Author - Liz

Fishing Sandwiches

In Texas, going fishing down on the coast is a weekend activity that many enjoy year-round. However, deciding what to pack to keep your hunger at bay for a day or two out on the water can be a daunting task. Let’s face it – peanut butter and jelly and ham and cheese roll-ups can only indulge one so far. Over the last 15 years, our Uncle Chris has perfected what we like to call the “fishing sandwich,” and it has since become a staple of our family gatherings down at Port Aransas, whether the beach or the bay is the activity of the day. These sandwiches can feed a hungry group of 10-15 whether you are out on the water or relaxing on the warm sand with an ice-cold beverage.


Steamed Artichokes

Artichokes are one of those vegetables that are often forgotten about, but are oh-so-delicious! Growing up, it was always a treat to find out an artichoke was steaming – they are definitely a Bolner family favorite. This particular recipe was shared with me by a cousin of mine, and has quickly become popular in my own household. With a little extra pizazz, this recipe will leave you wishing you had bought more than one!

Serves 2-3
Time: 50 minutes


Artichoke (one serves 2-3 people)
2 cups water or chicken broth
2 teaspoons Bolner’s Fiesta Brand ® Lemon Pepper
2 teaspoons Bolner’s Fiesta Brand ® Garlic Powder
melted butter for dipping

Cut the stem and top off of the artichoke. I also like to trim the lower leaves so they aren’t as sharp. Fill a steam pot (a regular pot will work, too) with the water or chicken stock. Season the water with the Lemon Pepper, and Garlic Powder. Place the artichoke in the steam basket, stem side up.


Cover, bring the water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and steam for about 45 minutes. Keep an eye on your pot, and add water as necessary. There’s almost nothing worse than thinking your artichoke is finished, only to find it (and your pot) burned!

You know they are done when you can easily pick the leaves off. I like to check an inside leaf, as the outside ones tend to not be as tender.


Although artichokes are delicious as is, I like to think of them as a carrier of butter, because who doesn’t like butter? Serve with a ramekin of melted butter for dipping. For an added treat, spice up your dipping butter with some Fajita Seasoning, Garlic Pepper, or serve with your favorite salad dressing! If you’re feeling creative, try a homemade dipping sauce of mayonnaise seasoned with garlic, Worcestershire, lemon, crushed red pepper and black pepper.

Enjoy, and keep it spicy, ya’ll!

Springtime Shrimp Boil

Tis the season for shrimp and crawfish boils! With a unique blend of savory and hot spices and herbs, our Crab, Shrimp & Crawfish Boil Seasoning will leave you and your friends licking your fingers and wanting more. Perfect for a Friday night Lenten dish or a spring break neighborhood block party, this is a really fun meal that’s simple and is easy to prepare.

Serves: 5

10 cups water
2 pounds of fresh, EZ peel shrimp
4 Tbs Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Crab, Shrimp & Crawfish Boil (or more for increased heat)
4 red potatoes, diced into large pieces
1 onion, cut into large pieces
1 bulb garlic, peeled (about 10 cloves)
Any other vegetable you want to add (corn, artichokes, citrus fruits)

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add your potatoes, garlic, onion, other vegetables and seasoning, and cook until the potatoes are soft – about 12 minutes. Lastly, throw in your shrimp and cook until just pink, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, or the shrimp will become chewy and tough to eat.

Strain, serve, and get peeling!


Keep it spicy, Ya’ll!

Crunchy Tacos

Crunchy tacos are one of my go-to dishes since they are so simple and delicious. Whether you are cooking for two or ten, Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Taco Seasoning can help you create a straighforward meal that everyone will enjoy!

crunchy tacos

Ingredients (Makes 6 crunchy tacos)
6 taco shells
1 Tablespoon Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Taco Seasoning (more to taste)
1 lb ground beef
½ cup water
2 avocadoes
Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Fajita Seasoning
Chopped onion, tomato, lettuce and shredded cheese for garnish

Begin by browning your meat over medium heat.  Stir in the water and Taco Seasoning once your beef has cooked through.  Simmer until done (15-20 minutes).

crunchy tacos-2

You may ask yourself, “why add water if it’s just going to evaporate off”? This is a little known trick to add more flavor into your meat. By adding water with the seasoning, the protein is able to cook longer to absorb the spice without drying out.

Once your ground beef is done, spoon into your taco shells and top with your favorite toppings. Viola! Dinner has never been easier!

crunchy tacos

Serve with guacamole seasoned to taste with Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Fajita Seasoning for a real treat!

crunchy tacos

Eat up, and keep it spicy, Yall!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you do any type of baking, there is a 99.7% chance that you have used vanilla extract! Whereas there are some pretty tasty imitation extracts out there in the marketplace, there is almost nothing better than real, pure vanilla.

