Category Archives: Main Dish

Nashville Hot Chicken – Tennessee

Nashville is a fun town, boasting more than 160 live music venues, giving Music City its well-earned moniker. Hot chicken hails from these parts and was born from revenge. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack

Nashville Hot Chicken - Tennesseemay be the oldest establishment to make this dish, dating back to the 1930s. The story is that Thorton Prince III was a womanizer. His girlfriend found out about his philandering and added spicy cayenne pepper to his chicken to punish him. However, Prince liked it so much, he decided to open a chicken joint with it on the menu.

You can make Nashville Hot Chicken yourself with a little bit of patience as fried chicken takes a bit of time. Two tablespoons of cayenne pepper is not a typo and is unbelievably the amount called for if you want the chicken “mild.” Reduce to one tablespoon if you are really spice-adverse and increase to 6 tablespoons for “hot” ― if you dare.

Want to see the recording studio where Elvis recorded more than 250 hits? Check out Historic RCA Studio B, an unassuming beige brick building sometimes called the “Home of a Thousand Hits.” Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, and many others recorded here.

Nashville Hot Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the egg dredge:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot sauce

For the flour dredge:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

For finishing:

  • Vegetable oil (for frying), 6 cups
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup used frying oil

Instructions

At least 3 hours before cooking, generously salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Let marinate in the refrigerator.

When ready to cook, heat oil in a large pot with deep sides. Prepare egg dredge by combining eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce in a shallow baking dish. In another shallow dish, prepare flour dredge by combining flour and salt. One at a time, dip chicken pieces first in egg dredge, then in flour dredge. When oil is 325 degrees, fry chicken, working in batches, frying a few pieces at a time. Turn pieces occasionally to achieve consistent color. When chicken is deep golden brown or reaches 160 degrees internally, remove to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet lined with newspaper or paper towels. Let oil temperature return to 325 between batches.

To finish: In a small bowl, combine cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Take ½ cup of the used cooking oil, and add to bowl. Stir well. With a brush, baste pieces of chicken with hot oil mixture. Serve chicken while still warm.

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Thai Basil Chicken – Nevada

We read that there are 450 Thai restaurants in Las Vegas. While we couldn’t confirm that number, it does seem that every corner, block and strip mall has a Thai eatery, no doubt the result of a sizable

Thai Basil Chicken - Nevadapopulation of Thais who have immigrated to Clark County. If you are ever in Vegas, stand outs Lemongrass on the strip or Le Thai in downtown are worth the visit.

But if you can’t make it there, you can always try making Thai Basil Chicken. Basically a stir fry, this dish whips up very quickly as stir fries do. Try to find Thai holy basil which has a peppery kick, but if you can’t, regular basil will work. You can also omit the chili peppers if you don’t like heat.

One of the first reclamation projects along the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam is a sight to behold, supplying electricity to 100,000 households. Tours of the dam take place from 9:00 to 5:00 daily.

Thai Basil Chicken

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small chili peppers (such as red fresno or jalapeno), deveined and deseeded and diced
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup Thai holy basil (can sub other basil)
  • Olive oil

Instructions

In a wok or shallow sided pan, add a bit of olive oil and sauté garlic and chili peppers until fragrant, careful not to brown garlic. Add more oil, and then chicken. Sauté until chicken begins to brown. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Stir to combine (if mixture seems too dry, add additional oyster sauce and soy sauce by the teaspoon). Add basil and cook one minute longer, or until it begins to wilt. Serve with rice.

UP Pasties – Michigan

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is known for its pasties (pronounced pass-tee) which are meat pies, usually filled with potatoes, onions and carrots and sometimes rutabaga. The pasty

UP Pasties - Michigan

was brought to the UP by the Cornish who settled there to be copper miners. Much like it’s cousin, the pepperoni roll of West Virginia, the pasty was a quick, easy and filling meal that miners could pack for lunch. Bonus: it didn’t have to be heated to be delicious.

