Are You Ready For Some Football?: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sandwiches

It is football season, time for tailgates and parties. Here is an easy recipe that will please a crowd on the weekend or your family on the weeknight.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

2 lbs ground chicken

1/3 c blue cheese crumbles

1/2 c panko bread crumbs

2 T buttermilk ( you can use regular milk and add 1 t vinegar)

3 T hot sauce

1 t minced garlic

1/4 c chopped onion

1 T Italian seasoning

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 c  buffalo wing sauce (We made our own, melt 1/2 stick butter, add 1 t minced garlic, 1 c hot sauce, and 2 t brown sugar, stir)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. form into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until no longer pink. Toss with wing sauce in a large bowl. Serve on toasted buns with blue cheese and lettuce. Add shredded mozzarella cheese if desired.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sandwiches

** Entertaining tip, add meatballs and wing sauce into a crock pot and set on warm. Or make smaller sized meatballs and serve as appetizers with a side of blue cheese dressing.

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Camping Food: S’mores with Nutella

S'mores with Nutella

I apologize about the photos, but we were actually camping. Our family went camping this past weekend at Myakka River State Park, just east of Sarasota, Fl. Packing food that will keep in a cooler for a couple days is always a little tricky, it can be brutally hot here in the afternoon. I made a large batch of chili that we made nachos, chili dogs and quesadillas out of, even considered putting it on our eggs one morning. It was perfect. I also pre baked a bunch of Mojo chicken legs and brought those ( I don’t like to bring any raw meat for fear of cross contamination) They were great for snacks, lunch and dinner, and easy to eat, no utensils needed. But like all good campers we needed to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. I always find that it is hard to keep the chocolate bars from melting in the heat, or if you put them in the cooler they get too hard and won’t melt in the s’mores, so that is where the Nutella comes in. I spread some Nutella on graham crackers and put them on a plate, then as we roasted the marshmallows we put them on top and added a top cracker and pulled the skewers out. Easy and so much less mess than traditional s’mores. I meant to bring bananas to slice and add too but I forgot. Doesn’t matter, they were still delicious. From now on I will be leaving the candy bars at home and bringing the jar of Nutella camping, besides it does double duty on sandwiches, apples and crackers for snacks.

S'mores with Nutella

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

 

I love pretzels and cheese fondue, ok I love cheese fondue with everything. I would eat cheese fondue for dinner every night but let’s admit it that is really an appetizer. So how to make it into a real dinner….. I will put it on a sandwich, and add some healthier things and hey, its dinner. So I put fondue, chicken, apples, and spinach on a pretzel roll and voila dinner is served. I made my own pretzel rolls because I like to set myself up to fail. I am not a baker, in fact I hate it and I am not very good at it either. I had to make a second batch because the first batch looked like a dog had chewed on all my rolls. The second batch was slightly better and tasted great but from now on these will be an item I get from my bakery.

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

4 large or 8 small pretzel rolls

4  thinly sliced chicken cutlets

1/2 t thyme

1/2 t nutmeg

1T oil

1 apple sliced thin

1 c  fresh baby spinach

2 oz goat cheese

1 c shredded cheddar cheese

1/8 c flour

1 t chopped garlic

1 c white wine, beer or water

Sprinkle the chicken cutlets with the thyme and nutmeg. Heat oil in a skillet and cook chicken for about 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Cover with foil and set aside. Add garlic and wine/beer/water to a small sauce pan, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Toss flour with shredded cheese to coat, add to sauce pan with goat cheese and whisk over med.heat until melted and well combined, turn heat to low.

Goat Cheese and Cheddar Fondue

Slice rolls and add chicken spinach and sliced apples, spoon fondue on top and serve. If fondue gets too thick, turn heat up and stir until melted.

I think they were great without the chicken too, so they would be a good vegetarian option.

Chicken and Cheese Fondue Sandwiches

Shrimp Salad

Shrimp Salad

I guess I forgot to post this recipe, I made this for November’s Book Club for the excellent book, This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. It is the tragic but funny tale of a disjointed family that comes together to sit Shiva after their father dies. It was one of the best books I have read in a really long time. It’s already slated to become a movie with Jason Bateman and Goldie Hawn, two of my favorites. Of course in the story friends and family drop by to bring deli platters and lots of bagels so I made a delicious shrimp salad and served it on bagel chips.

this is where I leave you

Shrimp Salad

1lb shrimp peeled and deveined

1 1/2 lemons sliced

1 T plus 1-2 tsp

2 T chopped arugula

1T worcestershire sauce

1/4 c chopped onion

1/4 c celery

1/2 c mayo

1 T lemon juice

I steamed my own shrimp but you can buy them pre steamed from the store. I used the steamer part of my rice cooker, I laid the sliced lemon on the bottom of the steamer and than tossed the shrimp with 1 T of Old Bay seasoning, then turned on the cooker and steamed until the shrimp were opaque and cooked through.

