Friday, October 30, 2009

Superbowl Snack Throwdown: Cheeseburger-Ka-Bobs

In the middle of Disney World, the idea for these Cheeseburger-Ka-Bobs popped into my head for this week's edition of HighLowAha's Superbowl Snack Throwdown. Make sure you visit their site and vote on the right for your favorite this week!

Due to my Rebel's untimely fall during our vacation last week (on our last night, luckily), I had to use my Cybershot for these pictures. Coupled with the lack of natural light here in New Jersey these days, I doubt I'll be scoring any photography points this week (and for as many weeks as it takes for my poor camera to be fixed!). But that's okay, because what I miss out on from behind the camera, I'm sure to make up for in taste!

While shopping for this appetizer, I stumbled upon Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning. I've never used it before (I've actually never even seen it before!) but grabbed it to use in this recipe. I am SO glad I did; I might never make a burger without it. The perfect blend of spices made these mini burgers as tasty as they are cute.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to these little guys is the very valuable lesson I learned: my kid will eat anything on a stick. Over the course of 24 hours, he probably devoured close to half of these (minus the onions, aka "the yucky purple things"). If I had given him a cheeseburger with all of these ingredients, he'd probably have 8 bites and call it a meal. Shrink things down and impale 'em with a toothpick, though, and you've got a kid who's in dinnertime heaven!

These adorable and delicious little snacks are perfect for your Sunday (or Monday!) game watching, and if I may deviate from the football theme slightly - they'd also be perfect for some World Series viewing. Go Yankees!!

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning
  • 24 cubes cheddar cheese
  • 1 red onion, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 24 pickle slices
  • 24 cherry tomatoes

Combine the beef and seasoning in a bowl. Create golf-ball sized patties (I got 24) and flatten slightly; grill outside or on a stovetop grill pan.

Stack the mini burgers along with the rest of your ingredients. Stick a tomato at the top of your toothpick, with a pickle underneath, then an onion chunk, then a burger, and finally the cheese as a base. Continue with the rest of your ingredients. Serve, eat, and enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Superbowl Snack Throwdown: Pigs in a Thermal Blanket

Week 7 of HighLowAha's Superbowl Snack Throwdown is upon us, and the black bean is the secret ingredient. Please make sure you go vote from now until 9pm (EST) on Sunday!

When I made these hot dogs a year or so ago, I remember thinking that they'd make a great little snack if you scaled them down. So when the black bean was selected for this week, I immediately started thinking about a mini version: Pigs in a Thermal Blanket! (Ha, get it? Thermal? 'Cause they're warmer now? You know? Oh... never mind.)

You really have a few options here. You can follow the above recipe to the letter and just use coctail franks, or you can really take a shortcut and use canned chili; no one will be able to tell. ;)

But whatever method you decide to do, you will LOVE these. Seriously. Ryan ate a ton, and I didn't even bother cooking dinner because Patrick and I just keep grabbing them. The flakiness of the croissant coupled with the hearty chili is going to please everyone. They are sure to be gone before the coin toss!

  • 1 tube of croissants
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese - I used a Mexican blend, but you can use Cheddar or whatever floats your boat!
  • 1 1/2 cups of black bean chili, warmed (I love this recipe - you can also use a can)
  • 16 mini hot dogs (or 8 hot dogs cut in half)
Preheat your oven according to the tube of croissant dough.
Unroll the croissants. With a sharp knife, cut each triangle in half length-wise so you have two long pieces of dough.
Sprinkle the cheese at the wide part of each triangle, and top with a spoonful of chili. Place a mini hot dog on top of everything, and start rolling down towards the narrow end. This part might get messy!
Place each little hot dog on a baking sheet, and bake according to the tube of dough.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Superbowl Snack Throwdown: Frittata Bites (with pics now!)

Here we go - week 6! I think. Are we on 6 already? This is going by fast! Make sure you go to HighLowAha to vote for ME! :) Voting last until Sunday night at 9pm EST - tell your friends!

These little Frittata Bites are another little snack that you can really customize to your own liking. Don't like mushrooms? Leave 'em out. Prefer peppers? Throw 'em in! Like cheddar? Go for it! This is such a versatile recipe, and it's certainly inexpensive enough to make a few variations.
And just FYI - the leftovers (if there even are any) make a great breakfast!

inspired by Giada DiLaurentiis
  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cup egg substitute (or 6 large eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 tomato, seeded, diced
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 375 and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Whisk the eggs, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a 9 1/2-inch-diameter nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and mushrooms and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and saute 2 minutes longer.

Add the veggie mixture to the egg mixture and pour the mixture into the muffin tin; sprinkle with cheese.

Bake uncovered until the top is set and golden brown on top, about 8-10 minutes. Let the frittatas stand 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittatas from the tin and slide them onto a plate.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A THOUSAND Cheers for Babies!

Many of you "know" my friend Brooke and have been touched by her story.

Her blog, which chronicles her roller coaster of a journey, has been nominated on for best multiples blog. The winner receives a thousand smackers!

Click here to cast your vote and feel free to check out the ridiculously adorable baby pictures she shares!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Superbowl Snack Throwdown: Mom's Cheesecake Cups

While I am proud of the snack food I've presented so far during this competition, I thought it was about time I threw in something sweet. After all, no party is complete without a little dessert!

