A humorous, optimistic blog about Food, Family, Friends and Faith

OK, all you Cheeseheads out there – get ready for the Pack to win the big one! We’ll be watching down in the man cave with a really yummy food lineup. Here’s what we’re having:

“Big Bowl o’Red” Chili (with shredded cheddar, sour cream and other garnishes)

Kung Pao sliders

Stuffed mushrooms

Crudites with hummus and sun dried tomato pesto

Pigs in blankets

Deviled eggs


Assorted nuts


Here’s how I’m going to do it:

I’ll start cooking when I finish writing this blog and keep cooking through the night. Not really! 🙂 Most of these recipes are super easy to make, but deliver a huge flavor payoff. I haven’t included the recipe for devilled eggs, because everyone makes them best in their own home. Eggs are personal. I also haven’t included the recipe for pigs in blankets because there really IS no recipe. Put a mini hot dog in a small piece of puff pastry, roll and bake. Serve with mustard. There’s the recipe. As for the nachos – put a layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Top with anything your little heart desires and some cheese. Bake to melt the cheese. There you have it.

Enjoy the game, everyone – GO PACKERS!

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Big Bowl o’Red Chili (from Jane Butel’s Southwestern Kitchen)

I met Jane Butel in New Mexico – she has a cooking school in Albuquerque. She was the nicest woman, and she got me started on my love affair with Southwestern and Mexican cooking. This time, I’ll serve sour cream, shredded cheddar, chopped scallions and chopped onion as garnishes.

2 T bacon fat

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 lbs. beef chuck, in 1/2″ pieces

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 cup chile powder

1 T ground cumin

about 3 cups water, beef stock, or beer

salt to taste

  1. Heat bacon fat in large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Remove from heat.
  2. Add meat, garlic, ground chile powder and cumin to pot. Break up any lumps. Stir in the water (beer or stock). Return to the heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender. Add more liquid if necessary. Taste and add salt, if necessary.

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Kung Pao Sliders (from Vegetarian Times magazine, January-February 2011)

I’m going to saute julienned cabbage, carrots and zucchini and toss with chopped peanuts in place of the slaw in this recipe. I might put a little peanut butter on the top bun to hold it all together.


1 14-oz. package extra-firm tofu, patted dry

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 T sugar

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tsp. cornstarch

16 slider buns


3 T soy sauce

2 T vegan mayonnaise

2 T no-salt creamy peanut butter

5 tsp. sugar

2 T rice vinegar

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

pinch cayenne pepper

4 medium carrots, julienned

2 medium zucchini, julienned

1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped

  1. To make Sliders: Cut the tofu into 8 slices lengthwise, then halve slices to make 16 pieces. Transfer to baking dish. Whisk together soy sauce, sugar, oil and cornstarch in bowl. Pour over tofu, cover and chill one hour.
  2. To make Slaw: Whisk together the first 9 ingredients in a bowl. Stir in carrots, zucchini and peanuts. Chill.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Drain tofu and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes. Flip and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer, or until crispy. Fill buns with 1 tofu slice and 2 T slaw.

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Stuffed Mushrooms (adapted from Marilyn Diamond’s American Vegetarian cookbook)

This recipe changes every time I make it. Sometimes I double the stuffing and let it fall all over the baking dish and get crusty. Sometimes I add other vegetables or capers. Sometimes I use fresh bread crumbs, sometimes there’s some cheese in the mix. It’s pretty hard to screw up a stuffed mushroom.

10 oz. package mushroom caps, cleaned, stems removed and finely chopped, the larger the better

2 T olive oil

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

1 large olive-packed sun-dried tomato, minced

1/4 tsp. dried basil

2 T chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. lemon juice

freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Place mushroom caps in a baking dish. Saute mushroom stems briefly in oil in a non-stick skillet. Add garlic, bread crumbs, sun-dried tomato and additional olive oil, if necessary. Stir in basil and parsley and saute briefly.
  2. Fill mushroom caps with stuffing. Cover with parchment and bake for 20 minutes, or until tender. Sprinkle with lemon juice and pepper to taste.

* * * * *

Hummus (adapted from Marilyn Diamond’s American Vegetarian cookbook))

Louise makes THE best hummus in the world. She plays with the amount of lemon juice and oil until it tastes good to her. It’s always a little chunky – she’s not fond of the pureed stuff from the grocery store, but I’ll buy the chipotle version in a pinch. The chile kick makes it a passable product.

1 medium to large garlic clove, peeled (the size depends on your love of garlic)

2-3 T olive oil

1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)

juice of one lemon (3-4 T)

either a 17-oz jar or 15-oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained

  1. Drop the garlic into the feed tube of a running food processor. Let process until it is broken down into tiny chunks. Turn off the processor and scrape down the bowl.
  2. Add the oil, tahini and lemon juice and process until smooth. Add the garbanzos and process until you have your desired texture. Scrape the bowl and add more oil (or water) as needed.

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Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

I have no idea where this recipe came from. It’s hand written on a stained, yellowed scrap of paper that looks like it was once taped to something. It’s one of my favorite things to eat.

1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (a 10-12 oz jar will be close enough), drained, oil reserved

3/4 cup pitted, halved black olives

2 cloves garlic

a packed cup of fresh parsley

1/2 cup of pignoli nuts

1/2 cup olive oil (use the tomato oil as part of this measure)

  1. Cut the largest tomatoes into smaller pieces.
  2. With food processor running, drop the garlic down the feed tube and process until finely chopped. Stop machine, and add remaining ingredients, pouring the oil in last. Process until finely chopped. Add more oil, if necessary, and scrape down the bowl if needed. Great as a dip, with crackers or on pasta. You can add shredded parmesan if you wish.

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