Monday, August 26, 2013

Budget Friendly Dinner Series - BBQ Spaghetti and Cornbread

Okay folks.  I told you I was going to blow your mind and now I shall.  Ladies and gents, I give you:  BBQ Spaghetti.  Yes.  BBQ and spaghetti.  Together.  I know, I know.  It makes absolutely NO sense but somehow this works.  Like its unreal.  I LOVE this stuff.  I get requests to make this regularly and not just from my husband.  I have given samples of this stuff to family and friends and I always get the same reaction.  Questionable looks followed by shock followed by "mmmm"s of deliciousness.

Now, you do have to make your own bbq sauce for this.  The ingredients list looks very long but its full of basic ingredients, which I can pretty much guarantee you have in your pantry.  How much more budget friendly can you get?  You do need to be made aware of the fact that this bbq sauce does need to cook for two hours before you can use it.  I like to make this on weekends for use during the week. The sauce is the longest part of this whole thing.

The following recipe is actually DOUBLE the normal recipe found in the cookbook. I always recommend that you make this amount because I have no idea how much sauce you enjoy on your pasta and plus, having some extra in your fridge is great for making grilled pork chops or grilled chicken whenever you get home and don't want to cook something crazy and in depth.

BBQ Spaghetti

4 c. Ketchup (I prefer Simply Heinz)
2 c. Water
1/2 c. Light Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
1 Tbsp. Dry Mustard Powder
4 Tbsp. Lemon Juice (if you don't want to use actual lemons, I really like Pure Lemon)
4 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
2 Tbsp. BBQ Seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.
Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking.
Reduce the temperature to low and simmer, uncovered, for AT LEAST two hours, stirring occasionally.
Use as needed.
Store leftovers in a sealed jar (like those good ol' fashioned quart size Mason jars) for up to 2 months.

1 lb. Hamburger
2 c. BBQ Sauce (from recipe above) or more, if you're so inclined
1 lb. Spaghetti

In a large pot, cook spaghetti according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, cook hamburger until done.
Toss the pasta, hamburger, and bbq sauce together, heating over low heat for a few minutes (to heat up the sauce if its been in the fridge).
Eat and enjoy!

Note:  If you want to add diced onions and peppers to this meal, you may do so by cooking them together with the beef.

Buttermilk Cornbread

1 c. Yellow Cornmeal
1/3 c. All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Egg, Beaten
1 c. Buttermilk*

Preheat oven to 400.
Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
Combine all the dry ingredients together.
Mix the egg and buttermilk into your cornmeal mixture.
Pour the batter into your pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

* no buttermilk?  No problem.  Take one cup of 2% milk and add 1 tsp. white vinegar and let sit for five minutes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tips-n-Tricks Tuesday: BBQ Seasoning

Everyone in the South loves barbecue.  And I mean, everyone.  The big problem is everyone likes DIFFERENT barbecue.  In Eastern North Carolina (where I'm from), we love our whole hog pork bbq.  My dad and grandfather are excellent pig cookers.  My grandfather even MADE his pig cooker out of an old oil drum he found.  That's how into cooking whole hogs he is.  Now in Texas (where Mr. Gaited Baker is from) it is all about brisket.  And let's not even get started on the sauces.  Because everyone knows vinegar-based and ketchup-based sauces are THE best ;)  We're going to pretend that that atrocious white sauce that's from Alabama doesn't exist, okay y'all?

It will probably come as a shock that one of my favorite barbecue seasonings is actually from Tennessee.  I LOVE this seasoning.  It's great to use as a rub on pork chops or to even mix in some chili.  But the REAL reason that I love this seasoning blend will be shown to you in the next "Budget Friendly Dinner" post (coming soon to a blog near you!) and I will go ahead and tell you now - it is going to BLOW YOUR MIND!!

This seasoning blend actually makes just under a pint of seasoning so I use a pint jar with a screw on lid to keep it in my pantry.  The blend keeps its flavor for around six months but once you try it, it will not last six months in your pantry.

Neely's Barbecue Seasoning
recipe courtesy of Down Home with the Neelys

3/4 c. Paprika
6 Tbsp. Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder

Pour all ingredients in a pint jar.
Shake to mix it all together.
Use over your favorite pork products or where you just need a little extra kick of flavor!