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Thread: Easy peasy recipesie

  1. #21
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Because I'm in the Keys, everything is about the Key lime. Pie, of course, but Key lime cocktails, marinades, soaps, and (I'm not making this up) cigars.

    Key limes are smaller and more bitter than their Persian counterparts (those are the limes you usually buy at the grocery store, the Persian ones). They tork your jaws, as my mother would say, giving you that twang in the space between your jaw and your earlobe. They're not only tiny, they're seedy, which makes juicing them a nightmare and there is no recipe worth that. Fortunately, Nellie & Joe's makes bottled Key lime juice, available at most grocery stores. So set your Spotify to play island music and make a classic Key Lime Pie tonight!

    1 9-inch graham cracker crust
    14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
    1/2 cup Key lime juice
    3 egg yolks

    • Mix milk, juice, and yolks together until creamy and well blended.
    • Pour into pie crust
    • Bake at 350* for 15 minutes
    • Cool on the countertop, then refrigerate for at least an hour before serving
    • Whipped cream is the traditional garnish, but grated dark chocolate is a nice touch


    This recipe is also on the back of the Nellie & Joe's bottle and one could say that it's "their" recipe, but that's like saying someone owns a recipe for hard-boiled eggs. The above is how you make a true Key lime pie, and that's that.

  2. #22
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    I remember the first time I ever had Carnitas. It was in a Mexican restaurant in Round Rock, TX; until that point I didn't even know you could get real meat in a Mexican place. Carnitas is pork butt or shoulder, simmered in a citrusy broth, then sizzled until the fat is crispy. You can turn it into soft tacos or eat it straight with beans and rice, use it in stews or make hash. It makes a lot so get creative!

    3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
    1/2 cup orange juice
    1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)
    4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
    1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste

    • Place the cubed pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot.
    • Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, salt and enough water to just cover the meat.
    • Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
    • Simmer uncovered for two hours without stirring the meat. Just leave it go, don't touch it.
    • After two hours, crank the heat to medium-high and give it a stir.
    • Continue to cook for about 45 minutesor until all of the liquid has evaporated, turning frequently.
    • Once the liquid is gone, let it sizzle in its fat until crispy, gently turning the meat. Get under it because it's going to want to fall apart at this point.
    • TIP: Once your carnitas are done, you'll be left with a large crust of deliciousness on the bottom of your pot. Transfer the meat to a large bowl and hit the hot pot with a splash of water, then scrape the bottom with a spatula. This will loosen up the crust and deglaze your pan. Pour the loosened crust over the top of your meat and toss to combine.


    My favorite way to eat carnitas - besides picking chunks right out of the pot with my fingers - is to make soft tacos. Flour tortillas, shredded cabbage (find it in the packaged salad section of the grocery disguised as coleslaw mix), and a touch of Hidden Valley Southwest Ranch dressing. Making carnitas is easy, although time-consuming. Perfect for a dinner party because everybody loves it and will think you're a genius for serving it.

  3. #23
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Here's a yummy snack that I made up on the fly years ago and everyone loved it so much that it became a regular thing. I should have a fancy name for it, but my friends all just call it Crack because of its addiction probability.

    There is a basic recipe for Crack but I don't think I've ever made it the same way twice because it's very versatile.

    2 lbs of mixed nuts, your choice. I like pecans, walnuts, cashews, and almonds. Most grocery stores have bags or bins of nuts so you can get exactly what you like.
    3 Tbsp Honey
    3 Tbsp Maple syrup
    Salt
    Pepper - again, your choice. I usually use chipotle or smoked paprika

    • Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet (one with sides) and toast at 400* for 10 minutes or so, being careful you don't let them burn.
    • Toss the nuts and give them another 5 minutes.
    • Transfer toasted nuts to a large bowl and add your honey and syrup; mix well.
    • Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
    • Spread the nut mixture out on the baking sheet and sprinkle with pepper and salt.
    • Lower the oven temp to 200 and bake for 20 minutes or so, until the mixture sets up firm.
    • Let the Crack cool on a counter all the way - don't try to sneak a bite or you'll burn yourself but good.

