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Posts Tagged ‘Super Bowl snacks’

Poblano-Cheddar Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes What do you think of when you read the following words: belly, chop block, chuck, crab, cut back, dash, hash, rub, scoop, scramble, spread, turnover, and wishbone? I think about cooking and eating, but my husband thinks about football. Oddly enough, these words exist in both kitchen and football terminology. With Super Bowl Sunday quickly approaching, you’ll want to get that tight end of yours into the kitchen and try this fabulous recipe that puts a fresh and flavorful new spin on twice-baked potatoes. One taste of a Poblano-Cheddar Twice-Baked Sweet Potato and you’ll request an instant replay!

Poblano-Cheddar Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Food Network Magazine, December 2014

INGREDIENTS
4 medium sweet potatoes (10 to 12 ounces each)
2 poblano chile peppers
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus melted butter for brushing
6 tablespoons Mexican crema (or crème fraîche)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
1/4 cup chopped scallions
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
Chopped fresh cilantro, for topping

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub the sweet potatoes and dry well; transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until easily pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes.

2. Roast the poblanos over the flame of a gas burner (or under the broiler), turning, until charred all over, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel off the charred skins and remove the stems and seeds. Finely chop the peppers and set aside.

3. One at a time, hold each sweet potato with a kitchen towel and halve lengthwise. Scoop the flesh into a large bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Mash the flesh with the butter, 3 tablespoons crema, the lime zest and adobo sauce until smooth. Stir in the poblanos and scallions; season with salt and pepper. Brush the potato skins with melted butter and season the insides with salt and pepper. Return to the baking sheet.

4. Mound the filling into the sweet potato skins and sprinkle the tops with the cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the filling starts browning and the skins are crisp, 16 to 18 minutes. Season with salt.

5. Stir the remaining 3 tablespoons crema in a small bowl with enough lime juice until thin enough to drizzle. Season with salt. Drizzle the lime crema over the sweet potatoes and top with cilantro.

Yields: 8 servings

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Instead of buying packaged shredded cheese, I always grate my own cheese. Sure, packaged cheese is more convenient, but it also contains ingredients to keep the cheese from caking; ingredients that I don’t particularly want in my body. I’ve noticed that packaged shredded cheese doesn’t melt as well as the cheese that I grate on my own.

2. When making twice-baked potatoes of any kind, always bake one or two additional ones, so that you have enough potato mixture to mound into the potato shells. Otherwise, your stuffed potatoes will appear rather flat.

3. Definitely make the lime crema! It adds a bright and tangy counterpoint to the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.

4. This is not a hard recipe to make, but it does take some time to roast the poblano peppers and prep the other ingredients. To make this recipe more efficient, it helps to have all the ingredients prepped ahead of time. The sweet potatoes must be hot in order to melt the butter and absorb the crema. So if you are baking the potatoes ahead of time, you must stir in the other ingredients in step 3 while the potatoes are still hot. These potatoes can be assembled and refrigerated until it’s time to pop them into the oven.

Enjoy!

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Chips, Dips and Strips: Healthy Appetizers So what if your favorite football team failed in its attempt to reach the Super Bowl? Plenty of other reasons exist in life for you to throw a get-together with friends! Start the festivities out with mix and match homemade dips, chips, and strips. The exotic flavors of the Cajun Tortilla Chips and the Indian Egg-Roll Strips play nicely with the flavors of the Thai Shrimp Dip and the Hot Bean-and-Cheese Dip—so nicely, in fact, that you won’t even miss the fat in these tasty low-fat appetizers!

Recipes by Jim Fobel for Cooking Light Magazine

Thai Shrimp Dip
INGREDIENTS
1 pound medium shrimp, cooked and peeled
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
1 (12.3-ounce) package reduced-fat firm tofu, drained
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons minced green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cooked and peeled shrimp (optional garnish)
Cilantro sprig (optional garnish)

DIRECTIONS
1. Place the first 3 ingredients in a food processor, and process until minced.
2. Add lime juice, fish sauce, and tofu; pulse until blended.
3. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat; sauté ginger and garlic 2 minutes.
4. Add to shrimp mixture, and pulse until combined.
5. Add onions and chopped cilantro, and pulse 3 to 4 times.
6. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill 1 hour.
7. Garnish dip with additional shrimp and cilantro sprig, if desired.

