I was recently asked to review and received free of charge (as a member of Cookin’ It With Kix blogger team),  a new cookbook written by Kix Brooks,  one-half of the best-selling country music duo Brooks & Dunn.  It was not difficult to say yes because I love reading and testing cookbooks, particulaly one that has 2 of my favorite words in the title…celebrating and fun.  In  Cookin’ It With Kix: The Art Of Celebrating And The Fun Of Outdoor Cooking,  Kix shares his love of outdoor cooking with recipes, personal stories, and entertaining tips to make any meal special.

I like that Kix talks about cooking and eating as fun, a way to enjoy family and friends.   Kix writes, “This book is as much about the “experience” of eating as it is about the cooking.  I don’t claim to be a chef, and if you bought this book, chances are you’re not a chef either, but we don’t have to be.”

I like that attitude.  Most of us aren’t chefs, but we love to entertain our family and friends with mouth watering recipes; ones that are simple, easy or make-ahead so our time can be spent enjoying the party or tailgate!

In his introduction Kix says, “I can’t tell you how many times before concerts I have gone  out into the parking lots to hang with the fans and just been blown away by the stuff they had going on their grills and the platters of great-looking snacks on their tailgates.  Tailgating is an art form, and whether it’s a football game or a Kenny Chesney festival, knowing your way around parking-lot parties is important.”

My kind of guy!

As much as I am enjoying the recipes, I am loving his stories… “Where I Come From” (Louisiana) and yes he has  some Louisiana classics: Aunt Grace’s Crawfish Etouffee, Big Ol’ Mess Jambalaya, Shrimp Po’Boy with Spicy Remoulade Sauce, Getcha Some Duck Gumbo using The Roux,  Red Beans and Rice, Fired-Up Bananas Foster, Beignets.  Kix includes tailgating recipes,  family holiday recipes all peppered with stories about his family, his upbringing, his friends (as the late Dale Earnhardt’s Sautéed Shrimp), his Kix Tips.

I especially liked his humility in telling a story about his involvement with Monroe Harding in Nashville, an organization providing a “chance and  very often a home, for children and young people who have nowhere else to turn.”  (You’ll have to buy the book to read about it.)

His Cooking In The Woods chapter includes recipes from the shore and the hunt…Salmon-In-The-Fire, Redfish On The Half Shell, Spicy Wild Turkey Tenders,”Don’t Knock It ‘Til You Try It” Squirrel Stew, Cast Iron Steak And Eggs, Elk Chili and Venison Jerky and my favorite…Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Duck Poppers.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Duck Poppers courtesy Cookin' It With Kix: The Art Of Celebrating And The Fun Of Outdoor Cooking

I tested these tasty snacks and even bought a jalapeno popper pan to keep them roasting upright in the oven.


  • 1 pound bacon, with 3 slices set aside to make bacon bits
  • 1 pound duck breast meat or chicken, cut into strips
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 12 jalapeno peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed (cored)
  • Vegetable oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lay all but 3 bacon slices in single layer on a baking sheet, and bake 20-30 minutes, until the fat is rendered but strips are not crispy. Remove from oven, and let cool while assembling the poppers.
  3. Fry the remaining bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until extra crispy. Remove the bacon from skillet, reserving the bacon drippings.
  4. Set the bacon aside to cool, and then crumble it into bits.
  5. Season the duck meat with salt and pepper on all sides.
  6. Reheat the pan over medium-high heat, and add the duck. Fry the duck, turning frequently, until done, for approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the duck from pan, and drain on paper towels. When cool, cut the duck meat into small pieces or chunks.
  8. Mix the softened cream cheese, duck meat, bacon curmbles, and shallots together in a bowl until well combined.
  9. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed or any other spices you like.
  10. Using a spoon or your fingers, stuff each jalapeno pepper with the cream cheese mixtrue.
  11. Wrap a peice of the partially baked bacon around each pepper, securing with a toothpick. Lay the peppers on a lightly oiled baking sheet or stand them up in a jalapeno popper pan.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbling and bacon is crispy.

Kathy's Tip

I like that the bacon is precooked slightly. I have made poppers before and you want the final product nice and crispy!

By Kix Brooks via KathyMillerTime
Adapted from Cookin' It With Kix: The Art of Celebrating and The Fun of Outdoor Cooking


Recipe Printed from

Kix Brooks definitely has a passion for cast-iron cooking as do I.  His point: “Cast-iron is virtually indestructible, and its ability to retain heat makes it ideal for browning, searing, and frying.  A cast-iron skillet, pot or griddle can last a hundred years or more if you take care of it properly.”  He also includes tips on the care of cast-iron and the seasoning of cast-iron.  I love using a cast-iron skillet because I have an induction cooktop and the cast-iron can also go into the oven.

Another of my favorite recipes I tested from Cookin’ It With Kix…Barbara’s Veggie Stuffing.

Most of you know I love my mother’s potato stuffing at Thanksgiving and Christmas….Uhlma’s Potato Stuffing based on an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe.

Thanksgiving At The Brooks includes his wife’s stuffing:  It is excellent and would be delicious any time of year.

Thanksgiving At The Brooks courtesy Cookin' It With Kix



  • 4 cups water (check the amount of water recommended on wild rice package)
  • 1 cup wild (or brown) rice, prepared and cooled
  • 1/2 pound cubed bread (white, wheat, or a combination)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter or reserved fat from turkey
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups diced Granny Smith apple
  • 1/4 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, crumbled sage
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1-2 cups vegetable broth or turkey or chicken broth


  1. Prepare rice ahead of time and spread it out to cool on a baking sheet.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet or shallow baking pan, and bake about 20 minutes, until dry.
  4. Melt 1/2 cup of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add all onion, celery, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and bell pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened for 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Add the apple and pecans, and cook, stirring, until the apples are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the parsley, sage, cumin, thyme, salt, and pepper, and stir for about 2 more minutes.
  8. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with the rice, bread cubes, and dried cranberries.
  9. Pour 1 cup broth and the remaining 2 tablespoon melted butter or turkey fat over the mixture, and mix well. Add more broth, herbs, or salt and pepper, to taste.
  10. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees, and butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Spread stuffing in the baking dish, and cover tightly with foil.
  11. Bake in middle of oven for about 20 minutes. Remove foil, and bake another 10-15 minutes, until the top is browned.


Kix Tip: Stuffing can be mixed together without broth and melted butter one day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before adding broth and melted butter, and proceed with baking. Kathy's Note: The crunch of the apples, pecans, and water chestnuts add texture. Also the cumin gives it a little kick/twist.

By Barbara Brooks
Adapted from Cookin' It With Kix: The Art of Celebrating and The Fun of Outdoor Cooking


Recipe Printed from

 I baked the stuffing Kix’s way…in a cast-iron skillet!  Beautiful.


Barbara's veggie Stuffing precooked photo by Kathy Miller

Apres baking..

Cookin' It With Kix, Barbara's Veggie Stuffing photo by Kathy Miller

As an avid tailgater and one who leaves the BBQing and grilling to my friends while I dream up savory sides…I loved Kix’s Smashed Tater Salad.  I am a mustard kind of girl and used the regular-yellow mustard when I fixed this recipe before the Tennessee Florida football game. The twist with this recipe, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and  a little hot sauce.  Delicious! Click to see video.

I am taking my time reading this cookbook, savoring Kix’s sometimes heartwarming…sometimes funny… always entertaining stories and his family, down home recipes.  You’ll want to buy this one for yourself or give it to your grilling/BBQing better half!

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table, or the tailgate,  or the campfire!


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