    Once your Crack is cool, it should be sticky, but not too gooey. You can then hit it with more salt if you want for that salty/sweet that I love so very very much.

    Variations include, but are not limited to, adding seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips, cinnamon, or even cereal. The only hard and fast rule is to TOAST THE NUTS! This brings out their flavor and makes them crisper, which complements the soft sweet coating. You can even skip the salt and pepper if you want, but I think omitting the salt makes it taste a little flat.

    Store the Crack in an airtight container, refrigeration isn't necessary. I don't know how long it keeps because it always gets devoured in a couple of days.

  4. #24
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Do you know what a Dolsot is? If you are Korean or have a Korean friend, you certainly do. It's a stone bowl that is heated on the stove and used to create my favorite dish, bibimbap. Bibimbap is a bed of rice that's been sizzled crispy in a dolsot bowl, then garnished with meat, assorted veggies, sauce, and an over easy egg. Then you use your chopsticks to stir everything together, ending up with a lovely Korean mixed rice dish that is hearty and savory, perfect for a cold evening. Or any evening. I told you, this is my favorite dish.

    I first got my dolsot specifically to make bibimbap, but I found that it has many uses. It's not just a bowl, it's also a cooking vessel, so you can fill it with pretty much anything you like and make what I call Bowls of Love.

    For breakfast:
    Sizzle shredded potatoes or tater tots (!) in your dolsot until crispy, then top with bacon and fried egg.
    Use oatmeal as your base - crispy oatmeal is the best thing you ever ate, I promise! Top with fruit, brown sugar, or go savory with an egg, diced ham, and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar.

    Low carb?
    Skip the rice and stir fry sliced veggies in sesame oil, then top with an egg or sliced meat.

    Comfort dinner:
    Line the bottom of your dolsot with leftover mashed potatoes until crispy on the bottom, then fill with your choice of cooked meats and vegetables.

    Because the dolsot is sturdy and most are microwave safe, you can cook pretty much anything in it. I make ramen in the microwave by placing the noodles and seasonings in the bowl, pour 2 cups of water over it, cover with the dolsot trivet, and microwave for 8 minutes. In fact, the dolsot is the perfect microwave cooker for pretty much anything, including heating up leftovers, and cleanup is a snap because food doesn't stick to it. But the dolsot is intended for stovetop cooking and that's how you'll get your crispy starch base.

    Most dolsots come with a heat resistant trivet for serving - place the bowl on top of the trivet so you don't burn your table with the super hot bowl. You can find them on Amazon, or locally at most Asian grocers (the yellow building grocer on Rt 5 and Flat Iron Rd carries them) for $15-20 each. They make an excellent gift when combined with a Korean cookbook (let me recommend The Korean Table by Taekyung Chung, which is filled with all the classic Korean recipes and intended for beginners).

    Here's a recipe for "classic" bibimbap - I say "classic" but bibimbap can be anything you want it to be and there's no hard and fast recipe. Whatever you have on hand will usually suffice.

    Cooked rice
    Cooked beef, pork or chicken, sliced thin or minced
    Julienned carrots, steamed for 1 minute in the microwave
    Thin sliced zucchini, steamed same as the carrots
    Wilted spinach
    Your favorite Asian sauce - spicy or not, make it yourself or get it at the grocery
    1 egg, over easy

    • Heat your dolsot on meduim with a swirl of sesame oil.
    • Put a serving of rice, about cup, in the hot bowl, spreading it out over the bottom
    • Cook rice for several minutes until it gets crispy on the bottom.
    • Remove from heat and place on trivet.
    • Arrange meat and vegetables on top of the rice.
    • Top with fried egg.
    • Drizzle with sauce.
    • Serve.



    When you mix your bibimbap together, the heat will finish cooking the egg and the yolk will combine with your sauce to make a lovely creamy binder (so you can eat it with chopsticks even if you're klutzy like me). The traditional drizzle sauce is made with gochujang, or red chili paste, which is spicy, sweet, and savory at the same time.

