Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Dinner

Halloween dinner was very fun this year. Instead of rushing it, then bolting out the door before she rubbed the face paint off, we sat down and made a fun easy meal.
On the menu tonight was Mummy Dogs and Jack O Lantern Empanadas. Both of which were cute and delicious.
Mummy Dogs are as easy as can be. Take a package of hot dogs and cut it open, bam, your base is complete. The next step is to open up a tube of refrigerated biscuits, I uses the flaky layers kind. Split each raw biscuit in half and flatten each half down. Cut thin strips of the biscuit. Wrap these strips around your hot dogs, leaving a very small gap between each strip, and a half inch near the top of your hot dog to put his face. Bake in a 350° oven for ten minutes or until golden. Dab on mustard "eyes" and a mustard "mouth" with a toothpick.
The empanadas are just as easy. Take a refrigerated pie crust and unroll it. You could always make your own too, of course. Using a cookie cutter, cut out your desired shape. Since its Halloween, I chose pumpkins. Your crust is ready for the filling.
The filling is very simple. Cube up a large potato extra small. I used my automatic dicer. Microwave your potatoes for six minutes. To your hot potatoes add 4oz cream cheese and a cup of cheddar cheese. Mix well before scooping a tablespoon of your potato mixture onto one of your crust cut outs. Top with another cut out, sealing the edges by pinching them.
After you have all your empanadas stuffed, its time for the faces. Using the scrap dough from the cut outs, cut out little eyes, mouths and noses for your Jack O Lanterns. Simply press these one, gently.
After your faces are in place, scramble one egg and brush onto the tops of each empanada. Bake them in a 400° oven for 13 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. There you have it! I hope you enjoyed these nice little tricks to getting some great treats from my kitchen to your table!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Cheeseball

My little guy is made out of cream cheese, diced ham, green onions, Cheddar cheese and yellow bell pepper for the eyes and mouth. His stem is a broccoli stem, so he's 100% edible and spookily delicious!

Just mix all your ingredients except the cheddar cheese, yellow bell pepper and broccoli stem in a large bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, shape into a ball. Your hands will get dirty so if youre against it, wear some food grade latex gloves.

After you have a ball, roll it in shredded cheddar cheese. Now he's orange. Add your face and stem, then Voila, you have a great snack from my kitchen to your table.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Delicious Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs are easily the most recognizable of the pot luck standards. Who hasn't had a mouthwatering deviled egg while maneuvering through a table full of potato chips and store bought salads? Simple, tasty and easy to make, deviled eggs are one one of the most beloved appetizers out there.

Boil twelve eggs. I get my water going at a rolling boil before lowering my eggs in gently. I buy my eggs a week or two ahead of time, because older eggs are easier to peel. Boil for ten minutes. No more, no less. Take them out of the boiling water immediately, and put them in a strainer. Run them under cold water to make them bearable to the touch and peel them as quickly as possible. The trick is to crack each end and find where the air pocket was.

Then all you have to do is cut each egg straight down the middle lengthwise. I use a straight edged paring knife. Once you have the eggs halved, you can move on to a more delicate process of GENTLY removing the yolks from the white with a spoon.

Place all your whites on your serving plate and all your yolks into a bowl. Before adding any of your mix ins, crumble the yolks with a fork. You will have fluffy yolk crumbs. I add three healthy tablespoons of miracle whip, a tablespoon of sweet relish and a teaspoon of mustard. Mix well. You should have a nice creamy filling.

Scoop your filling into the cavity on each white, careful to distributed the filling as evenly as possible between the whites. Top each deviled egg with pepper or paprika or even leave it as is. Now you have a fine batch of traditional deviled eggs.

Traditional not your style? That's okay because there's very little you can't stuff an egg with. Want a heartier deviled egg? Prepare the traditional eggs and add finely chopped Bacon and very small chunks of potato. Want something a little zippier? Prepare the traditional eggs, omitting the relish for finely diced jalapenos and shredded cheese. Want to try something truly unique? Prepare the traditional eggs, and mix in some cream cheese, finely minced green onions and very finely chopped ham. With so many ways to make deviled eggs your own specialty, why aren't you making them right now?! Another great dish from my kitchen to your table.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

BBQ Nachos

One of my daughters favorite snacks happens to be a great way to utilize leftovers. Today I used leftover pulled pork, but you can always use any barbacued meat, or even leftover sloppy Joe meat.
Slice three medium russet potatoes very thin. Sprinkle with olive oil and mesquite seasoning. Bake in the oven at 400° for about twelve minutes.

Spread your homemade chips out on a plate evenly. While they're still warm, sprinkle shredded cheese as evenly as possible over top of them.

Reheat your barbacued meat in the microwave before spreading on top of your chips. Then top with more BBQ sauce. Voila. A delicious snack from my kitchen to your table.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Italian Loaf Dinner

This dinner is as easy as it gets, and one of my family's favorites. At our local grocery store we can buy beautiful loaves of Italian bread for a dollar, and garlic bread spread (margarine, heavily flavored with Italian seasonings and garlic) for three dollars, all on the same display. I often indulge in this sale, because the loaves can be frozen and used at a later date.

Tonight I thawed out a loaf of Italian bread and split it down the middle horizontally. I had a top and a bottom, so with the top, I spread pizza sauce, pepperoni, cheese and black olives.

On the bottom I spread the garlic bread spread and topped with shredded cheese and parmesan cheese.

I placed both halves on a baking sheet into the oven. I preheated the oven to 425° because my family enjoys crispy pizza and bread. 400° would work just as nicely. After about twelve minutes in the oven I had a super quick, super fun and super easy meal from my kitchen to your table.