Last week we shared a bunch of basic vs fancy foods for the Super Bowl, and today we’re narrowing it down even further with some of the most amazing nacho recipes I’ve ever seen. Lots of borrowing from other statement dishes and turning them into the most brilliant of snack foods! Out of these fifteen surely there’s at least one to peak your interest…
Now that we know it’ll be the Philadelphia Eagle and the New England Patriots facing off in Super Bowl LII, we can get onto the very important task of party planning. Or more specifically menu planning. Because if either of those teams aren’t your favorite – this Pittsburgh Steelers fan included – then the most important thing happening at the Super Bowl party you’re hosting or attending will likely be the food.
I’ve only been to two types of SB parties in my lifetime – the kind that includes paper plates and cans of beer, and the type where it would be frowned upon to throw the plates or glasses into the trash. In other words, basic and fancy. Basic parties include the old standbys while fancy parties step outside the box a bit more. Both types of party foods are fantastic and delicious, and I wouldn’t turn down an invitation to either!
Years ago when my stepdad was a resident in Grand Rapids, Michigan he discovered Dutch banket (pronounced bahn-KET) at a local bakery. The combination of almond paste and pastry dough was seemingly unforgettable, and a few months ago he tracked down the recipe and baked some up. Airy and flaky with a dense filling, the resulting long rolls are sliced up into individual pieces before serving. A slice makes for the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, or so I’ve heard!
• 2 C all-purpose flour
• 1 C (2 sticks) cold butter
• 1/2 C cold water
• 1 C almond paste (8 oz)
• 3/4 C sugar
• 1 tsp almond extract
• 1 egg
• dash of salt
• 1 egg white
• 1/4 C sugar
• sliced almonds (optional)
Preheat oven to 425º. In a medium sized bowl, cut the butter into the flour and combine until mixture is crumbly. Make a crater in the center and slowly add the cold water to the mixture. Mix well and add small amounts of additional flour until dough becomes smooth and forms a ball. Chill in the refrigerator.
Onto the filling. Combine almond paste, sugar, almond extract, and egg together in a mixing bowl. Using either a stand or hand mixer, combine until mostly smooth.
Divide dough into four parts. Roll on portion into a ball and place it on a flour-covered surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a long rectangle that measures about 12-inches by 3-inches. Spoon one fourth of the filling into the center of the dough, leaving about an inch on all sides. Fold the ends over first, then bring up the sides and pinch the dough together (you may want to wet your fingertips with water for a better seal). Repeat the process three more times for the other portions of dough and filling. Place the rolls onto a greased baking sheet, sealed side down.
Whisk egg white, then brush generously over each roll. Sprinkle with sugar and add sliced almonds if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a light golden brown.
I know I said I wouldn’t be back until after the new year, but I couldn’t let it slip by without sharing this recipe! My mom makes a big pot of black-eyed peas and a piping hot pan of cornbread every New Year’s Day. Superstition has it that eating a bowl will bring you luck in the coming year, and I’m not one to mess with that kind of science! This dish is one she has stored in the recipe box of her mind and has never been shared before, so this is *kind of* a big deal. It’s also very versatile. Add more beans, leave out the sauerkraut, cut back on the meat? All totally doable. We like to place a piece of cornbread in the bottom of a bowl and cover it with the beans before digging in. Here’s to a fantastic 2018!
New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Peas • 1 bag dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in a large pot of cold water
• 1 large sweet yellow onion
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2-3 large ham hocks
• 1 ring of Polish Kielbasa or Polish Sausage, sliced into 1-inch quartered pieces
• 1 ham steak, fried and cut into small 1/2-inch pieces
• 12 oz sauerkraut, drained
• red pepper to taste
Drain peas and rinse well, removing any bad ones. Combine black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, ham hocks, Kielbasa, and ham steak in a very large stock pot, then fill with water to cover. Set on low heat, stirring occasionally. Mixture will thicken as it cooks. Cook until black-eyed peas are tender and ham hocks are cooked through and falling apart. Remove ham hocks from pot and remove meat from bones, then add meat back to the pea mixture. Discard scraps and add sauerkraut and red pepper to taste. Cook for additional 15 minutes. Total cook time varies, but is usually in the three to four hour range.
