Mini Football Pizzas

I had a fun baseball-filled weekend watching the Everett Aquasox, a minor league team, play on both Friday and Saturday nights. Friday’s game was not very eventful, until the bottom of the 10th when they won 3-2, but Saturday’s game was full of fun, including my little niece catching a foul ball!

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However, football is upon us, so it is time for some football-themed snacks, like these yummy mini football pizzas from The Daring Gourmet that I made last year during football season. They are a fun snack for any football party.

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I also had Seattle Seahawk themed Jamberry nail wraps for the occasion!

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Since there were some vegetarians in the crowd, I used meatball crumbles, which were actually pretty good. Feel free to use whatever meat you’d like.

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Mini Football Pizzas

serves

Ingredients:
-1 (11oz) can refrigerated Pillsbury thin pizza crust
-1 (14.5oz) can pizza sauce
-4oz bulk Italian sausage
-1 green bell pepper, diced
-3 mozzarella cheese sticks

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Lightly flour a surface and unroll the pizza dough. Use a football-shaped cookie cutter, or cut the dough into football shapes by hand, according to your desired size.
-Cook the sausage and peppers on medium in a skillet until cooked through, and set aside.
-Spoon pizza sauce onto each pizza crust and top with the sausage and pepper mixture, then bake for about 4 minutes.
-Cut out the mozzarella cheese sticks into long and short strands and lay them on top of the pizzas (check out the pictures). Bake for a few more minutes until the cheese is melted and everything is cooked through.

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Caramelized Shallot and Gruyere Fondue

I am FINALLY posting our fondue from Valentine’s Day! Oh man. My husband and I have a fondue tradition for Valentine’s Day, which started from our first (and only) dating V-day, in which we both went to the Melting Pot for the first time. Since then, we have been finding different recipes to make at home. And it is delicious!!

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This caramelized shallot and Gruyere fondue comes from The Endless Meal and oh it was delightful. Then again, when is fondue ever NOT delightful? Unless you’re a cheese-hater. And there is no room for cheese-hating in my life.

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Shallots are one of those vegetables that most people seem to forget about (unless you’re really into the culinary world). But they are a great little vegetable and can really add a lot of flavour to a dish. You could really taste the shallots in this dish but it was just so good. That’s all I can really say about that.

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Caramelized Shallot and Gruyere Fondue

serves 2-4 (depending if it’s the meal or an appetizer)

Ingredients:
-1tbsp butter
-6oz thinly sliced shallots (about 1.5cu)
-1tsp sugar
-1tsp salt
-14oz finely grated Gruyere cheese (about 3.5cu packed)
-2tbsp all purpose flour
-1.5cu (or more) dry white wine (I used cooking wine)
-Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
-1 small garlic clove, finely grated or minced
-2tbsp calvados or another apple brandy (I used apple cider)
-Freshly ground black pepper, use generously

Directions:
-Melt butter over medium heat in a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan (or fondue pot). Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, then add the sugar and salt and cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.
-While the shallots are caramelizing, grate the cheese using the fine edge of the grater, then add to a large bowl and toss with the flour, or for a gluten free fondue, toss with corn starch.
-Add the white wine to the shallots and bring to a boil for 1 minute.
-Whisk in the cheese with one small handful at a time. Whisk it until the cheese is melted and the pot returns to a boil before adding more cheese. Continue doing this until all the cheese has been added.
-Whisk in the nutmeg, garlic, calvados and pepper. Be generous with the amount of pepper you grind in. Check for seasonings and add more salt and pepper as necessary.
-If you would like your fondue to be a little thinner you can add another splash of wine or even water.

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Dip

I recently made this spicy chipotle white bean dip from Damn Delicious for the NFC Championship game a few months back – when the Seattle Seahawks won!! Yeah!! Ok, that’s over now.

But I gotta admit: I omitted or substituted almost everything in this recipe, so it basically turned into a “Super Spicy Sriracha White Bean Dip” instead of the former. I omitted the 3 things that give the dish its name and spiciness (chili peppers in adobo sauce, cumin, and chili powder). However, I added in some red pepper flakes and lots of sriracha. So basically I made something entirely different. But whatever.

I’ll post the recipe as the original blogger created it – let me know if you make it and what you think of it!image

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Dip

serves a lot

Ingredients:
-1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
-1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or more, to taste
-2 cloves garlic
-2tbsp lemon juice
-1tsp cumin
-1tsp chili powder
-1/4cu plus 2tbsp olive oil

Directions:
-In the bowl of a food processor, combine cannellini beans, chipotle peppers, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and chili powder.
-Add olive oil and process until blended.
-Serve with pita bread, tortilla chips, veggies, etc.

 

Restaurant Style Salsa

Happy early-Thanksgiving!!  I decided to post a VERRRRRY easy appetizer/starter recipe for today, in case you are still looking for something to munch on before the big feast tomorrow.  And let’s be honest – who doesn’t love salsa? This restaurant style salsa recipe comes from Gimme Some Oven.  They are known for some delicious and fairly simple recipes!
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I made this a few weeks ago for a work potluck, and it was so yummy!  I actually doubled the recipe, so that I could have some for my husband and I to enjoy at home – which turned out to NOT be necessary, as the two batches made A LOT…so I am sure that one batch would have been plenty for both work and home.  Oh well, ya live and learn, right?