    Bibimbap sauce recipe

    1/2 cup gochujang (red pepper paste) - find it at Giant, Shoppers, or the Asian grocery
    2 tablespoons sesame oil
    1 tablespoons honey
    3 teaspoon rice vinegar
    1/4 cup water
    2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (Toast your sesame seeds! It only takes a second!)

    Whisk everything together. Stores in an airtight container for about a month. Use it on everything you eat, or at least brush it on grilled chicken wings.

  5. #25
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Yesterday's post made me obsessed with Korean cuisine. I love Asian in all its forms, but the spicy, light, savory, comforty aspect of Korean dishes in particular speak to me. The Koreans do many things right when it comes to food, but one of their best tricks is using cornstarch in addition to (or instead of) flour when frying chicken.

    You may have noticed that Korean fried wings aren't very brown - the crust is paler, yet crispy and way less greasy than their KFC counterparts. This is because of cornstarch. It's also why the chicken for Sweet and Sour on the Chinese buffet hangs in there and doesn't dissolve into a goobery mess as it sits in the warming pans.

    Science stuff:
    Flour is about 25% protein, which forms gluten and provides structure to bread, batters, etc. Cornstarch is a pure starch; gluten-free and much lighter than flour.

    Let's get real: what's the best part of fried chicken? That's right, the crusty skin. In fact, you could just eat the crust and throw the chicken part away. That's because of flour's heartiness and substance, via the protein. Cornstarch, on the other hand, lets the chicken be the star. Cornstarch also plays well with others better than flour. When making gravy, for example, sprinkling flour on your brothy pan drippings will result in icky little flour BBs; to use flour as a thickener you have to first dissolve it in hot liquid, then carefully whisk it into your gravy base. No so with cornstarch; cornstarch is more agreeable and will happily dissolve right into whatever you sprinkle it on. Whisky whisky for about a minute and boom - gravy. And not murky gravy, either; cornstarch gives you a silky gravy with a rich color.

    Cornstarch is also what you should be tossing your chicken in no matter what type of breading you go with. This will act as a liaison between the chicken skin and the batter, which otherwise don't like each other very much but they'll come to the party and act civilized because they both like cornstarch.

    There are a zillion fried chicken recipes out there and many of them act like you have the rest of your life to fool with it. Brine the chicken, dry the chicken, add vodka, blah blah blah....bah to that. Too much going on. Turning out stellar fried chicken is just this simple:

    • First, use wings or boneless chunks. They're easier to work with, they cook quickly, and you get better crust to meat ratio.
    • Toss the chicken in a ziploc bag filled with cornstarch seasoned with salt and pepper, working in small batches to make sure each piece is well coated.
    • Shake off the excess and set it aside on a baking sheet.
    • If you want more crust - who doesn't? - simply toss them in cornstarch a second time.
    • Place your chicken pieces into a large frying pan with about 2" of HOT oil; remember not to crowd the pan. Your chickie needs its space.
    • (Psst, your oil is hot enough when you sprinkle a bit of cornstarch on top and it sizzles enthusiastically)
    • Fry for two or three minutes; turn; and fry for two minutes on the other side.



    Right about now you're asking, "Wait...where's the seasoning??" Well, flavor can certainly be added to the pre-coat - seasoned salt being a great choice. But keeping with our Asian theme, we're going to sauce the chicken after frying instead. And it's just this simple:

    • After frying your chicken, set it to rest and drain on a baking rack over a cookie sheet so you don't mess up your counter.
    • Give the chicken 5 minutes to settle down, then toss it in a bowl of your favorite sauce.
    • This sauce might be sweet and sour; it might be Buffalo wing sauce; it can be whatever you want. Garlic butter laced with parmesan cheese? Heck yeah!



    Because of the cornstarch, your chicken crust will stay crispy even after you sauce it, which will amaze your friends and family and make you a Super Bowl snack hero with very little effort.

