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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SUPER BOWL PARTY!

GO PATS! GO GIANTS!!!



Sad that college football has come to an end, and NFL games are winding down, but you have to go out with a bang and host or attend a Super Bowl Party. You can serve the ubiquitous wings, velveeta dip and beer food, or you can amp it up and serve/eat some delicious food that won't make you (as) remorseful afterward.

Here's what I came up with:


Roasted rosemary almonds

Olive Bites

Buffalo Chicken Balls (had to have something "Buffalo")
Layered Greek Dip with pita chips or tortilla chips
Grilled Greek Chicken Skewers with tzatziki sauce
Butterfinger Blondies
Lemon Vodka Slush for a crowd
Beer and wine


Roasted Rosemary Almonds




8-10 ounces raw almonds, either blanched or unblanched (about two cups)
3-4 tablespoons of butter
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, about two tablespoons chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, paprika maybe added to taste if you prefer a spicier snack.

Preheat the oven to 350º.
Melt the butter.
Remove the rosemary leaves from the stem and chop as finely as possible.
On a lined baking sheet, toss together the almonds, butter, rosemary and about a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of ground pepper.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350º and give the almonds a good stir.
Bake for 10-15 more minutes. The almonds should turn a nice golden brown.
There will be be a fair amount of butter left on the pan and letting the almonds cool in little pools of butter creates messy problems later on. So with a spatula or a slotted spoon, move the almonds to a clean piece a parchment paper or foil and allow to cool.
This is also a good time to taste one of the almonds and decide if you want to add more salt, pepper or any other spices you might be putting on your seeds. (Almonds are not really nuts, but are seeds. Did you know that? I didn’t know that until recently.)
Cool almonds.
Notes
Roasted almonds can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container until game day.

Olive Bites




½ c flour
1 ¼ cup grated cheddar
1/8 t dry mustard (optional)
3 tsp milk
3 T melted butter
1/8 tsp salt
35-40 pitted green olives such as manzanilla

Mix all of the ingredients together (except the olives). Dry the olives as best you can and mold a rounded teaspoon of the dough around each olive. Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 12-13 min. Serve warm

Buffalo Chicken Balls




2 chicken breasts, baked or boiled, and shredded
¼ cup (less or more to taste) Louisiana hot sauce
1 block of reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup blue cheese crumbles
¼ cup chives, minced OR green onions, minced
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
2 eggs
2T water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Nonstick Spray
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine shredded chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, chives, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
In three separate dishes, lay out your dredging materials: flour in one, eggs and water whisked together in the second and Panko in the third.
Roll chicken mixture into 1” balls. Dredge, first in the flour, then the egg/water, and finally in the Panko. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Give them a light spray with your nonstick spray over the tops so that they will brown.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350. To get a nice, brown top, turn your broiler on to 450 after the 25 minutes at 350, and broil them for a few minutes, until desired browness appears. Serve with Buttermilk Ranch and Blue Cheese dressings.
*NOTE: These freeze well. To freeze, prepare the balls, dredge them, put them on parchment lined baking sheet. Flash freeze for 30 minutes, then place in a ziplock bag. When ready to bake, thaw them on a baking sheet lined with parchment and then bake.


Layered Greek Dip

This dip is just devine! It's sort of a take on the standard Mexican 7-layer dip but it's much healthier (with hummus), and you don't feel bad afterward!


1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (I always use low or non-fat here)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups hummus
1 cup chopped cucumber (I use hothouse or English - tastes so much better)
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup sliced green onions
Pita chips and/or multigrain tortilla chips

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and garlic with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and combined.
Spread cream cheese mixture into a deep 9-inch pie plate, or shallow serving dish.
Evenly spread hummus on cream cheese layer.
Top with cucumber, tomato, olives, feta cheese, and green onions.
Cover and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours. Serve with pita chips and/or multigrain tortilla chips.
Makes about 2-1/2 cups dip.

