Category Archives: 4th of July

Slow-Cooker Easy BBQ Ribs

It’s August, which in Louisiana means it’s really too hot to even go outside.  You don’t see people walking at the park, no kids riding their bikes.  The heat index is usually around 115.  You certainly don’t often see people outside grilling.  Who wants to stand over a flame in that kind of heat?

Crockpots are great for summer cooking, since they get the job done without heating up your whole house.  I couldn’t wait to try the crockpot ribs recipe I saw on Pinterest, but I was a little hesitant.  I just wasn’t sure how that would go.  I decided to finally give it a try and was so incredibly pleased.  Let me tell you, these ribs were TENDER.  Like hard to get out of the pot tender.  They just wanted to fall apart.  They are fantastic.  My husband says he thinks they’re better than his bbq ones.  I didn’t use the seasoning mixture it called for, simply because I had some on hand (Sweet Pecan Rub from Red Stick Spice) that used those ingredients, but I’ll post the recipe anyway with the seasonings.  Whatever you do, do not skip the broiler step.  It takes great ribs and just makes them better.  Mmm…

Note:  I normally use my bigger 6 qt slow cooker, but used my smaller 4 qt one for this because the ribs kept wanting to slide down since there was so much room.  If you don’t have a smaller one, you could make a ball out of foil to fill in some of the space.

Slow-Cooker Easy BBQ Ribs

Slow-Cooker Easy BBQ Ribs
Recipe from Mmm… is for Mommy

1.5 tbsp sweet or smoked paprika
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
2.5 lbs pork back ribs – leave the membrane on the back to help hold them together
1 cup of your favorite bbq sauce, I used Stubbs
Nonstick spray

Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl, then rub all over both sides of the ribs.  Spray the crock pot bowl with nonstick spray, then place the ribs on their sides against the wall of the crockpot, thick side down and meaty side against the wall.  Drizzle your cup of bbq sauce over them, then cover and cook for 7 hours on LOW.

When 7 hours are up, cover a cookie sheet (rimmed pan) with foil, then place a rack inside of it (I used a cooling rack).  VERY carefully remove the ribs from the slow cooker and place on the rack, meat side down.  They are going to try to fall all apart!  Place a strainer in a small saucepan and carefully pour the liquid that is remaining in the crockpot through the strainer.  Remove the strainer with the debris and bring the liquid to a boil.  Allow to cook, at a boil, for 15 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by a third.   Turn the broiler on to low and baste the ribs with the thickened liquid.  Make sure your oven rack is about 10 inches under the broiler element.  Cook under the broiler for three minutes before removing and carefully flipping over, meaty side up.  Baste again and cook for 9 minutes under the broiler, basting a couple of more times during that 9 minutes.

Remove and enjoy!  You can serve the remaining sauce on the side.

All you need to make great ribs!


BLT Bites

Last month my brother-in-law and his fiancée got married.  I’m sure Michelle got lots of advice on wedding related things, but I told her my most important piece of advice is to make sure she gets a plate of food set aside for her to bring home!  I didn’t get to eat anything at my wedding reception, though I hear the food was fabulous!

Well this time I wasn’t the bride, just a bridesmaid.  So I got to eat!  There were many yummy things but there was one thing that stood out.  It was so unassuming, these little tomatoes on a platter.  I didn’t get one because I wasn’t sure what they were stuffed with and my plate was already full!  My mom got a few though and she told me to try one.  Heavenly! They taste exactly like little bite-sized BLTs, full of creamy bacon flavor.  I went back for more for myself and they were all gone 😦  A few days later I went off in search of a recipe to make them and found it on Taste of Home’s website.   It was a huge hit at a jewelry party I had, I can’t wait to make them (and eat them!) again!

BLT Bites

BLT Bites
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

1 package grape or cherry tomatoes, washed
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated


  • Carefully cut off the tops of the tomatoes and very carefully scoop out the insides.  Give a little thought beforehand to how you’re going to scoop them out – I used the round part on a jalapeno corer.  You don’t want to tear the outside of the tomato and you don’t want to scoop all the way through.
  • Place all the tomatoes on a plate and put the rest of the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped and mixed.  If the filling is too “firm” then add a little more mayonnaise and mix well.
  • Scoop into a ziploc bag fitted with an icing piping attachment (or just make a small hole in the tip of the bag) and gently squeeze the filling into the tomatoes.
  • Cover the tray and place in the refrigerator a few hours to firm up.
  • Serve cold.

