Category Archives: Appetizers

Perfect snack — lunch or dinner….

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Perfect snack — lunch or dinner….

As I watch it raining ice/snowing outside, it makes me sad to think of all the children who anticipated hunting for Easter eggs today, and all the people who devote so much time and effort to organize those events.

We are trying something on the smoker today — smoking a chuck roast that will turn into burnt ends.  I found on the WWW that it has several names, one being Poor Mans Burnt Ends.  However, there is nothing cheap about buying beef chuck roast.  Anyway, we’ll see how this turns out, and will let you know (and share the recipe, if it works out).  However, in the meantime, I wanted to try something that I thought my roommate would like for lunch.  Here in the midwest, we love everything with gravy, and one delish meat item that goes with gravy is chicken fried steak.  I made steak strips or fingers using beef cube steak, and whipped up some quick homemade gravy to dunk them in.  Well, it was a hit, and I’ll be doing this again.

Note that the flour is really seasoned which is key, and I actually cut the steak into strips before it was completely thawed which made it a little easier.

Hope you have a wonderful Easter, and thanks for spending some of your Sunday with me!

~Connie Kaye

Chicken Fried Steak Fingers

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

Ingredients for for steak fingers:

  • 1 1/4 lb. cube steak
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. each garlic and onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt (make sure you get enough)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Ingredients for gravy:

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

 

  1. Slice steak into thin long strips about 1/3 – 1/2” thick.
  2. Set up a dredging station: In a bowl, combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Season steak strips with salt and pepper. Dredge the steak strips in the flour mixture then add them to the egg mixture and turn the pieces to coat. Return steak to the flour and dredge once more.
  3. In a deep skillet or dutch oven, add about 1” of vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering and about 350°, place the steak strips, one by one, into the oil .  (Do in batches)  Cook until golden all over, about 2 minutes per side. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain off any excess grease.
  4. Make gravy: In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter. When the butter is foamy, whisk in flour and cook mixture until the flour is golden, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to gently simmer the gravy until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Love jalapeno poppers? Try this on for a New Years Eve snack!

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Love jalapeno poppers?  Try this on for a New Years Eve snack!

Not sure I’ve ever made anything with wonton wrappers, but my maiden voyage occurred to try these snacks for a recent KC CHIEFS! game.  You’ll find them in the produce section and about a zillion come in the package.  Mix 5 simple ingredients, and ta da!  Delicious! And, you can adjust the heat according to your liking by the amount of jalapenos you include.

Recipe below, and I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year.  Here’s to 2018!

~Connie Kaye

Jalapeno Popper Wonton Cups

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Ingredients:

12 wonton wrappers
oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sour cream
12 oz. bacon cooked & crumbled (reserve 2 Tbsp.)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (reserve 2 Tbsp.)
2-3 jalapeños seeded and chopped (*for a spicier version, do not remove all the seeds)

Set oven to 350 degrees, and spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
Place a wonton wrapper in each muffin cup and bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.

n a medium-sized bowl, stir together cream cheese, sour cream, bacon, cheddar cheese, and diced jalapeños.  Spoon filling into wonton cups, then sprinkle with reserved bacon and cheese.

Return to oven and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until wontons are golden brown and cheese is melted.

Need a delicious snack for guests (or yourself)?

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Need a delicious snack for guests (or yourself)?

Food Network magazine recently featured a BBQ spiced nuts recipe so we thought we might give it a whirl for the holidays.  WOW  That’s all I got!  I finally put a dish of them away or nobody else is going to experience these delish morsels.  And, the best part is that they are super easy.

Note that there are a couple of different types of paprika — we didn’t have those, just a spanish paprika that we use to make barbeque rub, and just used one total tablespoon although the recipe calls for 2.

This would also be great to gift to friends and family.    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

~Connie Kaye

Barbeque-Spiced Nuts

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Ingredients:

NUTS
1.5 cups pecans
1.5 cups honey-roasted peanuts
1 cup salted roasted almonds

SPICE MIX
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp smoked paprika (we just used 1 tbsp regular paprika, and it really isn’t spicy)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Whisk 1 egg white in a large bowl until frothy.  Add the nuts and stir until evenly coated.  Add the spice mix and toss to coat.  Spread the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake, stirring occasionally, until toasted and just dry, about 25 minutes.

Let the nuts cool completely on the baking sheet (they will crisp as they cool).  Break up any clusters.

 

Mystery solved….what to do with leftover spaghetti noodles

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Mystery solved….what to do with leftover spaghetti noodles

In a very random conversation last week at work, my friend shared that she had made a frittata with leftover spaghetti (no sauce, mind you).  I replied “I always make too much and throw it out”.  Laura is with us today to share a super easy, economical and delicious  way to use that leftover spaghetti (who doesn’t cook too much)???

STAFF_BirrellL-WEB

Meet Laura

She found that this frittata is a great way to use up left-over spaghetti, and her family of three ate the whole thing and asked for it again the next night.  I plan to try it soon, but I think I’ll have to mix it up with a few different meats cuz I live with Mr. All Meat Pizza – you could use browned sausage, canadian bacon, ham, etc.  If you do try one of these alternatives to the bacon that Laura used, we would love for you to come back and comment below!