Making your own vanilla extract is not only fun for both adults and children alike, but also creates a great topic of conversation for your friends and family that come to visit. Although the waiting process may be long, you will not be disappointed with the end result!

homemade vanilla extract

1 bottle (750mL) Vodka (40% alc/vol) – any vodka will do
8-10 vanilla beans

Start by spending a few minutes smelling those sweet, aromatic vanilla beans! Once you are done indulging, slice each bean lengthwise using a sharp knife. Be careful to only cut through one side of the bean to make the seed scraping easier. Once the bean is sliced open, scrape the seeds out using the tip of your knife and start a little pile. If there are some left inside, it’s not a big deal. Do this for all of the beans that you have. While scraping the seeds isn’t a requirement for making delicious vanilla extract, it does help maximize the extraction process. Scraping also helps make tiny cuts in the bean, increasing the surface area for the vodka to do its magic.

vanilla beans

Once you are done, grab your bottle of vodka and pour out about 1 ounce. This allows space for the beans without overflowing, and leaves a little extra room for shaking the bottle. Drop the vanilla beans and seeds into the vodka, cap it, and give it a nice shake. I also like to write the date somewhere on the bottle so I know exactly how long my vanilla has been extracting.
vodka bottle

Set your bottle aside in a safe place (a cabinet or the counter will do) to allow the alcohol to extract the vanilla flavor. Shake your bottle once a week or so to help disperse the seeds and agitate the beans. In 8-10 months, your vanilla should be ready to use! Depending on how strong you like your vanilla, you can use it sooner than 8 months, or let is sit much longer.

Your stash will likely last you over a year, and will only get better over time. For ease of use, many hobby type stores sell glass apothecary bottles for your vanilla storage.

vanilla flavor

I like to put a bean or two in the smaller jars just to help the flavor develop even more. You can also use the spent beans for flavoring custards and pudding.

When your first batch is ready to use, start a fresh recipe and you’ll never have to buy vanilla extract at the store again!

The fun in making vanilla extract is in the experimentation. Everyone makes their vanilla extract differently. Play with the number of beans you use, dice the beans into small pieces for extraction, or use different brands (or types!) of alcohol to create your perfect extract. Regardless, making vanilla extract is nothing but rewarding in the end!

Homemade vanilla extract makes a unique gift for those bakers or hard to shop for people in your life. Attach a bag of Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Vanilla Beans for a gift that can’t be beat!

Happy baking, and keep it spicy, y’all!

Lemon & Herb Baked Salmon

Salmon is one of my favorite fish to eat, and there are so many delicious recipes out there for it. Not only does it taste delicious, but you also get all of those Omega-3 Fatty Acids that are so good for your health!

Our Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Lemon & Herb seasoning has a wide range of uses due to its complex flavor profile of spices melded with natural lemon extracts.  It’s typically my go-to when I grill vegetables, but it’s also a hit when used on fish. Place your favorite vegetable (in my case, skillet potatoes), alongside this simple dish to give you a tasty meal that the whole family will enjoy!

Serves 2

lemon herb baked salmon

2 salmon filets
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter
2  Teaspoons Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Lemon & Herb Seasoning

3 medium new potatoes, diced
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 Tablespoon oil
1 Tablespoon of Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Garlic Pepper (or to taste)

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Let’s start with the potatoes since they take longer to cook:

In a skillet, combine 1 Tablespoon of oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  I love my cast iron skillet for these, but any pan will do. Once the butter has melted, add the potatoes, stir and cover.  Occasionally check on them and give them a shake to ensure that the potato dices are browned as evenly as possible.  After about 8 minutes, stir in the other Tablespoon of butter and 1 Tablespoon of Garlic Pepper. Cover, and continue to cook until softened and browned.

Meanwhile, start on your salmon.

salmon ingredients

Combine on low heat the butter and lemon juice in a small skillet for the salmon.  When the butter is melted, add the Lemon & Herb Seasoning and stir together for about 1 minute.  The low heat will help release the oils from the spices in the seasoning and give you a bolder flavor.

Rinse and pat dry your salmon filets, and place them on a piece of foil large enough to enclose them for baking.  Using a basting brush or spoon, brush the lemon butter mixture over your filets until they are generously coated.

salmon rinse

Secure the ends of the foil and place them in the center of the oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fish).  When done, carefully unwrap your filets.  The fish should flake easily and all of the translucence should be gone.

By now, your potatoes should be ready.

potatoesDinner is served! Stay Spicy, ya’ll

dinner plate

Beef Stew

The cooler weather is here, and Christmas is right around the corner! With the kids out of school and friends and family visiting, this beef stew recipe is an easy meal to throw together early in the day and provides tasty leftovers for days! Let your stove do the cooking as your house fills with a welcoming aroma that is sure to suit any appetite! This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for easy reheating if you want to prepare it a day in advance. If you ask me, “day after” beef stew can’t be beat!

Serves 4-5

beef stew


  • 1 package Boneless Beef Short ribs or 1.5 lb Stew Meat
  • 3 Tablespoons Oil
  • ½ Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Fresh garlic, Chopped
  • 2 Cups Water (plus more if needed)
  • 1 cans Beef Broth
  • 1 can or bottle of your favorite beer
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
  • ½ Tsp Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Paprika
  • Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Uncle Chris’ Gourmet Steak Seasoning (to taste)
  • 5 Whole carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 5 small New Potatoes, washed and quartered
  • Any other Vegetable you want to add


At least 30 minutes prior to cooking, season your protein of choice liberally with Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Uncle Chris’ Gourmet Steak Seasoning. For maximum flavor development and tenderization, season up to 24 hours in advance.


Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil into a thick bottomed pot.  Cast iron cookware is my go to for this type of dish.  Brown your short ribs or stew meat for about 2 minutes per side.  Basically, cook each side just enough to have a light crust all the way around.  Remove the meat and set aside.  Don’t worry – your beef will finish cooking later!

In the same pot, add 1 more Tablespoon of Oil, sauté the onions for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic. After about a minute, stir in 2 cups of water. While this simmers, slice your short ribs into 1″ cubes. If you are using stew meat, you won’t need to cut it up any smaller.

beef cooking

Add your cubed protein back into the pot, along with that can or bottle of your favorite beer (yes, you read that right – beer!)

shiner bock

Let this simmer for a few minutes, stir in the beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Salt and Paprika. Stir all of this deliciousness together, cover, and summer on low for about 1.5 hours, until the meat becomes tender.

About 30 minutes before you want to eat, throw in the carrots, potatoes, and any other vegetable that you want!  I added some mushrooms for some added flavor, and they ended up being my favorite part of the whole dish.

carrots potatoesServe with a warm loaf of French bread!

**Crock Pot version**
Place all of these ingredients in a crock pot, and cook on Medium heat for 4-6 hours, until the meat is tender. Add water or beef broth if necessary.

*You can brown your meat beforehand if you want to bring out the stronger flavors of the beef! *
cooked beef

Family-Favorite Thanksgiving Meat Dressing

Thanksgiving is one of the Bolner family’s favorite times of year! With juicy turkey, sweet potato casserole and scrumptious pumpkin pies (recipe here), who wouldn’t like this holiday? One of the family’s oldest traditions is making Grandma Bolner’s home made meat dressing! “Meat dressing”, you ask? What happened to cornbread stuffing? Well, we have that too, but nothing compares to this delicious, unique Thanksgiving treat! Easy to make, bring this tasty dish to your holiday party – you (and everyone else) will be giving thanks that you did!


  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 4 lbs. lean, ground beef
  • 10 eggs, cracked and beaten
  • ¾ loaf French bread, torn into ½ chunks
  • ½ stalk celery, chopped fine
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbs Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Garlic Powder (or fresh garlic) – add more to taste
  • 1-14 oz. can chicken broth or 2 tsp. Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Chicken Flavor concentrate
  • 1 Tbs Bolner’s Fiesta Brand® Garlic Pepper – Add more to taste
  • Dry Bread crumbs as needed

Serves 12-15 people


In a 5.5 quart (or larger) pot, cook together the ground beef and butter until pink is almost gone, stirring occasionally.
minced meat

While the meat is cooking, chop up the onion and celery.  Chopping Onions used to be one of my least favorite things to do – I could never get even pieces like all of the other Bolner’s could do.  In the last year, I came across the most amazing trick that has yet to fail me!

Cut off the top of the onion (end without the roots).  Stand the onion on the flat side that you just cut off, and slice it down the middle, cutting the roots in half.  Peel off the outer layer of skin.
Slice the onion length wise, leaving about ½ inch attached on the root side of the onion.

Once you’ve sliced the onion all the way across, lengthwise, cut the onion across the width (perpendicular to your previous cuts).  This creates perfect dices of onions every time!

chopped onionStir in the chopped onion and celery.  If you used fresh garlic, add this in too!  If not, add 2 tsp Garlic Powder (or to taste).  Stir, and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

mix onionMeanwhile, add enough water to the bread to moisten it, and set aside.

Now comes the tricky part!  Adding the eggs directly to the pot may cause them to cook too quickly and become scrambled eggs in your meat.  While this is will still taste delicious, it may not look too appealing!  Instead, the eggs should be tempered (heated slowly) before adding them to the pot.  There are a few ways to do this.  I decided to add a few spoons full of hot beef and some of the juice to my bowl of eggs, stirring continually.  (At this point, I removed some of the excess liquid from the pot, but this isn’t necessary!)  I then added the egg/beef mixture SLOWLY back into the pot, stirring the whole time.  It worked like a charm, and there were no scrambled eggs!  Although it doesn’t look too appealing, trust me, it’ll be delicious!

You can also add the eggs slowly to the pot, stirring continuously.

Add the wet bread (squeeze out excess water), 1 Tbs Garlic Pepper, 2 tsp Chicken Flavor Concentrate and 2 cups of water.  You can also replace the Chicken flavor and water for two 8 oz cans of Chicken Stock.  Stir together.

Simmer for about 10 minutes. If the dressing is still a little too wet for your liking, add some dry bread crumbs (like Panko) to help firm it up.  At this point, it’s best to do a taste test to check for seasonings.  Add more to your liking.  Pour your dressing into an oven safe dish and bake on 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until bubbly.  You can also broil it for a few minutes to crisp up the top for a delightful crunch!

thanksgiving meat dressingVoilá! Now you have a tasty dish to add to your Thanksgiving feast!  This dressing stores in the refrigerator or freezer, and makes excellent left over sandwiches.

From the Bolner Family, we all hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!