Yields: 3 cups

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. In this recipe, fish sauce is a more flavorful ingredient choice over low-sodium soy sauce. Fish sauce adds more depth of flavor. I would substitute soy sauce only if you absolutely can’t find/buy fish sauce in your region.

Hot Bean-And-Cheese Dip
INGREDIENTS
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and divided
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16-ounce) can fat-free refried beans
1 (4.5-ounce) can green chiles, drained
Cooking Spray
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Combine 1 cup tomatoes and the next 7 ingredients (1 cup tomatoes through chiles).
3. Spoon tomato mixture into a 1½-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray.
4. Top with cheese.
5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with remaining tomatoes.

Yield: 4½ cups

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. The next time I make this I will add a little more hot pepper sauce for additional kick.
2. The combination of the melted cheese and the vegetable spray created a slight ring of oil around the edge of the dip after it was baked. I blotted this excess oil off with a paper towel before serving. Next time I will spray the cooking oil more sparingly or just lightly wipe a little oil with a paper towel on the inside of the dish.

Cajun Tortilla Chips
INGREDIENTS
Cajun Seasoning:
1½ teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Chips:
10 (7-inch) flour tortillas, cut into 8 wedges
Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375° .
2. To prepare Cajun seasoning, combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl.
3. To prepare chips arrange the tortilla wedges on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
4. Coat wedges with cooking spray. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning over wedges.
5. Bake chips at 375° for 6 minutes or until crisp.
6. Note: Store remaining Cajun seasoning in an airtight container.

Yield: 80 chips

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I find it easiest to use a pizza cutter to cut the tortillas into wedges.
2. Since the recipe makes a fair amount of seasoning, I sprinkled it on the tortilla wedges a little more generously than the recipe specified.
3. Instead of spraying cooking oil on the baking sheets, I covered them with parchment paper.
4. My chips took more than double the amount of time to become crisp.

Indian Egg-Roll Strips
INGREDIENTS
Curry seasoning:
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Strips:
10 egg-roll wrappers, each cut lengthwise into 8 strips
Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat over 375°.
2. To prepare curry seasoning, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl.
3. To prepare strips, arrange the egg-roll strips on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
4. Coat strips with cooking spray, and sprinkle 2 teaspoons curry seasoning over strips.
5. Bake strips at 375° for 8 minutes or until crisp.
6. Note: Store remaining curry seasoning in an airtight container.

Yield: 80 strips

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Again, I lined the baking sheets with parchment paper instead of spraying them with cooking spray.
2. Unlike the Cajun Tortilla Chips, these egg-roll strips brown faster, so monitor them while they bake.
3. I felt my first batch of these were underseasoned, so the next batch I applied the curry seasoning more liberally.

ENJOY!

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Appetizer Roundup: 6 Party Appetizers Revisted “Ugh, I have to bring appetizers again! Any ideas on what I should make for the party next week?” grumbled my daughter. “Why don’t you check out the appetizer recipes on my blog?” I replied, trying not to smile. “You could make “Bloomin’ Onion Bread, Pepperoni Pizza Puffs, or Kate’s Cheese Squares. They’re always crowd-pleasers. You could make something healthy like a Trio of Dips served with crudités. Or, if you’d rather bring something more exotic, make Sushi Casserole or Banh Mi Bruschetta,” I suggested to her. “Oh, I don’t know . . . . I’ve got to think about this,” sighed my daughter.

That conversation reminded me of some of the great appetizers that I’ve prepared in the past, so I thought I would revisit them – just in time for holiday and New Year’s entertaining!

Banh Mi Brushetta (Top left)
Bruschetta with a twist or Banh Mi simplified? Either way, this appetizer brings together some incredible flavor combinations.

Bloomin’ Onion Bread (Left center)
Sourdough bread, Monterey Jack cheese, butter, green onions, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese . . . need I say more?

Sushi Casserole (Bottom left)
This recipe serves a crowd and can be easily adapted. What ingredients you layer and the order you layer them is part of the fun in making this appetizer. Sushi rice will always be the base layer, but be creative with everything else!

