Archive for the ‘ Game Day Food ’ Category

TAQUITOS

Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, and there are few hors d’œuvre in the Mexican repertoire better suited for munching on with a nice cold cerveza or margarita in hand than a crunchy, rolled taquito.  If the only kind of taquito you’re familiar with comes in a box from the frozen food aisle, then you’re in for a serious treat.  These are the real deal.  No microwaves, no ovens and no mystery meat here;  just the ear shattering crunch and savory interior of a freshly fried, homemade beef taquito.

Truth be told, I happily ate my healthy share of frozen taquitos for years. In fact, growing up I didn’t know many households that didn’t have a case buried somewhere in their freezer for snack emergencies. Throw them on plate, pop them in the microwave for a minute or so and go to town.  Let’s face it: they’re quick, convenient and the perfect vessel for your favorite condiment.  As a kid, I’d go as far as to dip mine in ketchup! It wasn’t until I decided to try a homemade version that I realized what this Mexican fingerfood could be. Where the frozen lack any serious depth of flavor and always end up being somewhere between chewy and soggy on the texture scale, the homemade is a knockout crispy treat.

These taquitos are the perfect way to use up leftover barbacoa.  In fact, I’ll even make an entire batch for the sole purpose of rolling up a few dozen of these bad boys.  If you really like them (which you will), go ahead and make a double batch and stash them in your freezer for the ultimate late night snack.  Like the kind from the box, but oh-so-much better.

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HOT SPINACH DIP

We’ve all had good spinach dip. A little sour cream, a little cheese, some thawed frozen spinach and you’re in business. It’s the type of party dish you throw out on a table with a few crackers, maybe some slices of toasted baguette, and it’s guaranteed to be gobbled up in a matter of minutes. You may be used to seeing it served cold or at room temperature on most occasions, but those of us who take our dips seriously know that there is nothing quite like a hot version.

Somewhere between a french onion dip and everybody’s favorite green side dish, creamed spinach, this warm rendition satisfies in ways a cold version simply cannot. Just think — all those wonderful, rich flavors that are usually muted by the frosty interior of your refrigerator come alive when warmed through in the oven. Creamy, gooey and indulgent, this spinach dip is guaranteed to become one of your new favorite appetizers. Serve it to guests or bring it to your next potluck, but whatever you do, beware: I’ve seen a small group of people easily polish this off, so it may be worth doubling if you’re serving it for a party.

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SPINACH, FETA & KALAMATA OLIVE STROMBOLI

I should start by saying that I’d never actually eaten stromboli before making this recipe.  After seeing a rendition on TV, I set out to make one in the style of Stuff Yer Face in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  Where most versions seem to be rolled into a pinwheel-like log, this version is more like a burrito — er, Hot Pocket.  Not quite a pizza, almost like a calzone, stromboli seemed like a perfect hand-held version of one of my favorite foods.  Then again, I’m the kind of person who likes to fold my pizza slices in half before biting into them — there’s just something so satisfying about biting into gooey cheese surrounded by crisp then chewy dough.

Sure enough, the ‘boli satisfied this particular craving. Cheesy, salty with tart feta cheese, chalk full of wilted spinach and steaming hot, if you even kind of like pizza (and who doesn’t?), then you’re going to like biting into one of these. Plus, if you have the dough on hand already, they’re easy enough to put together for a lazy weeknight dinner.

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BAGEL DOGS

Like baked barbecue pork buns, bagel dogs held a special place in my heart growing up. When hunger pangs struck after a long day at school, these bagel wrapped beauties were one of my favorite go-to snacks.  I was lucky enough to grow up in a town with a small bagel shop that was making them from scratch each morning.  More than anything, I was lucky enough to have a father who enjoyed them as much as I did, so there were always a few in the fridge.  In college, I’d take a dozen back to school with me and they’d easily disappear in a couple days time.  I only had three roommates!

It wasn’t until recently, when I learned of that same bagel shop’s demise that I finally felt motivated to try making them myself at home.  After a couple of so-so attempts and oddly shaped dogs, I finally found a recipe and technique that yields outstanding results – better in many ways than the ones of my youth.  Sure, the process of making bagel dogs from scratch might seem a little daunting and unnecessary considering the availability of frozen varieties at almost every grocery store, but believe me when I say, there is no substitute for the real thing.

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SUPER BOWL RECIPES

For some Super Bowl Sunday is all about the love of the game; for others it’s nothing more than a great excuse to gather their closest friends in the living room for the afternoon. Some watch for the commercials and some for the half-time show. And then there are those of us who are in it for the food.

Oh sure, a good Super Bowl game can be a lot of fun, but what I get excited about beforehand has a lot more to do with what I’ll be cooking, serving and eating, and I’m guessing there’s a fair number of you who’ll agree. The following list is by no means complete, but with mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings and an appropriately Southern muffuletta sandwich recipe, I think you’ll find that there’s something for everyone. But feel free to share your own must- have game day grub ideas and recipes in the comments.

SNACK TIME:

Asian-Style Chex Mix

Pimento Cheese Potato Skins

Goat Cheese and Chorizo Rolls

Mozzarella Sticks with Buttermilk Dip

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

French Onion Dip

Guacamole

Chipotle Bean Dip

NAPKINS NECESSARY:

Fish Sauce Chicken Wings

Sweet Chili-Glazed Wings

Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

GO BIG OR GO HOME:

BBQ Beef Sandwich with Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Muffuletta

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Lamb & Chorizo Chili

Home-Style Sloppy Joes