Grilled Honey Barbecue Chicken

A perfectly grilled, juicy chicken breast is a thing of beauty – and once you have mastered this take-it-slow technique, chicken success on the grill will be guaranteed, every time! Don’t be afraid of the lightly spiced paste, I was worried my children wouldn’t go for it. But slathered in the sweet honey glaze? They gobbled dinner right up!

Honey Barbecue Chicken
Serves: 6
Consider making a double batch of the spice paste and honey glaze. With dinner insurance in the fridge, you are just a step away from a savory dinner - simply brush some on grilled or seared meat, pork, fish or shrimp. The flavor is incredible. Happy cooking!
  • ½ cup Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Honey mustard
  • 2 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Paprika (preferably sweet paprika)
  • 1 tsp Brown sugar, light
  • 1 tsp Oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • 4 - 4½ lbs of Chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, trimmed
  • ¾ cup Honey
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce, low-sodium
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
  1. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, honey mustard, garlic, paprika, brown sugar, oregano, Kosher salt and chipotle chili powder (if using).
  2. Spread spice paste all over the chicken breasts and store them in a large ziploc bag. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Let come to room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
  3. In the meantime, in a second small bowl, whisk honey, soy sauce, ketchup, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and Sriracha (if using). Set aside and reserve ½ cup to serve with dinner.
  4. Spray the grill with canola spray and heat to high. Close grill top and allow the grill to heat to 350 - 400 degrees.
  5. Once grill is heated, turn the burners to low, place the chicken on the grill, preferably on a slant for the grilling marks.
  6. Grill chicken for 5 minutes and then flip to the other side.
  7. Once the chicken has cooked for 10 minutes, brush with glaze and then flip for an additional 5 minutes. From this point forward, brush with glaze every time the chicken is flipped.
  8. Once that time is up, flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes. At this point the chicken might be finished, or need an additional 5 -10 minutes of cooking time.
  9. You should pull the chicken when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, while resting, the chicken will continue to cook an additional 5 degrees (chicken is ready to eat when the internal temperature is 165 degrees).
  10. Once chicken is finished cooking, allow the chicken to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  11. Serve with reserved sauce on the side.


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Southern-style Green Beans

Green beans are a favorite of mine – grilled, roasted, steamed, sauteed – always delicious and enjoyed by the kids. But sometimes I crave them softer and more unctuous, and only a long-cooking time can coax out that level of flavor. I made these for Sunday dinner a few days ago, and served them alongside a baked ham. There’s an element of nostalgia in a meal like this…it’s comforting, delicious and feels like home – all on a plate of simple food.

Southern-style Green Beans
Serves: 8
I was a little apprehensive to make these beans for my kids, because they loathe mushy food, so instead of the classic mushy green beans, I sought to find the middle ground and I was successful! These beans have all the flavor of long-simmered, but I only cooked them for 45 minutes, so they still retained texture and shape. Happy cooking!
  • 6 sliced Bacon, chopped
  • 1 Onion, yellow, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 cups Chicken broth, low-sodium or homemade
  • 2 lbs. Green beans, trimmed
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the bacon and stir while it starts to render fat. Once you start to see some bacon fat, add the onions and Kosher salt.
  2. Reduce heat to low and let the bacon and onion slowly cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until onion is lightly browned.
  3. Add chicken stock and green beans to the pot. Mix in with bacon and onion, and cover the pot.
  4. Cook for 45 minutes - 1 hour, until beans are soft. If you prefer them softer, continue to cook until the texture is to your liking.
  5. Taste the beans and add salt and pepper if desired. I like to add another ½ tsp Kosher salt at this point. Serve immediately.


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Black-Eyed Pea and Pork Chili

This recipe was inspired by a chili article I read in Fine Cooking magazine. I have made sofrito for years, as a flavoring base in all types of soups, stews, braises and casseroles. But I have never ROASTED my sofrito as this article suggested, and WOW, it really intensified the flavors and made this delicious chili even better! One of the things I love about cooking – there is always a new skill, a new technique to learn and try. This is not a quick recipe, but on a cold weekend afternoon, I can’t think of anything more fun to do then make a big batch of this recipe. There are a lot of steps, but the complexity of the dish and the layers of flavor make it totally worth it! It is soooo good and freezes great!

