Game Day Eats

Tags: , , , ,

While we aren’t really football watchers around here (Sean’s die-hard for fútbol), we do get down with some game-day fare. I mean, I’m into game days and the Superbowl…if there are snacks and treats galore. Below are just a few recipes that I think would totes be Big Game appropriate.

Roasted Pepper Cheese Dip

QUESO, y’all! It’s a cheesy, spicy, gooey hot tub for chips and other dip-ables. It’s a processed-cheese-free dream.

Beer Battered Pickles

There isn’t much to say here, I mean it’s pickles dipped in beer batter, then deep fried. These are arguably the best-ever snack to accompany a super chilled beer. Photo below by me, recipe on my girl–Megan’s–blog.

Corn Dog Pops

All the goodness of a corn dog, miniaturized on a stick. These pretty much eliminate the awkwardness that is eating a corn dog. Plus, you can have like, half a dozen or more!

Easy + Light Potato Soup

In case you want another option besides the standard chili (I know I’m not kidding anyone here, chili is the business), this potato soup is just a bit lighter, totally filling and warm, and can be topped with all kinds of goodness…just like chili.

Streusel-Topped and Rocky Road Brownies

Brownies from scratch are among the easiest, most satisfying desserts around. They can feed a crowd and adaptations are endless. I love these two brownies–I mean, crunchy streusel or gooey, nutty rocky road. It’s a tough choice, but one could totally make both!

Easy + Light Potato Soup

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy 2013, y’all!

As always, I am striving for balance in the new year. After weeks of hearty meals and many cookies, I’m realistic enough to know that while a few weeks of lighter meals may be on the horizon–I’ll never give up dessert.

So, in an effort to find and maintain some balance, I made you this soup. Actually, I’ve made this soup 5 times in the last 3 weeks. It’s so dang good and filling! It’s the first potato soup I have ever made, myself. A lot of recipes call for cream or half-and-half, but when it comes to dinner, I struggle with the thought of consuming cups of either as part of a balanced meal. Instead, I subbed in reduced-fat milk, making the bulk of the soup with stock. There are some vegetables in there for good measure–and I bet you could sub some of the potatoes with cauliflower with great results. Even without the heavy dairy, this soup is creamy and satisfying. Topping the soup with some choice garnishes–bacon, green onions, and greek yogurt, in this case–make this simple potato soup a totally flavorful and filling meal.

Easy Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

I use reduced-fat milk in this recipe with great results, but to keep it from separating once it boils, I mix the cold milk with cornstarch to bind it. 

2-2.5 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-1/4 inch cubes

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 celery stalk, diced fine

1 carrot, diced fine

1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

4 cups stock (I like to use either vegetable or chicken)

2 cups reduced-fat milk (I used 2%)

1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch

Garnishes I’m into: crisp bacon, green onions or chives, cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt, roasted tomatoes, croutons.

Place the peeled and diced potatoes in a large bowl of cool water, to prevent from oxidizing. Set aside.

Measure out the milk and whisk in the cornstarch, to combine and dissolve completely. Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion, sprinkle lightly with salt and sweat until translucent and tender–about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook another minute. Drain and add the potatoes, followed by the stock. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer–taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if desired–and cook for about 15 minutes–or until the potatoes are very tender. Turn off the heat and using an immersion blender (or regular blender), blend the milk/cornstarch mixture into the soup. Continue to blend until the soup is smooth and creamy. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer to keep warm until ready to serve.

Garnish as desired.

Updated Green Bean Casserole

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Green bean casserole never graced the Thanksgiving table of my youth. It was one of those things I only ever had at other peoples houses and gatherings. At it’s simplest and most processed, it’s a mix of canned soup, green beans, and canned fried onions…and, I loved it.

Fast forward to adulthood, and I can’t really get with canned, cream-of-whatever soups anymore. They just don’t do it for me–too bland, yet somehow too salty, as well. I can, however, get with those crazy fried onion dudes…so, I made the soup and stuck with the store-bought, french-fried alliums*, and ditched the canned beans for fresh ones.

The soup starts with mushrooms, plus some shallot and garlic for flavor, and is finished with an odd-yet-totally appropriate mix of chicken stock, fish sauce, and a little half & half. I first sweat, then caramelize the mushrooms–which seems counterintuitive, but it makes for little nubs of mushroom that are super nutty and flavorful. The fish sauce adds savory depth and zero fishy-weirdness.

This casserole is a nod toward the original, but with better flavor, layered richness, and a fresher, more vegetal profile from the fresh beans and homemade mushroom soup. The crunchy topping is everything you remember (and love) of the classic version, with a little bit of an update underneath.

*You can go with the OG French’s brand of onions, but there are a number of store-brand options out there. I have, personally, had good luck with the Trader Joe’s version.

Updated Green Bean Casserole

Since the soup part of the original casserole is the sodium-flavored-condensed-variety, I wanted the soup base for this to be super flavorful. My secret addition is a bit of fish sauce for another layer of savoriness–you can leave it out (along with subbing veg stock for chicken) if you want to go vegetarian or don’t have fish sauce on hand. I like to keep a bottle on hand in the refrigerator for asian dishes–a little goes a long way and it keeps well. I also added turmeric–I add it to a lot of things since it’s good for the brain, it just adds a warm color to the sauce and the faintest earthiness, but it’s totally optional here. 

“Condensed” Creamy Mushroom Soup:

2 teaspoons olive oil

8 ounces cremini (brown) mushrooms, cleaned and chopped

1 large shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 Tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

salt

pepper

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

1 Tablespoon half and half

Casserole:

1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 recipe creamy mushroom soup

1 1/4 cups french fried onions

In a medium to large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped mushrooms to the pan and season lightly with salt–the mushrooms should release a good amount of liquid after salting–continue to cook until the mushroom liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms bits begin to take on some caramelized color and turn fragrant, stirring occasionally. Add the shallot and stir, cook until shallot is translucent and beginning to soften. Add the garlic, stir, and cook about 1 minute. Add the butter to the pan to melt, stir in the flour, along with turmeric and cayenne (if using), to make a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes to cook out the raw-flour flavor. Stir together the chicken stock, fish sauce (if using), and half & half. Begin adding the chicken stock mixture to the mushroom-roux mixture, stirring out any lumps, until all of the liquid is incorporated. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Continue cooking the soup base until it begins to bubble and has thickened a bit. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook green beans for about 2-3 minutes, until just tender. Drain the beans and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350*F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine green beans with the soup base, mix to coat well. Add about 1/4 cup crushed, french fried onions, and mix to combine. Pour the green bean mixture into a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling. Remove from oven, top with remaining french fried onions, and continue to bake another 5 minutes until the topping is crisp and golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.