Tag-Archive for ◊ Stadium Food ◊

09 Jan 2011 Oven Baked Fries

It seems as if it’s been a long since I posted anything.  The kids have been home, some of their friends have been here for varying hours and days, and my grandson has been staying here, so I have been focused on big batch cooking of tried-and-true family favorites.  The few new things I’ve made haven’t been Great or, if they have been, they’ve been devoured before I got my camera focused!  It’s been a mad-house around here!  Thank goodness they’ve all gone for three days.  I can post!

One of the family favorites I’ve made repeatedly over the last few weeks has been our oven baked fries.  My friend Mary first made these for me about 25 years ago.  I was so impressed to go over to her house for lunch and she had a basket of home baked fries on the table.  Not only were they a big hit with me, but they were also a big hit with our preschool daughters.

Since then, I’ve seen recipe after recipe for oven baked fries.  I think America’s Test Kitchen has one that calls for blanching the sliced potatoes in boiling water before baking.  I tried it, and it didn’t work any better than Mary’s way.  Another recipe had me sprinkling a lot of Kosher salt on the baking tray to lift the potatoes off the tray a bit and help with the browning.  That didn’t work magic either.  Here are my “secrets”, as passed onto me by Mary: use a mixture of butter and olive oil [1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil on one baking tray], use smallish potatoes of equal size and cut each into eight wedges.

Oven Baked Fries

  • Approx. 1 small Russet potato for each person
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter for each baking tray
  • Kosher salt and freshly grated pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Spend sometime picking the right potatoes.  Choose potatoes on the small size, and choose potatoes that are roughly the same size. Scrub the outside of the Russet Potatoes to remove all the dirt and soil then dry.

Place baking tray in preheated oven to get hot.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then half again, then half again.  You should have eight wedges from each potato.

Remove baking tray from oven.  Place olive oil and butter on baking tray and swirl until melted and evenly coating the bottom of the tray.

Place the potato wedges on the preheated baking tray on top of the melted butter and olive oil.  Make it easy on yourself and place all the wedges going to same direction in equally spaced rows.  You should be able to get all the wedges from 3 or 4 small potatoes onto one baking sheet.

Place tray in oven and bake at 425º for 20 minutes.

Remove tray from oven and turn over each wedge.  This is why you put all the wedges facing the same way.  Now you know which wedges you’ve turned and which you haven’t! Return tray to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

After flipping, your wedges should look like this:

After baking both sides your wedges should look like this:

Check your fries. Do they look brown enough?  Are they cooked through? (Taste one, but be careful, it’s HOT).  If necessary, flip wedges one more time and return to oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove potatoes to a paper towel lined platter to drain (if you wish). Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Remove fries to a serving bowl.  Serve hot with ketchup or leftover blue cheese dips.

For years I made these for our “family night”.  We watched a family-friendly video, ate Chicken Nuggets, home fries, and corn-on-the-cob or broccoli.  Fun times! Oh my goodness, I just realized my Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets recipe has not been transferred from my facebook “Polly, Julie. and Julia” page.  I’ll do that right now.  I hope that an Oven Baked Chicken Nugget and Fries  family dinner is in your future soon!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Hope to see you again tomorrow!

30 Nov 2010 Gringo Grandma’s Chili

Gingo Grandma’s chili!  That’s me!  This is my chili!  You’ve probably guessed that this is NOT serious cook-off chili.  This is big pot, throw-it-all-together, family friendly, low-budget chili. Chili that everyone likes.  Chili with ground meat =:0 and beans =:0. A recipe that makes enough for a crowd or for three days of leftovers. A chili that reheats and freezes well. Rainy-day comfort food.  Game Day staple food. Chili Dog party food.  Must have camping food.

This is an easy recipe to remember, too.  Think threes!  Three cans of pinto beans, three cans of diced tomatoes, 3 lbs of meat, three onions.  I found the original recipe in The San Jose Mercury News food section years and years and years ago.  I’ve adjusted the quantities of ingredients a bit and changed the name to fit the dish…and made it mine.  I hope you make it yours. too.

Gringo Grandma’s Chili

3 16 oz. cans pinto beans

3 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes

3 onions, chopped

1 -2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 lbs ground meat (2 lbs. ground beef, 1 lb. ground sausage)

1/4 cups chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1 – 3 cups chicken broth (or water)

Pour canned pinto beans (with liquid) and chopped tomatoes into a large soup pot over a medium high heat. Bring to a light simmer.  Meanwhile, in another pan, saute chopped onion in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add onions and garlic to bean and  tomato mixture.  To the same pan, now emptied of onion, brown ground beef and sausage, about 15 minutes.  Drain fat from meat. Stir drained meat into the bean-tomato-onion mixture.  add  in chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. If desired, stir in one to three cups of chicken broth or water until the chili meets your desired preference (some people like it thicker or soupier than others).  Simmer chili for 1 1/2  hours, covered.  Uncover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve hot in deep bowls, in front of the TV, on a cold day…  I like to serve with grated cheddar cheese and corn muffins, but sliced green onions and sour cream would also be good toppings.  I think this chili is best the second day, and leftovers (or even the whole batch) freeze very, very well.