We loved this recipe, slighted adapted from one sent to us by reader Russell Primm. UP PastiesThe dough came together easily and the filling was delicious. Thanks Russ!

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising hugs the shore of Lake Superior. With its dramatic sandstone cliffs and iconic sandstone feature called Miners Castle, this beautiful area offers all kinds of outdoor pursuits including hiking, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.

UP Pasties

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For dough:

  • 4 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup ice water

For filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, diced
  • 1 cup grated rutabaga
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups ground beef
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

For dough:

In a medium bowl, add flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the shortening and blend with a pastry blender. Add the ice water, a bit at a time until the dough comes together. Divide dough into 6 equal disks. Place between sheets of waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For filling and finishing pasties:

In the meantime, combine potatoes, onion, rutabaga and carrots in a very large bowl. Add ground beef. Stir until well combined.

Roll out each pasty dough into a 7- or 8-inch circle. Add a heaping cup of filling. Sprinkle filling with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of butter. Fold the dough over, forming a half moon. Roll the edges closed, slightly crimping with fingers, making sure the dough is sealed. Repeat with remaining dough disks. Place pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut two small slits in each pasty to vent steam. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake 20-30 more or until pasties are golden brown.

Turkey, Orange and Rosemary Kebabs – Minnesota

The Gopher State is the number one producer of turkey in the country, raising approximately 44 to 46 million birds annually, according to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. Turkey

Turkey, Orange and Rosemary Kebabs, Minnesota

has more protein than chicken or beef and is lower in calories and fat, making it a good, heart healthy choice.

Even if summer is slowly slipping away, we couldn’t resist this tasty kebab recipe. We can grill outside until it snows, right?

If you are Twin Cities bound, be sure to check out the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, part of the Walker Arts Center. Forty works are highlighted, including the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.

Turkey, Orange and Rosemary Kebabs

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

• 10 ounces orange marmalade
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 teaspoons orange zest
• 2 pounds boneless turkey breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (can use chicken)
• Salt
• Pepper
• Orange slices, cut thinly (optional)

Instructions
Place marmalade in a small sauce pan and heat until melted. Combine marmalade and next six ingredients (mustard through orange zest) in shallow dish or ziptop bag. Mix well. Liberally salt and pepper the turkey, then add to marinade, tossing until well coated. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours, longer if you can.

When ready to grill, thread meat on skewers, along with orange slices, if using. Grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until meat is no longer pink, about 10-12 minutes.

Crab Salad – Maryland

When you think of Maryland, you probably think of the Chesapeake Bay and if you think of the Chesapeake Bay, you probably think of blue crabs. The bay is an estuary (where saltwater and freshwater

Crab Salad - Maryland

mix) and the perfect environment for blue crab. In fact, the Chesapeake Bay produces 50 percent of the blue crab harvest in the United States.

If it’s hot where you are, you might welcome this no-cook crab salad recipe that does not involve an oven. We served this on endive boats for a lovely appetizer pre-concert, but you could put it on crackers or even a soft roll for a crab salad sammie.

Check out the wild horses on Assateague Island National Seashore, near Ocean City, where you can swim, hike the beach, kayak, fish or birdwatch.

Crab Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 8 oz. fresh crab meat
  • Old Bay seasoning, to taste

Instructions

In a medium bowl, add celery, scallion, mustard and mayo. Mix until well combined. Gently fold in crab meat, taking care not to break up large lumps or claw meat. Add Old Bay seasoning to taste. Let chill before serving.

