Chocolate-Chili Rubbed Brisket Sliders with Chocolate BBQ Sauce #Choctoberfest

The other product I received from Caveman Coffee Co to try out was their Sabertooth Roast Coffee. (You can check out what I made with their Cacao Butter in yesterday’s post.) Again, the product was complimentary, but all opinions are my own.


Today, I wanted to go savory. Because if you can swing having chocolate for dinner, you totally should. I started with a chocolate bbq sauce. It’s is spicy with a touch of sweetness and the chocolate gives it a nice smooth, thick texture.


Then, I made a chocolate-chili spice rub and used it to crust a brisket. After slow cooking the brisket, I shredded it and served it on sliders, topped with the bbq sauce. They were delicious.

Chocolate Chili Rubbed Brisket Sliders with Chocolate BBQ Sauce
(adapted from this and this, both from Saveur)
Makes 18 sliders

For the bbq sauce:

2 Tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup brewed Sabertooth Roast Coffee
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Pinch of cayenne

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

For the chocolate-chili rub:

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. dried mustard
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.

To make the brisket:

Chocolate BBQ Sauce
Chocolate-Chili Rub
2-3 lb. beef brisket
18 slider rolls

In a slow cooker, add 1 cup of bbq sauce to coat the bottom of the crock. Rub the brisket generously with several tablespoons of chocolate-chili rub. Place the brisket in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove and shred. Serve on rolls, topped with additional bbq sauce.


Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken


Julie’s now 7 weeks old and I’m just getting into enough of a rhythm with the kids that I can actually stand over the stove and cook some nights. Up until this point, dinner has been something I can throw in the crockpot or oven between diaper changes. It’s been nice to do some hands-on cooking for a change!

Still, dinners haven’t been anything too involved – this easy, one-pan meal was a recent favorite. I added a loaf of crusty bed and dinner was on the table in a half hour. Mom win!


Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken
(from The Recipe Critic)
Serves 4

2 chicken breasts, cut in half and slightly pounded out
8 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, coin-sliced

In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat.

In the microwave, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk together the bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan and flour. Coat the chicken in the butter then in the bread crumb mixture and add to the skillet.

Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through and the breading is golden. Remove chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the remaining butter to the skillet. When melted, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add in the zucchini and cook until tender. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Add the chicken back and cook until heated through.

Garlic and Rosemary Sliders


This month’s Improv Cooking Challenge ingredients were garlic and rosemary – and I immediately thought, burgers! I couldn’t find a recipe that I really liked, so I decided to create my own – and these were a fabulous success.

There’s double garlic and rosemary here – fresh in the aioli that tops the burgers and dried spices in the burgers themselves. The result is flavorful without being over-powering. And, I made them slider-sized because that makes them perfectly toddler sized – a big win in our house right now!

You can check out what the other participating bloggers made with garlic and rosemary here:



Garlic and Rosemary Sliders
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 8 sliders

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
8 slider rolls
Arugula, for serving

In a heavy pan over low heat, toss together the olive oil and the sliced sweet onion. Cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally, then transfer the onions to a bowl.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, herbs de Provence, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Divide into eight equal patties and cook in the pan from the onions until they reach the desired doneness.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic and rosemary. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Spread 2-3 tsp. of mayonnaise mixture on the bottom of each slider bun. Top with a burger patty, onions and arugula. Serve immediately.

Chicken Sausage and Marinated Summer Veggies

Current craving: all the veggies. I’ve eaten more salad and grilled vegetable sandwiches recently than I ever have in my life. I’m not sure if it’s a pregnancy thing or just the mid-summer bounty, but it’s been delicious.

While aimlessly flipping through Pinterest, this recipe caught my eye because of all of the veggies. I adapted it slightly to fit what we had in the garden/what looked best at the store, but you could really do this dish at any time of the year with whatever produce is in season.

I served it along with a loaf of warm, crusty bread – it was an awesome summer dinner.


