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Cooking with 'Friends': Griff Jenkins' Dry Rub Ribs

Growing up in Tennessee, Griff Jenkins is no stranger to perfect ribs. Keeping to his southern roots, he makes Rendezvous' famed dry rub ribs every Christmas Eve!

RENDEVOUS' DRY RUB RIBS


For the ribs:
4 racks of baby back ribs (8 to 10 pounds)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the finishing rub:
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


For the mop sauce:
1 cup water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons rub (reserved from above)


Step 1: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium low. Ideally, you’ll be using a charcoal grill stoked with Royal Oak natural charcoal.


Step 2: Place a rack of ribs meat side down on a baking sheet. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of the rack by inserting a slender implement, such as a butter knife or the tip of a meat thermometer, under it. The best place to start is on one of the middle bones. Using a dishcloth, paper towel, or pliers to gain a secure grip, peel off the membrane. Repeat with the remaining rack.


Step 3: Generously season the ribs with salt and pepper. Arrange the ribs on the grill grate, bone side down, and grill until sizzling and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Turn the ribs and grill meat side down until sizzling and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes more. The dripping fat may cause flare-ups — if this happens, move the ribs to another spot on the grate to let them die down.


Step 4: Meanwhile, make the rub. Place the spices and seasonings in a bowl and stir to mix. Note: this may give you more rub than you need — don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of other uses for it.


Step 5: Make the mop sauce. Place the water, vinegar, salt, and rub in a bowl and whisk until the salt crystals are dissolved.


Step 6: When the ribs are cooked, transfer them to a cutting board. Generously brush or mop the ribs on both sides with mop sauce. Thickly sprinkle the meat side with rub to form a 1/8th inch thick crust. Cut each slab in half (or serve whole), with any remaining rub on the side.

Cooking with 'Friends': Carley Shimkus' Apple Cake

CARLEY SHIMKUS’ GRANDMA’S APPLE CAKE
Ingredients:

3 eggs
1½ c. sugar
2 c. flour
1¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. canola oil
4 c. granny smith apples
1 c. chopped walnuts

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Peel and dice apples.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar at high speed for 4-5 minutes or until firm.
Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add to egg and sugar mixture. Add oil and mix at medium speed until smooth. Fold in apples and nuts. Note that the batter will be thick.
Spread batter in ungreased 13”x9” pan.
Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour.

Cooking with 'Friends': Sandra Lee's Spring Baking

SANDRA LEE’S SPRING BAKING:
Sur La Table’s Lemon Buttermilk Quickbread Mix 3-Ways

LEMON BUTTERMILK QUICKBREAD MUFFINS
Ingredients:

1 pkg. lemon quick bread mix (Sur La Table recommended)
Blueberries
Lemon glaze

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare lemon quick bread according to package.
Add blueberry muffins to batter and bake in muffin tins.
Top with lemon glaze that comes with quick bread mix
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SANDRA’S “WEE WHOOPIES”
Ingredients:

1 pkg. lemon quick bread mix (Sur La Table recommended)
Pink, green or yellow food coloring
1 jar white frosting
Flavor extract (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Prepare lemon quick bread according to package. Add food coloring to desired shades of pink, green and yellow. Flavor with extract, if desidered.
Pipe in small disks onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
Pipe white frosting for filling.

Optional: Substitute white cake mix for lemon quick bread mix.
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LEMON CAKE WITH WARM STRAWBERRY SAUCE
Ingredients:

1 pkg. lemon quick bread mix (Sur La Table recommended)
¾ c. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ c. cranberry juice
16 oz. strawberries, fresh or frozen

Instructions:
Prepare and bake lemon quick bread according to package.
For the strawberry sauce: In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, cornstarch and cranberry juice. In a large skillet combine strawberries with cornstarch mixture. Stir together and bring to a simmer over medium heat making sure to stir often. Turn down heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Pour the strawberry sauce over loaf.
 