Scooped-out tomatoes

Flag Cake

Last week was July 4th so I felt like baking something fun and patriotic.  My decision on what to make was done when I saw the flag cake on Crafty Mama blog.  It was not your typical flag cake.

At first I was intrigued.  How on Earth did she do that??  Then after reading the instructions, it made sense.  I had to try it for myself.  I didn’t do anything from scratch.  I figured it would take enough time to create, so I just used store-bought cake mix and frosting.  It was a success, everyone loved it!

I didn’t take step-by-step pictures, which you need to make this.  So rather than write out how to do it, I’ll just direct you over to Crafty Mama.

Flag Cake

Oven Hot Dogs

Hello, my name is Christen and I’m a hot dog-a-holic.  I don’t know what it is, I could be planning to cook a nice steak dinner but if I see a hot dog?  It’s all over.  I gotta have one.  It’s like a sickness.

So that’s pretty much what happened this past Sunday.  I was surfing the net, looking at blogs and trying to decide what to cook for dinner that night because Sundays are our “cheat days” at our house.  I saw a picture for oven hot dogs.  Search over.  I had never had one before and now, this is how I will always cook my hot dogs.  The bun gets sort of crisp (not hard though).  I recently had some dental work done so I was scared to bite into it and cut mine with a knife and fork but no matter, it was still amazing.  AMAZING.  Let’s just let the picture speak for itself.  (see picture below recipe.)

Oven Hot Dogs
Inspired By:  In the Wabe

8 hot dogs (I use the nitrate free ones)
8 hot dog buns
1 recipe hot dog chili (or you can use the canned stuff, whatever floats your boat)
Mayo – lots of it
Mustard – we used coarse ground variety
shredded cheese
diced onions

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a 9×13 casserole with foil.  Spread mayo generously on the inside of the buns, then to each add a hot dog, a squirt of mayo, a generous helping of the chili, lots of cheese and some onions.  Squeeze them into the dish, and kind of smoosh down so your cheese doesn’t get stuck to the foil you’re going to put on top.  And that’s the next step, cover with foil.  Bake 45 minutes (seriously) then remove and use a spatula to remove them.  Sigh in pleasure after your first bite.

Oven Hot Dogs

Note:  If there are other toppings you like, feel free to add those too!

Red, White and Blue Tart

So no cooking blog is complete without the post about a red, white and blue dessert, right??  Well you won’t find that jiggly jello mold stuff here, something about my food jiggling just skeeves me out.  I’m more of a tart type of person.  And this tart definitely delivered the goods.  The custard tasted somewhat like that of a tart-a-la-bouille pie.  The crust was just perfect, even if I DID forget to add the walnuts!  This was a pretty easy recipe to make, though my abnormally large tart pan did present a challenge or two!  I think a standard size one might have to be on the wish list soon!

It was so good that there is only one slice left…and it’s got my name on it!

Red,White and Blue Tart
Sources:  Tart Dough – Williams-Sonoma, Pastry Cream – Martha Stewart


Custard/Pastry Cream:
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

Tart Dough:
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp VERY cold water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, cut into cubes
1 Hershey’s chocolate bar
2 tbsp nuts, ground (optional)

Fruit of your choice for topping


Custard/Pastry Cream:
Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, yolks and salt.  Whisk in cornstarch, 1 tbsp at a time. 

Bring milk and 1/4 cup sugar to a simmer, whisk a little of the milk mixture into the egg mixture to slowly warm it up.  Slowly add in the rest, whisking the whole time.  Return to the pot and bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened. 

Remove from heat, whisking until very thick and cooling, about 2-3 minutes.  Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, press plastic wrap onto the surface and refrigerate until completely chilled at least 1 hour.

Tart Dough:
Preheat oven to 400.

Stir together the egg yolk, vanilla and water – set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater, stir together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the butter and beat on med-low speed until coarse with butter no larger than small peas.  Add the egg mix until the dough pulls together. 

Transfer to a floured work surface and roll into a ball.  Flatten with a disk and gently press into a greased tart pan.  Cover with foil, pressing the foil to mimic the shape of the tart and add rice, dry beans or baking beads on top.  Bake 20 minutes, remove the foil/rice and prick with a fork all over the surface.  Continue baking another 5-10 minutes until golden brown. 

Once cooled some, melt the chocolate bar and spread lightly over the crust.  This will prevent the crust from getting soggy once the custard is on it. 

Allow to cool completely before filling with the pastry cream and topping with the fruit.  Keep refrigerated.

Red, White & Blue Tart

Red, White & Blue Tart