So when sour cream was announced as week 5's secret ingredient, I decided to share with you my mom's delicious Cheesecake Cups. Please head on over to HighLowAha to place your vote; last week I lost by ONE vote, so make sure you vote from as many computers as you can - and tell your friends!

Since we are very unexpectedly without my car until we go buy a new one (don't get me started!), the boys and I are stranded in the house. As you know, Ryan loves helping me in the kitchen, so I figured he'd have a blast helping me whip these babies up. He was a great helper and poured the eggs in so carefully! You could really see the concentration on his face. LOVE that kid.

(Sidenote: this might be my new favorite picture of Ryan, and yes, he wore the hat and boots ALL day - even for his nap.)

My mom makes these sometimes, and I have always loved them. While this might not be the most figure-friendly meal, it is beyond delicious. The cupcake is just so moist and smooth and rich without being too heavy, and the topping adds such a decadent layer of flavor. You can really use anything in place of the cherries - blueberries, chocolate, a banana slice, candy... the possibilities are endless, so you can really have fun making it your own.

Aside from the baking time, these are really so easy and inexpensive to make. I love food that you just dump and combine, and it's an added bonus when they come out looking so elegant and impressive!

I've made these a couple of times since my mom shared the recipe, and they are always a hit. So whether you are celebrating your team's victory or nursing an ego-busting defeat, grab one of these delicious treats!

For the cheesecake:
  • 3 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened - don't use lowfat!
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs (I use egg substitute)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
For the topping:
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 cans cherry pie filling
Preheat the oven to 300 and line 2 12-cup cupcake trays with liners.

To make the cheesecake, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a mixture and whisk until well incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, and beat for 3-4 minutes. Pour into liners, 3/4-full, and bake for 35-40 minutes. (They will NOT brown!) Let cool for 5 minutes, but leave the oven on.
Meanwhile, make the topping by beating the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla together. Once the cheesecakes have cooled, divide evenly among the cakes (I used about a half-tablespoon per cake). Top with the cherries (or your decoration of choice) and bake for another 5 minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Zippy Turkey Bake

With a name like that, who cares what's in it? It just sounds so fun and delicious, and this dinner from Colleen absolutely lived up to its name.

As is usual for a casserole dish, the photo doesn't do the dinner justice. But this blend of cheese, rice, and summer veggies was perfect, and I know I'll make it again.

  • 1 1/3 pound package lean ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 medium zucchini or yellow squash, halved vertically and sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups rice, cooked (I used a boil-in-the-bag rice which yielded 3 cups of cooked rice)
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chilies
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9 or two 8 x 8 baking dishes.

Cook turkey over medium heat in large skillet, drain. Add butter, zucchini, mushrooms, and green onions; cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Drain if necessary. Stir in chili powder, salt, and garlic powder. Remove from heat.

If the skillet is big enough, add rice, green chilies, sour cream, and 1 cup shredded cheese to turkey mixture and stir to combine. If not, add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix.Turn mixture into baking dishes. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until heated through and slightly bubbly.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Superbowl Snack Throwdown: Sweet Potato Hummus

Make sure you head right over to HighLowAha to vote for my recipe in Week 4! Voting is over on the right sidebar; you may have a scroll a bit. You can also vote for next week's ingredient.

The timing of this week's ingredient, the potato, was impeccable. Just days before, I was browsing the internet for some fall recipes and found several variations of Sweet Potato Hummus. When the potato won your votes, I couldn't wait to try my own.

I searched online and studied different recipes, but ultimately I once again created my own dish. I know - I'm shocked too! Using the hummus recipe I made a few months ago as a foundation, I had a blast incorporating the orange spud into the classic dip.

I've really never even had hummus up until a few months ago, but it's such a simple thing to make, and a definite crowd pleaser. I could have eaten this with a spoon, and it did not last long at all. The sweet potatoes give it a different flavor and texture that really works. At the last minute I added a shake or two or pumpkin pie spice, and I regretted it immediately - but it was a great impulse! It really gave the hummus a warm, harvesty touch - perfect for watching the game on a fall day.

Don't mind the little fingers in the photo below. If you're a regular reader here, you've seen Ryan's hands intrude their way into many shots - and you've heard me say that the best way to get my kid to eat is to tell him to get out of my way while taking pictures. I don't know what is so suddenly appetizing about watching me photograph our food, but I'm not complaining!

(By the way, he probably ate a third of this by himself in about 8 minutes.)

  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 12-oz can chick peas
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp+ tahini (sesame paste), divided
  • juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • couple of shakes of pumpkin pie seasoning
Peel the potatoes and chop into 1" cubes. Steam for about 10 minutes.
Drain water from the can of chick peas into a small bowl and reserve.
In a food processor (or blender), mix together the chick peas with the remaining rest of the ingredients, being careful to add second half of lemon juice and tahini slowly, stopping to taste.
Slowly add some of the reserved liquid from beans and a bit of water for correct consistency,(about 1-2 minutes) until a smooth, slightly fluid paste is formed.
Refrigerate for at least 30 mins before serving. This changes the taste of the hummus by allowing the flavors to form.
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