Black-Eyed Pea and Pork Chili
Serves: 8
This is the first time I have ever cooked with dried chiles. They do add to the cost of the dish, but they impart a complexity of flavor that's invaluable. And they will last over a year in your pantry, so you will have lots of time to use them up. Don't skip the step of roasting the sofrito, it really takes this chili over the top! Happy cooking!
  • 2 (14.5 oz) Petite diced tomatoes, drained (I use roasted garlic and onion flavoring)
  • 10 Garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 Poblano chiles, chopped (ribs and seeds removed)
  • 1 Onion, yellow, chopped
  • 2 Peppers, red, chopped
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Oregano, dried
  • ¼ cup Red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup Canola oil, divided
  • 3 (15 oz) cans Black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 dried Arbol chiles
  • 2 dried New Mexican chiles
  • 3 lbs. Ground pork
  • 2 tbsp Cumin, ground
  • 2 tsp Chipotle chili powder
  • 2 Chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce
  • 2 cups Chicken broth, low-sodium or homemade
  • Suggested garnishes: Sour cream, shredded cheese and minced scallions.
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 and cover a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the tomatoes, garlic, onion, red peppers, 1 tsp Kosher salt and oregano on the sheet pan. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and ¼ cup Canola oil. Mix until well combined.
  3. Roast, stirring once halfway through cooking time, for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the sheet pan aside to cool.
  4. Empty the black-eyed peas into a colander and rinse well.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add the dried chiles to the dry skillet. Toast on both sides, until slightly blistered, about 3 minutes per side. Take the skillet off the heat and carefully add 2 cups of water to the skillet. The chiles will start to rise to the top, to counteract that, place the colander with the beans in it on top of the chiles to push them down.
  7. Soak the chiles for 20 minutes. Remove from the water and stem, seed and finely mince the chiles. Set aside.
  8. In a large Dutch oven heat remaining ¼ cup Canola oil over medium heat. Add pork and sprinkle on top the ground cumin, chipotle chili powder and remaining 1 tsp of Kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned. (You do not need to drain the pork since it is so lean)
  9. Meanwhile transfer the sofrito mixture to the food processor and pulse, retaining a chunky texture. Once the pork is browned, add the sofrito mixture to the Dutch oven. Next place the minced dried chiles in the food processor along with the 2 canned chipotle chiles. Pulse to combine and add to the Dutch oven.
  10. Add the black-eyed peas and chicken broth and stir to combine. Turn heat to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.
  11. Serve right away, or even better, cool the chili, refrigerate and enjoy the next day (the flavors will meld and deepen overnight). The chili can be refridgerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Roasted Sofrito
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Shrimp & Grits

A favorite of Jeff’s, and one of those dinners that I get excited to make AND eat! I love shrimp and grits and I know I’m biased, but I think my version is one of the best. This dinner is a great choice when you are entertaining – but don’t increase this recipe to serve more than 6…it’s fine to have to sauté the shrimp in two batches but beyond that you will feel chained to the stove, and what’s the fun in that? If you are looking for a perfect side, look no further than a salad with my Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette. My dear friend Carol from Brentwood, Tennessee, always made the BEST shrimp and grits. This is my version, adapted from my taste memory, of the many delicious dinners enjoyed at her table.

