Recipe Round Up: “The Big Game”

This Sunday is kind of a big deal.

I mean there’s Groundhog Day. Obviously we’re all pumped for that – who doesn’t love chubby little Phil?

There’s also the Super Bowl – which I am always pumped for, since it combines one of my passions with my profession (that would be football and marketing).

Both are probably marked on your calendar for grocery shopping and wardrobe planning, but do you know what else happens Sunday? This little blog celebrates 2 years!

Obviously a day this epic deserves a recipe round-up – so if you’re looking for some snacks to whip up for “The Big Game” – you have come to the right place. Should I even mention the fact that this might be the best blog to come to for all things buffalo, which is like, a staple for Super Bowl Sunday? That and the game is being played in close proximity to the origin of “Buffalo Wings“. Boom. Droppin’ knowledge.

I’ll stop now.

The Game Plan

The Warm-Up

Warm Up - Super Bowl Recipes

Buffalo Hummus

Buffalo Egg Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Potato Sins

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

Faux Fried Pickles

The Big Game

Big Game

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Game Time Chili

New York (close enough) State of Mind

I had to put this in there because I’m a sucker for a theme. When I think New York – a few staples come to mind. Italian delights – mozzarella sticks and pizza. And of course salmon, bagels and cream cheese, which comes to you in flat bread form below! Maybe I’ll drum up my own creation with some pastrami this weekend!

New York State of Mind

Faux Fried Mozzarella Sticks

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Pizza Soup

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

And let’s be honest, I could LIVE off snack foods along – so don’t be ashamed if you just make a bunch of appetizers and call it your meal. That may be exactly what happened in my household last year…and I certainly did not hear any complaints!

Hope you find something you enjoy! Have a great weekend and enjoy the festivities!

 

Deviled Egg Spread

My sanity has been less than even-keeled this week.

Okay, that’s a lie. For the past 3 weeks. And okay, while we’re being honest – even-keeled went “bye-bye” a while ago.

As I have mentioned, we tackled our first “DIY” project this month: re-doing our half bath off the kitchen. You know, the bathroom all of our guests see. It is almost done – barring any more unforeseen issues. And we’re hosting a couple’s shower at our house in 8 days.

8 DAYS PEOPLE!

As in, I’ve been so busy with the reno – that I almost forgot I needed to like, plan a party. You know, invitations, food, beverages, decor. Oh, and we’re heading out of town in a few weeks and need to plan our itinerary. Oh, and we’re attending 3 weddings in the next 4 weeks.

Why did I just now discover that Wine Ice Cream exists? I still haven’t tried it…but I’d be surprised if I made it home without a pint (or 5) to add to my freezer. I need it in my life now – I’m lookin’ at you Chocolate Cabernet.

Needless to say (silly phrase, since I’m about to say what is needless to say) – I haven’t been whipping up masterpieces in the kitchen lately. However, I do have a recipe I forgot to blog about a while back to share with you. Who knew my absent-mindedness would save the day?

This is a great snack to serve for a small group – but beware if you have deviled egg lovers like my dad. This could disappear quite quickly!)

Deviled Egg Spread (Serves 4-6 / 7 total WW points for the spread + cracker of choice)

Ingredients

3 medium eggs

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. yellow mustard

1/2 tsp. ground mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. curry powder

Paprika for topping

Place eggs in a medium pot and cover with water. Add 1 Tbsp. vinegar (helps seal the egg in case of a crack!). Bring water to a boil and allow to boil about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, allowing the water to simmer 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover and sit 10 minutes. Once the eggs have cooled, tap shell on a hard surface and peel the shell off the egg. Repeat, and then slice hard-boiled eggs in half.

Remove yolks and add to a mini food processor. Add 3 halves of the egg whites in with the yolks. Add mayonnaise, mustard, dry mustard, curry powder, salt and pepper. Pulse the processor a few times until the ingredients are blended well. Begin with half of the measurements above – and just add as texture and taste dictate. (Example – I usually start with 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise add if the mixture needs to be smoother).

Step by Step

Take the remaining halves of the egg whites and give them a coarse chop. Add to small bowl, then stir in the yolk mixture.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, sprinkle with Paprika and serve! I used the Everything Pretzel Crisps and found them to be the perfect pairing…

Deviled Egg Spread

Have a great weekend y’all!

