Tag Archives: superbowl

Superbowl Extravaganza: Seasoned Potato Wedges

5 Feb

I’ve been making fries, like the ones in this post, for about 1 year and 1/2 now. Like other times in my life, I’ve come across a better way to make them. And this is a case of learning on the job. These potato wedges make my french fries look so average! And you won’t believe the trick I learned to make them crispy outside and soft inside without frying them!

*Note: Due to a photo editing error, these pictures are smaller than usual, sorry!*

First, pre-heat your oven to 425 and then fill a medium sized pot with water andĀ  bring it to a boil.

Next you’ll need to peel your potatoes. For two of us, I used four small-medium russet potatoes.

After peeling them slice them in half, then again, and then again. So you’ll have 8 pieces for each potato.

Once you have cut all your potatoes, add your potatoes to the pot. By boiling them first, we are allowing them to cook so that the inside will be soft and the outside will remain crispy from the oven.

While the potatoes boil, its a great time to get your other ingredients ready. I like to blend all my seasonings together and then add them at once to the potatoes. For this seasoning mixture, you’ll need 1 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic salt 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp chili powder. Yes, chili powder is the great and secret ingredient to these potato wedges!

After about 5-7 minutes in the pot, drain your potatoes and let cool slightly. For the next step, you’ll be putting them into a plastic bag, so you won’t want them boiling hot for that!

Grab a bowl and a gallon sized plastic bag. Roll over the edges so its easy to add to the bag.

Then carefully add the hot potatoes to the bag. Make sure they aren’t too hot, otherwise they will melt the plastic. Whoops!

Then grab your olive oil and add around 2-3 tablespoons. I eyeballed it and just added it straight from the bottle. Don’t do this unless you are familiar with the speed that the oil comes out of the bottle.

First, shake up the potatoes with the oil. The bag will be hot to the touch, so use caution when handling it. After the potatoes are evenly covered with oil, place the bag back in the bowl, open it back up, and roll the edges again.

Now add the dry seasoning mixture from earlier.

And then shake it, shake it, shake it. (Once again, carefully…that is!)

The potato wedges should look like this once they are fully and evenly covered with oil and seasoning.

Open the bag and then wiggle the bag across a cookie sheet to get all the wedges out in the most mess free, and fastest way possible.

And then separate them before they go into the oven.

Put them in the oven for 20 minutes. If you’re not too busy, get them a flip half way through. Another trick for crispier skin is to put them under the broiler for about 2 minutes before you take them out. I left them in about 10 seconds too long, but my husband loves burnt things (go figure – he loves it when I burn stuff??).

These are so good, you can eat them without ketchup! They’d also be great with a chipolte ranch or BBQ sauce.

Superbowl Extravagaza: Sweet BBQ Chicken Bites

5 Feb

I love wings. Not the burn your mouth, sweat like a pig, be a man, kind of wings. I’m talking about the saucy, crispy, hot wings that you order with your pizza, or at a bar. Sometimes I go for a little heat, and sometimes I go for something a little smoky and sweet. But making any kind of wing at home can be a mess, and a challenge. So I found two ways to make it easier, one, cheat and use a jarred sauce, and two, instead of deep-frying, use a light coating, and a quick toss in a pan.

So what inspired this recipe (haha, more like steps to assemble than a gourmet recipe here!)? When I stumbled upon this great find, at a great price, I knew I was going to make a homemade version of “boneless wings.”

But since I used chicken tenders for my meat, I call them bites. I cut the tenders into bite sized pieces. You could use any boneless chicken cut for this recipe.

I mixed the chicken with some salt, pepper, and a dash of franks red hot (or just plain hot sauce works too).

And then using a 2 parts flour to 1 part cornstarch mixture, coat the chicken by tossing it together in the bowl.

If you want a true, crispy breading, then dip your floured chicken into a scrambled egg mixture, and then coat with flour again.

Next, using your choice of pan (I used a sauce pan since it was clean, haha!) Heat 1/2 inch of canola or vegetable oil on medium high. Be careful that your oil doesn’t get too hot, otherwise the outside will burn before the chicken is fully cooked.

Fry the chicken in batches. If you throw all the chicken in at once, the temperature of the oil will cool down too much and cause the chicken to cook poorly, and absorb excess oil.

Let each side of the chicken cook about 2 minutes. Check a piece after your first batch, since your oil temp, pan, and size of your bites will impact the time you need to cook them.

I apologize for this next picture, but I was obviously moving very fast when I made these! When they are finished, they’ll have a light, crispy, golden brown skin. Let them drain on a paper towel for about 5 minutes. This is a great time to prep any celery or carrots you want to serve with your bites.

To sauce your bites up, you’ll need a bowl about 3 times the size the amount of chicken you have. If this isn’t possible, you can always toss them in batches.

Using any sauce you like, or in my case, the Frank’s RedHot Wings Sweet BBQ flavor, pour a generous amount over the wings, along with 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Not very healthy, but so very yummy!

