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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Filling Your Superbowl

Every year the biggest sports party in North America comes our way and every year it is a scramble to see what we can make that will wow our guests, stay within our budget and not take too much time from us the enjoy the people and the game.

Just a few tips to follow and you'll be sure to have one of the best social events of your winter.

Keep it fresh, as with any meal fresh is better, and fresh is not always more expensive. usually when fresh foods are prepared less goes further. Flavors are more intense, and of the quality is just that much higher.

Make good use of comfort foods, the game is a casual laid back event. Why mess it up with dishes that are fussy or difficult to prepare. Everyone is their comfort zone why not feed they with food that will keep them there. Make good use of food that requires little attention after it's been prepared, food that will go quickly but that can be replenished if need be just as quickly. Comfort food is not only for the guest but also for the host to serve.

Prepare the table close to the action but not within arms length. Guest tend to over eat when they can just reach out and grasp what they see, if the actually have to rise and go get the food, they will consume less which maybe a good thing for both themselves and your budget.

For straight up snaking foods, use fresh crudity and healthy dips instead of a lot of salty finger foods. Salt will cause your guest to drink more and thus create possible problems of consuming more beverage than which they should or is lawful, (your party, your responsibility.)

Offer a little something for everybody and every buddy, keep in mind taste is individual and therefore as at any party we must attempt to please as many tastes as possible. Dried fruits and nuts many please some people but hardly will satisfy everyones appetite. Variety is the spice of life, use that spice to spice up your gathering and the result will be a happy and safe event.

Here are just a few easily prepared dishes that work well at any mid winter event, enjoy.

Chicken Tequila Fettucini

1 pound dry spinach Fettucini
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons gold tequila
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/4 pounds chicken breast, diced 3/4 inch
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Prepare rapidly boiling, salted water to cook pasta; cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss with a little oil and set aside.

Cook 1/3 cup cilantro, garlic and jalapeño in 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add stock, tequila,and lime juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until reduced to a paste like consistency; set aside.

Pour soy sauce over diced chicken; set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile cook onion and peppers,stirring occasionally, with remaining butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add chicken and soy sauce; toss and add reserved tequila/lime paste and cream.

Bring the sauce to a boil; boil gently until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick (about 3 minutes). When sauce is done, toss with well-drained spinach Fettucini and remaining cilantro.

Broccoli Bites

3 eggs
6oz. shredded Monterey jack cheese
6 oz. shredded Colby cheese
1 lb broccoli and blanched
2 1/2 oz. bacon pieces
1/2 oz. diced yellow onion
1 oz. all purpose flour
Italian bread crumbs as needed

Beat eggs in a mixing bowl with a whisk until well blended. Place all the ingredients into a plastic container, except the bread crumbs. Stir together with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate mixture for about 1 hour. This will help to bind the mix making preparation much easier.

Heat about 4 cups oil in a fryer or deep pan for frying at 350F. Set up a shallow pan with bread crumbs. Scoop about 1/2 oz. portion of the broccoli mixture into the bread crumbs. Form each portion into a ball and coat it well. Place broccoli bites into the fry basket or frying pan. Make sure they do not stick together. Fry for one minute, then remove and place onto a plate lined with
paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Serve with:
Honey Mustard Dressing

3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
1Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon juice

In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise and mustard. Blend thoroughly using a whisk. Slowly pour in the honey and lemon juice, continue mixing until smooth and well combined.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/4 cup Granulated sugar
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1 Large egg
1/2 teas Vanilla extract
1 cup (+ 2 teas) All Purpose Flour
1/2 teas Salt
1/2 teas Baking Soda
1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Beat the butter and both sugars in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Drop the dough by small scoops 2 to 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each scoop with the back of a spoon to about 3 inches in diameter.

Bake until the centers are still slightly soft to the touch, 11 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely 12 to 15 cookies.

Parmesan Mustard Chicken Wings

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon ground cumin
20 chicken wings, wing tips cut off and discarded and the wings halved at the joint

In a shallow dish whisk together the butter, the mustard, and the cayenne. In another shallow dish combine well the bread crumbs, the Parmesan, the cumin, and salt and black pepper to taste.

Dip the chicken wings, a few at a time, in the butter mixture, letting the excess drip off, coat them with the crumb mixture, and arrange them without touching in a greased shallow baking pan. Bake the chicken wings in the lower third of a preheated 425F oven for 30 minutes.

Beef Picadillo Chili

2 large onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups water
12 oz. beer
2 cups beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes including the juice, pureed coarse
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, or to taste, seeded and minced
1 (19-ounce) can (about 2 cups) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large heavy kettle cook the onions and the garlic in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the onions are softened. Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and the cinnamon, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add the beef, water, beer, broth, tomato puree, and the salt and simmer the mixture, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep the beef barely covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Add the raisins, olives, and the jalapeño and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the beef is tender. Stir in the beans, simmer the chili for 5 minutes, or until the beans are heated through, and stir in the coriander.

Garden Veggie Pizza Squares

1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out crescent rolls onto a large non-stick baking sheet. Stretch and flatten to form a single rectangular shape on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix cream cheese with 1/2 of the ranch dressing mix. Adjust the amount of dressing mix to taste. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli and green onions on top. Chill in the refrigerator approximately 1 hour. Cut into bite-size squares to serve.

Oreo Cheesecake

1 1/2 cup Oreo cookie crumbs (about 23 Oreo cookies chopped fine)
2 tablespoons melted butter
9" Spring Form Pan (buttered on bottom and sides)

1 1/2 lb. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup flour
8 oz. sour cream
5 Oreo cookies (coarsely chopped for the batter)
10 coarsely chopped Oreo cookies for the top of cheese cake

Crust: Mix melted butter with Oreo crumbs and press in spring pan. Cover the bottom and 1 1/2" up the sides with crumbs, set aside.

Filling: All Ingredients need to be at room temperature before beginning. Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Keep mixer on a low setting during the mixing and beating process. Add sugar gradually and continue beating cream cheese until mixed through. Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat until blended. Measure the vanilla, salt and flour, pour into cream cheese and egg mixture and
beat until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat well. Turn off the mixer and stir in the coarsely chopped Oreo cookies with a spoon.

Pour cream cheese into the spring pan and place the nine coarsely chopped Oreo Cookies on top of the cream mixture. Place pan on the top rack and in the middle of a preheated oven at 325F and bake for one hour and 15 minutes. When time is up, prop the oven door open and let the cheese cake stay in the oven for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool enough to place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It is worth the anticipation.

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