Buffalo Hummus

I know y’all have been worried about me.

I mean, there are likely several reasons you could worry about me.

My fear of balloons is a a cause of concern for some. My ability to get sucked in to a book and polish it off in a single day could raise eyebrows. Or how about the fact that whether I’ve watched the movie or tune in to the last 5 minutes, I can still break out into a straight-up ugly cry at the end of Rudy?

We haven’t even breached the subject of my bizarre talent of coming up with odd commercials, slogans or just ridiculous rhymes. Just ask my Biffer (whose latest blog post talks about the day she could have felt old) about the compilation I made for her as she went off to college. It was an epic combination of our favorite hits from the 80’s and 90’s, along with some of my super special commercials and jingles – and it was on a mixed tape. Let that one marinate for a while. Do cars even come with tape decks anymore?

All of that aside, I know you’ve been worried because it’s been almost two months since I’ve posted a buffalo chicken flavored recipe.

Today, we’re rectifying that issue. I made this recipe a few weeks ago as a bit of an experiment, and the husband and I went crazy for it! We both love hummus, and obviously you know about the buffalo obsession – so this was the perfect combination. It makes a ton so it was perfect for us to snack on throughout the week – give it a try and let me know what you think!

Buffalo Hummus (6 servings / 3 WW pts. each + chips, celery, etc.)

Ingredients

1 16 oz. can Garbanzo beans/Chickpeas (reserve 1-2 Tbsp. liquid, drain the rest)

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

3 Tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1/4 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

I made hummus once before in college and for some reason forgot how easy it is. It makes good amount, doesn’t require much prep work and only leaves one dish to be cleaned. How awesome is that?

To begin, drain the chickpeas, reserving 1 or 2 tablespoons of the liquid. In a food processor (I use my precious mini one) add chickpeas and garlic. Pulse a few times to break everything up a little.

Next, add your oils, 1 Tbsp. chickpea liquid, hot sauce, lemon juice, paprika and garlic salt. Then chop on full speed, making sure everything is blending together. I rotated “chop” and “grind” a few times to switch up the direction of the blade to ensure the chickpeas were smoothing out a little.

Steps to Blend

Adjust seasoning to your taste buds. I played around with the paprika and garlic salt, and probably added another tablespoon of hot sauce to make sure we got the heat – so use the recipe above as a starting point and adjust. If it’s too thick, add a little more liquid/oil/hot sauce.

Scoop into a serving dish leaving a shallow well in center. Add blue cheese crumbles. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving with pita chips, pretzel crisps, veggies (I recommend celery), etc.

Buffalo Hummus

Try making some this weekend or at your next gathering and watch people who normally scoff at hummus devour it!

Buffalo Hummus Close Up

Shrimp and Crab Dip

Do you ever come across a recipe and think “that looks so incredibly amazing I want to eat it all right now” and then you start reading the ingredients and kind of cringe at the mental calorie count?

For instance, when you see a recipe by a certain Southern baroness of butter, do you automatically cast it aside?

I often do – but recently, I found one I knew I could makeover into a tasty and lightened up dish!

Y’all may have caught on to the fact that I LOVE appetizers and finger foods. I’m talking I get excited when I throw a party and have leftovers because I can make meals of fingers foods the next day or two.

So last weekend during the golf tournament, it was time for a little shindig to kick off the festivities. I had come across this recipe and figured it was time to give it a try. I made a few adjustments – mainly reducing the fat content, but also adding a little flavor. I don’t like to toot my own horn or anything, but um, beep beep – cause this dip was delicious. I’m honestly wishing I had some in front of me right now.

The best part about dips is that they don’t require assembly after they cook, and this one is great for cookouts or fancier meals – so I’m sure it would go perfectly with whatever meal you have planned for Father’s Day! I served it with some blue corn tortilla chips and original flavor Pretzel Crisps, and it disappeared rather quickly.

