Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

Although we were cheering on the Patriots (mostly because the older boy's teacher is a HUGE Patriot's fan!), we enjoyed a fun Super Bowl party with lots of food, drink, and fun for the kids!  I served a homemade salsa with multi grain tortilla chips, cantaloupe and strawberries with a Grand Marnier fruit dip, a super yummy cheese, spinach, artichoke heart, plus a-whole-bunch-of-other-good-stuff dip baked in a bread bowl, a tried and true favorite of ours and our friends - seasoned Ritz crackers, BBQ pork sliders, and last but not least, homemade cheese pizza for the kids!!!

Recipes below!!!

BBQ Pork Sliders
These are always a huge hit and super easy!  Best of all - they make your home smell wonderful!

BBQ Pork Sliders
Serves 8-10

4 pounds pork tenderloin
Two 28 oz BBQ sauce - I use Jack Daniels Original, but you can use whatever, or make your own!
1 dozen slider rolls

Pour some of the BBQ sauce into the bottom of a crock pot.  Add the pork and pour the rest of the first bottle of BBQ sauce over the top.  Add more if the pork isn't quite covered.  This will cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6.  When I use the crock pot, I always start everything on high in the morning, then turn it down to low by lunch. 

Continue to turn the pork throughout the day.  Later in the day, the pork will begin to fall apart, at that point, take two forks and shred it. 

Serve on the slider rolls with the coleslaw and extra sauce. 

Grand Marnier Fruit Dip
I can't take credit for this recipe - it came from Pomegranates and Prickly Pears, a cookbook by the Junior League of Phoenix, but I did change it up this time by using Grand Marnier instead of Amaretto - which is what is in the original recipe.  It was still delicious!

Grand Marnier Fruit Dip
Serves 4-6

2 cups sour cream (I used low fat)
1/4 brown sugar
2-4 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Combine all ingredients.  Chill, covered, for several hours or even overnight.  Serve with fresh cut fruit.

Homemade Salsa
Homemade salsa always tastes so much better than something out of a jar!  Plus - you can be so creative with it and add whatever you'd like!   The unique ingredient this time around?  Pomegranate seeds - loved them!

Homemade Salsa
Serves 6-8

Two 14 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes, drained
Medium onion (I used a sweet onion this time, would also recommend red), diced
Two 4 oz cans chopped green chilies
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 scallions, chopped (green part too!)
15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 - 2 cups corn - best if you have grilled the cob and cut it off, but frozen or canned will work too!
2 teaspoons cumin
Handful cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4.3 oz tub of pomegranate seeds
Juice of one lime
Avocado, chopped

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, green chilies, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, scallions, black beans, corn, cumin, cilantro, salt, and pepper.  Let this sit for several hours.  When ready to serve, I always drain off the excess liquid (that's why I add the lime juice last!).  Add the pomegranate seeds, lime juice, and avocado.  Transfer to a serving plate and pair with tortilla chips!  I love the multi-grain tortilla chips - they taste wonderful with this! 

Seasoned Ritz Crackers
A friend of mine gave me this recipe - I think it probably came straight off of the side of the cracker box at some point, but I have used it for years and everyone loves it! 

Seasoned Ritz Crackers
Serves 10-12

3 boxes of Ritz Cheese Bits
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Original Ranch Salad dressing
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 heaping tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Place crackers in a large sealable container.  In a bowl, mix all other ingredients and invert over crackers to coat.  Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning the container periodically to coat crackers.  Bring mixture to room temperature before serving.

Bread Bowl Cheese Dip
You can certainly play around with the ingredients on this one - but wow, is it good! 

Bread Bowl Cheese Dip
Serves 6-8

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped (I use turkey bacon - but only Oscar Mayer turkey bacon)
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I did use fat free!)
2 cups sour cream (I used low fat!)
14 oz can artichoke bottoms, chopped.  You can also use the hearts, I just like the bottoms better!
2 scallions, chopped
4 oz can green chilies
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (so...used full fat, it can't be ALL low fat!)
8 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and dried
1 round loaf of bread, hollowed out.  Reserve inside of bread for dipping later.
crackers, carrots, celery, etc to serve with the dip

Combine the bacon, cream cheese, sour cream, artichokes, scallions, green chilies, cheddar cheese, and spinach in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Pour mixture into hollowed out bread bowl, wrap in foil, and bake for 1 hour.  Serve with crackers, remaining bread pieces, carrots, etc. 

Homemade Pizza
My boys love pizza, so do their "best friends".  Instead of ordering pizza, I love to make them one from scratch - it is really very easy and you know exactly what your kids are eating!  I even make the sauce, but I'm not QUITE ready to share that recipe!  They are young - they still only want cheese on their pizza, but hey, I'm OK with that! 

Homemade Pizza
Makes 1 pizza

1 cup warm water
1 packet yeast
3 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (you can substitute honey here too)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon cornmeal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the water into a mixing bowl and add the yeast.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Add the salt, sugar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Start mixing, I use a stand mixer for this with the dough hook attachment.  Slowly add in the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides and is forming into a ball.  If it is too sticky, add more flour, if it isn't coming together, add more water. 

Knead on a floured surface for a few minutes to stretch out.  Coat a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the dough and turn to coat with the olive oil.  Cover with a damp towel and put bowl in a warm place, free from drafts.  Let rise for at least 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 

Once you are ready to make the pizza, punch the down down and roll out dough.  I use a pizza stone, so I spread out the cornmeal on the pizza stone to prevent the pizza from sticking.  Place the pizza dough on the stone and roll up the edges.  Add the sauce, toppings, and cheeses.  Before putting in the oven, drizzle the final tablespoon of olive oil to the top of the pizza. 

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Once done, let sit for 5-10 minutes out of the oven before slicing. 

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