Fig & Olive Tapenade

Fig & Olive Tapenade
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 c. dried figs, chopped
  • ½ c. water
  • ⅔ c. Kalamata olives, chopped
  • ⅓ c. toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Combine figs & water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil & cook until tender, and liquid has reduced.
  2. Remove from heat & stir in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, thyme, & cayenne.
  3. Add olives & garlic, & mix well. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Cover & refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend.
  5. Unwrap cream cheese block & place on a serving platter. Spoon tapenade over cheese, & sprinkle with walnuts. Serve with slices of French bread or crackers.

Photo Courtesy of Meal Makeover Moms on Flickr

Gingerbread Cookies

Submitted by Happy13


½ c. shortening 6 tsp water
½ c. sugar ½ c. unsulphered molasses
1 egg yolk 2 c. flour
1 tsp ginger 1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves (scant) 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
½ tsp nutmeg ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt
2 dashes cayenne pepper


  1. Cream the shortening, water & sugar together until light & fluffy. Add the molasses & egg yolk & mix until well blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. If using a stand mixer, use stir. The dough will be sticky. 
  3. DO NOT ADD MORE FLOUR REGARDLESS OF HOW TEMPTED YOU MAY BE!!! Too much flour will make the cookies tough. Form into 2 flat disks & put in the freezer for at least an hour or more. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. When the dough is cold enough to handle, roll it to about ¼” thick between 2 pieces of wax paper (the wax paper keeps you from having to use more flour). I roll mine a little thinner because I like a little crispness on the edges. 
  6. Gently press together the scraps into another disk & put back in the freezer until ready for use. Bake for 8-10 minutes on parchment lined cookie sheets. Cool on pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool completely before decorating.

Chef’s Note: I use shortening instead of butter or margarine because shortening is flavorless and doesn’t impact the spices. I think butter is best served in sugar cookies. If you decide to substitute butter or margarine for the shortening, omit the water from the recipe.

Simple Tailgating Chili

chili Submitted by elfdog21


2-2½lbs ground beef ¾-1lb jumbo elbow macaroni
5 cans (15.5 oz. size) Brook’s Hot Chili Beans 2 cans (29 oz. size) Tomato Sauce
3 pkgs Hot Chili Seasoning Mix 1 large pkg shredded cheese (any kind)
1 pkg oyster crackers cayenne Pepper (optional)
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (optional)


  1. Brown the beef & drain. Cook the macaroni as according to the package. 
  2. Combine & mix up the tomato sauce, beef, macaroni, Chili Beans, & seasoning mix in crock pot or in a pot on stove on medium to medium-high heat. 
  3. Stir occasionally. To spice it up even more add a few tbsp of cayenne pepper during cooking. Will take around 20-30 minutes.
  4. When warm set crock pot to low to keep warm. Have the crackers, shredded cheese, & Frank’s hot sauce (for those brave souls) out so people can top their chili.

Cajun Blackened Catfish

Submitted by randilicious


2 tsp cayenne pepper 2 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp garlic powder (or fresh) 1 lb catfish fillets
½ c. Italian salad dressing 2 tbsp butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
  2. In a shallow, medium bowl, mix cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, & garlic powder.
  3. Brush both sides of catfish fillets with butter. Rub fillets with the pepper mixture on both sides.
  4. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until really hot. Add fillets, & fry approximately 2 minutes on each side until slightly blackened.
  5. Arrange blackened fillets in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, & coat with Italian dressing. Bake 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, until fish is easily flaked with a fork.
  6. Serve over freshly steamed rice & lightly sauteed vegetables on the side.

Chicken Strips

Submitted by Caaien
Serves 2-4


8 chicken breast tenderloins 3 large eggs
½ c. water 3 c. flour
1 tbsp salt 1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp oregano 1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika 1 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat deep fryer to 375°F (using oil of choice).
  2. Combine eggs & water in bowl.
  3. In separate bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Dip chicken strips in egg mixture.
  5. Then, roll strips in the flour mixture.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 for a second coating.
  7. Fry strips, 2-4 at a time, in deep fryer for 5-8 minutes or until deeply golden.