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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SUPERBOWL TIME!!!

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The Superbowl is always a bittersweet time around our house - it's a great celebration of football and involves great food, friends and family BUT, it also marks the official end of football season.  :(
7 whole months to go until the next (2015) football season begins... ARHGGHGHGH~!!!

And I am torn as far as who to root for - I'm an east coast girl at heart, but I really like Russell Wilson, Seattle's QB.  Should be a good game!

But, more important than the game, perhaps, we'll be having a fun menu of food and drinks for this party!  Here's what we're serving up:

MENU:
HOUSTON'S SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
PROSCIUTTO STUFFED MUSHROOMS
MINI TACO BOWLS
BEEF BARLEY SOUP
FUDGY KAHLUA BROWNIES WITH BROWN BUTTER FROSTING

SUPERBOWL DRINK:
FRESH PINEAPPLE MARGARITA

HOUSTON'S SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
(Adapted from Food.com)

Photo Credit: Food.com
This dip is just so amazing.  It's from Houston's Restaurant chain, but it is devine!  Always always a hit a a dinner party!

1/2 cup grated romano cheese (2 oz)
1 clove garlic, peeled
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (6 1/2 ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
8 ounces soft garlic-chive cream cheese
2 large eggs
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place Romano cheese in a food processor.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
While running, drop garlic in the feed tube. Add spinach, artichokes, cream cheese and eggs, process until thoroughly blended. Place into a casserole dish.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Fold in mozzarella.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Serve with tortilla chips.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
PROSCIUTTO STUFFED MUSHROOMS
(Adapted from Food Network)

Photo Credit: Food Network
I made this app for my supper club and it was the hit of the evening.  Kind of hard to go wrong here with prociutto, cream cheese and mushrooms...

3 (8-ounce) packages fresh baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean (There are 2 schools of thought here - the wipers and the washers. I personally think it's gross NOT to wash things you buy from a store, so I dump mine in a sink of water and wash off all the mushroom dirt. THEN I dry them on paper towels. They're absolutely fine once I'm ready to prepare them. But you can just wipe the dirt off if you prefer.)
2 TBSP butter
1 (5-ounce) package prosciutto, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1/2 TBSP lemon zest
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Finely chop enough mushroom stems to equal 1/3 cup. Discard the remaining mushroom stems.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the prosciutto, chives, and chopped mushroom stems.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cook, stirring frequently, until the prosciutto is crisp and the stems are tender, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the cream cheese, mustard, lemon zest, tarragon, and pepper, stirring until the mixture is combined.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Remove from the heat. Spoon the cream cheese mixture evenly into the mushroom caps; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Can bake immediately OR refrigerate up to 2 days until ready to heat.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
MINI TACO BOWLS
(Adapted from The Today Show)
Photo Credit: Apassionforsaving.com
1 lb ground beef
2 TBSP taco seasoning
1 diced tomato
1 jalapeño, chopped
12 corn tortillas
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
cilantro (optional)

Brown ground beef and drain.

Add jalapeños to beef. Add 1/4 cup water and taco seasoning and cook over medium heat until water is absorbed.

Reduce heat to low.

Heat each corn tortilla in microwave for 30 seconds to soften. Using a 3 inch cutter (like a jar lid) cut 2 circles from each tortilla.

Press each cicle into the cup of a mini muffin pan, folding sides as needed. Place in 350 degree F oven for about 12 minutes (until tortilla is crispy). Place each shell on cooling rack and fill with taco meat.

Top with cheese and diced tomato and a leaf of cilantro (optional).

BEEF BARLEY SOUP
(Adapted from Food.com)

Photo Credit: Food.com
2 lbs beef round steak or 2 lbs beef chuck, diced
2 cups chopped carrots
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) cans tomatoes, cut up
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen green beans
2/3 cup barley
1 TBSP dried parsley flakes
1 TBSP beef bouillon granules or 2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried basil
5 cups water

In skillet brown beef.

Place carrot, celery, green pepper, onion, corn and green beans in crock pot.

Put meat on top. Combine tomatoes, barley, parsley, bouillon, salt and basil.

Pour over meat. Add water.

DO NOT STIR. Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours.

FUDGY KAHLUA BROWNIES WITH BROWNED BUTTER FROSTING
(Adapted from Recipegirl.com)

Photo Credit: Recipe Girl
BROWNIES:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 TBSP Kahlua, divided

ICING:
1/2 stick butter
2 TBSP kahlua
1 TBSP whipping cream
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar (more or less), sift after measuring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (pan shouldn't be touching the water). Place butter and chocolate chips in bowl and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, mix sugar, eggs and 1/2 cup Kahlua. Pour in butter - chocolate mixture, and beat until mixed well. Mix in dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until top cracks slightly and toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean. Remove brownies from oven and immediately brush warm brownies with 2 Tablespoons of Kahlua. Let brownies cool completely.

Icing: 
Place butter in saucepan and heat until lightly browned. Remove from heat and add Kahlua & whipping cream. Whisk in powdered sugar until you have the consistency that you desire (you should be looking for a thick, smooth icing that is still pourable). Pour on top of cooled brownies and spread to edges to cover completely. Refrigerate until set. Chilled brownies are easiest to cut... use a large, sharp knife, wipe clean after each cut, and you'll get nice, clean cuts.

