Jalapeno-Habanero Kumquat Jam

What was that you said?
kumquats You don’t know what a kumquat is?

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Well, neither did I until a few days ago. The sweet peeps at Melissa’s Produce sent me some and they’re cute, sweet little citrusy thingies – like a cross between a baby orange and tangarine, kinda sorta. AND OXO graciously sent me these GreenSavers to try and OMG I adore them! Check ’em out in my fridge below.
IMGP1881 Let me just tell you about these Greensavers. First of all, I put some cilantro in them the first day I got them. Fast forward three days later, when I would expect my cilantro to be soggy and nasty. Nope, perfectly green and perky and fragrant. I’m IMPRESSED.

So, here are the main reasons that fresh produce goes bad so quickly:

Ethylene Gas: Fruits and vegetables give off ethylene gas. Exposing produce to ethylene gas speeds up the ripening process, causing it to over ripen and go bad.
Improper Airflow: When produce rests against the walls of containers, bags or crispers, moisture can build up and cause rotting.
Uncontrolled Humidity: Fruits and vegetables require the perfect balance of humidity to keep them crisp and prevent wilting. To make things more difficult, different kinds of produce require different humidity levels.

The OXO GreenSavers are lifesavers (especially us foodies).

Ok, so back to the kumquats. Apparently, you can eat them whole, rind and all. I didn’t – but I may get brave very soon and tackle that. I decided I wanted to make jam, which I’ve never really done before, and naturally I had to heat it up. I made it with two peppers; jalapeno and habanero. It was really pretty simple. You basically deseed the little things, throw the seeds into some cheesecloth, tie them up and boil all of it with the peppers and refrigerate overnight. The next day boil all of that with sugar and…

 – Jalapeno Habanero Kumquat Jam.  IMG20 I put it on multigrain crackers with slices of sharp cheddar – it’s a spicy-sweet-salty-crunchy combo that’s off the charts. I mean….this is ridiculousness.
IMGP2670 Holy Lord. This stuff is amazing. I’m thinking I may try making a grilled cheese with Gruyere or Brie with it.
I love sweet/salty/spicy combinations.

Here’s your printable-
Adapted by Local Kitchen Blog

Jalapeno-Habanero Kumquat Jam


  • 1 lb kumquats
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 medium habanero pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 3 ½ cups sugar (regular white cane sugar)


  • Slice kumquats cross-wise into rings, popping out and reserving seeds as you go. Place seeds in a tea ball or cheesecloth bundle.
  • Add kumquats, water, seeds, and minced habanero to a medium stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  • Transfer to a heat-safe bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove and discard seeds. Return fruit mixture to the preserving pot.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  • Return to a boil and continue to boil over high heat, stirring only as necessary to prevent sticking, until marmalade reaches the set point, about 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars to ¼-inch head space.
  • Wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Once jars are out of the water bath and have cooled for approximately 30 minutes (still very warm to the touch) turn upside down and shake gently to distribute kumquat peel evenly through the jelly.
  • Return jars to upright position and allow to cool undisturbed overnight.

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Easy Graduation Celebration with Carvel®

Thank you I Love Ice Cream Cakes for sponsoring this post. Make I Love Ice Cream Cakes the centerpiece at your gathering and find an ice cream cake in a grocery store near you!

As a mom of two young adults, graduation celebration plans have been on my mind for quite some time. My son graduated first, and then my daughter two years later!

It’s certainly bittersweet.

I had great help from I Love Ice Cream Cakes. If you didn’t know, you can get yummy Ice Cream Cakes, including Carvel, right in your local grocery store thanks to our friends at I Love Ice Cream Cakes.

Their Ice Cream Cakes come in many different styles and sizes, including original Carvel®, Jon Donaire® and OREO®.

From family celebrations to gifts and just everyday deliciousness, there’s always a sweet reason to make people smile with an ice cream cake. I easily found my cakes at my local Publix, but here’s a quick link to find them near you.
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To easily put together a quiet graduation celebration at home, I like to make a couple of fun appetizers, add some fresh fruit to serve with our original Carvel® ice cream cake, and it was easy peasy.

Raspberry lemonade and fresh flowers from my rose bush rounded everything out!

For this occasion, I made my Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip – get the recipe here. You’ll notice the one below has added pecans. I like both versions!