Shrimp & Grits
Serves: 4 plus extra shrimp
This dish comes together really quickly, so try to have everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. I wrote this recipe in a sequential order, so if you just follow the steps you will be fine. A note on the shrimp - I buy a big bag of frozen, organic shrimp whenever its on sale, I always have chicken broth and grits in my pantry and shredded sharp cheddar is a fridge staple, so I‘m only a few ingredients away from pulling this meal together. Happy cooking!
  • 6 Bacon slices
  • 32 oz Chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 1 cup Half and half
  • 1 cup Grits, uncooked, regular
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, sharp, shredded
  • 2 tbsp Butter, unsalted
  • 8 oz pkge Baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 lb. Shrimp, large, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup Flour, all-purpose, divided
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder, divided
  • ½ cup Olive oil, divided - optional
  • ½ cup White wine
  • ½ cup Chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 Lemon, zest and juice
  • ¼ cup Green onions, minced
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  1. Cook bacon slices in a large skillet until crisp, remove and drain on paper towels. Turn off heat and leave bacon drippings in the skillet. Once bacon is cooled, chop into small pieces.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth, half and half and Kosher salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits and reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
  3. Once grits are thickened, add cheese and butter. Remove saucepan from the heat, cover and keep warm.
  4. Heat skillet to medium and warm up the bacon drippings. Add mushrooms and sautéed until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  5. While mushrooms are cooking, divide flour between two plates and stir in Kosher salt and garlic powder. (this step eliminates having too much clumpy flour - a typical breading challenge that I seek to correct with this step).
  6. Dredge shrimp in flour mixture. If the skillet is dry you can add ¼ cup olive oil (this will depend on how much bacon drippings are left - they might have been all absorbed by the mushrooms). Over medium heat, warm bacon drippings or olive oil. Once drippings or oil is hot, add ½ of the shrimp - carefully making sure each shrimp is laying flat and is not steaming. Depending on the size of your skillet you might have to do this in three batches. If so, adjust olive oil (if using) quantities accordingly.
  7. Sautéed shrimp until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes per side. As shrimp are cooked, remove to a plate. While shrimp is cooking, rewarm the grits over low heat, add a bit of chicken broth if necessary to lighten the texture.
  8. Once shrimp is finished cooking, add garlic to the skillet and sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add wine to the pan, carefully deglaze, loosening particles on the bottom of the skillet. Add chicken broth, lemon zest and lemon juice, cook for 5 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.
  9. Plate it up - in the center of each dinner plate or shallow bowl, start with grits, then add mushrooms and shrimp. Add sauce and finish with a sprinkling of bacon and green onions.


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Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette

I LOVE this dressing! If you spend enough time on my website, you will see that I am a little obsessed with vinaigrettes and marinades, and this is one of my favorites. This dressing is also one of those crowd-pleasers that is always a big hit at family gatherings, baby showers, you name it…people will ask for the recipe! Make a big batch for the fridge and you not only have a delicious vinaigrette but a marinade option for chicken, meat, pork or fish.

A food processor is so helpful to make a vinaigrette…throw the ingredients in, pulse and you’re dressing is ready
My favorite salad…so simple yet delicious, romaine lettuce, Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette and blue cheese crumbles

Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette
Serves: 2¼ cups
While I call it “Vidalia Onion” Vinaigrette, any sweet onion works well, is much easier to find, and isn't so seasonal. You can make this dressing without a food processor, just be sure to mince the onion very fine, and whisk away. Happy cooking!
  • ½ Onion, sweet or Visalia, minced
  • ½ cup Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1½ cups Olive oil
  1. Place onion in the food processor and pulse until smooth (you want a pureed texture).
  2. Add all remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse to combine.



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Pulled Pork

I have loved making pulled pork for years, and now with such a big family to feed, I love it even more! Over time I have experimented with so many techniques for cooking the pulled pork – grilling, smoking, searing –  but the one that works best for me, and is the most consistent and hands-off? Low and slow oven cooking. Tender and moist pork every time!

Okay this might not be one of my sexiest food pics, but I promise you it's one of my most delicious! Pulled pork shown here topped with my chow chow sauce.
Okay this might not be one of my sexiest food pics, but I promise you it’s one of my most delicious! Pulled pork shown here topped with my chow chow sauce.

Of course store bought condiments are fine, but if you are feeling particularly inspired, my barbecue sauce is sooo good with the pulled pork.

A new favorite is the chow chow sauce shown in the picture, find the recipe with my Southern Pork Tenderloin.

Both of these sauces keep for several weeks in the fridge, so they can jazz up lots of sandwiches and simple grilled dinners.

