Saturday, January 24, 2015

Super Bowl Food!

Next week is the Super Bowl and we can't wait.  I will say it's sad that there is so much controversy going on this year with "DeflateGate" and all.  My own personal opinion is they should be harshly punished for any cheating regardless of what team, Super Bowl or not.  It's as if these grown adults are currently only seeing money and fame and are forgetting that there are a lot of children who love the game and look up to these people.  And they example they set?  Cheating.  Now before I get blasted I know it was only one team in the media doing this right now but people aren't going to remember what happened in the first round of the playoffs, they're going to remember this cheating scandal.  And that's sad.  So come on people...remember the kids are watching!

We never go to Super Bowl parties because we have kids at home who have school the next day. My kids are not the type of kids that can stay up late and have a good day the following day so we've just always stayed home for the big game.  You can still have a Super Bowl Party at home!

Now back to the best part of the Super Bowl (if you're not going to the game that is)...the food!  I love watching football, so I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen cooking during the game.  There are a lot of fun foods that go beyond chips and dips that you can prepare ahead of time and are so yummy.

Our menu this year (and I will try to remember to take pics next week as I am preparing it) will include hot wings, taco dip, sloppy joe cups, lettuce wraps, cookies, hand pies, and I'm sure there will be add-ons as my guys think of more.

I know that sounds like a lot for our family of three but here's the secret.  Part of that is made with planned-overs.  When we had Tacos, I put the leftovers in a Ziploc and tossed it in the freezer, same with homemade sloppy joes.  The lettuce wraps are also starting with leftover baked chicken.  Even the hand pies are starting with pie dough I had left over after a Christmas order I had for the pies and I tossed it in the freezer.

Here's how it all comes together.  I bought frozen, uncooked chicken drummettes when they were on sale.  I know the drummettes cost a bit more, that's why I wait on a sale but for the amount of meat, I think it's more cost effective to get the drummettes.  I have a deep fryer but you can certainly do this in a dutch oven of oil, just be really careful.   I don't even thaw them.  I have the deep fryer set at 350 degrees and I fry the frozen drummettes for 12 minutes.  Don't over fill the pan and they'll cook better.  When they are done, I immediately coat them in the sauce.  I can't eat overly spicy stuff so, I mix Frank's hot bbq sauce with our favorite bbq sauce (for us, that is Sweet Baby Ray's) I mix it to taste.  I put it in a big bowl and using tongs mix the fried wings around it in.  I am not talented enough to toss them in the bowl...LOL.  I then put them on a cooling rack that is set on a sheet pan and put them in a warm oven to hold while I cook the rest.

The taco dip is so easy.  Basically, you take everything you like on a taco and layer it in a cake pan, sheet pan, whatever.  I start with refried beans (I mix them with a little taco sauce to thin them a bit) on the bottom, then taco meat mixed with black beans, cheese, sauce (if you didn't use some in the refried beans), tomatoes, shredded lettuce, avocado, sour cream, etc.  You can add jalapenos if you like.  Just use tortilla chips with this.  Easy.  I should add that you can serve this with the refried beans and taco meat hot or cold.

The sloppy joe cups are so easy.  I take cheap, biscuits in a can and put one biscuit in a muffin cup that's sprayed with non stick spray.  Kinda push them in so that they fill the tin and make a cup, add in a spoon or so of the sloppy joe mix.  Bake until the biscuit is done.  When they come out of the oven, you can add cheese on top.  Done.  It's nice that you can make these ahead of time and warm them just before the game.  

The lettuce wraps are leftover baked chicken and a packet from the grocery to make lettuce wraps.  Again, these can be made a head of time and warmed.  Just put the bowl of hot chicken mix out with some fresh cold leaf lettuce.  

The hand pies are something I began making because my husband and nephew are from the south and they love them.  It took a while to get the dough just right because I like a thin pie crust and that doesn't translate to hand pies well.  But, now I have it thanks to those guides you can buy for your rolling pin to prevent me from rolling it too thin.  Anyway, I have this neat little hand pie cutter thing that I got from Walmart, it's by Wilton.  it not only cuts out the top and bottom but then you can fill it and it crimps the edges too.  

So, for the filling you can use pie filling from a can or make your own.  Devon loves chocolate or butterscotch pie so you can even use pudding.  Just make sure the pudding is cook pudding and not instant or you'll have a liquidy mess.  I will use apple pie filling for most of them and make a few butterscotch ones for Devon.  I'll be using my Gram's recipe for the butterscotch filling and since it only takes a little bit, I'll put the rest in a graham cracker crust that I have in the freezer (also bought on clearance, I think you can freeze almost anything) and we'll have a pie for later in the week.  I do bake these instead of frying them.  Since the filling is done and they're eaten cool, just bake until the pie dough is done.  Once done, I put them on a cooling rack.  When cook, I sprinkle with powder sugar.  You could easily glaze them with a powder sugar/milk mix but it's all about easy for these!  LOL

Finally, the cookies will be whatever my son decides that he wants for the week.  We bake a treat on Sunday that is for the week.  So, I'll just set some of these out for the game too.

Drinks can be anything from water to soda to juice.  We don't drink very often at all here.  I'll have to see if hubby wants a beer for that night.

So you see, you can have a Super Bowl party at home and eat well even if you can't really go out because kids have school the next day.  So think and prepare now so that you know what you want for the big game and you won't be stuck in the kitchen the whole time!  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Make a Salad Bowl!

Hello everyone!  Our new semester has started at school, the last of those needed for my Bachelor's degree.  My husband and I have talked and I've come to the decision that I am going to go on and begin working on my Master's Degree.  It's such a scary decision but I'm going to do it!

In the past, I have always made salads up as I needed them thinking that they would go bad if I didn't.  I tried something a few weeks ago and I won't lie, I was surprised at the results.

I prepped a salad bowl for the fridge.  I put the salad greens in a big bowl, I prefer Mesclun mix but used Romaine as it was on sale this week.  I went ahead and put some thinly sliced carrots, celery, radishes, sweet peppers and mushrooms.  I bought some mixed salad tomatoes, grape tomatoes would work too, I just found these on sale (of course...LOL).  They are a mix of cherry tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes and chocolate tomatoes.  My husband prefers the lower acid tomatoes so I wanted to make sure to have some yellow ones.  Anyway, in little bowls, I'll put some diced up boiled eggs in one, some shredded cheese in one, some cucumbers in one.  You get the idea, if it is wet or will make the salad soggy, put it in a little bowl.  

I did this one Sunday evening thinking that I would have salad for the week since I'm trying to get more veggies in me.  I was shocked when my husband and son went to town on the salad.  Two days, TWO, and it was all gone.  So now, once or twice a week, I put together this salad stuff.  The whole family is eating more salads with more veggies.  If I would have put the celery, peppers and radishes, etc. separately, they wouldn't have added them to the salad.  They're getting more variety in their salads and not even noticing.  Even my son is now eating lighter dressings and not just Ranch!  I'm stunned and loving this.  

It's also saving money as I don't have produce hiding in the lower crisper drawer going to waste.  

I also have to add that if you have a Fresh Thyme Market near you, you really should check them out.  They will have awesome sales on a few items a week and the produce is phenomenal!  If  you can brave the crowds, go on Double Dip Thursday.  They will honor prices from the prior week's ad and the new week's ad both!  The last trip I was there, I left with 4 1/2 bags of produce for right at $19.00.  If you are near one, give them a shot.  Sometimes they will have great meat prices too!

Have a great week!