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Shaq's Family Style: Championship Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends [A Cookbook]

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Notes From Black Reads

We can't believe this is Shaquille O'Neal's first cookbook. He's already a fixture in the food world: He has launched restaurants, a kitchen equipment line, and hosts a cooking show. In this debut, Shaq highlights family-friendly, gather-around-the-table favorites. The recipes are pitch-perfect and so entertaining to read as Shaq's bigger than life personality shines on every page.

A celebration of cultural icon Shaquille O’Neal’s love of food, family, and fun, with 80 low-stress comfort food recipes for busy families.

“The flavors and recipes in this book are big, bold, and fun just like Shaq Daddy himself! If you love the man, you’ll love this book!”—Michael Symon, author of Fix It with Food

Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal loves food. A lot. In fact, fans of Inside the NBA know they’ll most likely hear Shaq tell his co-hosts all about what he ate for dinner while they analyze the action in the paint.

Shaq’s love of food, eating, and family cooking began in his childhood home, where his mom cooked for him and his three siblings. With his own family, he carries on the commitment to creating family connection and fun through food. In Shaq’s Family Style, featuring his inimitable sense of humor, he shares eighty recipes for bringing family together around the table, plus 100 photographs to whet the appetite. From Loaded Potato Waffles to One Pan Baked Southern Mac & Cheese, Sheet Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato Bake, and Spicy Jambalaya with Andouille Meatballs, these are meals that busy home cooks can get on the table after the kids’ practice or when there’s a houseful over to watch a game.

Even novices will be able to cook these recipes with confidence the first time—and on replay. When the plates are cleared, it's time for banana pudding (there's always banana pudding!) or one of Shaq's other family-favorite desserts. It's the Shaq Attaq! . . . in the kitchen.

ISBN-13: 9781984860064

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed

Publication Date: 04-05-2022

Pages: 240

Product Dimensions: 8.20(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Shaquille O'Neal is one of the world’s most successful athletes-turned-businesspeople, whose accomplishments on and off the court have translated into his highly sought-after consumer brand. As an entrepreneur, sports analyst, DJ, restaurateur, and brand ambassador, O’Neal brings his signature “Business of Fun” mantra to each of his endeavors. The fifteen-time NBA All-Star’s unprecedented athletic career spanned nearly two decades and earned him countless awards and honors, including NBA Most Valuable Player, NBA Rookie of the Year, four NBA championships, and a first ballot NBA Hall of Famer. Currently, O’Neal is an analyst on TNT’s Emmy Award–winning Inside the NBA. O’Neal, who has a PhD in leadership and education, established The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, which provides resources for underserved youth. He also gives back through a number of annual philanthropic programs, including Shaq-to-School, Shaqsgiving, and Shaq-a-Claus. The launch of his Las Vegas eatery Big Chicken further elevated O’Neal’s visibility as a successful restaurateur. In 2015, O’Neal partnered with Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a brand development, marketing, and entertainment company. The transformative alliance focuses on managing and growing O’Neal’s brand around the world and building on his legacy through strategic partnerships that tap into his tremendous personality and broad appeal. Rachel Holtzman is a former book editor turned cookbook coauthor. Matthew Silverman and Matthew Piekarski are Shaquille O’Neal’s executive chef partners. Eva Kolenko is a food-centric, lifestyle, portrait, and travel photographer whose work has been featured in many print and digital advertising campaigns, magazines, and cookbooks. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she also pursues her passion for kitchen gardening.

Read an Excerpt


I know what you might be thinking: What is a basketball Hall-of-Famer doing writing a cookbook? What could I possibly know about food and cooking? Well, I’m gonna tell you something: You don’t get to be 7'1", 325, with a 7'4" wingspan and size 22 feet, without knowing a thing or two about how to eat. As I like to say, I got a G-14 classification—the special clearance you get when you’ve won titles—for knowing a thing or two about a thing or two, and that includes what makes for a good meal.

For a long time, I didn’t have to think too much about what I’d be stuffing into this big mouth of mine. I had my sisters and my mom—my job was to look out for them, and they spoiled me and cooked. And they did it well. Mac ’n’ cheese, fried chicken, barbecued chicken, banana pudding—they played the hits. Oh, and plenty of spinach, too, because I thought I was Popeye, and it was the only vegetable I’d eat. Even though we didn’t have much, we always had good meals. I don’t know how my mother did it, but every day was a hell of a breakfast, hell of a school lunch, and hell of a dinner.

