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05 Feb 2011 Top Ten Superbowl Snacks

Here is my Top Ten List of  Superbowl Snacks…  Enjoy!

Crockpot Bean Dip: A must!  Serve with tortilla chips (my kids prefer “Scoops” ). Mix up the dip the night before.  Put in crockpot two or three hours before the party starts and leave it on low/warm for the entire length of the party.

Meatballs on Toast: Men and teenage boys can’t get enough of these.  Mix up the meat mixture in advance (the night before is fine), then broil as needed.  The recipe is delicious “as is”, but you can certainly put your signature on it. A friend of mine adds some curry powder and ground lamb to make Curried Meatballs on Toast.  Add some cilantro and cumin and red pepper, Mexican Meatballs on Toast. Oregano, basil, garlic, lemon pepper, Greek meatballs on Toast?

Bacon Asparagus Rolls: All veggies can be forgiven when rolled in bacon.  Delicious, “two more-ish” as my English Aunties say (as in, “I’d like two more of those, please)  and different.  These will make you a legend in your own time.

Baked Chicken Taquitos: A bit more substantial, but can be cut in half for finger food. Don’t forget to sprinkle with salt before baking.  Serve with a salsa for dipping.

Mozzarella Sticks:   Fried Cheese. Fabulous. My 2011 addition to my Superbowl snack line up, I know it will be invited back every year.  Make the night ahead and freeze, then fry as needed.  Can be reheated in the oven as needed.

Baked Spinach-Artichoke Dip: Might be a bit girlie for a Superbowl spread.  But let’s get with the times.  Girls like football, too.  Some men eat quiche, but even more men will eat Spinach Artichoke Dip.  This one is really for the girls though.

Blue Cheese Dip with Veggies: Come on, you have to have some raw veggies set out.  What better to dip them in than a strong, assertive blue cheese dip?  Dip must be make two hours ahead, but making it the night before is fine. Veggies can also be made ahead and stored overnight in refrigerator in  air-tight bags.  You just need three veggies, really, in order of importance: celery sticks, carrot sticks, and cucumber slices.

Gringo Grandma’s Chili: One always needs a pot of chili for Superbowl Sunday, especially if the game is in Texas! Set up a chili bar. Small bowls with spoons, chili in the crockpot, mini corn muffins or cornbread, hot dogs, buns, fries, grated cheese, onion, Tabasco…  This recipe makes a lot of chili, leftovers will freeze well, but also make a fine dinner for Monday.

Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets: Make ahead and freeze.  Use any boneless chicken.  Most like cubed chicken bread.  I prefer chicken tenders.  Make ahead, and just pull out of the freezer and bake.  Set chicken nuggets out next to a bottle of ketchup and a bottle of Ranch dressing.

Oven Baked Fries: You can’t get a more economical Superbowl snack. Make two pans of these. These should be a staple.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Have a great Superbowl Sunday (even if you don’t like football)!!  I always enjoy myself and I know next-to-nothing about the game 🙂

02 Jan 2011 Happy 2011 and Top Ten Recipes of 2010
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Bigger and better!  That’s all I have to say…
I’ve become sort of addicted to this cooking and testing and blogging thing 🙂  I want to do it better: more frequent posts; better pictures; increased fan base; more visibility.  The first months of my blogging life were on Facebook.  I loved the feedback and interaction on Facebook, but hated not being able to have the recipes in any sort of reader-friendly, searchable format.  Last year, with the help of my fabulous internet guru, Ratty, I started blogging with the big kids on my own dot-com website, pretty cool! This formant offers great organization and great search-ability…, but it’s not so good for comments and feedback.

Now I’d like to step it up a bit.  Start getting a bit of notice on other websites.  Last year I submitted three pictures to Foodgawker.  All three were rejected.  Harrumph.  I know I may not have great pictures, but I do know I have some better recipes than some of the ones that do actually make the Foodgawker and Tastespotting cut.  I gotta figure that one out.  Want to try and get more active on FoodBuzz, too.  Gotta figure that one out, too.  Gotta figure a lot of things out!  Slow and steady, that’s the way I am going to do it. That’s the way I have been doing it. So, if you have any suggestions for making this page bigger and better, please let me know!