The only bummer: I bought cilantro as the recipe called for it (and I loooove cilantro), I prepped and made the entire double batch, made a HUGE mess in my kitchen (as you can see from the photos), cleaned up said mess entirely, separately packaged each batch in the fridge, and then realized it.  I FORGOT THE CILANTRO.  Well, let’s just say, I love cilantro, but not enough to make another huge mess in my kitchen, just after cleaning up the first one.  In any case, it was still tasty without it, but probably would have been better with!image

Restaurant Style Salsa

serves A LOT (according to the original blog, it yields about 4cu)

Ingredients:
-2 (14oz) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, drained if you like a thicker salsa (I blended my tomatoes in the blender, and only drained one can prior to doing so)
-3 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
-1 bunch (about 2 cups loosely-packed) fresh cilantro
-1cu diced white onion
-1 jalapeno, stem removed (and seeded, if you want less heat, and adjust amount to your preference)
-1tsp ground cumin
-1tsp salt
-1tsp sugar
-1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:
-Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth, or your desired consistency is reached. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
-Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Watermelon-Mint Salsa

I vaguely recall promising to post this watermelon salsa recipe several weeks ago…you know…when it was still summer.  And here in the Pacific Northwest, it is going back to our drizzling dreariness (kinda love it, not gonna lie!).  Therefore, the intrigue of summer food has kind of faded away for many of us.
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BUT, since when do I subscribe to social norms?  I have been known to grill outside in rain and windstorms and go out for tacos (mmm I miss Moe’s!) in hurricanes…so why not post a summer salsa recipe in the fall? 😉

In any case, I don’t have a link for this recipe, as it came from a coupon book I got from Fred Meyer.  I made it on a day that we were having company over, I needed to make a yummy appetizer, and we had 1/2 a watermelon gifted to us from my mother that I wanted to use up.  I was a bit worried that our guests wouldn’t like it (not everyone is food-venturous), but 4 of us adults just gobbled it all right up! (though I don’t think the 3 kids in tow tried it).  It was a wonderful blend of spicy/zesty, with a faint hint of sweet, and great to pair with chips (or top grilled seafood or a pork chop with, or whatever you want!).
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Watermelon-Mint Salsa

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
-2cu seedless watermelon, diced (I’m not sure how much I used, I don’t think I actually measured)
-1cu cucumber, diced and seeded (I just used an entire cucumber)
-2tbsp red onion, finely minced
-1tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
-1tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
-1/4tsp hot sauce (I think I added a few extra shakes)
-salt, to taste

Directions:
-Combine all ingredients, mixing gently to make sure they are well incorporated.
-Cover and let chill for one hour in the fridge.
-Leftovers can be refrigerated for several days.

Tropical Orange Appetizers

Aaaaaaand today you get a made up appetizer with a made up name that consists of ONE ingredient!  My mom and niece got the idea for this adorable snack from a teriyaki restaurant they recently went to.  It was perfect to include at my mama’s Garden Party a few weeks ago, that she hosted for friends and gardening clients (she is a professional licensed horticulturist, as well as landscaper and gardener!).
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These are super easy to make (though a bit time-consuming, I must admit), but are very cheap – only about $5 for a bag of oranges!  I suppose you could say it involves 2 things, if you include the toothpicks (which are NOT edible, therefore can’t be called an ingredient, hehe).
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I know that summer is almost over, but this is a great addition for any summer party – Labour Day Weekend, anyone?  Everyone ooh’ed and aah’ed over them, while gobbling them up, of course. =P

The instructions may seem kind of complicated, so definitely use one or two oranges as a test-orange, and refer to the pictures! Feel free to comment or email with questions.
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Tropical Orange Appetizers

serves a lot

Ingredients:
-bag of oranges
-box of toothpicks

Directions:
-Cut each orange in half.
-Take one half, and cut off the end, very thinly.
-Cut another thin slice
-Using a knife, carefully cut out the inside of the orange.
-Cut the orange insides into 6 pieces.
-Place the thin slice you previously cut inside the carved out orange and push down to sort of seal it. Then place the 6 pices back inside the carved out orange.
-Take a toothpick and stick it into the carved out peel, and attach the peel to the top.

Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes

Side dish time!  This is a simple four-ingredient roasted potato dish from Laa Loosh that was a great accompaniment to our Aidell’s chicken sausages (LOVE THOSE, in case I haven’t mentioned it before…haha).
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The ranch packet was a bit more expensive than I thought it’d be…I thought packets like that were about 50 cents, however it was about $1.50 (I bought the generic brand from Fred Meyer).  It was not quite as Ranch-y as I would like.  At first, I only sprinkled about half of the packet on the potatoes, since it seemed like so much, and then I added a bit more, and halfway through cooking, I added the rest of the packet. 
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Because of this, I was expecting a Ranch Explosion (great visual, right?), but I did not get that.  Sure, it was seasoned and fairly tasty, but far from the flavour explosion I was expecting.  We still ate them all, though!  Now if only I could finish up the 5lb bag of red potatoes…

Good news: This is actually a WW-ish recipe, and 1/2 cup of potatoes is 2 WW points.  Score!
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Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2-4 red potatoes (depends on size)
-1 packet Ranch Dressing Dry Mix
-Non fat, olive oil cooking spray
-1tsp salt (I just used a quick grind, cuz the dressing mix is pretty salty)

Directions:
-Cut potatoes and let sit in water for at least 10 minutes, then drain.
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-In a large bowl add potatoes and spray lightly with the cooking spray. Then add the Ranch mix and toss well to fully coat each potato.
-Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and spread out potatoes evenly on sheet.
-Bake for about 20-25 minutes, tossing about halfway through, until slightly crisped and fully cooked.