Lucille O’Neal was also a stretcher—she knew how to make a lot from a little. She figured out how to take inexpensive ingredients, like eggs and chicken, and change ’em up over the course of the week. Then, when the money would start to run out, we’d go to our safe haven of cereal—especially Frosted Flakes, which remains one of my favorite foods to this day. Just check my pantry (and Frosted Flakes–Crusted French Toast on page 93 and Frosted Flakes–Chocolate Chip Cookies on page 213). And there’d be, like, ten pounds of sugar in the house at all times, so we could get as much mileage out of our lemonade as possible. But no matter what, our mama never made us feel like there wasn’t enough to go around, and there was always room for more people at the table. You may wonder where this physique came from, but take one look at my mother and you know who is responsible for this big ol’ heart.

I like to say that what keeps me motivated is my MBA—mama, babies, and associates. I’ve got my brother and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, six beautiful children with two beautiful women, plus teammates, friends, and partners who, along with their families, have become like relatives over the years. I take care of this crew in all kinds of ways, and you know there’s gonna be a good meal to go along with it; whether it’s people stopping by to watch the game, having a barbecue, grabbing some breakfast, or just kicking back. And now that I’m middleaged, I finally realized it was time for me to contribute in the kitchen. I thought, You know what? I gotta learn how to cook. I want my mom to officially hang up her apron, retire her number, put her feet up, and watch General Hospital. And I wanna cook for my kids. Growing up, they knew three things: 1. Never interrupt Daddy’s nap on game day. 2. My love for them is unconditional—forever and always. 3. If you want to touch my cheese, you have to get three degrees—a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate or JD. And now they also know, especially thanks to spending most of the year 2020 together 24-7, that I’ve got them covered in the kitchen too.

When it came to learning how to cook—something that’s not exactly easy, considering my schedule—I knew that I had to give the process a Shaqification. I may have a doctoral degree in education, but I have never claimed to be the smartest guy in the room. So, I became an expert at taking things that are difficult and breaking them down into simpler parts. It started back when I was in school—When did Columbus arrive in America? I couldn’t memorize it, so I made up a little song—1492, this is what we gotta do; 1492, this is what we gotta do. I took the information and made it work for me. The same went for basketball. You know how I learned to play ball? By watching the greats, like Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Isiah Thomas, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, and Wilt Chamberlain. How did I learn how to cook? Same thing—from watching the all-stars: my mama, my executive chefs Matt Silverman and Matt Piekarski, and my personal chef Alex Conant. I couldn’t do the real fast boom boom boom boom that the chefs do; so once again, I figured out how to make it work for me. I’m real good at following directions, so I asked for a bunch of simple recipes that were full of the flavor, which my mother taught me and in which I’ve since received an honorary chef’s degree from all the eating I’ve done throughout my life. With those basics, I realized I could do some pretty good work. And the same will go for you—it’s like anything else in life: the more reps you get in, the better you become.

The mission to tighten up my kitchen skills is also what led me to develop my line of appliances—so I could just press a button, walk away, talk to my kids, maybe have a Strawberry Shaquiri, and ding, get dinner on the table. Can you make these recipes without these time-saving, strong move-making, love life–improving appliances? Most definitely. But do I think everyone’s kitchen is better with a little Shaq in it? Damn straight I do.

But this book really is about the food. When it came time to think of titles for it, I first wanted to call it Recipes for Dummies, because that’s how easy I wanted the methods to be. But then I thought, maybe, Shaq-a-Nova, because I wanted to show all those young people out there how important and easy it is to do something helpful around the house. But, then, the obvious right choice came along: Shaq’s Family Style, because if you’re making these meals for your loved ones, even if it’s just one or two nights a week, you’re winning.

The recipes you’ll find here are inspired by a combination of things: mostly recipes I know I can make (as in, not very difficult), things from my childhood (pancakes, fried chicken, barbecue chicken, mac ’n’ cheese, banana pudding, Oreos), things I love to eat (pancakes, fried chicken, barbecue chicken, mac ’n’ cheese, banana pudding, Oreos), places I’ve been (loaded waffles from Atlanta, St. Louis-style ribs, Louisiana jambalaya), people I love (my mama’s meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs), things I believe in (like the kind of great meat you can get from Meat District and put in everything from tamale pie to smash burgers), and, of course, some of my world-famous inventions (Smack Ramen, Big Chicken, thammiches—not to be confused with sandwiches). And they are going to have you covered for every meal of the day, whether it’s just you and your family, or the whole neighborhood getting together. I even threw in some recipes for when you want to keep things a little bit healthier. I can’t say that it’s what I’m about 100 percent of the time, but I do know how important it is to balance some of those shrimp and grits and chicken tenders with things on the lighter side, so you don’t end up with a BOTB—Barkley over the Belt. These recipes are more exciting than the whitefish and asparagus diet that my trainer Roc Shabazz once tried to keep me on, but they’ll still have you looking just as strong as me. But really, anything made with from-scratch ingredients is a heck of a lot better than anything you get going to the drive-thru or heating up from a package.