Chicken Sausage and Marinated Summer Veggies
(slightly adapted from Beachbody)
Serves 4

2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, taste
2 zucchini, coin sliced
2 yellow squash, coin sliced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
4 cooked chicken sausages, coin sliced
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss all the veggies with the balsamic mixture and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.

Preheat your broiler to high.

Stir the chicken sausage into the veggies and transfer to a sheet pan. Broil for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are soft, turning halfway.

Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers #CookoutWeek

Another great company I was introduced to via #CookoutWeek was Swine Dining. They specialize in small batch, made-by-hand spice mixes – and they’re awesome. They sent us three spice mixes to try and we loved them all.

Their signature blend is “Wimpy’s BBQ Rub” – called Wimpy’s because there’s no heat. We used it last night to make up a batch of our favorite pulled pork. We didn’t miss the heat – and it made it much more toddler-friendly. It was an awesome dinner for the whole family. Wimpy’s is currently available via their Etsy shop. They have plans to launch the other two spice mixes we tried – Jamaican Me Hungry (which I used in these burgers) and Dilly Dust – via Kitckstarter.

As soon I as I saw they sent us a jerk seasoning, I knew I wanted to make some sort of sweet potato burgers. The patties were too soft to place directly on the grill so I opted to bake them and they came out fabulous. If you wanted to get the grilled flavor, you could make them ahead of time and reheat on the grill.


Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original}
Serves 8

2 large sweet potatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 egg
3 Tbsp. Swine Dining’s Jamaican Me Hungry jerk seasoning
Fresh sliced pineapple
Burger buns

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes and poke all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until very tender. Let cool until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork.

Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.

Mash half of the black beans and mix into the sweet potatoes. Mix in the remaining black beans, quinoa, breadcrumbs, egg and jerk seasoning until thoroughly combined. Divide into 8 patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes, flipping halfway.

Serve on a bun, topped with pineapple and lettuce.



Grilled Italian Sausages with Sweet and Sour Peppers and Onions #CookoutWeek

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for weeks because I wanted to save it for #CookoutWeek – I’m so sorry I’ve been holding out on you guys. But, I’ve officially found my favorite way to grill up sausage.

In the past, I’ve always sort of failed at sausages on the grill. It would sound like such a good idea and then they’d end up undercooked on the inside or overcooked on the outside – or both. Braising them on the grill and then just transferring them to direct heat at the end eliminates all of that – and it’s absolutely delicious.

I had picked up these sausages on a whim at the farmer’s market and they were hands down the best impulse purchase I’ve made in a long time. I already can’t wait to make these again!


Grilled Italian Sausages with Sweet and Sour Peppers and Onions
(from Serious Eats)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 sweet Italian sausage links
Rolls, for serving

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sliced peppers and onions and toss to coat in the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes – until softened and browning. Stir in vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Light one side of a grill and allow to preheat for about 10 minutes.

Transfer the peppers and onions to a 10″ disposable aluminum pan. Push the sausages into the pepper mixture.

Place the tray on the heated side of the grill until simmering. Move to the non-heated side and close grill. Cook over indirect heat for 20 minutes, flipping the sausages halfway through.

Use tongs to remove the sausages from the peppers and onto the hot side of the grill. Cook, turning often, until browned – about three more minutes.

Serve sausages in rolls, topped with peppers and onions.

Cheeseburger Burritos

I swear that every time I plan to grill out, it rains. Or at least it feels that way lately. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had so much rain!

It’s meant a few hiccups our meal plans. I was dreaming of burgers on the grill one night, but grilling in the pouring rain had zero appeal – so they became burger burritos instead. It wasn’t the juicy, grilled burger I was daydreaming about, but it was a good enough approximation for a rainy night – and Jake LOVED them.


Cheeseburger Burritos
(from Meals, Heels and Cocktails)
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chopped dill pickle
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 cups shredded lettuce
6 large tortillas

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef and drain the grease. Stir in the mustard, ketchup relish and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato and cheese.