You’ll be asked for this recipe many times.

The pub cheese is a version of a beer cheese I love to make – but refrigerated after being made instead of melted. Go here to get the recipe.

We served the Carvel Family Size Ice Cream Cake – Confetti Plain, which serves up to 18! This cake is made with layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream with chocolate crunchies and fresh whipped frosting, and decorated with colorful confetti.

In partnership with I Love Ice Cream Cakes

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Asian Lamb Burger

This post is part of a kick ass burger grill giveaway hosted by GirlCarnivore, but the burger epicness is all my own.

It’s #burgermonth again.

Honestly, burgers are one of my most cherished foods to make in the entire world. Remember last year??

This post is a part of Girl Carnivore’s Burger Month, an annual epic month long burger posting, making, eating event. I’m honored to be participating in this epic burger deliciousness again. I love me some Kita Roberts. What’s her tagline again?? Oh yeah, it’s “Because boys aren’t the only ones that like to play with their meat.

Let’s get to my burger!
Asian Lamb Burger | Dixie Chik Cooks
This is my Asian Lamb Burger. It’s not only lamb; I added sirloin that I put through my meat grinder.

It’s topped with grilled asparagus, caramelized onions and a luscious ginger sauce (think Hibachi grill salad dressing).

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You can grind your own, or just buy the meat already ground. I love using my grinder because I like to make things complicated.

After grinding it all up and combining, I threw in the fridge because warm, soggy ass meat doesn’t do well on the grill.

After getting my grill nice and hot, I threw my burgers and asparagus on.  For my burgers, I like to achieve a doneness level of about medium. Keep in mind they continue to cook for a few minutes after being taken off the grill.

I put my buns on the grill at the last minute, just to get them a little toasty. Make sure you slather them with butter first.

I adore this burger. It’s an adaptation of my steak (9th!) at the 2015 World Food Championships.

These drippy photos were taken by my friend, Brian. He has the badass camera I only dream about.

I can do drippy, but I like it when he uses his camera.

Here’s your printable –

Asian Lamb Burger


  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Moore's original marinade
  • 1/2 lb asparagus spears, snapped at the ends
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • This Dressing
  • 4 burger buns
  • 1/2 stick salted butter, melted to brush on buns before toasting
  • Romaine lettuce, washed and roughly chopped


  • Combine lamb and sirloin with ginger, garlic and Moore's, form into burgers and refrigerate.
  • Prep grill; add burgers and asparagus.
  • Caramelize onions by adding butter to medium high heat pan, toss in onions, salt and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Make sure you're watching the burgers!! Add buttered buns to grill for about a minute and remove all.
  • Add asparagus and Romaine to bottom bun, sauce, burger, another bun. Repeat

Ready for the giveaway??
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s a list of Giveaway/SWAG…

American Lamb Board –  Ground lamb, cutting board and apron
Anolon – Anolon SureGrip Cutlery Bronze 3 Piece Chef Set & Anolon Advanced Bronze 11″ Deep Square Grill Pan w/ Pour Spouts
Cabot Cheese – $25 Cabot Legacy Gift box – Includes eight bars of Cabot Cheddar, cheese knife, and a wine opener. Award-winning cheese brought to you by the 1,000 farm families who own Cabot Creamery Co-operative.
Crow Canyon Home – Red Marble Enamelware Prize Box 1 each: Red Marble Jelly Roll Tray, Red Marble Oval Platter, Red Rim Large Open Roaster, Red Marble 6-cup muffin pan.
Melissa’s Produce – Grilling Veggie Box
Microplane – Herb And Salad Chopper, Microplane Elite Series Extra Coarse Grater, Microplane Spice Mill
New York Beef Council  – Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner Swag Bag including tote, knives, oven mitt and apron
Red Duck – Gourmet Ketchup Variety
Spiceologist –  4 Rub Grilling Spice Set
Veal Made Easy – 5 lbs Veal and grilling gear
Weber Grilling Pack – Weber Tumbler and Weber Grill Hat

All winners will be entered to win a Weber Spirit II E-310 gas grill!
Here’s your pinnable!

Grand prize grill winner will be announced June 4th

A huge thanks to the #BurgerMonth sponsors,  American Lamb Board, AnolonCabot Cheese, Crow Canyon Home, Melissa’s Produce, Microplane, New York Beef Council, Red Duck, SpiceologistVeal Made Easy, and Weber Grills.