New York System Hot Wieners – Rhode Island

Calling all hot dog aficionados. Yes, we acknowledge that the name of this dish is confusing. Why are Rhode Island hot dogs called “New York System Hot Wieners”? As best we can determine, New York

NY System Wieners - Rhode Island

System is a nod to New York’s Coney Island and might have been used as a marketing strategy at the turn of the century. These dogs, usually a mixture of veal and pork with a super snappy casing, are doused with yellow mustard, then a chili beef mixture, raw chopped onions, and finally a dusting of celery salt. Of course, every Rhode Island hot dog joint and every Rhode Island family has their favorite recipe so a quick Google search will yield many variations. We tinkered with the spices a bit and came up with this recipe which we think you will love, not too sweet but definitely sassy. It’ll elevate your dogs from humdrum to wicked good. These would be a welcome addition to any Memorial Day celebration no matter what part of the country you happen to be.

The Cliff Walk in Newport was designated a National Recreation Trail way back in 1975. This three and a half mile walk hugs the eastern shore of Newport with stunning ocean vistas on one side and the backyards of Gilded Age mansions on the other.

New York System Hot Wieners

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 lb. 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 16 hot dogs, cooked
  • 16 hot dog buns
  • Yellow mustard
  • Chopped onion (for garnish)
  • Celery salt (for garnish)

Instructions

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add butter. Once melted, add onion, cook until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, approximately 15 minutes. Break up large chunks of meat with potato masher. Add Worcestershire sauce, spices and ¼ cup water. Stir until spices are completely incorporated.

To prepare wieners, microwave buns for 15 seconds. Add hot dog, mustard, approximately two tablespoons of beef mixture and chopped onion. Top with celery salt.

Would You Like Fries with That: Pittsburgh Salad

A Pittsburgh salad is a unique, regional dish that few outsiders know about. Well, we here in the StateEats Kitchen are about to break open the lid on one of the best taste sensations east of the Monongahela River. The recipe, purportedly created in the 1960s at a drive-in called Jerry’s Curb Service, can vary a bit.

Pittsburgh Salad

The greens are usually romaine. Toss on a few veggies, usually English cucumber, red onion and tomatoes, but add whatever you like. Thinly sliced steak is the most common protein, (use your favorite) but you can sub in chicken if you’d prefer. Add some shaved Parmesan cheese, or crumbled blue if you want to get crazy. However, the two “musts” for this dish include crunchy croutons and French fries. Yes, you read that right. Croutons and FRIES. We might have died and gone to heaven. Anytime you can turn something virtuous into something a little bit naughty is a win in our book. Top with ranch dressing and have it at. You’re welcome.

Check out the Andy Warhol Museum right near the confluence of the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. Pittsburgh’s native son is honored with seven floors of prints, sculpture, paintings, film and video, and other documents of the artist’s life.

Pittsburgh Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3-4 steaks, grilled and then thinly sliced
  • 6 cups chopped romaine salad
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced thinly
  • Baby tomatoes, halved
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved or cheese of your choice
  • Croutons
  • French fries
  • Ranch dressing

Instructions

Top romaine salad with cuke, red onion, and baby tomatoes or vegetables of your choice. Add sliced steak, the croutons and fries. Top with dressing.

Frito Pie – Texas

Frito Pie is a beloved Texas dish, probably made popular at little league and football concession stands across the Lone Star State. The recipe is simple. Take your favorite chili, slice open a bag of

Frito Pie - Texas

Fritos, ladle said chili on top of the corn chips and garnish with cheese. Think nachos served in a bag but eaten with a plastic fork. Messy but oh-so-yummy.

The origins of Frito Pie are contested but Frito-Lay asserts San Antonio resident Daisy Doolin, mother of Charles Elmer Doolin (inventor of the Frito), came up with the idea in the 1930s to help market the chips. Fun fact: in October of 2102, Frito-Lay set a Guinness World Record for the largest Frito Pie at the State Fair of Texas, weighing in at a monstrous 1,325 pounds. Holy moly, chili willy!

You can make your own chili or pop over your favorite grocery store and pick up some ready-made chili at the soup station. Texas chili traditionally does not have beans but we looooooove us some beans so we added them. Be conscious of the amount of salt you add to the chili when making it since the chips are quite salty on their own.

