to the slow cooker and stir well.

Set crock pot on low setting and cook for at least 2 hours (up to 4), stirring occasionally. Serve with guacamole, chopped raw onions, or other topping of choice. Enjoy!




Ok, I swear I am working on some great new recipes. Really, they’re happening. I just bought my first piece of cast iron cookware, so you know there’s some good stuff coming up! Unfortunately, recipes you create on your own don’t always work out the first time (and sometimes they just don’t work at all). That being said, here are some goodies you can look forward to in the near future… hopefully:

– fish sauce chicken wings
– fish & chips
– white bean chili
– badass beaf-y chili
– ratatouille

In the meantime, check out my recently updated Want/Have page for some quick and easy substitutions for those pesky junk food cravings.


Poultry · Recipes · Skills/Techniques

The Duck

EDITED: 27 September 2013

This is the “famous” duck recipe, stolen from my mom’s best friend in California, that my parents bug me to make for them all the time. I’m serious – they’ve asked me to come over and make it for them, and then not invited me to the dinner. It’s okay, I’m over it (and my mom is probably reading this). Moving on.

Since originally posting this recipe, I have made a few simple changes… resulting in The Boyfriend devouring the majority of a 4-pound duck in one sitting. I felt it was my duty to share this altered recipe with you. This dish goes great with Butternut Squeek soup, Duck Duck Asparagus, and most other veggies.


1 medium-sized duck (3-4 lbs)
1 lemon, washed and quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, finely chopped

2 tsp Szechuan seasoning
1 tbsp fresh Oregano, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh Sage, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh Rosemary
Kosher or Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Freshly cracked white pepper, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 425*F.

Cut a lemon in half, removing any seeds you can find as well as the ends. Carefully cut off some of the lemon rind (optional) and set aside. In a small bowl, combine half of the fresh herbs with the shallot and half of the minced garlic, add a small squirt of lemon juice.

Rinse duck and pat dry, making sure to remove giblets (there is usually a plastic bag inside the duck with the heart, liver, etc.) – feel free to toss the bag, I do not yet have a duck liver recipe. I usually cut off the really super fatty and ugly pieces, but I tend to go a little overboard and you really don’t need to, so… ignore this sentence. Just clean it up a little. Score* the breast and other fatty areas of the bird and place breast side down on a greased roasting rack (on top of a roasting pan). You will need the pan to collect the drippings from the duck, and the rack to make sure the duck gets crispy instead of just sitting in its own juices for two hours (which is also okay, just not for this recipe).

Season the bottom of the duck with salt, pepper, and Szechuan seasoning. Rub all over the back and legs, pushing in slightly so the spices get into the skin. Flip the duck over so the breast is facing up. Season the breast and remainder of duck with salt, pepper, and Szechuan seasoning, as well as half of the fresh herbs and garlic. Rub seasoning into the skin making sure to get some into the scored fat. Stuff the duck with the cut up lemon, shallot, and remaining herbs and garlic.

Roast the duck in the oven, covered with foil, for one hour. Reduce oven temp to 350*F, remove foil, and cook for an additional 45-60 minutes (bigger bird = longer cooking time). Let rest for 5 minutes before carving.


Improved & Boyfriend Approved
Improved & Boyfriend Approved

Reminder: The lemon is just to add flavor from the juices. While a little lemon doesn’t seem to have any effect on my weight tracking, feel free to toss it after cooking if you don’t want to eat it.

* My sister asked me to explain scoring in case some of my readers aren’t sure what it means, so to “score” meat means cutting deep enough into the skin to help render the fat, without cutting into the meat below. Using a small sharp knife, cut five or six diagonal lines across the skin and through the fat layer. Cut four or five diagonal lines in the opposite direction, creating a cross-hatch pattern Be careful not to cut through the meat below the skin, as this puts you at risk for drying out the meat.