Kate’s Cheese Squares (Top right)
A tried and true recipe that’s been around for decades is the best way to describe these cheese delights. They are light in texture, yet sinfully rich.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs With Homemade Pizza Sauce (Middle right)
The smell of these small puffs of pizza will drive you crazy while they are baking, but they will be even more irresistible fresh out of the oven. They are best eaten hot, but they’re never around long enough to cool down!

Trio of Dips for Crudités (Bottom right)
Healthy does not mean blah. These three dips paired with fresh vegetables creates an explosion of flavors and colors!

ENJOY!

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Stones, tumbled by the sea, collect on the shore. The waters have worn some smooth and round, while others remain irregular and pockmarked. That they existed in the same turbulent waters, but weathered the forces differently, can only be attributed to their individual compositions and, perhaps, the length of exposure. If you were one of these stones, which one would you be? What are you made of? What qualities do you possess to help you weather the ups and downs in life?

#1- Top Five Regrets
Recognizing that this blog is about sharing and encouraging joy, I was at first hesitant about linking to the Top Five Regrets of the Dying as recounted by palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware. As I read through the article, though, I realized that it reinforced the belief that an authentic life is a life of joy. Here are the top five regrets, but to get the most from these lessons, it’s best to read the article in its entirety:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

#2 – Another Way to Recycle Newspapers
Here’s a creative undertaking that involves recycling newspaper in an unusual way. Italian artist Ivano Vitali uses strips of newsprint and, without the use of any adhesives, spins them into balls of yarn and crochets them into pieces using custom-made hooks and needles. Check out his Zero Impact Global Art website and be inspired to find new ways to recycle.

#3 – The Game You Can’t Stop
In The Game You Can’t Stop small balls of different colors drop from the top of the game that you must try to deflect using your computer mouse which controls a large ball at the bottom. As you deflect the small balls, you must attempt to connect three balls of the same color to score. Warning: Don’t play this brain game unless you have a little time to spare!

#4 – Super Bowl Snacks
Is it possible to serve healthy Super Bowl snacks? Sure it is! It just takes a little conscious effort and the willpower not to succumb to media ads. Here’s a quick recipe from one of my favorite periodicals Nutrition Action Healthletter:

Quick Quesadillas
Toss together 1 cup of black beans, 1 cup corn kernels, 1/2 cup of reduced-fat shredded cheese, and 1/2 cup of jarred salsa. Spoon the filling onto 4 whole wheat tortillas, fold in half, and sauté each in a non-stick pan in 1 tsp. of canola oil.

#5 – Possibilities
Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE, the word itself says “I’M POSSIBLE“!
Audrey Hepburn

Enjoy your weekend!

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Santa and his reindeer have come and gone, leaving not a trace of the Reindeer Snack Mix that was set out for them. They obviously needed to fuel their bodies with carbohydrates for the strenuous night that lay ahead! Many versions of Reindeer Snack Mix exist, but this one has just the right combination of saltiness, spiciness, and sweetness so that everyone who comes in contact with it finds it addicting! Why wait until next Christmas to make this Mix? Put it out at your next gathering and watch how fast it disappears!

Reindeer Snack Mix
Taste of Home Test Kitchen recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups Bugles
2 cups square-shaped, cheese-flavored crackers
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 cup Corn Chex cereal
1 cup bite-sized shredded wheat
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
2. In another bowl, combine the butter, syrup, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper. Pour over the cereal mixture and toss gently, but thoroughly, to coat.
3. Transfer to an ungreased 15-inch x 1–in baking pan. Bake, uncovered at 250 degrees F for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Serves 9.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. This recipe lends itself easily to substitutions. I use Crispix cereal in lieu of Corn Chex; pecans, walnuts, almonds and cashews work well individually or mixed; popcorn can be substituted for the shredded wheat (although I feel the shredded wheat absorbs the sauce much better); smaller, stubbier pretzels make it easier to grab a handful than the thin stick ones. I always add more Bugles than called for, because these are the first item to be picked out of the Mix and eaten. I usually double these dry ingredients and mix them in a large roasting pan.

2. In step 2, I add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder to the sauce mixture. The level of spiciness can easily be adjusted by adding or reducing the Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper. Make about 1.5 to 2 times the amount of sauce per batch for better coating.

3. I roast the mix in two shallow-lipped baking pans. Don’t try baking it in a deep pan (such as a roasting pan) because the Mix will take longer to dry out.

Enjoy!

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