Homemade Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

It’s Memorial Day Weekend!  Who’s ready for some fun in the sun?!  I am!

It’s a shame the weather forecast for the weekend is cold and rainy in Philly and at the shore. 😦

Regardless, I’m sure we’ll be gettin’ the grill going sometime this weekend.  Are ya with me?

This week, Dave and I tried out our very first homemade BBQ sauce.  I feel fancy but I should really know better.  It was super easy.  I promise.  I got the recipe from a really great blog called The Black Peppercorn.  He used the sauce for pulled pork which sounds so delish, but we just decided to use it as a dipping sauce and topping for some grilled chicken and veggies.  Here you go!

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Makes 1.5 Cups (approx)

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow mustard
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
3 tablespoons butter

 
Directions:
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a saucepan until smooth. Cook on medium low heat for about 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.  
  2. Store in a jar or squeeze bottle in the fridge.

Recipe from:  The Black Peppercorn

Try it out this weekend… yummy!

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My spoon was resting on this bowl and made a cute little heart!  :)

My spoon was resting on this bowl and made a cute little heart! 🙂

Jimmy’s BBQ in Malvern, PA

For those of you who don’t already know, I am obsessed with Groupon deals.  Living Social, Buy With Me, Dealyo, etc etc… I love them all.  Besides the obvious savings they provide, I like buying these coupons because they allow me to try new places.  In this case, Dave and I had a deal that brought us all the way out to Malvern, PA for Jimmy’s BBQ.

Oink Oink!

I knew I was going to like Jimmy’s when we walked in the door.  Besides the entire restaurant smelling heavenly, the first thing I saw was a sink in the dining area… which is amazing after getting messy eating BBQ!  What a great idea.

At Jimmy’s BBQ, EVERYTHING is made from scratch.  The BBQ meats are house-smoked using hickory and cherry woods, dry-rubbed, and then served to you so you can slather as much of their homemade BBQ sauce on as you’d like.  Not only did we come to Jimmy’s on Wednesday (one FREE beer with any order after 5pm), but we had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy himself.  He talked to us about the differences in their three types of BBQ sauces, how they smoke their meats, and even was kind enough to give us a sample of their fall-off-the-bone ribs.  Now that’s what I call good service!

It’s no surprise knowing how indecisive I am, that we both had to order the Meat Sampler Plate including 5 oz portions of our choice of three meats.  Dave ordered the BBQ Chicken, Pulled Pork, and Brisket while I chose the Brisket, Chicken, and Hot Italian Sausage (also from scratch, house smoked).  We each got to pick two sides, and per Jimmy’s suggestion we each ordered the Smoked Beans, and then the Dirty Corn Salad and Corn Bread.

Delish sides

Brisket, Chicken, and Hot Italian Sausage (from left to right) mmmmm!

Let me tell you, I don’t even know where to start!  Everything we ate here was delicious.  ALL of the meats were tender, juicy, and flavorful.  At first, we couldn’t decide which of the three BBQ sauces we liked best, and I’m sure you’re not surprised that the “Hot” won out… duh.  Jimmy told us that they use white cayenne pepper in the Hot BBQ sauce, which I had never heard of.  I will definitely have to go buy some for home.

Dave loaded up on the BBQ sauce

Dave’s favorite was the Brisket, which happens to be one of his favorite foods.  Although everything was so yummy, I couldn’t stop eating the hot Italian sausage.  It was so good!  I could hardly finish my plate so I got to take home some leftovers and some extra BBQ sauces.

Dave and I will absolutely be returning to Jimmy’s BBQ in the near future.  It’s hard to find good BBQ food in the Philly area and it is so nice to know we have such a great place less than a half hour away.  Both of us recommend Jimmy’s, and make sure you say “hi” to Jimmy when you go try it for yourself!

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Happy New Year!  So, it’s January 2nd… do you know what that means?  It’s Day 2 of our Challenge!  I hope you have decided on your own goals and rules and have started working on them.  Last night, I did the best thing for the start of my diet- I went food shopping.  Personally, this is the most helpful thing for me when I am trying to be “good” with my diet.  I have found that I will start making better eating decisions if I surround myself around lots of healthy choices.  I bought a few yogurts (Dannon Light & Fit), apples, oranges, carrots, Reduced Fat Wheat Thins, Special K Cereal, and Blue Diamond flavored almonds.  When I have foods like these in my house or at work, I’m less tempted by my Dad’s snacks and ordering takeout, and am more likely to stick with my diet.

As I mentioned earlier, my “make my own” rule for my challenge is that I am not allowed to eat Chinese food!  When I was making Dave and I dinner last night, I started thinking that I’m going to sound pretty hypocritical when I tell you what I made… Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup.  In my defense, I totally meant I’m not allowed to eat Chinese TAKEOUT!  The soup turned out awesome, and it actually happens to be a recipe from Cooking Light.

I even entered this recipe into my Livestrong My Plate recipes page… here it is!  Only 286 calories and about 1.5 grams of fat per serving.  Not too shabby!

The recipe was meant to make 4 servings, but since we ate this as our main dish, we ended up getting 2 big bowls and some leftovers out of it.  It is spicy, but you can control the heat by how much of the Sriracha you add.  Next time, I would add more.  Duh.

Ingredients:

3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast

1/2 cup grated carrot (about 1 medium)

1/2 cup thinly sliced snow peas

2 teaspoons Sriracha

2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger

6 cups water

3 ounces uncooked wide rice sticks (rice-flour noodles)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

Preparation:

–           Bring first 9 ingredients to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm.

–           Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add rice noodles; cook 3 minutes.  Drain.

–           Place about 1/4 cup rice noodles in each of 4 bowls.

–           Discard ginger.

–           Add juice to broth mixture; stir.

–           Ladle 1 1/3 cups broth mixture over each serving; top with 1 tablespoon each mint, cilantro, and green onions.

The fresh herbs really made the flavor so amazing in the soup! What a nice touch.

Not like your Grandma's Chicken Noodle Soup!

A few notes:  I was pretty excited because on my supermarket trip, I bought a container of “Better than Bouillon” instead of the normal Chicken Broth.  I find that we end up wasting a lot of chicken broth buying the pre-mixed kind, since they only last about 2 weeks once they’re opened.  I really liked the way it turned out, and it lasts a really long time.

Also, although the purpose of using rotisserie chicken breast is to save on time, I actually used my own chicken.  I had some frozen chicken that I defrosted, and baked in the oven before shredding.  You can really just use whatever you want.

One thing I’d change for the next time I make this (and it was so good, believe me there will be a next time!!) is that I would break up the rice noodles before I cook them.  They become very sticky and in a soup it’s hard to eat them with a spoon.  Dave and I even had to use forks.

I had to use my fork for the rice noodles!

Since I had made some chicken, I had a little leftover and decided to make chicken salad for lunch today.  It ended up being so good and so easy.

First, I shredded the chicken as I already did for the Asian soup.  I cut one stalk of celery into small pieces and put about 1/8 Cup of Craisins in the bowl too.  I used 1 Tablespoon of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce and about 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil Mayo.  You should always start with less of the sauce and add more depending on how you like it.  MMM!

A great use for extra chicken!

The soup was a great idea for satisfying my Asian cravings but keeping the calories and fat so much lower than if I had ordered Takeout.

How have the first few days of the Challenge been treating you?  What guilty pleasure food did you decide to give up?  Also, what are your favorite healthy purchases at the grocery store that have saved your diet??