Seasoning-Rubbing You The Right Way

I am digging in the pantry to grab my coffee rub and I realize that I barely have enough to season the piece of pork that is destined for the grill. This is not good, I think to myself. In order to fill the gap, I reach for another rub that was the original inspiration for my coffee rub. To my own culinary dismay, I had to scrape and shake out every morsel out of that container so I could get to the barbecue. As soon as the meat was on the grill, I wrote myself a note to get to the store and buy myself some more of this standard seasoning. I finished dinner and announced I needed to go to the store tomorrow so I could buy more. Buy more?? This is five ingredients. Why am I not making some myself? I don’t know about you, but it was time to resolve that problem. So what is it?

Before I get into what I made, I have talked about rubs on the blog before, but I can’t resist the opportunity to give you another example of the flavor combinations you can achieve. For example, you can check out my coffee rub if you want something that is a little outside the box, but I promise, you can’t go wrong.

Alright, let’s get back to the main event. Say hello to our honored guests paprika, salt, fresh ground pepper, brown sugar, and dried thyme.


Needless to say, when these five get into the room together, you can be certain they will bring amazing flavor that is sure to please any palate.These are guests that I invite to my dinner table time and time again. It is sweet with the brown sugar, spicy with the black pepper, the dried thyme gives it a bit of herbaceous undertone, the salt provides a little bit of punch, and the paprika rounds it out with the earthy, smokiness with just a little a bit of heat on the back end.
This will work for fish, chicken, pork, vegetables, steak, lamb or any other protein you want to cook. You can either use this on the grill or if you are searing in a pan. The possibilities are endless for how to apply it. You could use it for a marinade, low and slow cooking, quick cooking on the barbecue or sprinkle a little on some freshly grilled buttered corn. The corn is one of my favorites!!

How do you make it? It is pretty simple. Mix the following in a bowl.

2 tbsps paprika
1 tbsp kosher salt
3/4tsp-1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme

Combine and store and a container of your choice. Done! As usual, feel free to adjust this mixture if you want more or less of anything. I make a double batch as a single batch goes very quickly in my house.


Using your Noodle-Veggie Style

As I mentioned before, the food world is changing. We are looking for ways to maximize what we are eating, how we eat it, and why we are eating the things we do. Lots of us are really having to look at the kind of relationship we have with food.  I know this because we are going through a bit of a food revolution in our house. Why you ask? Well, it has to do with how our bodies handle and process certain foods. Simply put, like the allergies that cause you to sneeze during the summer, you can be affected by the foods you eat as well.

If you have read any of my blog, you know that one of the most popular dishes in my house is pasta. However, traditional pasta contains gluten and not everyone can tolerate gluten. So, the question becomes how can we make pasta delicious, fast, and easy without giving up on any flavor? I have a perfect solution.

The first option is more obvious, which is gluten free pasta. You can find it in most grocery stores these day and it is very tasty. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic solution and one that I would go to more often than not. In fact, I am still recipe testing homemade gluten free pasta which I hope to share with you. However, I am working through a few snags at the moment. That should do it, right? No, not exactly. I think we should shake noodles up a little bit.

What if I told you that some of the vegetables in your house right now could be turned into healthy, super easy noodles? No, I am not kidding. Do you have carrots, zucchini or sweet potatoes in your fridge or pantry right now? Check, I can wait………….got them? Guess what? You have an amazing substitute for regular pasta that you can use for any application. It is truly that simple.

So, what are we making? We are making zucchini fettuccine with my ground turkey bolognese. Don’t remember how to make bolognese? No problem, just click here for a refresher.

That leaves us with how to make the noodles. Okay, you have a couple of options. If you have a vegetable peeler or a wire cheese slicer then you are good to go. These will come out looking more like ribbons, but the effect will be the same.

Zuchinni Pasta style

The noodles on the left are various sizes that I made from a vegetable peeler. I was able to create a spaghetti, fettuccine, and a wide noodle with the peeler. On the right are the noodles I made with my “Zoodle” maker. Yes, it is an actual thing. It is too much fun to say to not have it be true. If you want these fancy zoodles then head to your favorite online kitchen store and look for a “zoodler.” Again, the gadget name is too good to make up. Having done my own research, I know you can find a basic one on Amazon for about 10 dollars, but there are plenty of options if you want to up your zoodle game. You can’t go wrong either way, in my opinion.

Okay, time to fire it up! Follow the directions to make my bolognese. While  the bolognese is cooking down, you will have plenty of time to prep your noodles.To get the zucchini ready, trim off the ends and follow the directions of your zoodle maker. If you are using your vegetable peeler, remove the the zucchini skin and form a large pile of the strips. If you notice your noodles are too long just cut them down to a desirable size or cut it in half before you make your noodles. Once you have reached your desired thickness of the sauce, pile some noodles into a bowl, and top thusly with bolognese. Make sure to cover the noodles fairly well. The heat of the bolognese will soften the noodles and provide that cooked sensation.

Zucchini Bolognese
Even I have to remind myself that these are zoodles because this bolognese sells it! If you want to take this dish to the next level, sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on the finished dish. Honestly, I didn’t miss the cheese and I ate the whole bowl full!

If you want to take this dish totally vegetarian or vegan, you can omit both the ground turkey and the cheese. Of course, if you have any other restrictions feel free to make any changes that are necessary. You could also throw in some mushrooms or a number of other vegetables to bulk this dish up a little bit.

A couple of things to keep in mind here. You may find that you need to season the bolognese a little more than normal. The regular pasta releases starch and holds some salt from the boiling water, so there is a little less salt in the dish. That is totally okay if you feel like that is needed. However, you can certainly add other seasonings or herbs such as basil, oregano, pepper, thyme, and wine as well. If you add more wine, make sure you allow time for the alcohol to cook out of the sauce. Again, make sure you use you wine you would drink, because as wine cooks down those flavors are concentrated. Feel free to add vegetable or chicken stock to help reinforce those flavors as well. Oh, yes, I just used the word cooking, so let me talk about that before I forget. Zucchini has a high water content, so we don’t want to cook it in the classic sense. So leave the noodles raw if you can so you can retain some texture and don’t end up with mushy noodles.

This is only the beginning of the possibilities with veggies noodles. So, be creative!

Congratulations we have taken this dish to a whole new level! We did it! Let me know what you think by commenting on the recipe or sending me an email. I know this dish will surprise you as it did for me.