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Extreme Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich

This post was sponsored by Stubb’s. Any and all opinions are my own.

If you didn’t know, Memorial Day is a hallmark holiday. First and foremost, it’s a holiday for us to remember active military that lost their lives while serving our country.

It also signifies the beginning of summer, opening of pools, kids getting out of school, and long, lazy hot days.

Lastly, it represents something else very significant – grilling season. Summer and grilling go hand in hand. Every year, my family and I celebrate by having a fun cookout, making homemade ice cream and looking for the almost extinct lightning bugs.

Speaking of grilling, there’s nobody better than Stubb’s to inspire a great grilling recipe for this holiday. If you know me at all, you know I’m a sandwich/burger girl. I ADORE making epic, extreme sandwiches and burgers, and for a while I’ve had an idea for an epic chicken sandwich.

Stubb’s Sweet Honey & Spice Bar-B-Q Sauce, one of their newest sauces, was the inspiration behind this fantastic sandwich. It’s the perfect combination of sweet (BBQ sweet), and a bit of a spicy tang. Continue reading

I start this off by getting the chicken ready. I buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts – not the thin cutlets. I have found that you get more chicken for your money when you buy the big, fat chicken breasts. I like to slice them horizontally to make two chicken cutlets out of one.

Now, it’s time to prep the grill.
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Spaghetti and Meatballs

I honestly can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe with y’all.

It is, hands down, one of my very favorite comfort foods of all time.

Everybody makes their sauce differently. To me, making pasta sauce is personal AF.
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Sometimes it’s a family recipe, maybe tweaked, maybe not. I’ve been making my sauce about the same way for the past 12 years or so.

And it’s straight up fucking delicious.
Spaghetti with Meatballs
I’ve been tweaking it off and on, depending on my mood and what I’m serving it with.
Spaghetti with Meatballs
Sometimes my list gets a little long, but I do have a tendency to get carried away sometimes. That’s how your recipes evolve!

There’s not a damn thing wrong with getting crazy sometimes; it’s how you become a more seasoned chef in your kitchen.
Spaghetti with Meatballs
Anyway, there are several components of this seemingly easy dish that can make or break it. Let’s briefly go through three of them.

1) Pasta. You can definitely over cook your pasta, and we don’t want that. Al dente is usually preferred, which means cooked firm to the bite. This method is achieved by cooking it usually no more than 10 minutes. You can also simmer the pasta until al dente. I’ve never tried this, but I’m definitely curious.

2) Sauce. This is the biggest element, to me. I’ve worked on mine for years and continue to adjust. Good tomatoes is key here. I use a combination of crushed and petite size tomatoes in the can. I love Cento San Marzano and Tutorosso. I also like Alessi. Don’t skimp on quality.

3) Flavor. Nobody likes a bland pasta sauce. I have a few key ingredients that will always, always go in my sauce – I know what works. Taste, taste, and taste again while you’re cooking it. Adjust as needed. Play around with it, have fun – you never know what crazy idea may catapult yours way over the top and you can keep it your very own secret if you want to. You can follow my recipe to the letter, or make it your very own if you wish. If you aren’t having fun in the kitchen, it’s time to take a break, but you definitely need to go easy on yourself and don’t overthink it. If it sucks, you’ll know what to do next time.

Oh, and don’t forget your vino!
Here’s your printable-

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs


    For the Meatballs:
  • 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb. ground round
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • Olive oil
  • For the spaghetti:
  • This sauce
  • 1 lb. spaghetti or vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
  • Fresh mozzarella or cheese of your choice.
  • Fresh chopped Italian leaf parsley


    For the Meatballs:
  • Combine all ingredients except olive oil and roll into golf ball sized meatballs (bigger or smaller, completely up to you).
  • Bring olive oil in a large flat pan over medium high heat, add meatballs and sear on each side, 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 1/4 cup water, reduce heat to low and cover.
  • Steam for about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through. Remove from heat.
  • For the Spaghetti:
  • Cooking pasta according to package directions, drain.
  • Top with cheese and parsley; serve with crusty bread and enjoy!
  • Make sauce, let simmer on low for at least 3 hours.
  • Serve over pasta and add cheese and fresh parsley to serve.

Here’s your pinnable!
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