First the butter:

Then the sauce…and toss!

These delicious bites are best served immediately. However, you can make the chicken bites ahead of time, and then pop them in the oven at 250 for about 20 minutes. Once hot, toss with the sauce and serve. (You will lose too much texture with the microwave).

Serve with a cool side of ranch dressing and crispy celery sticks. Enjoy!

 

Superbowl Extravagaza: Simply Potato Skins

4 Feb

So I wanted to make potato skins as one of my appetizers. I had them at a restaurant about two weeks ago and thought, “how simple is this recipe?” I decided to re-create potato skins for the Superbowl in the most effortless way possible. There are ways to make this recipe more gourmet, and take longer, but I honestly was going for quick and simple in this easy appetizer. Did I mention that this version has fewer calories than your restaurant favorite, too?

You’ll yield two potato skins for each potato. For two of us, I made 8 skins, and we devoured them all, as part of a dinner.

First, bake the potatoes using either the oven or microwave. Either way, scrub them beforehand. Unlike other recipes with potatoes, you’ll actually eat that skin, so make sure its nice and clean (without soap, of course!). Then rub them with olive oil. They’ll need about five minutes in the microwave, or about an hour in the oven, at 400 degrees. Don’t forget to poke them with a fork before you use either method.

When the potatoes are finished baking, slice them in half. Let them cool a bit before you start digging out the insides.

Using a pot holder, I carefully removed the insides of each half, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2 inch in every skin.

Then place your potatoes on a cookie sheet, or in my case, a piece of my favorite stoneware.

In a normal recipe, you would stick these back in the oven with additional oil and salt too. But to avoid the extra time and fat, I went straight for the cheese.

I didn’t want to have a heaping mound of cheddar on the skins, I first added some sour cream to the skins, so they wouldn’t come out too dry. I use fat-free sour cream – definitely one of my favorite fat-free foods!

Then on top I added a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

At some point while making this, I discovered that I didn’t have bacon. So I substituted with some finely diced ham. I first gave it a quick fry in the pan before adding it to the potatoes.

And then into the oven they went for about 15 minutes at 350.

These potato skins are best served immediately. I also topped them with green onions and served them with a side of sour cream.

Superbowl Extravagaza: Healthy Guacamole

3 Feb

You might think that guacamole is one of the more fatty dips to avoid during a diet. But then you hear that avocado is good for you – a healthy fat, they say. Then why is this delicious go-to party/game dip such a calorie-laden waistline disaster? A little avocado, good for you. Heaping servings of guacamole and 15 tortilla chips…not so much! So I have learned a trick, thanks to some help from others, that will reduce the fat and calories too! Wanna know the secret?

Early Young PEAS! If you are anything like me, I know that right now you are thinking, “GROOOOSSS, what an awful thing to pair with avocado!” But I can promise that you will barely even taste it. Here’s my version of pea & avocado “guac” dip.

If you have some built up frustration, go ahead and start mashing the drained peas with the back of a spoon. Or, you can toss them in a mini food processor and push a button. I did a little of both to get the smooth consistency that I wanted for the peas.

I like my guacamole to have actual bits of avocado in it. So instead of scooping the entire avocado in at once, I mashed the peas together with one half the avocado and then added my seasoning.

For my guacamole seasoning, healthy version, or full calorie-loaded treat, I use: 1 tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp garlic salt, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp onion powder. If I have fresh minced garlic on hand, I throw that in too.

Next add your veggies. I usually add both finely chopped yellow onion, and diced roma tomatoes. I love tasting the individual veggies, but if you prefer a smoother taste, leave them out, or mince both veggies to enhance the overall flavor.

Lastly, add your second half of avocado into your dip. Incorporate it with all the ingredients and then grab a chip. I know you’re skeptical, but don’t worry. You won’ taste the peas – unless you’re really searching for them.

Go ahead, have your friends at the party try it. Maybe make one without and one with to see the difference. Yes, there will be one – mostly in a slight color change, but who would have thought PEAS would be the trick? I estimate that you’ll cut calories by half and cut your fat by almost 75% less than an all-avocado version.

If you are making this in advance, cover tightly with plastic wrap and use the pit to keep the guacamole a bright green color. This recipe is best served after being in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

PF Chang’s: 20% off online order

3 Feb

On Superbowl Sunday, let someone else do the cooking for you! P.F. Chang’s China Bistro is offering 20% off all online take-out orders on February 5th only. Use code “PATRIOTS” or “GIANTS” depending on who you want to show support for on the big day. If the team name you use wins, you’ll get a bonus surprise in your inbox later in the week. I hope that it is for free lettuce wraps – I LOVE their chicken lettuce wraps!

You can already place your order, just select Feb 5th as the pick up date, and pick a time as well. Find a local P.F. Chang’s in your neighborhood by clicking here.

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