Shrimp and Crab Dip (Serves 10 / 3 pts. per serving + chips/crackers/pretzels)

Original recipe “Shore is Good Seafood Dip” found here.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 medium ribs celery, chopped

1 6 oz. can lump crab meat

1 6 oz. can shrimp, roughly chopped

1/2 can of condensed Cream of Shrimp soup (use bottom half and discard top half)

1 cup fat-free mayonnaise

6 oz. reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Sauté bell pepper, onion and celery 5-7 minutes until softened.

In a large bowl, mix together crab, shrimp, mayonnaise, Parmesan, pepper and Tabasco. Add sautéed vegetables and stir until ingredients are blended well.

Step by Step

Pour mixture into a medium-large baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Baked Dip

Serve with crackers, chips, pretzels, vegetables, etc.

Seriously give this one a try at your next party – even if you’re the only guest!

ShrimpandCrabDip

Have a great weekend y’all, and happy Father’s Day to my “Duddy” and all of the other Daddies and Daddies-to-be out there!

A Week of Celebration

Do you know what tomorrow is? I mean, other than the day that adorable little Phil will tell us when Spring is set to arrive.

Tomorrow is my blog’s birthday! Or is it anniversary?

Let’s go with birthday since that’s the theme of the week. On Monday I said farewell to my 20’s – so today, as a way of celebrating this lovely occasion, my blog will say farewell to something too. Have you figured out the surprise? Check the top of your computer screen:

www.cookingonthebrightside.com

My blog has its’ own domain name now! Very nerdy of me to be excited about, I know, but hey – if you’ve been with me for a year, you expect it by now, right?

Have no fear – any older links will still take you to your favorite recipe. Now it’s just abbreviated, which means it’s easier to remember for when you’re passing it along to your friends. (Wink wink).

In addition to tomorrow being a very special day for my blog – Sunday is a very special day  for football lovers (like myself) and for food lovers (um, duh) and for those of us who just enjoy fun celebratory occasions in general.

So if you’re hosting a party for 50 on Sunday or just getting together with a small group and maybe tuning in to the Puppy Bowl – here’s a little recipe roundup for your menu planning!

Pre Game

AppCollage

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffa-faux Chicken Tenders

Mexican Dip

Skinny Faux-Fried Mozzarella Sticks

The Main Event

Main Course Collage

Buffalo Chicken Soft Tacos

Buffalo Chicken Soup

BBQ Chicken Stromboli

Cheeseburger Soup

Pizza Soup

Spicy Pulled Beef

Turkey Beer Chili

Of course, you can always jazz your party up with a fun theme. I’m talking about New Orleans. So serve up some festively Cajun recipes and throw back a Louisiana-brewed beer  (might I recommend Abita? Light and Amber are delicious!) and you’ll feel like you’re celebrating in the Big Easy!

Lagniappe (translation: a little something extra)

CajunCollage

“Fried Shrimp” with Spicy Sauce (or make some po boys cut up into sliders!)

Cajun Shrimp Casserole

Creole Stew

I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend celebrating – as they say in N’awlins…

“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

Hearts of Palm Dip

This week is a very exciting week – because my friend Erin is getting married on Saturday!

So, I’d like to dedicate a special blog to my Punk for her wedding week!

Now, Erin and I go way back. Actually, our dads introduced us! It was move in day at Penn State in 2001 and I was a shy little freshman. So awkward introduction, special circumstances (roommates be crazy!) and social interaction (Captain Morgan in particular) broke the barrier of awkwardness, and we became “Punks” – which I honestly don’t even know the origin of other than me randomly calling her that one day in jest as we were crossing paths in the bathroom of Bigler Hall.

Through trips to St. Lucia, St. Martin, Destin, Memphis, Pittsburgh and lots of football and lake house weekends together, we have remained close friends and I am so thankful for that. She is one of the kindest, most genuine people that I know – and it doesn’t hurt that we have a ton in common, such as loving dirty martinis, all things artichoke-olives, Penn State football, the Pittsburgh Steelers (she’s the one who converted me!), glasses of wine, beaches, good books, and great conversations. I was honored to have her by my side on my wedding day and I am so excited to be able to do the same for her!

I am so happy for her and Jason and what they have to look forward to as Mr. & Mrs. and I know she is going to be an absolutely stunning bride on Saturday!

