Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tailgate Time

Yes, I LOVE Football! SEC Saturday's and Cowboy/Titan Sunday's are some of the best times in life! We're snuggled in on a rainy Saturday and the food for the next two days are ready to go! I hope you'll try a couple of these with your favorite fans!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 cans Cooked Chicken Breasts
8 oz Cream Cheese or Neufchatel Cheese
1 small bottle Hot Sauce (Franks or Tobasco are best)
1/2 cup Ranch or Blue Cheese Salad Dressing
1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella or Blue Cheese Crumbles
Drain and shred chicken. In a separate dish (I use the mixer) combine cream cheese, salad dressing, hot sauce and shredded cheese. Pour mixture over chicken and combine thoroughly. You can bake this at 350* for 20 minutes or just put it in a pretty serving dish and pop it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Serve with sliced veggies or crackers & pretzels. If you are going to be at the stadium, put it in a disposable aluminum pan and warm it over the grill. This is diet friendly - 1/4 cup is only 4 Weight Watcher points!

1 lb Smoked Pulled Pork
Tortilla Chips
Queso Cheese Sauce
Shredded Lettuce
Diced Tomatoes
I was lucky enough to bring home some of my favorite Tennessee pulled pork last weekend. You can make your own using a pork loin on the smoker or even in the crock pot (cover with water and cook on low for 8 hours - shred with forks, salt and pepper). Layer the tortilla chips on a platter, layer with lettuce, pork, cheese sauce then top with peppers and tomatoes. Some like to add a Bar-B-Que sauce to their pork for this dish but I like my pork just plain. Warm in the microwave if desired and dig in! These aren't nachos - they're Piggy-Chos!

There are a thousand ways to make chili. For years I made mine with beef and beans, until a friend asked for no beans, then my family turned on me and bailed on their long loved version of my chili. Now they like meat only but lately I've added bell peppers to the mix. It's just the two of us and we've really started to like it that way! You can add pasta if you like - some do, some don't.
2-3 Quarts of Tomato Juice
3 lbs. Ground Chuck
2-3 Bell Peppers (diced and sauteed)
Chili Powder
Onion Flakes
This is as simple as it gets! When browning the beef, sprinkle liberally with chili powder, add salt and pepper and a few shakes of onion flakes. Drain beef and add to crock pot. Add tomato juice and peppers, sprinkle a liberal amount of chili powder, salt and pepper again, then cook on low heat for at least 4 hours. You'll have to adjust the seasoning to suit your heat preference. We like it pretty zippy! I serve my chili with Fritos and shredded Velveeta! You can add sour cream or just use crackers - cornbread is pretty yummy with chili too! Just curl up in your team jersey and dig into a big mug of chili and cheer your little heart out!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apple Bread

There are two schools of thought on this on this one...super simple or from scratch.

I opted for super simple today as I am very busy and it's just plain easier folks!

2 cans Apple Pie Filling
4 c Baking Mix (Bisquick or Jiffy Mix, either is fine)
2 cans Evaporated Milk (fat free is fine)
3 eggs
1/3 c Canola Oil (or Vegetable oil if you prefer)
1 c White Sugar
1 c Brown Sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Baker's Secret baking spray

I run the apple pie filling through the mixer to mash up the apples and blend it well (there will be lumps, that's a good thing:). In a clean mixing bowl, combine baking mix, milk, eggs, oil, both sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend until well mixed then add smashed apples. Blend well, pour into loaf pans (should fill 2. Bake at 350* for one hour or until pick comes out clean from the center.

I let mine cool on a wire rack then sprinkle with powdered can make a strudel topping if you like by combining 1/4 c Baking Mix, 1/2 c Brown Sugar and 1/4stick of butter, just cut the butter into the mix and sugar then top before baking (nuts are fine if you like them, just add them to the topping mix).

If you are feeling particularly energetic - peel and slice thin, 3 lbs apples (I like Granny Smith the best), dot with sliced butter pats (1/2 stick)and sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar. Bake in a baking dish at 350* for 40 minutes.. Let cool and smash apple slices. Add all other ingredients and bake as directed.

I can't over recommend the Baker's Secret cooking spray...those sugars with the natural sugar of the fruit are a trifecta of sticking....if you spray your loaf pans liberally with Baker's Secret, you'll be much happier with your results. You may need to loosen the sides with a spatula then jiggle the pan but the loaves pop out beautifully!

Potato Soup
On a very rainy Sunday evening, this is just the ticket to sit back with a mug of soup and enjoy football!

5 lbs Idaho Potatoes (peel, rinse and dice)
1/2 block Velveeta (2% is fine)
3 cans Evaporated Milk (or 4 c Skim Milk if you're trying to be good)
Salt and Pepper

Peel potatoes, rinse and cube, add to boiling water. Cook at a low boil for 45 minutes. Drain excess water (almost all of it). Mash most of the potatoes in the pot with the back of a cooking spoon (lumps will remain and you want those). Add 1 can of evaporated milk (or 2 c skim milk). Place back on low heat. Dice Velveeta (or buy 2 bags of shredded Velveeta) and salt and pepper to taste. When cheese starts to melt, add the remaining evaporated (or skim) milk and stir until a creamy consistency is achieved.

I like to top my Potato Soup with Bacon Bits (REAL, not baco-s) and scallions. You may like this or leave it out if you don't.

This is a great make and eat meal but does not freeze very well.

Honey Butter
(for Jessi:)
1/2 c butter softened to room temperature
1/2 c honey (room temperature)
1/2 c powdered sugar

Blend all well - taste to see if you want more honey (I usually do) then when completely blended (don't be in a hurry, let is mix for a few minutes), transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate until needed. Super simple but beats the heck out of that stuff they sell in the grocery!
If it is too loose, add more powdered sugar to tighten up the mix. If too thick, add more honey to get the right consistency.