  6. #26
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    The most impressive and amazingly decadent cake I've ever seen is Mille-Feuille (say "meel foe'-ee" accent on the foe, translates to "thousand leaf" in French). My use-to-be neighbor across the street makes it only once a year for her husband's birthday, which is a shame because it's almost as easy as box-mix - and certainly easier than frosting a layer cake - yet looks quite glamorous. Basically, it's layers of puff pastry, custard, and sliced strawberries. That's it. Three simple components, and it'll take you about an hour to put together.

    I'm not sure why more people don't keep frozen puff pastry as a go-to. There are about a million things you can do with it, from main dishes to desserts, that turns mundane recipes into something special and fancy. You can find it at pretty much any grocery store and it's not expensive. From fruit turnovers to savory tarts to topping a pot pie, puff pastry should definitely be a weapon in your culinary arsenal.

    Alright, on to the mille-feuille:

    1 package of frozen puff pastry (should be two sheets, each 10"x15" or so)
    2 cups whole milk
    4 egg yolks
    3 Tbsp cornstarch
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/8 tsp salt
    12 or so strawberries, hulled and sliced fairly thin

    First make your custard:

    • In a microwave safe bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until well blended.
    • Add the cornstarch and whisk well to completely blend.
    • Add the milk, salt, and vanilla and whisk whisk whisk.
    • Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. So 30 seconds, stir, eight times.
    • Your custard should now be thickened, with a consistency like instant pudding.
    • Press plastic wrap down onto the surface of the custard (to keep if from getting that nasty film on top) and put it in the fridge to chill completely.



    Now make your puff pastry:

    • Preheat your oven to 400*.
    • Lay out the pastry sheets on parchment covered baking sheets.
    • Cut each sheet into thirds lengthwise so you end up with six equal skinny rectangles.
    • Prick each pastry sheet well.
    • Sprinkle a bit of granulated sugar over the top of each piece - not too much, just a sprinkle.
    • Bake for 15 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown.
    • Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.



    Time management:
    • Make your custard
    • Make your puff pastry
    • Clean and slice the strawberries while the puff pastry is baking


    Assemble:

    • Place your custard in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. (Don't have a pastry bag? Me either. In that case, place the custard in a large Ziploc and snip off one corner for piping.)
    • On a large rectangular plate or baking sheet, place two pastry pieces side by side but not touching. Each will be an individual mille-feuille log.
    • Layer thus:

    • Pastry sheet
    • Custard
    • Strawberries
    • Custard
    • Pastry sheet
    • Custard
    • Strawberries
    • Custard
    • Pastry sheet

    • Dust top with powdered sugar and garnish with leftover strawberry slices.
    • Slice into portions with a serrated knife and serve immediately.


    Now let's pretend you REALLY don't like to cook or are seriously all thumbs. Well, you can still turn out an impressive mock mille-feuille!

    • Make vanilla pudding according to the package instructions.
    • Bake your puff pastry as above.
    • Slice the strawberries.
    • In a rectangular baking pan, layer as above.
    • Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.


    With this method everything kind of melds together and creates a much softer cake. Different, but still delicious.

    Need it to be even easier? Substitute graham crackers for the puff pastry. You'll end up with something appropriate for a Nebraska pot luck, but still pretty darn good.
    Last edited by DeeJay; 01-25-2018 at 09:53 AM.

  7. #27
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    Poor pasta. Remember when it was a dinner staple? A hearty comfort food in its many forms - mac and cheese, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti, goulash, fettuccini alfredo. Then somebody decided it was bad for you and started a movement against it, and now it sits on the grocery store shelves like an abandoned puppy at a shelter. You are encouraged to make "noodles" out of vegetables (see my zoodle post above) or, the biggest insult to pasta ever, soy.

    Have you ever tried the soy noodles, or "shiritaki" as they are called to make them sound less unappetizing? The first thing that hits you when you open the package is the smell. Real pasta doesn't smell like that. Nothing you eat should ever smell like that. Pasta is like, "THAT is what you left me for???"

    You're trying to lose weight. You're trying to eat healthy. I get it. But if you torture yourself with smelly pseudonoodles (pseudles) you are not going to stick with your eating plan. At some point you won't be able to face the prospect of another sad meal and you'll dive face first into a pot of mac and cheese. So let's bring pasta back to its rightful place at the dinner table, shall we?