Okay, enough talkin’—it’s officially game time. So, grab your apron, grab your whisk, maybe give yourself a little pump-up speech in the mirror, hear the fans chanting your name, and get into that kitchen. And don’t forget to send me an invite for dinner sometime; just make sure there’s chicken.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 That's Barbecue Chicken-All the Hits 9

Slow-Cooker Southern Mac 'n' Cheese 13

Cheeseburger Mac with Crispy Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Broccoli 14

Carolina BBQ Shrimp and Buttery Cheese Grits 17

Smack Ramen Chicken Alfredo 20

Fried Chicken Tenders with Creamy BBQ Dip 24

Sheet Pan BBQ Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato Bake 27

Best Buttermilk Fried Chicken Thighs 33

Southern Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Creamed Corn Casserole 35

2 M.D. E.-Meals Done Easy 41

Southern-Style Turkey Chili with Cheddar Cornbread Waffles 45

Southern Chicken, Corn, and Bacon Chowder 49

Louisiana Shrimp Linguine 50

Chicken Parmesan Bake 53

Hide-and-Seek Chicken 56

Creamy Spinach and Sausage Skillet Lasagna with Cheesy Garlic Biscuits 59

Stewed Green Chile Pork with Corn Griddle Cakes 62

Tamale Pie with Avocado Relish 65

Chicken-Fried Steaks with One-Pot Mashed Potatoes and Creamy Black Pepper Gravy 68

Salisbury Steak with Cheddar-Jack Hash Brown Casserole 74

3 I Love Pancakes-Breakfast for Dinner 79

Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins with Blueberry-Almond Milk Smoothies 83

Pull-Apart Buttermilk Biscuits and Sawmill Country Gravy 85

Buttermilk Pancakes 89

Frosted Flakes-Crusted French Toast with Cinnamon-Whiskey Maple Syrup 93

Loaded Potato Waffles 96

Shaq Sausage Slam 99

Bacon and Cheesy Scramble Pockets 103

Turkey Sausage, Vegetable, and Biscuit Breakfast Casserole 105

4 Sandwiches All Day-'Nuff Said 109

Deviled Egg-Chicken Salad Sandwiches 113

Roasted Mushroom Cheese Steak-ish Sandwiches with Pesto Mayo 115

Tuna Cake Sandwiches with Chipotle Remoulade 119

The Uncle Jerome 122

BBQ Pulled Pork-Grilled Cheese Sandwiches 126

Smash Burgers with Jalapeno-Pimiento Cheese 130

5 Shaq Diesel-Fuel for When You Want Things Healthy(ish) 133

Sheet Pan Mushroom Fajitas with Avocado Salsa and Mixto Tortillas 137

Shredded Roasted Citrus Chicken and Charred Poblano, Kale, and Cabbage Salad with Honey-Chipotle Vinaigrette 140

Shrimp and Beer Bake 145

Carolina BBQ Salmon with Air Fryer Bacon-Brussels Sprouts 147

Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash 151

Breaded Pork Cutlets and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad 155

Garlic-Citrus Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Black-Eyed Pea Succotash 159

Shredded Pot Roast Tacos with Black Bean-Cilantro Rice 161

6 The Big Aristotle-Meals for a Crowd 165

Sunday Spaghetti Dinner with Cheesy Garlic Bread 169

Brunswick Stew 172

Traditional Beef Stew with Sour Cream Dumplings 175

Smart Cooker Spicy Jambalaya with Andouille Meatballs 179

Oven-Roasted Honey-Mustard Turkey Breast with Black Pepper Sourdough Stuffing 181

Cheddar-Crust Chicken Potpie 184

Buffalo Chicken Legs and Blue Cheese Tater Tot Casserole 187

BBQ St. Louis Ribs with Creamy Blue Cheese Slaw 190

Pork Carnitas with Grilled Mexican-Style Corn Casserole and Guacamole 195

Shrimp Enchiladas with Green Sauce 198

7 It Ain't Over 'Til There's Banana Pudding-Dessert! 203

Banana Pudding 207

Coffee-and-Doughnut Bake with Peanut Butter-Dulce de Leche 209

Frosted Flakes-Chocolate Chip Cookies 213

Oreo Cookie Brownie Sundaes 215

Whiskey-Peach Cobbler with Cinnamon-Maple Whipped Cream 219

Hummingbird Pineapple Upside-Down Bundt Cake 222

The Postgame Show 225

Acknowledgments 227

Index 228