The Best Cornbread • 1 C butter, softened
• 2 – 8 oz cans corn, drained
• 2 – 8 oz cans creamed corn
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• 2 – 8.5 oz boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
Preheat oven to 350º. In a large bowl stir together all ingredients until blended (do not beat with mixer). Pour into a greased and floured 9” x 13” cake pan. Bake one hour or until the top is lightly browned. Enjoy!
Sheet pan – or one pan – meals serve a myriad of purposes this time of year. First, they’re easy and fairly healthy during a time when you’re *probably* indulging more than usual. Second, they’re a reason to use the oven and add extra heat to your home. (Can you tell mine has been freezing??) Third, there’s minimal cleanup involved which is honestly always plus in my book. I’m very much looking forward to trying out some of these recipes this winter!
Also known as Christmas Crack because it’s so difficult to stop eating, I’m sure this confection has crossed your lips at some point. My mom has made it every December for years, whether to include in a cookie swap, gift to coworkers, or just have on hand at home for guests. I asked her to show me how she makes it and was completely surprised that so little went into something so delicious – there are only four ingredients!
• 1 tube of Saltines, about 40 crackers
• 1 C butter, salted or unsalted but not margarine
• 1 C + 2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar (we used light)
• 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1/2 – 3/4 C toasted chopped pecans or toasted chopped almonds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Cover a standard sized cookie sheet with foil, then spray with non-stick cooking spray. Line crackers end-to-end, breaking to fit the ends and sides if necessary.
In a saucepan melt the butter on low heat, then add brown sugar and crank it up to medium. Continue stirring until boiling, then boil for 3 minutes. Pour over crackers, spreading evenly and working quickly before it begins to set.
Place cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until crackers look like they’re jumping up and down and bubbles appear on the surface. Remove and spread chocolate chips as evenly as possible over the top, then place a sheet of foil over the pan and allow to melt for about 3 minutes. (Or you can pop it back in the oven for 1 minute.)
Spread melted chocolate over the top evenly. Add nuts to top if you prefer, then replace foil and refrigerate until set. Once ready break into snack-sized pieces – the individual crackers act as a great guide. If you’re feeling adventurous try replacing the Saltines with graham crackers or adding something festive on top, like sprinkles or edible gold stars. They look great packaged up in glassine bags and will keep in an airtight container for several weeks.
Homemade gifts are so thoughtful, and they’re also great to have on hand for some other reasons. Unexpected guests, coworkers, and stockings to name a few! I’ve pulled together twelve simple DIY projects and twelve recipes that would make for great give, I’ve also shared what to pair them with to create and extra sweet and thoughtful gift!
PAIR WITH a bottle of wine or new book
PAIR WITH a set of vintage candleholders
PAIR WITH a bottle of lavender pillow spray (see below)
PAIR WITH a simple soap dish
PAIR WITH a pair of linen pillowcases
PAIR WITH a package of your favorite pasta and a jar of sauce
PAIR WITH a nice box of matches
PAIR WITH a bouquet of fresh eucalyptus
PAIR WITH a pretty candlesnuffer
PAIR WITH a tray to arrange them in
PAIR WITH a pottery dish to set it in
PAIR WITH a few tiny baskets to set them in drawers, closets, etc
PAIR WITH toothpicks and a large bowl
PAIR WITH a loaf of fresh local bread
PAIR WITH the recipe!
PAIR WITH quality hot chocolate mix
PAIR WITH a pair of small glass tumblers
PAIR WITH a wooden cutting board
PAIR WITH a nice candy dish
PAIR WITH a linen dish towel – tie them up in a bundle
PAIR WITH a small dish or cake stand that can be used year-round
PAIR WITH a recipe for English muffins or crumpets and a spreader
PAIR WITH a pair of new mugs and tea strainer
PAIR WITH an air-tight tin that can be reused again and again for storage
If you’re lucky, you’ve been tasked with making a dessert for Thanksgiving rather than the green bean casserole. There may no sweet more closely associated with the holiday than pumpkin pie, but we’re taking a broader approach. Have a look at these fifteen pie recipes your friends and family would be lucky to have on their dining table next Thursday.