One of the newest national monuments is Waco Mammoth, so designated by President Obama in 2015. Between 65,000 and 72,000 years ago, a herd of 19 mammoths drowned in rapidly rising river waters and were trapped. You can now see the remains in situ along with a bull mammoth and a camel.

Frito Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green or red pepper, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 12 oz. bottle of beer
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt (go easy on this)
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 14 oz. cans dark red kidney beans, drained (optional)
  • 1 14 oz. can white beans, drained (optional)
  • Snack sized Fritos corn chips, one bag per person
  • Cheddar cheese

 Instructions

In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef until no longer pink. Add onions, peppers and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add diced tomatoes and beer, then chili powder and cumin. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Add beans if using. If chili is too thick, add additional beer. Adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and cayenne if heat is needed. Cook another 15-20 minutes or until beans are heated through.

To serve, cut Fritos bag on the long side. Add a healthy scoop of chili and top with cheese.

Hoppin’ John – South Carolina

The year 2016 is just about one for the history books. What better way to ring in 2017 than with a heapin’ plate of Hoppin’ John. This classic Southern dish — which is really just gussied up black eyed

Hoppin' John - South Carolina

peas — is associated with New Year’s Day. Those who eat Hoppin’ John on January 1 will have good luck for the coming year, or so the legend goes. Often served with corn bread and collard greens, the peas represent coins, the corn bread represents gold and the greens, dollars or “greenbacks.” Some families add a coin to the pot while the peas are cooking, while others put a coin under each person’s plate.

Others say if you leave three peas on your plate, riches will come your way. Far be it from us to argue with potential wealth, especially when it’s this delicious. Hoping your 2017 is filled to the brim with all that is good.

Fort Sumter is in the middle of Charleston Harbor and is the site of where America’s Civil War began in 1861. Accessible only by boat, this former military post is now a national park.

Hoppin’ John

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried black eyed peas
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ham bone
  • 4-6 cups chicken stock
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped (to serve)
  • Tomato, chopped (to serve)

Instructions

Soak black eyed peas in water overnight, making sure that peas are covered by an inch or two of water. The next day, drain water and rinse peas well. Set aside. In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add onion, red pepper, celery and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent and other vegetables have softened. Add peas, ham bone, chicken stock, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 45 or until peas are soft, adding more chicken stock if necessary. Remove ham bone and shave off any meat that remains on the bone, adding to pea mixture. Season with salt, pepper and/or cayenne. Serve over rice with chopped scallions and tomato.

Peanut Soup – Virginia (V, GF)

We admit to loving anything with peanuts. And why not? Peanuts are a good source of protein and contain vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E.  Virginia peanuts are

Peanut Soup - Virginia

mostly grown in southeastern Virginia but also in the Carolinas. Virginia peanuts are prized because they are bigger than other types such as Spanish, Runner, and Valencia.

Most peanut soup recipes use peanut butter and add cream — not an option if one is vegan or lactose intolerant. But then we found this recipe from the Washington Post where the peanuts are soaked overnight. It was like the answer to all of our soup prayers. This earthy soup is perfect for these chilly fall evenings or football Sundays.

Great Falls National Park is just 15 miles from Washington, DC and boasts spectacular views of the waterfalls with three overlooks. Activities include biking, boating, hiking, and fishing.

Peanut Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe credit: Washington Post

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts, covered with water and soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup apple, diced (for garnish)
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)

Instructions

Drain soaked peanuts, set aside. Place oil into large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the drained peanuts. Add celery seed and bay leaf, cook on medium for about 2 minutes. Add broth. Turn heat to medium-high and cook until the soup begins to boil. Reduce to low and continue cooking about 25 minutes or until peanuts are quite soft. Remove bay leaf and let soup cool a bit.

With an immersion or stand blender, blend soup in small batches until desired consistency is reached. Return soup to the pot and add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Heat through. Garnish with diced apple and hot sauce if desired.