Makes approx. 16 cups, that’s one gallon of family friendly, easy to eat, chili.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Now remind me to post the recipe for corn muffins, they’re stellar!

21 Oct 2010 Soft Pretzel Bites

Time to play in the kitchen again! I am not a newbie to homemade soft pretzels.  My favorite bread machine cookbook “Bread Machine Magic” has a recipe for “Special Ed-ible Pretzels” on page 158 which I have been making since my kids were in elementary school (they are in college now).

I had never made pretzel bites until I stumbled onto this post at Two Peas and their Pod. I made the recipe, but the pretzels didn’t taste as good as I was used to.  So I got out my old “Special Ed-ible Pretzel” recipe and combined the best of both, to get these.  My family, and some of my son’s friends, ate both batches. Both were good, but they liked this batch the best.  The changes I made to the Two Peas recipe were: amount of baking soda in the water (down from 3/4 cup to 2 1/2 T), using 2 tsp. white sugar instead of 1 T. brown sugar, replacing the egg wash with a brush of butter, doubling the yeast, and halving the recipe.

Polly’s Notes: This recipe can be successfully doubled (since I successfully halved it!).  Dips would be good to serve, but I haven’t made any yet. Two Peas has a recipe for a cheddar cheese dip, but I did not test it. If you know how to make a pizza sauce dip, that would go well too.  And since we are in Oktoberfest season, mustard might be good but, there is nothing wrong with eating these “plain”  in their basic buttery, salty goodness, which is what we do. Pretzel bites should be eaten warm. They don’t keep well at all.

Soft Pretzel Bites

3/4 cup warm tap water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 tsp white sugar
4 tsp vegetable oil (or melted butter)
2 tsp. yeast
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. Kosher salt (or ¾ tsp table salt)
10 cups boiling water
2 ½ T. baking soda
1 T. melted butter
Kosher salt

Combine water, sugar, yeast and oil in a bowl.  Stir to combine, and then let sit for 5 minutes.  Add the flour and the salt to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Pour in the yeast mixture, stir to combine then beat with a dough hook for 3 -5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  If your dough seems a bit wet, add additional flour 1 T. at a time.  Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in warm place to rise for about 60 minutes, or until dough has doubled in volume.  Preheat oven to 425º.  Bring the water and the baking soda to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.  Meanwhile, divide dough into 4 equal sized pieces.  Roll each piece into a rope, about 12 inches long.  Cut dough into 1 inch slices.  Rest slices on a rack over a baking sheet.  You should have about 48 pretzel bites.

Boil the pretzels bits in the simmering water, adding 10 – 12 bites to the water at a time.  Boil each batch for 30 seconds, stirring gently.  With a slotted spoon remove boiled bites to rack to dry slightly.  Sprinkle each bite generously with Kosher salt then place on a well greased cookie sheet.  Bake in 425º oven for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Brush baked bites with melted butter.  Add a bit more salt, if desired.

Wait five minutes, then these bites are ready to be devoured.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. Have some fun, invite some kids over and play in the kitchen! I’d be interested in hearing what sort of dip, if any, you served these with.

02 Feb 2010 Meatballs-on-Toast

Just what you need for the Super Bowl party at the neighbors’ house…, a yummy, quick and easy appetizer to take with you. You’ll need a pound of ground beef, a bit of onion (any kind), soy sauce, a bit of brown sugar a sliced baguette, and nothing else! These are so easy to make that your kids could prepare them while you’re in the shower. Meat eaters and teenage boys will fall over themselves getting to the platter. This recipe is from “The 150 Best American Recipes“.

Meatballs on Toast

1 sliced baguette (Le Boulanger has the best)
1 lb ground chuck (nothing leaner than 85/15, or this recipe won’t work)
1/4 cup regular soy sauce* (don’t use low sodium)
1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
4 green onions, minced (or similar quantity of sauteed onion or shallot)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix meat, soy sauce, brown sugar and onions together with your hands until the mixture resembles a fine paste. Pinch a piece of the meat mixture and press smoothly onto a baguette slice, smoothing to all edges. Continue making flat meatballs until all the meat mixture has been used up–you’ll be able to make about 3 dozen. Bake for 8 or 9 minutes at 450. Serve hot.

Thanks for stopping by the kitchen!


*My friend used a couple dashes of Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauce in place of the soy sauce. I am going to try that next time.

Polly’s Points This is great to have on hand for after school snacks. Keep the meat in a covered container in the refrigerator. Have the bread sliced and in another covered container. The kids can mix up a tray of these meatballs-on-toast for themselves when the get home. I always got an “Awwwww, Mommmmm!” from my son when I did this. (His highest words of thanks and appreciation!)