Shrimp Salad

Steamed Shrimp

Then chop the cooked shrimp and add them to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, including another 1-2 tsp of Old Bay. You could serve as sandwiches or as an appetizer on toasts, crackers or bagel chips.

Olympics, That Sounds Like a Reason to Party

I will find any excuse to dress up or have a party, but this was a good one. My favorite band, Duran Duran was doing an Olympic concert, my birthday was a couple of days away and the opening ceremonies were on TV. Unfortunately the concert was not televised but that didn’t stop me.

First the decorations, I decided to go international, I made some easy flag centerpieces from styrofoam and dollar flags from the party store.Cover 2 rectangular styrofoam blocks with colored paper. I cut the paper and used tape at the joints so it would bend around the styrofoam so I could reuse them for another party.

I also painted the olympic rings onto the paper using a top to a pill bottle and paint and then stamping it onto the paper.

Paint around or dip the bottle top into paint and then use like a stamp.

insert your flags into the styrofoam and then you could pour colored glass or pebbles over the top of the styrofoam to cover it ( I forgot to do this step on mine). Paper crinkles would also work.

Use paper flag toothpicks for appetizers or sandwiches

Spell out your favorite team (or band) with vegetables.

Serve Olympic themed desserts, My friend used mini M&M’s to make the olympic rings on her coconut cake

or try the Olympic Fruit Tart

We played lots of silly games, like Olympic Themed Pictionary (divide into 2 teams and draw different events, countries, athletes, or London landmarks or traditions), Minute to Win It’s “How’s it Hanging“, and Diving for Cherries ( put a maraschino cherry in a bowl cover with whipped cream and using only your mouth try to get the cherry, whoever gets it first wins)

and of course there were costumes and medals. Buy some at the dollar store or make your own with paper circles, glitter and ribbon.

Dress as your favorite athlete, event or country and have fun!

Ricotta Meatballs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.75 lbs ground meat, (anything would work here, I used a pork, beef  mix)

1/2 c ricotta cheese

1 egg

1 t minced garlic

1T lemon juice

1T 1/2 and 1/2 or milk

1T Italian Seasoning

1/2 t salt

1/8 t black pepper

1 c panko bread crumbs

Mix ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, I use mine hands, make sure you incorporate the ricotta into the meat mixture well.

Roll meat into balls wetting fingers with water to prevent sticking if needed and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, leave room between them so they cook evenly.

Bake for 1/2 hour, or until no longer pink in the center.

Add to pasta or make subs with your favorite sauce, or try making your own.

I like them on a roll with tomato sauce, arugula and asiago cheese, but the possibilities are endless.

Camping in Style, Shredded Asian Pork

Camping, I love it, especially this time of year, but all the planning and packing can be a challenge, especially when it comes to the food. Keeping everything at the right temperature, handling raw meats without hot water to wash up, making sure you have enough food  and that it is cooked properly and that you have right condiments and ingredients can be a hassle. My solution is to make it ahead of time, freeze it and heat it up there. This eliminates the need for bringing raw foods that could spoil or contaminate the other stuff in the cooler, lessens the amount of ingredients you need to bring and keeps the food cold enough to last a couple of days. I try to bring foods that will feed a crowd and that can do double duty, this time I did an Asian style shredded pork, It can be eaten alone, on a sandwich (or hot dog bun) even mixed into eggs as an omelette. Even better its a dump and cook in the Crock Pot recipe which left me time to pack the day before.

Here’s how you do it:

2lb rib end pork roast

7 green onions (scallions) chopped into 2 inch pieces

4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped

2T ginger chopped

5 T sweet chili sauce ( found in the asian section of the supermarket)

1T fish sauce

1T rice vinegar

1T soy sauce

2c  water

!T lime juice

2 T fresh cilantro

Toss that all in the crock pot and cook on high 4 hours or low 6-8 hours, or until it shreds with a fork.

If you are packing it for camping, let it cool and put into a freezable storage container with enough of the juices to cover, and freeze overnight. Pack into a cooler with ice. When ready to eat, heat in a pan over your grill or camp stove. I bring a bag of shredded cabbage and asian dressing and mix that together in batches at the camp site, this keeps better than a mayo based salad. I serve it as a side or on top of the pork on sandwiches.