    The one single thing that keeps folks from enjoying pasta more often is that you have to cook the noodles separately, then dump them in with everything else. Or do you? (The answer is no, you don't.) On the back of the Mueller's lasagna box is a recipe for no-boil lasagna. You add extra water to your sauce and the noodles cook right in the oven along with everything else, no fuss. This concept can be transferred to pretty much any other pasta dish. Because you're keeping the starch and not draining it off down the sink, you'll end up with a heartier creamier result, which is a good thing if you like hearty and creamy (and who doesn't?).

    When doing a dump pasta dish, simply add 22 ounces of water for each pound of pasta. Replace half of the water for red wine and now you have drunken noodles. Yes, it's that simple. I'm not lying to you, try it and see for yourself. That will get you a medium texture pasta, somewhere between true al dente and American mushy. If you like softer pasta, increase the water to 24 ounces per pound of pasta.

    For a baked dish, combine the water with your sauce and pour it over the raw noodles. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes; stir; remove the foil; then give it another 10 minutes (this is where you add the cheese to melt on top).

    For a skillet dish, it's the same concept: pasta will absorb about 22 ounces per pound, so that's how much you use. Either add the water to your sauce and cook the whole thing, or make the pasta first, then toss it with the remaining ingredients. Your pasta will be nice and sticky, which means your sauce will stick to it and not end up in a leftover puddle on your plate. Try tossing your skillet spaghetti with ham, peas, a hit of butter, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Go low cal with a simple tomato sauce, which turns into a decadent creamy treat (without cream!) when you cook the pasta right in the sauce.

    It's a myth that pasta is your enemy, unless you have celiac or a true medical restriction. Pasta is nutritious and low calorie, and the favored pre-game fuel of so many professional athletes I can't even name them all on here. Folks, these are professional athletes who have nutritionists charged with keeping them operating at peak performance. And they eat pasta!

    It's time to get reacquainted with pasta. Put aside your differences - do you even remember what caused the falling out? - and embrace your old friend again.

  8. #28
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    As most of you know, I've been living in a motorhome and hotel rooms for the past two years, traveling across the country and seeing America the Beautiful. One of my favorite aspects of this journey has been...eating. From Hot Chicken in Nashville to tamales in Vicksburg to lobster rolls in New England to enormous beef ribs in Lockhart, TX, if it sounded interesting I was an enthusiastic sampler. Unfortunately, eating around the country has its drawbacks - namely that you gain weight at an alarming rate.

    Now, I'm not gonna lie - it was fun (and delicious) getting fat. But at some point you gotta pay the piper for your indulgence and start preparing your own meals again.

    The motorhome has not only a kitchen inside, but we have the setup for an outdoor kitchen as well. This sounds good in theory, but cooking outside or in a tiny galley kitchen isn't nearly as enjoyable as I had originally thought it would be. And while a few of the hotels and cottages we've stayed in have had fully equipped kitchens, most have included only a mini-fridge and a microwave.

    It never occurred to me, back in my Top Chef wannabe days, that you could feed yourself quite well with only a microwave for cooking. And while the microwave isn't the only appliance you'll ever need if you're serious about cooking, you can still turn out great chow if that's all you have. If you are on extended travel, or are a college student living in a dorm, or are limited by space for any reason, here are a few of my go-tos that will keep you well fed and your waistline trim.

    First, your supplies:
    Non-stick cooking spray (or "Pam" as I will refer to it from here on out)
    Plasticware - forks, spoons, and knives
    Paper bowls
    Paper plates
    Paper towels
    (I can feel the environmentalists heating up right now)

    If you're in a position to do dishes, by all means, use regular tableware instead of disposable; a microwave safe mug will easily take the place of your paper bowl. If you can do laundry, swap the paper towels for cloth. The cooking spray is non-negotiable.

    Now you're ready to make food!