My promise to you is that I will only post GREAT recipes.  Nothing so-so.  Nothing even good.  The recipe has to be GREAT.  A recipe I want to save and make again and again.  Food that my “volunteer” testers have given unequivocal thumbs up to. Promise!

Now,  here’s My Top Ten Favorite Recipes of 2010:

Coconut-Lime Shrimp Bisque

Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip

Hoisin Chicken Cups

Mixed Berry Pie

Fresh Tomato Lasagna

Tropical Salsa

Fish Tacos

Blueberry Lemonade

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Basil Mashed Potatoes

We had the Coconut-Lime Shrimp Bisque for Boxing Day and some Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip for New Year’s Eve.  Having the Basil Mashed Potatoes tonight.  Also, we had my Top Recipe of 2009, Roasted Crab, for my kids’ Birthday Dinner last week.  Isn’t this fun!?

Thank you so much for stopping by my kitchen this year, please keep coming back! I’m SO loving this, and I hope you are too!

04 Nov 2010 My Top Ten List for Thanksgiving
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I am not putting Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy or Cranberry Sauce on my list, because those are “musts”.  One must have those five: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving.  I like it all.  My Top Ten list deals with the other Thanksgiving food and, after all, if I put the must have five on my list, I would have only had space for another 5 options.  Not cool!

1. Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes – I came close to adding this to my “must” list, verrrrrry close, and I probably should have, but I really wanted to post my recipe for Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes!  Stay tuned.  I also have a recipe for Apple Cider Sweet Potatoes, which is different, but quite delightful in its own way…

2. Pumpkin Roll – I was only just introduced to this recipe last year, but now it’s a must have.  I am going to share this “secret” recipe with you (but the recipe has been right there in front of you for all these years. Yes it has!  Do you know which recipe I am talking about?  My goodness, it’s sooooo good.  It’s now my Mom’s all time favorite Thanksgiving dessert.  Last year she had a slice every day for breakfast (after her half gallon of oatmeal, banana, half an apple, and slice of panettone), and another with her cup of tea at 10 0’clock.  My mother is not a big woman.  She might weigh all of 100 lbs. I should be on her diet.

3. Pumpkin Pancakes – My elder daughter started a tradition of an open house, at my house, early on Thanksgiving morning (too early).  Neighbors and friends are invited over for pumpkin pancakes, sausages, glazed bacon, coffee and pumpkin roll (see above).  Very  informal.  Stay a few minutes or stay a lot of minutes. Jammies and slippers are encouraged.  The Macy’s parade will be on and there will be a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle to work on.

4. Wild Rice and Turkey Soup – You have to make this!  Save your turkey carcass and have a box of wild rice on hand (you’ll need 1 1/2 cups).  I’ll post the recipe (it’s on my Polly, Julie and Julie facebook page, if you can’t wait). It’s sooooo good, it’s almost the best part of Thanksgiving.  Really!

5. Turkey Sandwich with Balsamic Onions and Cranberry Sauce – My daughter made this from Tom Colicchio’s book, ‘wichcraft: Craft a Sandwich into a Meal–And a Meal into a Sandwich.  Sooooo good.  I’ll post his recipe for the balsamic onions and let you know how to put it together.  A Turkey Sandwich on some good bakery or home made bread is a Friday lunch must-have (and I usually have one for breakfast, too).

6. Sweet Potato Pie – A richer, sweeter cousin to Pumpkin Pie.  This year I am trying a Sweet Potato-Pumpkin-Coconut Pie.  I am excited about it.  The sweet potatoes have already been roasted with whole star anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger and cloves. I’ll make the pie on Saturday and taste testing will be on Sunday.  If it’s any good (crossing my fingers), I’ll post the recipe.