Step 1 involves chopping up the cooked spaghetti:

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Step 2 – whisk the eggs and milk, and adding the yummy (bacon and cheese) ingredients:

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The Final Frittata!

I could most definitely snarf a piece of that right now!  I’m sharing Laura’s recipe below, and hope that you enjoy as I certainly plan to!  Thanks for dropping by to get in on Laura’s quick weeknight meal!

~Connie Kaye

Spaghetti Frittata

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Ingredients:

6 eggs
1 ½ cups cut-up cooked spaghetti
2 slices of chopped cooked bacon
1 cup of shredded cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a 9 inch round pie plate with non-stick cooking oil.

Whisk the six eggs in a separate bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Laura added a Zesty no-salt substitute to give it a little more flavor without adding additional salt.

Stir in the 2 slices of pre-cooked bacon, ½ cup of shredded cheese and chopped spaghetti. (Laura used the Mexican four cheese blend because that is what she had on hand and wanted to use up.)

Pour the blended items into the pie plate and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheese.  Bake for 30 min. or until center is set.

Thought we would try our hand at canning…..Peach Hot-Pepper Jam

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Thought we would try our hand at canning…..Peach Hot-Pepper Jam

Found this delicious recipe for Peach-Hot Pepper Jam in the Kraft Food & Family FREE magazine and it’s been a hit with many friends.  (I’ve actually had friends trade me stuff for it)  While the name implies that it’s hot, it’s not!!!  Just delicious.  We have used it on sandwiches, but the most popular way to consume it is to put it over softened cream cheese and dip with your favorite dipping instrument, such as Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps.    We use the original pretzel flavor with this yummy appetizer/snack, but we snarfed up a bag of the sea salt & black pepper yesterday which were delicious.   As rookies to the canning process, we learned on our first batch which wouldn’t set up – make sure the peaches aren’t too juicy, or add more pectin to adjust for the extra liquid.  While the peaches are plentiful, we plan to make more for gifts.  Hope you enjoy as we and our friends have!

~Connie Kaye

Peach Hot-Pepper Jam

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups finely chopped peeled peaches (about 1-1/2 lb.)
  • 1 cup finely chopped red peppers (about 1 large red pepper)
  • 1 cup finely chopped jalapeño peppers
  • 1 cup HEINZ Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 pkg. SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
  • 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
    5 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
    Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water. Rinse well. Place jars, right sides up, on rack in bottom of boiling-water canner. Fill canner with enough warm water so it covers tops of jars by at least 1 inch. Bring water to boil; boil jars 10 min. Reduce heat to simmer. Leave jars in hot water until ready to be filled.
    Place new lids in medium saucepan filled with water; bring water to boil. Turn off heat. Let lids stand in water until ready to be used.

 

Place peaches and peppers in 6- or 8-qt. saucepot. Add vinegar. Stir in pectin. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.

 

Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

 

Remove jars from water; drain well. Immediately ladle fruit mixture into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on rack, then lower into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover canner; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing centers of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Buffalo Chicken Bites

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Buffalo Chicken Bites

I found this recipe on a Rotel ad, I believe.  Last night, thinking about watching some football playoff games – gotta track who my boys will be playing next Sunday!  Anyway, this was just the ticket.  Really good and super easy.

I had never bought these phyllo shells before, but found them in the freezer section, precooked.  After filling, 15 minutes in the oven and they were ready to consume.  I did make one change as the original recipe didn’t have blue cheese in it, so that’s optional.  However, I figured buffalo sauce + blue cheese = yum!

Hope you enjoy as we did!

~Connie Kaye

Buffalo Chicken Bites

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Ingredients:

INGREDIENTS:
4 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp cayenne pepper sauce
1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green chiles, drained well
Chopped cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
crumbled blue cheese, optional
2 boxes frozen mini shells

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Please cream cheese in microwave safe bowl with pepper sauce.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir until smooth.   Add drained tomatoes, chicken and shredded cheese.  Divide mixture between frozen shells, place in large shallow baking dish.  Bake 15 minutes or until cheese melts.

 

Candied Bourbon Pecans

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Candied Bourbon Pecans

My friend Heather recently gave me a Hy-Vee magazine that came to her in the mail (she’s an Aisles Online fan) and it has some cool appetizer recipes that I thought I might try.  The first contestant is these pecans….warning, the hubster decided we should smoke them, so the first round went in the trash.  Turns out you need to cook them a little lower than the oven temperature.  Round 2 also involved the pellet smoker but at a lower temp.  YUMMO!

I think they would be good in the oven as well, and one thing I might try for Round 3 is to toast the pecans in the oven a bit, then add the gooey, bourbony deliciousness. Check out the recipe below – might be great for holiday gifts!

Candied Bourbon Pecans

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Ingredients:

1/2 bourbon
2/3 C dark brown sugar
1/4 C butter
1 tbsp. finely grated ginger
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 1/2 C pecan halves
cinnamon sugar, optional
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or smoker to 225).  In a saucepan, bring bourbon, dark brown sugar, butter, ginger, salt and pepper to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until thickened.

Stir in pecans.  Pour on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until toasted.  If smoking, placed on foil vegetable-type rack (or we used screen from the hardware store) for about 30-40 minutes.  Toss occasionally.  Cool and toss with cinnamon sugar if desired.