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Some Super Sunday Snack Food

The Super Bowl is coming this weekend (in case anyone wasn’t aware) and whether you’re rooting for the Giants, the Patriots, Madonna or the TV commercials, you want to have some great snack food to eat while watching. When we’re home for the day, we like to just make snack foods for dinner that day. It’s fun to get to eat a little bit of a bunch of different things. If you have some guests over, you can even put out a bigger spread. Lots of people buy 3-foot heroes, wings or pizza and are happy with that, but I like to make my own things and some things that guests may enjoy. Some things we have already made for past meal plans that can be good items to use, like pizza, guacamole, turkey meatballs, some buffet-style dishes like shrimp scampi or pepper steak, or even mini versions of the hamburgers for sliders. I am going to post a couple of recipes of things I plan to make, Buffalo Wings, Swedish Meatballs and one of Sean’s favorites,  Bacon & Cheese Pinwheels. I’ll also give you some links to other sites that have some great ideas for game time, party time, or any time snacks.

Just about everyone likes to have Buffalo wings and there are lots of different recipes you can follow. One thing I like about good wings is that they are both crispy and spicy. I have made wings baked in the oven before, and they are good, but there is something about deep-frying that adds great crispness to the wings. For this recipe, I am deep-frying. I have a deep fryer at home, so it makes it a little easier for me as far as bringing up temperature and avoiding splattering oil, both concerns when you are doing it on the stove in a Dutch oven. Use a candy thermometer to determine the temperature of the oil and make sure you use a deep pot to avoid bubbling oil. And yes, I buy whole wings and cut them myself; I hate the idea of paying more for wings that are already cut when I could just as easily do it myself with a cleaver or some poultry shears.

Buffalo Wings

3 pounds whole chicken wings

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

1/2 cup hot sauce (I like to use Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce, or Ken’s Wing Sauce, but use whatever taste and heat you like)

2 tablespoons Tabasco (optional, if you want some extra heat)

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1 to 2 quarts vegetable oil (for frying)

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

4 ribs celery, cut into thin sticks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin sticks Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing (store-bought is fine, our house prefers ranch. You could always use the Ranch recipe I posted

Cut the wings apart at the joints and discard the wing tips. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the hot sauce, Tabasco (if using), brown sugar, and  vinegar. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Heat 2 1/2 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven, with a candy thermometer attached to the side, over high heat until it measures 360 degrees.

Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch, cayenne, pepper and salt together in a large bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then toss evenly with the cornstarch mixture. Add half the wings to the hot oil and fry until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with several layers of paper towels and keep warm in the oven while repeating with the remaining wings.

Toss the fried wings and sauce together in a large bowl until thoroughly coated. Serve with the celery, carrots and dressing of choice on the side.

The fried, unsauced wings can be kept warm in the oven for up to 1 1/2 hours. Toss them with the sauce before serving.

For the Swedish meatballs, I am using a recipe that was given to Michelle at her wedding shower by my grandmother. She knew I really liked it and passed it on to her. It’s not a tough recipe, but there’s some work involved in this one. Trust me, it’s really worth it. The meatballs taste great.

Swedish Meatballs

20 gingersnaps

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 pounds beef, pork and veal mixture

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/4 cup flour

1-2 cups beef broth

Crush the gingersnaps in a food processor or with a rolling pin. Mix the milk, egg, meat mixture, onion, salt, celery salt, pepper and allspice until blended thoroughly. Form the mixture into small “cocktail” size meatballs. In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt the butter until starting to brown. Add the meatballs and cook thoroughly until browned on all size, about 5-7 minutes (you’ll have to do this in batches). Remove meatballs from the pan and stir in flour, whisking constantly until well blended and brown, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the beef broth, scraping up any browned bits and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs back into the pan with the gravy and simmer until heated through and thickened, about 5 minutes.

The last item I am making is Sean’s favorite, Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels. This is a Pillsbury recipe that is very easy to make. You can go to their website and get this and other recipes, but I will also provide the recipe right here.

Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
tablespoons ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked real bacon pieces or 4 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (4 medium, optional. I usually leave them out; Sean doesn’t like them)
Heat oven to 350°F. Unroll dough and separate into 2 long rectangles; press each into 12×4-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Spread dressing over each rectangle to edges. Sprinkle each with bacon, cheese and onions. Starting with 1 short side, roll up each rectangle; press edge to seal. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 8 slices; place cut side down on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 17 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.
There are so many other things you can make for football parties, or any party. Here are a few links to places that you can find some recipes:
Epicurious – They have some great part recipes as well as some recommendations on beer and cocktails for your party.
Food Network – Always a good source for recipes anyway, but they have a section just on big game day recipes.
Bon Appetit – Another good source for recipes all the time, but they have a section for the game with their take on wings, chili, and more.
Williams-Sonoma – another great site, with lots of game day celebration recipes.
Hopefully this gives you lots of good ideas for game day. Do you have any game day snacks that you love to cook? Let me know! Post a comment on it and share with all of us. Tomorrow is back to cooking. it’s the end of the week and we are making Fish and Chips for dinner. I’ll also be letting you know about next week’s meal plan. I will let you know that we let Sean pick the whole week next week and he is going to help cook it, so you’ll be interested to see what he chose. Until then, enjoy your day!

 

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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Appetizers, Beef, Cooking, Poultry

 

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Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pepper Steak

It was a beautiful day here in New York, much warmer and nicer than a January usually is around here. It was so nice, I almost don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight, but since I already have the meat thawed and ready to go, we’re going to plow through and go for it. Today’s dinner selections was Michelle’s and we’re making Pepper Steak with Rice and Glazed Carrots. Pepper steak is a very simple dish, so you could add this one to our quick and easy, dinner in a jiffy list. It’s ready in about 30 minutes and that includes all the prep work and cooking, leaving you to enjoy the rest of your evening.

Pepper Steak

1 pound boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into strips (I am actually using a London broil myself, but you could use almost any type of steak for this)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2-3 large peppers, thinly sliced (I use red, yellow and orange for a nice color)

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup beef broth

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon sugar

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil and meat, searing on both sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Remove meat to a plate and loosely cover with foil. Reduce heat on pan to medium. Add peppers and onions and saute for 5 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Whisk in broth, soy sauce, water and sugar until well blended. Add meat  back into the pan and coat with sauce. Cook and stir until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over rice.

We haven’t had too many meals easier than this one. I like to use orange, yellow or red peppers instead of the green. It’s a personal preference, but I find the green ones a bit more acidic and don’t have the same flavors as the other colors, but if you like the green ones better, than go ahead and use them. For the rice, well we’ve cooked rice a few times in the last few weeks so you can get my method of cooking the rice right here. This is a good dish for plain white rice since it will absorb some of the tasty sauce that comes with the meal.

You probably don’t need to add another vegetable to this dish if you don’t want to, but we came across a nice recipe for some glazed carrots that sounded yummy, so we wanted to try it. It’s very simple and you can use the baby carrots for this. We usually have the baby carrots around since they are a good snack food, but you could also just use your every day carrots and cut them into pieces if you like. Just a side not: this recipe calls for bourbon, but you could leave that out if you want, but I think it will add a nice flavor to the carrots.

Honey Glazed Baby Carrots

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 pound baby carrots

1/2 a piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons bourbon

Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and saute until they are beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger and the honey. Cook for two minutes. Remove the skillet from heat; stir in the orange juice and the bourbon. Return the skillet to the heat and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are fork-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Uncover and cook until all the liquid has been reduced to a syrupy consistency and the carrots are nicely glazed, about 6 minutes. Discard the ginger. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The honey glaze and the ginger taste will add some excellent flavor to the carrots and the bourbon gives a nice kick of flavor of its own. As i said, you could omit the bourbon all together and I think the dish will turn out just fine.

Simple, simple, simple. I think the whole week has been pretty easy for meals, which is great if you don’t have a lot of time to put into meals during the week. Tomorrow will be a little more labor intensive, but not much. I like to make a little more elaborate meal on Sundays, so tomorrow we are having Pan-Seared Steaks with a Red Wine Pan Sauce, Shrimp Scampi, Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed Mushrooms and Asparagus. It sounds like a lot, but we are having guests over too, so it’s not too bad and none of the recipes are difficult to make. Tune in tomorrow and see for yourself how easy it all really is to do. As always, your suggestions and input is welcome and encouraged. Feel free to ask questions, let me know how you made out if you tried a recipe, or let me know how you improved upon it. You can post a comment here or send me an email at IguanaFlats@msn.com. Thanks for reading today and I hope you enjoyed this beautiful day. See you tomorrow!

 

 


 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Rice, Vegetables

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

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