Pulled Pork
Serves: 10-12
Pulled pork is one of the easiest things to cook. The key to making it incredible is planning. You need to do the dry rub the night before cooking and then get the pork started early in the morning. Another secret tip? Cook the pork the day before you want to serve it. Then all you need to do the day of your dinner is heat a tray of pork, covered, in a 300 degree oven for an hour. The best hands-off dinner! This makes A LOT of food, even with a family of 10 and company usually, I have extra, I love to freeze a bag of pulled pork for a last minute dinner option. Happy cooking!
  • For the rub:
  • ¼ cup Light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 8-9 lb Pork butt, Boston butt, or Picnic shoulder
  • 1-2 cups Barbecue sauce
  • For serving:
  • Potato rolls
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Coleslaw
  1. Rinse the pork in the sink and pat dry. Place on a large baking sheet or pyrex baking dish.
  2. Combine all of the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle on the pork and pat into the skin.
  3. Cover pork with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 300.
  5. Remove the pork from the fridge one hour before cooking. Discard plastic wrap.
  6. Place pork in an ovenproof container - could be a roasting plan or a aluminum pan.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven.
  8. Cook for 8 hours, the pork will be fork tender at this time.
  9. Remove from the oven, and with tongs, remove pork to a rimmed baking sheet so it can cool. Drain baking container of all but 1 cup of baking liquid. Reserve to mix to with the shredded pulled pork.
  10. After 1 hour, shred pork, discarding fat and anything yucky (I say that seriously - I am a purist).
  11. Place pork back into the baking dish and mix in the reserved baking liquid, plus 1-2 cups of barbecue sauce (you need to evaluate this as you go - some people like it more on the dry side, some people prefer their pulled pork more saucy)
  12. Heap onto sandwiches and enjoy with your preferred condiments.


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Remoulade Chicken Salad

Remoulade with anything…yum! After seeing a recipe for it with chicken salad in a mayo heavy sauce, I was inspired to come up with a light and healthy version using Greek yogurt. A great way to use leftover chicken and it tastes incredible!

Remoulade Chicken Salad

If you don’t have any leftover chicken, now is the perfect time to make my super simple poached chicken recipe.

Remoulade Chicken Salad
Serves: 4
One of my favorite ways to make chicken salad! This recipe would also be great at a Southern-inspired brunch (you could serve it on small biscuits) or perfect for a picnic. Happy cooking!
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt - plain
  • ¼ cup Sour cream - regular
  • 1 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp Dill pickle relish (see note)
  • 2 Scallions (green and white parts)
  • 1 Red bell pepper, diced
  • 2½ cups Skinless, boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • ¼ cup Pecans, chopped (optional)
  1. In a food processor combine Greek yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard and dill pickle relish. Taste and adjust dill pickle relish amount if needed.
  2. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in scallions, red bell pepper and shredded chicken. Add pecans if using.
  3. Enjoy on a bed of greens or the bread of your choice.
Dill pickle relish - In our house we love dill pickle relish, so I add 3 tablespoons when making this for my family. However, I understand not everyone loves it as much, so start with 2 tablespoons, taste and then add another tablespoon if you want a more pronounced pickle taste.


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Southern Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is such a great weeknight dinner solution, but this recipe is also interesting enough for company. The flavors in the rub give the tenderloin a subtle kick, but it’s mild enough for your kids to dig right in. All of the kids loved this dinner and I was left with just a few pieces after all of the older boys went back for seconds! The chow chow is a cinch to make, adds some grown-up interest to the meal and can be done ahead of time. The chow chow keeps great in the fridge and play the elevated and much more interesting mustard role in your fridge…enjoyed on sandwiches and pulled pork all week! I was planning on grilling the pork but it ended up torrential downpouring just as I was ready to start the grill, so I decided to rely on an Martha Stewart technique – from one of the first cookbooks I ever owned, Quick Cook Menus from 1988. Once you sear the pork on the stovetop, it’s totally hands-off and the pork comes out perfect everytime!

Searing the pork before it goes into the oven
Searing the pork before it goes into the oven
Once the pork comes out of the oven, transfer to a cutting board set inside a rimmed baking sheet, makes cleanup a snap!
Once the pork comes out of the oven, transfer to a cutting board set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice.


