Who’s ready for the big game? I know I am; especially since Carolina is a part of this year’s show! I swear it’s electric around here. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has a flag, a shirt or a bumper sticker to show their support. Charlotte is ready to kick some Denver butt (sorry Denver fans! I still love you!)….
Mention the word “Stuffed” to me in reference to food and my eyes will almost always light up with anticipation. I can see you nodding your head in agreement with me. And why wouldn’t you?
While food in itself is delightful, food stuffed with more food is usually double the pleasure. It only makes sense when you stop to think about it. Seriously, why eat a lonely graham cracker when you can have one with chocolate and marshmallow in the middle? Peppers and mushrooms are perfectly capable of standing on their own two feet, but drop in a little cheese and crumbled meat if you really want to see them dance. And of course there’s pasta shells. They’re just begging to be stuffed with any and all form of culinary delight.
Grilling season is here once more and having grown up a diehard cheesehead myself, I know that the flame kissed meal is an essential part of summer time eating. Who doesn’t love a bratwurst hot off the coals? Combine it with a melted topping of Wisconsin cheese and you’ve got yourself one heck of a tasty treat.
If you’ve never thought of grilling up a pizza over the coals, now’s the time to try it. Zip up your cooker as hot as it will go and you’ll discover a magic formula for crispy, delectable pizza crust that will rival any thin crust joint you’ve frequented in the past. If you’re not in a grilling mood or are looking for a quicker option, this pizza can be made in the oven as well. Simply grab a store bought crust, add your toppings and cook until the cheese is melted and golden bubbly brown.
If you know me at all, then you’ll know I like to be quick and efficient in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a slow and perfected weekend meal as much as the next mom chef, but during the week that’s just not always possible. What I’ve discovered, however, is that if I take the time to make a bit extra of whatever dish it is that I’m cooking up on a Sunday when the time allots, I’ll reap the rewards later in the week when eating is a much more rushed experience.
Football lovers rejoice! The Super Bowl is almost here. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the big game. On top of the fact that its arrival ushers out the long, cold month of January (it’s only 31 days, but I swear it feels twice that long), I also find that it provides me with an excuse to create some seriously satiating appetizers.
I’ve been toying with the idea of a bean dip for some time now. While there’s always freedom to experiment with flavors, a couple of requirements were necessary for this endeavor straight out of the gate:
- It had to be hot because, let’s be honest, hot dip rocks.
- It had to be cheesy because, well, I myself am a bit cheesy (this girl does love her Wisconsin dairy).
- Last, but most definitely not least, it needed to be crudité worthy, therefore satisfying my veggie intake needs for the day.
Well, get ready, because I achieved all three goals and scored a two-point conversion in the process with the bonus addition of protein-charged beans to the mix. The final result is flavorful football fare that will leave you and your guests filled and content.
Kick off your Super Bowl party right by cooking up a couple slices of fresh-cut bacon. When the bacon is crisp and hot, remove it from the pan and chop. Reserving a teaspoon or two of the grease, slide your heat dial to medium and drop in a bit of diced onion and fresh garlic.
Sear it up for a minute or two and then toss in a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans.
Swirl around the pan for a couple moments allowing them the opportunity to heat up. Dial the heat back down to medium low and stir in a bit of sour cream (light is ok), mayo, and one of the two chopped bacon slices. Transfer the hot mixture to a food processor and spin until smooth.
Finally, drop in a few handfuls of pepper jack cheese, a pinch or two of Parmesan and a few choice flavor enhancers including oregano, Worcestershire and hot pepper (to taste). Add salt if needed and sprinkle the remaining chopped bacon and a little green onion over the top.
Even if your team doesn’t make it to the big game this year, you can be assured that between the clever commercials and the over-abundance of pigskin-dedicated fare, you’ll finish the evening with a satiated appetite and, if you’re lucky, a coveted Super Bowl win.
And if not, there’s always next year.
This post is being shared over at MSN’s Kitchen Cookoff. Be sure to drop by and show a little love!
Cheesy Bacon Bean Dip
Yield: About 2 Cups of Dip
Total Time: 25 min
2 Slices Bacon
1/4 Onion Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 15 Oz. Cannellini Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
3/4 Cup Shredded Pepper Jack
3 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire
1/4 tsp Oregano
A Few Drops Hot Pepper, to Taste
Optional Garnish: 1 Green Onion, Chopped
Cook up the two bacon slices until crisped and brown. Pull out and chop.
Reserve a teaspoon or two of the grease and on medium heat, brown up the onion and garlic.
Add in the beans and stir around for a minute or two to heat them up.
Turn the heat down to medium low and add in the broth, sour cream, mayo and one of the chopped bacon slices.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour back into the pan and add in the cheeses, Worcestershire, oregano and hot pepper. Add salt if needed.
Garnish with the remaining bacon and a chopped green onion. Serve with crudités and pita chips and/or a hunky loaf of fresh baked bread.
Ask me what I would take onto a deserted island if I could only have one food and you’ll get the same answer every single time. Hot fresh bread. Sourdough, french, pumpernickel, rye, I don’t discriminate. If it’s fresh from the oven, a shmear of butter across the slice, I’ll bite without question.
Bread isn’t really what I would call a “quick” recipe. It takes time to rise, time to punch out, and time to roll into the perfect loaf. Let’s face it, sometimes we just don’t have that kind of time. Ok, who am I kidding, on a weeknight I never have that kind of time. It doesn’t make me crave bread any less though, so I decided to concoct a quick weeknight recipe for those evenings when you want a slice of “fresh from the oven” sustenance but don’t have the time to put forth all the love and care that typically is required to get the desired result.
This recipe uses baking powder in place of yeast to allow for an instant lift while cooking, therefore eliminating all the time required for rising and punching. But wait, there’s more. You didn’t think I’d actually stop there did you? I wanted to give my loaf a little flavor kick so I snuck in a couple glugs of beer and a heaping handful of cheese.
Welcome back to the weeknight rotation my butter loving friend. You’ve been sorely missed.
Let’s cook up a loaf, shall we?