'Pioneer Woman' Ree Drummond's Pancakes

LITTLE REE AND GRANDMA'S SOUR CREAM PANCAKES
Ingredients:

1 c. sour cream
7 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Butter, for frying and serving
Warm syrup, for serving

Instructions:
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
In a separate small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream with the dry ingredients until just barely combined (don't overmix.) Whisk in the egg mixture until just combined.
Heat a griddle over medium-low heat and melt some butter in the pan. Drop batter by ¼ cup servings onto the griddle. Cook on the first side until bubbles start to form on the surface and edges are starting to brown. Flip to the other side and cook for another minute. (Pancakes will be a little on the soft side.)
Serve with softened butter and syrup.
 

Cooking with 'Friends': Mike Emanuel's Spanakopita

EMANUEL'S SPANAKOPITA
Ingredients:

2 bags of fresh spinach
1 bunch of dill
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
3 sticks butter
1 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
1 c. fontinella Cheese, grated
16 oz. cottage cheese
1 package filo dough, thawed and covered with a dish towel to keep moist
6 large eggs, beaten

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Steam cook the spinach, then make sure all liquid is removed from spinach. Wash and drain the dill and parsley. Then chop the spinach, dill and parsley.
In a large skillet, cook scallions in one stick of melted butter for 5 minutes.  Add the scallions to the chopped dill, parsley & spinach in a large bowl. 
With an electric mixer, cream together the cottage cheese, feta and fontinella cheeses with the eggs in a large bowl. Add the creamed mixture to the vegetable mixture and mix well. 
Melt 1-2 sticks of butter in a saucepan. Butter a 9”x13” baking dish. Brush butter onto filo dough one layer at a time and place 7 layers on the bottom of the baking dish. Put the spinach mixture on top of the 7 layers and then repeat the 7 layers buttered on top.
Press filo together to seal edges. Score the top layers of filo into rectangles with a knife. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. 
 

Cooking with 'Friends': Steve Hilton's Chicken Soup

INGREDIENTS:
1 large whole chicken
1 large onion
4 large carrots
4 parsnips
4 sticks of celery
4 leeks (white part only)
1 bunch Italian parsley
3 tbsp.  garlic oil
3 tbsp. white vermouth (Noilly Prat recommended)
3 tbsp. salt
3 tbsp. peppercorns
1 bouquet garnish
Water

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Peel and roughly chop vegetables into chunks.
Press down on chicken firmly to crack breastbone and make it a bit flatter.
Put a large Dutch oven (oval shape is best) on the stovetop over low to moderate heat. Add the garlic oil and heat without burning for a couple minutes. Add the chicken and brown gently on both sides. Pour the white vermouth over the chicken and let it steam and evaporate for a minute. Add a bit of water to prevent ingredients from burning.
Add in as many of the vegetables as you can around and on top of the chicken. Then add the salt, peppercorns, bouquet garnish. Top the whole thing with water, right to the brim. Add in the bunch of parsley using a wooden spoon.
Put the lid on the Dutch oven and put it in the preheated oven. Cook for at least 1 hour 45 minutes, up to 2 and a half hours.

TO SERVE:
Put some rice on to cook - however much you need per person. Set up a couple of bowls and large dishes on the counter.
Remove vegetables from the Dutch oven and put them aside in a dish. Then remove the chicken - it should have started to fall apart a bit - and pick off the meat, putting it in small chunks alongside the vegetables.
Toss out the bones, skin, chicken carcass etc. along with bits of vegetables you don't want to eat.
Strain the remaining broth from the Dutch oven. Then top the rice with broth, chicken and vegetables.

 

Cooking with 'Friends': Adam Klotz's Chicken Spinach Casserole

CHICKEN SPINACH BAKE CASSEROLE
Ingredients:

4 c. dried rigatoni or penne pasta
2 chicken breasts, baked and shredded
3½ - 4 c. baby spinach
1⅓ c. light thickened cream
1 c. sun-dried tomatoes
1½ c. parmesan
1 c. shredded mozzarella

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease 9”x13” dish.
In a large pot, cook pasta then drain.  Add chicken, spinach, cream, tomatoes and 1 cup of parmesan into a large bowl. Toss well and season with salt and pepper. Add in cooked pasta.
Spoon pasta mix into baking dish. Top with remaining parmesan and mozzarella.
Bake until cheese is melted on top.