FRESH PINEAPPLE MARGARITA
(Adapted from Serious Eats)
Photo Credit: Serious Eats

I really like the idea of serving this cool drink to offset some of the spiciness of my menu - plus I LOVE fresh pineapple! It can be made in advance and chilled in a pitcher, so when your guests arrive you don't have to play bartender!

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (about 1/2 pound, from 1 small pineapple)
1 1/2 ounces (3 TBSP) fresh juice from about 2 lemons
2 1/4 ounces (4 1/2 TBSP) fresh juice from 3 to 4 limes
1 1/2 ounces (3 TBSP) simple syrup 
1/8 tsp kosher salt
4 1/2 ounces (9 TBSP) reposado tequila
6 ounces (3/4 cup) cointreau 
3 ice cubes

Add pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, salt, tequila, and triple sec to a blender with 3 ice cubes. Blend until completely smooth and frothy. Pour into a pitcher. Refrigerate up to 3 hours. Serve over ice.

Now...on to cheering for Basketball...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

CFP CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PARTY



So, unfortunately none of MY favorite teams are playing for this year's National Championship.  There aren't even any SEC or ACC teams in the game.  But we'll have some friends over to watch the game anyway and have a party with great food to celebrate the end of the season.


CFP Championship

Monday, January 12, 8:30 PM on ESPN

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

VS



MENU:
VEGGIES WITH DILL DIP
BEER AND CHEDDAR SOUP
BUFFALO CHICKEN MEATBALLS
SPICY SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP

FUDGY KAHLUA BROWNIES WITH BROWN BUTTER FROSTING

DRINK:
MANZARITA

VEGGIES WITH DILL DIP
(Adapted from My Baking Addiction)

Serve these veggies in small glasses (like shot glasses).  Much easier to eat, and it looks great on the party table!  Always nice to include something healthy in the tailgate food mix.
Photo Credit: Mybakingaddiction
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
2 TBSP finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 TBSP finely chopped dill weed
1 tsp seasoned salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Refrigerate until well chilled to allow the flavors to blend. Put 2 TSBP of dip in each shot glass and top with veggies of your choice.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

BEER AND CHEDDAR SOUP
(Adapted from Food and Wine)
Photo Credit: Food and Wine
1/2 pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP chopped thyme
One 12-ounce bottle lager or pilsner
About 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 TBSP unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Garlic-rubbed toasts, for serving
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 7 minutes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Now, you can either stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper OR go ahead and season the soup with s&p but serve the bacon on the side for your guests to add.  That way the bacon doesn't get soggy.  Add a few tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with garlic toasts.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

BUFFALO CHICKEN MEATBALLS
(Adapted from Damn Delicious)

Photo Credit: Damn Delicious
1 pound ground chicken
3/4 cup Panko
1 large egg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup buffalo sauce (I prefer Frank's)
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, Panko, egg, garlic and onion powder and green onions; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch meatballs, forming about 24 meatballs.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Place meatballs into a slow cooker. Add buffalo sauce and gently toss to combine.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours. Serve immediately, drizzled with blue cheese or ranch dressing, if desired.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
SPICY SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
(Adapted from Tabasco)
Photo Credit: Tabasco
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 TBSP TABASCO
Salt to taste
Toasted pita bread wedges or tortilla chips
1 medium tomato, chopped (1 cup)

Melt butter in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Stir in spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, 3/4 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, TABASCO® Sauce and salt.

Stir until well blended and heated through. Pour mixture into a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup Monterey Jack and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven until cheese starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Serve with pita bread or tortilla chips and garnish with tomatoes.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BARS

Photo Credit: Pinterest
I've had this recipe for so long I have no idea who to credit!  It's really great, and it's very easy to throw together. I found a similar one from Paula Dean.
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. crunchy peanut butter
3 c. powdered sugar, sifter
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 2/3 c. chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Line a 13x9 inch pan with aluminum foil. In a food processor, combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, and crumbs (I made my own with Graham Crackers) until a ball forms.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Press mixture into the pan using a spatula.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Over a double-boiler or in the microwave (with 1-2 TBSP of water), melt the chocolate chips. Stir, then spread over peanut butter mixture.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Chill in refrigerator for about an hour. Allow to come to room temperature before cutting into squares. Store in refrigerator. ENJOY!

MANZARITA
(Adapted from Bourbon and Boots)
Photo Credit: Bourbon and Boots
I was originally thinking I wanted a hot drink to go with this meal since it's the middle of winter, but I stumbled upon this recipe and I think it will warm us up adequately! ;)

1/2 lemon, quartered
1/2 tsp cinnamon
ice
2 ounces tequila blanco
3/4 ounce elderflower liqueur (I'm using St Germain)
1 1/2 ounces apple cider
1 cinnamon stick

Muddle the lemon wedges and cinnamon in a cocktail shaker.

Next, add ice, tequila, elderflower liqueur, apple cider and shake well.

Strain into a glass over ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Till the next adventure....