    Eggs: I love eggs. When it says on the menu, "Eggs, any style" I say, "Yes, please!" Most of us know how to scramble a couple of cackleberries in the microwave - Pam your bowl, whip up two eggs with a bit of cream (or no cream), add bacon bits or whatever you like in your scrambled eggs, microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring each time, until done to desired consistency, about a minute and a half - but you may not know that you can turn out "fried" dippy eggs, over-medium, in the microwave as well.
    • Pam your bowl
    • Crack two eggs into the bowl
    • Stab each egg in the yolk twice with a fork
    • Cover with a paper towel
    • Microwave for 1 minute
    • Let sit in microwave for 30 seconds to set up

    Poached eggs? Simple:
    • Crack one egg into your bowl or mug
    • Cover with about 1/3 cup of water
    • Cover the bowl with a paper towel
    • Microwave for 45 seconds
    • Give it another 10 seconds if it's still too runny

    Hard boiled eggs?
    • Ugh, don't do it. I don't care what the internet sites say, they never turn out right and they are way more hassle than they're worth. If you MUST! have hard boiled eggs, get an InstantPot. Takes up very little space, is extremely versatile, and makes hard boiled eggs better than anything you've ever seen. I'll do a feature on the InstantPot at a later date. The alternative is to get a bag of Eggland's Best hard boiled eggs at the grocery store. They're pretty good.


    Want dessert?
    • Duncan Hines has ready-made mug cake mixes in several different varieties. Strawberry, S'more (!), blueberry muffin, and more. You can make a homemade mug cake, but if you had the space for all those ingredients you probably have more than a microwave to work with.


    Please tell me you know how to bake a potato in the microwave.
    No?
    Okay, here's how:
    • Wash your potato - sweet or regular - and pierce it 5 or 6 times with a fork
    • Place on a paper towel in the microwave
    • Cook for 5 minutes
    • Turn over and cook another 5 minutes


    Did you know you can also make pancakes in the microwave?
    • It's the same concept as the mug cake. Pour 1/3 cup of pancake batter into a Pamed bowl; microwave uncovered for 60 seconds.


    Quesadillas, baby!
    • Place a tortilla on a plate (I like Mission's Carb Balance tortillas)
    • Sprinkle shredded cheese on half of the tortilla
    • Add bacon bits, ham, or other fillings if you want
    • Fold the tortilla in half and spray the top lightly with Pam
    • Microwave for 1 minute
    • Flip the quesadilla over and lightly Pam the top
    • Microwave for 45 seconds


    The grocery store has a number of pre-washed microwave in bag vegetable combinations, but what happens if you run across some beautiful fresh corn on the cob?
    • Place the ear of corn as is in the microwave
    • Cook for 4 minutes
    • Cut the bottom (stem part) off and squeeze the corn right out of its husk with very little silk attached


    My ultimate go-to favorite microwave meal:
    • Microwave a package of Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice according to directions
    • Microwave a package of fresh broccoli/cauliflower/carrot medley.
    • Add deli ham chunks or rotisserie chicken
    • Combine them in your bowl
    • BOOM! Healthy and delicious!


    With the enormous selection of pre-package microwave rice, pasta, and fresh vegetables available, combined with a rotisserie chicken from your store's deli or ready-cooked meatballs from the freezer section, there really is no excuse to eat poorly just because you don't have a proper kitchen. A microwave is a modern miracle, more than just a popcorn popper and leftover warmer upper, and can turn out nutritious delicious meals in a snap.

  9. #29
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Super Bowl snack hacks!

    You want to take something amazing to that Super Bowl party, but you're lazy and don't want to go to a lot of trouble. I get it. Honestly, most of the dishes people bring to a potluck don't get eaten anyway, so why knock yourself out making something that's just going to sit and congeal? It's disheartening. TRUTH: it's rare that party guests will be interested in fancy snacks. I've knocked myself out making homemade warm blue cheese and bacon dip drizzled with honey and served with fresh toasted crostini, only to have guests snarf the Doritos and onion dip. Plus anything meant to be eaten hot will get cold and gnarly by the time anyone gets to it.