Southern Pork Tenderloin
Serves: 8
I've been making this recipe for years...and it still surprises me how much everyone enjoys this meal. My younger children won't go near the chow chow sauce, but they devour the pork. The chow chow? So delicious and a terrific condiment to have in the fridge - try it with grilled chicken, pulled pork, on sandwiches....Happy cooking!
  • For the pork:
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Ground mustard
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • ¼ cup Canola oil
  • 2 Pork tenderloins, trimmed (see note) (about 2¾ - 3 lbs total)
  • For the chow chow sauce:
  • ¼ cup Yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup Honey mustard
  • ¼ cup Yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp Sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tbsp Cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  1. Remove pork from the fridge, preheat oven to 375. Mix dry seasonings, add canola oil and stir to combine. Coat the pork with the seasoning rub.
  2. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil coating it and then a second sheet of aluminum ready to become a pouch for the pork.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear the pork on all sides until well-browned, approximately 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer seared pork to the prepared baking sheet and pour pan drippings over the pork.
  5. Tightly close the foil with the opening along the top of the pork and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and carefully open the foil about 1 inch along the top.
  6. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven (the temperature on the pork should be between 140-150 degrees at this time (see note) and place on a cutting board placed inside a baking sheet (the technique catches all of the pork juices when you start slicing). Let rest 10 minutes, uncovered, before slicing.
Silver skin on pork: It's important to remove the connective tissue on the pork because it does not dissolve into the pork. This step only only takes a minute and really improves the quality of your finished dish! Here's a great how-to guide.
The correct temperature for pork: The National Pork Board recommends cooking pork chops, roasts, and tenderloin to an internal temperature between 145° F. (medium rare) and 160° F. (medium), followed by a 3 minute rest. Since large cuts increase approximately 10° F. while resting, remove them from the heat at 150° F. followed by a 10 minute rest.


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Pimento Cheese Dip

Jeff needed some “guy food” to take to poker night and I love to make anything the older boys really enjoy. I have noticed that all of them LOVE pimento cheese. It was so much fun playing around with this recipe – I was inspired by several Southern Living Recipe Collections. I streamlined in every direction and this really came out a winner!

Pimento Cheese Dip

Pimento Cheese Dip
Serves: 8 cups
I made this as a huge recipe which I know is crazy but I needed two batches – one for poker night and one for a bday celebration the next night. Feel free to halve! I specified this recipe with a food processor but read my notes, it can still be made, slightly different texture, but equally delicious!
  • ¼ cup Vidalia onion, minced (I just eyeball this and pulse in the processor, saves time!)
  • 1 (12 oz jar) Fire roasted peppers, drained (see note)
  • 3 cups Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (8 oz bag) Extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (see note)
  • 1 (8 oz bag) Sharp cheddar cheese (see note)
  • Ground pepper to taste
  1. Pulse vidalia onion in the food processor until roughly chopped, then add roasted peppers and pulse until both the onion and pepper are smooth.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined and the cheese has blended into the mixture.
  3. Refrigerate for at least an hour for the flavors to meld. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  4. I love my food processor and will use it any chance I can. For this recipe, it made fast work of the onions and peppers and allowed me to buy shredded cheese. If you wanted to do that work by hand, you would not need the food processor at all.
  5. I chose to pulse all of the peppers, but if you wanted a chunkier texture and/or wanted to see the red peppers in the dip, then you could either chop all of them or half and mix in at the end.
  6. I choose to use bagged shredded cheese because it is so much faster. If you wanted to use block cheese and shred yourself, you could skip the food processor entirely.




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Alabama Barbecue Sauce

This humble little Mason jar doesn’t look like much, but inside is the most addicting and delicious sauce ever! The older boys, Jeff and I drizzle this on everything! I started working on this recipe to serve with brisket and pork a few weeks ago when we used our smoker for the first time. Since then I have made it each time we barbecue. In my weaker moments I like to dip ripple potato chips in it!

Alabama Barbecue Sauce

Alabama Barbecue Sauce
Serves: 1¾ cups
This sauce has become a staple in our fridge! Aside from tasting great with all type of barbecue it is also amazing on grilled chicken and beef. Happy cooking!
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • ¼ cup White wine vinegar
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced (or 1 tsp minced garlic from a jar)
  • 2 tbsp Spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tsp Horseradish cream (see note)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  1. Stir or blend in a food processor all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Store in the refridgerator for up to a week.
Do not change the mustard - the spicy brown is so important to the flavor, any other mustard would not work.
If you do not have horseradish cream (that's the kind you put on sandwiches), then you can use regular prepared horseradish but I would start with 1 tsp and taste before adding another tsp - the taste is much stronger.
I love to swap Greek yogurt into everything, but if you prefer, add an additional ½ cup of mayo instead. Sour cream would also be a great swap.


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