Well, last month we had Erin’s bachelorette weekend in Destin, Florida and I thought it would be fun to do a little shower portion and use the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy as a theme because she loved the books. Don’t be scared – nothing too over-the-top, but I did have fun coming up with foods and decor for the shower! If you haven’t read the books – you probably won’t get some of the references, BUT I promise you it was all delicious and lasted us for two meals and some snacks!

Hearts of Palm Dip (aka “Twitchy Palms Dip” – serves 8-10)

FYI – I was not at my own grocery store so I couldn’t find a lot of the fat-free loot – but if you use reduced-fat Parmesan and fat-free mozzarella, mayo and sour cream, the total WW Points for this dip (minus and chips, crackers, etc.) is 16.

1 14.5 oz. jar hearts of palm, drained

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup chopped green onion

1/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, add your mayonnaise, sour cream, mozzarella and Parmesan.

Chop up hearts of palm into bite-sized pieces. Add to bowl with green onion, salt and pepper.

Mix well and add to a medium baking dish. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and bubbly.

Serve with crackers or pita chips!

I decorated the table with a sparkly piece of fabric and used some mini handcuffs to lay on the table and hang from the chandelier, along with a “Laters, Baby” sign and a silver masquerade mask.

Accompanying the “Twitchy Palms Dip” were  “BL-Teasers”, “Inner Goddess Sandwiches”,  “Bow Tied-Up Pasta Salad” (I just used bow tie pasta for my buffalo chicken pasta salad), “Mr. Mercurial Crabby Bites” and “We Aim to Cheese-y Olive Bread.” I also whipped up some semi-homemade ice cream sandwiches where I made cookies using ground up Twinings English Breakfast Tea (a favorite of the main character) and vanilla Haagen Daas ice cream.

To wash it all down, we had a delicious specialty cocktail that we sipped on while the bride-to-be opened her shower gifts!

I’ll be sure to share that on Friday so we can all toast to the bride and groom – cheers y’all!

Shrimp Salsa

So last week while on vacation, I thought I might get a chance to update the blog or post a delicious new recipe.

Obviously…that didn’t quite happen.

Y’all, I don’t know what it was – but I just didn’t want anything to do with technology! Other than watching a few episodes of a TV show we brought on DVD and letting the world know that my amazing husband passed his big exam via Facebook, I completely immersed myself in books and enjoyed sticking my head in the proverbial sand.

Okay, so it was my feet in the sand, but you get the picture.

Anyways – the husband and I had an amazing 7 days full of sunshine (well, mostly!), cold beer, crashing waves, delicious seafood, ocean breezes, good books, late night balcony talks and of course, celebrating his big accomplishment!

I think we ate something with seafood every single day – including 2 different types of delicious baked oysters smothered in cheese! We also had crab legs, grouper cheeks (yes, cheeks, and they were ridiculously good!), smoked tuna dip, gumbo and a pizza that was topped with Cajun grilled shrimp.

I know I’ve told y’all how much I love shrimp and how versatile it is. Well, I finally tried a recipe I’d been dying to test out that I found on SkinnyTaste that is a homemade salsa – with the main ingredient being shrimp. It is so incredibly refreshing during these hot summer months – just pair with a cold beverage (I mean, it doesn’t have to be a beer), kick back on the patio and enjoy!

Shrimp Salsa (Serves 4  / 2 WW pts. per serving / adapted from “SkinnyTaste“)

8 oz. pre-cooked shrimp

2 medium tomatoes

3 Tbsp. red onion, diced

2 Tbsp. fresh jalapeno, diced

1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

Pinch garlic powder

Tortilla chips (I tried Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot Blues Chips, they are sprinkled with cayenne and have a great kick to them!)

Remove tails from shrimp and pat dry. Chop shrimp into 3 or 4 pieces each.

Chop your tomatoes and dice your onion. Add to a medium bowl and add lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes.

Add chopped jalapeno, cilantro and shrimp to bowl. Mix well and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Taste and add salt if necessary.

This is even better after a day or so when all of the flavors have really blended…so don’t be afraid to double the recipe if you are expecting a crowd!

Remove from the refrigerator, grab your chips and dig in!