Grilled Greek Chicken Skewers with tsatziki

These are so delicious! You can of course add more vegies to the skewers if you like, but the marinade is key - with tangy lemon and fresh herb flavoring, it's my new favorite!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leave or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a small bowl, mix together all the marinade ingredients.
In a large resealable plastic bag, place the marinade, red and green bell peppers, onion wedges and chicken. Seal, and mix to coat. Refrigerate 4 to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat grill for medium-high heat.
Discard marinade, and thread the meat and vegetables onto skewers, leaving a small space between each item.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 10 minutes, turning as needed, or until meat is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

Note: I used fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley.
Serve with tzatziki

Tzatziki Sauce

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

3 cups Greek Yogurt (one 24 oz. container)
Juice of one lemon (about 3 T)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced (or one hothouse cucumber)
about 1 T kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh dill (can substitute mint leaves for a slightly different version)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. (If you use the small seedless or European cucumbers with few seeds, you can skip this step.) Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.)

This will keep for a few days or more in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.

BUTTERFINGER BLONDIES
(Adapted from Cookies and Cups)
sixsistersstuff

1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 16 “Fun Size” bars)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl.

Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.

Add dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda) until just combined.

Stir in chopped Butterfingers.

Spread in a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until center is JUST set.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

BUTTERFINGER BUTTERCREAM:

1/2 cup room temp butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 4 “Fun Size” bars)

Cream the butter and shortening together until smooth.

Add in powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Stir in chopped Butterfingers. (I sprinkled mine on top rather than stirring them in!)
Spread on the cooled blondies.

Lemon Vodka Slush



8 cups water
3 cups white sugar
juice of 2 lemons
juice of 2 oranges
one 48oz can of pineapple juice
one 12oz can frozen Minute Maid grapefruit juice
one 12oz can of frozen Minute Maid lemonade
26oz Vodka - I prefer Ketel One

Make a simple syrup. Boil 8 cups water and stir in 3 cups white sugar. Continue to stir until the sugar incorporates with the water, for about 15 minutes. Let cool.

In a separate bowl, combine the juice of 2 lemons, 2 oranges, 1 48oz can of pineapple juice, 1 12oz can frozen Minute Maid grapefruit juice, 1 12oz can of frozen Minute Maid lemonade and 26oz Vodka.

Once the simple syrup is cooled, add the juice/vodka mix to the syrup. Stir and transfer into an air-tight tupperware container(s) with lid(s). Freeze.

When ready to serve, stir the slush, and fill the glass half-full with frozen vodka slush. Fill the rest of the glass with diet 7-Up. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

BOWL GAMES!

So, Bowl Games are about to be over, :^( 
but...I just returned from a January 2nd Bowl Game Party and had to share.






Our friends, Robert and Claudia, hosted the event and pulled off a spectacular spread. Here's most of what they served, and I thought it was absolutely perfect food for a crowd:

Menu
Bacon-wrapped quail (from Allen Brothers website - allenbrothers.com - are TO DIE FOR!)
Beef tenderloin sandwiches with horseradish
Chicken andouille sausages with rolls and mustard
Grilled chicken drumsticks
chips, salsa, guac
relish items (olives, pickles etc.)
Chick Fil A wraps
Chick Fil A chicken nuggets
Beer and wine
Cookies
chocolate chip cake


It was all so so good.

BACON WRAPPED QUAIL



They ordered these little gems from Allenbrothers.com.  Really delicious!

Here's my recipe for Chocolate Chip Cake:




3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
1 c. butter (softened)
3 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 c. milk
1 (12 oz.) pkg. Nestle Toll House semi-sweet mini morsels
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In large mixer bowl, beat sugar, butter and vanilla until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with milk. Stir in semi-sweet mini morsels.

Pour into greased and floured 10 inch bundt pan. Bake 70 to 80 minutes or until skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or mix confectioner's sugar with a bit of water and drizzle a glaze over the top.