Divide mixture between tortillas. Divide lettuce between tortillas. Roll up and serve.

Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Pulled Chicken

I had bought chicken to make something else – and then realized that my day was entirely too busy to make what was planned. After scrambling around Pinterest for a few minutes for something I already had ingredients, I found this recipe.

This is simple, but good. My toddler totally devoured it. And demanded most of the leftovers for himself.


Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Pulled Chicken
(from Wonky Wonderful)
Serves 6

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
1/4 cup water +2 Tbsp., divided
2 tsp. cornstarch

2 cups shredded red cabbage
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. sugar

Sandwich rolls, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, Dijon and 1/4 cup water.

Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Pour the honey mustard mixture over and toss to coat. Cook on low for 4 1/2 hours, remove chicken and shred.

Whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. water and cornstarch until smooth. Whisk into the slow cooker. Return chicken and stir to coat. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until thickened.

While the chicken cooks, in a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, Dijon, honey and sugar. Toss with red cabbage. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve pulled chicken on rolls, topped with cabbage slaw.

Shake Shack-Style Sliders

A Shake Shack opened in our town last year and it’s been… dangerous. It’s probably the easiest and tastiest to-go burger around. And then add a milkshake? Yeah, bad news to have that in your backyard.

I was craving some last week when I remembered Sarah had blogged a copy-cat version a few years back. When I looked at the recipe, I was skeptical they’d be really that simple – but they are. These hit the nail on the head and totally cured my craving.

Now I’m trying to decide if it’s more dangerous to have a Shake Shack so close or to know I can make them at home so easily.


Shake Shack-Style Sliders
(slightly adapted from A Taste of Home Cooking)
Makes 8 Sliders

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. ketchup
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
2 slices kosher dill pickle, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/4 lbs. ground sirloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
8 slider rolls, preferably potato
8  leaves lettuce, tops of leaves only
8 slices ripe Roma tomatoes
8 slices yellow American cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, chopped pickle, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne. Set aside.

Split rolls and butter cut-side lightly. Broil until lightly toasted. After toasting, top with 1/2 – 1 tsp. of sauce, a slice of lettuce and a slice of tomato. Set the prepped buns on parchment paper.

Divide the ground sirloin into eight equal parts and form into patties. Season with salt and pepper and place seasoned-side down in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Press down and season again. Cook for about three minutes, until the bottoms have a nice crust and then flip, top with cheese and cover until cheese melts.

Transfer the cooked burgers to the prepped buns and wrap in parchment for a minute to let the juices absorb. (This is what really makes the burgers – don’t skip it!) Unwrap and serve immediately.

Grilled Pineapple Chicken Foil Packets

I’m so excited grilling season is back! I’ve been bookmarking grill recipes like crazy, but when one of my blogger friends mentioned they’d tried and liked this, it jumped to the top of the list. This is super easy to put together, which makes it perfect for a weeknight, and Jake downed it so it’s toddler-approved.

I’m pretty sure this blog is going to be all about the grill this summer. Jake LOVES playing outside and will happily hang out in the back yard for hours. I’ve been loving watching him from the window as I prep and then joining him in the backyard to grill. It’s looking like it’ll be a pretty mellow summer – at least until the new little sister gets here!


Grilled Pineapple Chicken Foil Packets
(from Crème de la Crumb)
Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts cut into 1½ inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 15 oz. can pineapple chunks
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 cup Asian toasted sesame dressing
Sesame seeds, optional, for serving
Rice, for serving
4 12″x12″ sheets of foil

Preheat the grill to medium heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the teriyaki sauce and Asian dressing. Set aside.

Divide the chicken, peppers, onions and pineapple chunks between the foil packets. Fold up the edges of the foil a bit, add the sauce and close up completely.

Grill for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from heat and check chicken for doneness – cook longer if neede.