7. Baked Brie with Cranberries – I found this recipe on the back of the puff pasty box.  Is there any other Thanksgiving appetizer?  I think not! I’ll post the recipe (it’s on my Polly, Julie and Julie Facebook page, if you can’t wait).

8. Gorgonzola Broccoli Casserole – I don’t like the canned soup green bean casserole, I like this alternate.  It’s still green, it’s still creamy, it’s still a casserole, but it’s made from real food, ten times tastier, and just as easy to make.  The blue cheese flavor is very mild.  The whole thing is delicious.  I can’t wait. I’ll post the recipe.  I found the recipe in Sunset Magazine in 2003.

9. Roasted Carrots – So simple, so good. I’ll post this recipe, too (it’s on my Polly, Julie and Julie facebook page as well).

10. Hrmmmm…, I think THIS spot is still open, what have I missed?!?  Tell me, please!

The picture above is last year’s family portrait, taken with the three desserts!  We had Apple Pie, Maple Cheesecake, and for my son and my father, the absolute must-have, oh-so-not-Thanksgiving dessert, Chocolate Cream Pie, it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving (or Christmas or Easter or July 4th) without it!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Aren’t you happy we are in this season of celebration?  BTW, share your Top Ten List, I’d love to compare notes!

12 Sep 2010 Top Ten Fall Foods & Flavors 2010
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I was inspired by another food blogger to create a TOP TEN list of favorite Fall dishes.  WELL! I can’t FIT everything onto a Fall Top Ten list!  I’ve had to create a Halloween Top Ten list and a Thanksgiving Top Ten List and a Christmas Top Ten List…as well as a Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies list!  I’ve also had to group several recipes into a category in order to stay within the Top Ten List limit. Hmpff, but I am liking this. I see lots of Top Ten Lists in my future, our future!  And I guess in my dear Ratty’s future, too.  Look, she made a poll based on this Top Ten List! Be sure to vote. Isn’t this fun?!

So, without any further ado, my Top Ten Fall Recipes for 2010. Enjoy!

1. Soup:  Soup, soup and more soup! Butternut Squash Soup, Baked Potato Soup, Beef Stew, Chili…  The new addition to my recipe collection this year is “Baked Potato Soup”  Love it!  I’ll post the recipe tomorrow, and I’ll make sure I get the Butternut Squash Soup recipe posted soon too.  (It has a cider cream topping…MMmmmMMmmm)

2. Roasted Veggies:  All of them! Squash, yams, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, onions…  Cut veggie into pieces.  Coat lightly with olive oil. Place on rimmed cookie sheet. Roast in HOT oven (450 degrees or higher) until those delightful bits of brown appear (10 to 20 minutes, depending on the veggie). Turn the veggies over once, about  half way through the cooking time.  When cooked drain on a paper towel, sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt.  Serve. Moan.

3. Blasted Sausages and Grapes: It’s here, it’s posted!  It’s different.  It’s easy to make. I love it. This recipe can be served in celebration of the Grape Harvest and Octoberfest! There are not too many recipes that can do that particular double duty!

4. ALL things Gingerbread: I have lots of gingerbread yumminess on both the Halloween and Thanksgiving list, soooo, on THIS list I have Gingerbread Biscotti… On a cool fall night. With a warm cup of decaf or my home mixed Chai (the most disliked recipe I posted in 2009, but I like it!)… MMmmmmm.  I’ll bake some Gingerbread Biscotti soon, take a picture, and post the recipe. Check back often. You won’t want to miss this biscotti.

5. Oatmeal: Oatmeal Cookies. Oatmeal Topping on Apple Crisp and on Pear Crisp.  Breakfast Oatmeal with cream and brown sugar. I am still looking for the definitive Oatmeal Cookie recipe.  I tried several recipes last fall, but nothing ‘just right’ yet.  I’ll keep working on this (fueled by breakfasts of Oatmeal with cream and brown sugar and stewed apples or pears, of course).  BTW, number five, Oatmeal, often walks hand-in-hand with six or seven.  They are so good together!