    So here are a few throw-togethers that I promise you will get devoured. Not fancy, but definitely fan favorites:

    Chicken wings:
    Get a bucket of wings at Shoppers or Giant, then toast them up on a grill. This makes them super crunchy and really takes them up several notches, plus the crust will hang in there instead of getting soggy, so they can be eaten at room temp.

    Warm hummus:
    Make your hummus homemade or get a couple of tubs of Sabra, any flavor but put me down for roasted red pepper variety. Dump it into a small crockpot and warm it up, stirring occasionally so it doesn't get that icky crust. Serve with Tostitos, pita chips, or fresh cut veggies. Warm hummus is truly amazing and has always been a big hit.

    Baby Pizzas:
    Take large flour tortillas and with a biscuit cutter or glass, cut out 3 or 4 rounds from each tortilla. Press them into a Pamed muffin pan, then top with a tablespoon of pizza sauce, a sprinkle of mozzarella, and a few mini pepperonis. Bake at 450* for 10 minutes. These aren't even best served hot because you'll burn your mouth; much better after they've been sitting awhile.

    Yes, Baby Pigs in a Blanket:
    If you will have access to the oven at the party, make them there or at least warm them up there. They're okay room temp but better hot. Take crescent roll whomp dough and cut each roll into small triangles, then roll them around Little Smokies. Bake at 425* for 15 minutes. For extra credit you can sprinkle a little shredded cheddar cheese on the dough before you roll up the pigs.

    Apple Pie Pigs:
    Take crescent roll dough and separate the triangles. Brush each triangle with melted butter, then sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar and apple pie spice. Peel and core an apple and slice it into 8 segments. Roll each segment in a dough triangle and bake for 10 minutes at 400*. This makes 8 apple pigs, so adjust according to your head count.

    Meatballs:
    Place thawed frozen or homemade cooked meatballs in a crockpot. Cover with jarred or homemade marinara sauce. Let it get hot, stirring occasionally. Serve with Kings mini Hawaiian rolls and provolone slices so people can make sliders.

    Popcorn:
    No kidding, nobody ever takes popcorn to a party and it always gets munched down. It's a nice retro snack that reminds you of childhood. But please...pretty please...with sugar on top...do it the real way and ditch the microwave bags of chemicals. If you were a deprived child and never learned how to make stovetop popcorn, check out my review of the Salbee Microwave Popcorn Popper. Top with REAL!!! butter and salt or parmesan cheese; OR make your own kettle corn by sprinkling a bit of sugar over the corn before you pop it, then tossing with butter and salt.

    And last but not least:

    Deviled Eggs:
    What kind of horrible person doesn't love deviled eggs?? Add bacon to your filling FTW and sprinkle with a bit of finely chopped fresh parsley to make them look fancy.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by DeeJay; 02-01-2018 at 09:18 PM.

  10. #30
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Well, now that the Eagles have their ring we can focus on Valentine's Day. I'm not a huge Valentine's Day person, I'm more interested in the day after Valentine's, aka "Half-Price Candy Day". But if you want to do something special for your sweetie, even if your sweetie is yourself, put together super easy Beef Wellington. Fancy!

    1/4 lb fresh mushrooms, chopped fine
    1 clove minced garlic
    1/4 tsp thyme
    1 package frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
    4 beef tenderloin steaks
    salt and pepper to taste

    • Preheat oven to 435*
    • In a medium pan, cook mushrooms, garlic and thyme 5 mins or so, until the mushrooms are soft
    • Cut each thawed pastry sheet in half so you have 4 semi-squares
    • In the center of each pastry section, spoon 1/4 of the mushroom mixture and spread it out to roughly the size of your steaks
    • Season steaks with salt and pepper, and place each one on top of a mushroomed pastry section
    • Pull the four corners of the pastry up over the steak, overlapping a bit, and pinch together to seal
    • Flip the mini Wellingtons over and place on a Pamed baking sheet
    • Bake at 425* for 20 minutes for med-rare, and 25 minutes for medium
    • Let set for 10 minutes before serving



    That's it! Told you it was easy. Serve with some nice fresh green beans or asparagus (no cans, I'm asking you nicely) and a bold red wine.

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