6. Apples: All things apple. Caramel Apples are on the Halloween list, and apple pie is on the Thanksgiving list, so for this fall list I include all the other apple recipes…apple cake, apple muffins, apple pie…and the previously mentioned, Apple Crisp (with Oatmeal Topping)

7. Pears: Drunken Pear Crisp, one of my favorite recipes posted in 2009.  It’s so grown up and so delicious.  (It’s posted on my “Polly, Julie and Julia” page on Facebook).  I’ll move it over here PDQ. And all other things Pear, too: Pear Pie, Double Decker Pear Bread but by far, my favorite, a box of ripe Royal Riviera Pears from Harry and David.

8. Mashed Potatoes with Sage and Cheddar:  It’s the perfect season for this creamy potato casserole.  It’s so yummy that I can’t rate it high enough.  I’ll be transfering the recipe over from my “Polly, Julie and Julia” page on Facebook.

9. Muffins & Quick Breads: The oven can be turned on again!  Heat the house and bake, a very green thing to do!  I love my Cracked Sugar Pumpkin Muffins.  I’ll move that recipe over from my “Polly, Julie and Julia” page, too. (I LOVE pumpkin.  My other favorite pumpkin recipes, and I have a lot of them, are on my  Halloween and Thanksgiving Top Ten Lists.)

10. Home baked Bread: I HAVE to post about the bread and the bread making method from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day“.  Everyone I have shown this method to LOVES it.  Now’s the time!  Homemade bread with dinner, any night you want! Nothing says Fall more than home baked bread.  Nothing…and believe me when I say that you will be astounded at how easy it’s going to be to have dough in your refrigerator ready to bake up whenever you want! I’ll have to get working on that.  Lots of pictures to take…while I get that in order, hope you can start on numbers 1-9.

Drat.  Casseroles.  I forgot  a whole category….oh well, this year’s list will focus on Soups, Homebaked Bread, and Dessert.  Maybe I will make a Top Ten Favorite Casserole Recipes List someday.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  I’m looking forward to your comments, the results of Ratty’s poll, and to cooking with you all season long.  (Scroll down to the very bottom of the left hand column) Happy Fall!

02 Feb 2010 Bacon Asparagus Rolls

I found this recipe on the Internet this morning. I ran out to buy some asparagus to try it…, then hemmed and hawed about posting the link, the recipe, and my pictures. I wasn’t sure the recipe was “all that”, so I kept tasting and trying to figure it out. Post? Don’t post? Bacon and Asparagus? Is that going to be a hit? Is this a GREAT recipe? Taste, think, taste some more, mmm, one more taste, maybe, let me try that again. It slowly dawned on me, I was positively addicted to these. I was guilty of over thinking the post!
This recipe is from Anamaris on her blog “Chef it Yourself“.

Bacon Asparagus Rolls

For each roll you’ll need:
1 slice of thick bacon (I used applewood smoked)
4 asparagus spears

Trim the bottom of the asparagus spears so all four are of equal length. Peel the lower part of the stem, optional, but no one is going to want to bite into a stringy piece of asparagus–use a potato peeler. Roll, yes, roll (with a rolling pin) the slice of bacon until it is at 50% – 75% longer than it was before you started. Gather the four asparagus spears together. Starting at the tip end, tightly wrap the bacon around all four spears. Season generously with freshly grated black pepper. Place bundle in frying pan. Cook over medium high heat, turning often, until bacon is well browned and crisp, and the asparagus is cooked. (See picture below.) Remove bundle from the pan, and slice into bite-sized pieces.(See picture above) Discard any bottom stems not covered with bacon. Each bundle will result in 3 or 4 bite-sized sushi-like pieces. Serve warm, but good at room temperature, too.

Thanks for coming by,
Polly

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!

Polly

*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!)