Saturday, January 23, 2010

Game Day Quesadillas, Succotash, and Sweet Lemon Tarts

As the football season winds down, we anxiously get ready for the biggest event of the year. It reminds me of  New Year's Eve. Even if you don't go out, you do on New Year's Eve. Just like the super bowl. Even if you don't watch football, you watch that game. 

I don't watch much football, however my family and friends are huge fans, so I sit idly by pretending to be a fan as I skim magazines and write in my journal. Some of you may relate. If something exciting happens and the room errupts in cheers of celebration, I look up, notice the pretty colors, and look for tight ends. I may even do a little cheering myself before I return my attention to my magazines.
My best friend and I used to go out on Monday Nights to observe this special holiday we call Monday Night football. We would say, "Who doesn't go out on a Monday?!? I mean really?!?" We would each stock up on one or two football trivia highlights about the game that night and see how much we could fake when we got to the bar.

Usually, I wouldn't spend anytime watching the game. We were usually too busy telling stories and trying to get free drinks. What can I say, I was pretty young then. Those nights didn't teach me much about football, but they did teach me how to get a free drink or three.

I might make jokes, but football is one of those universal sports that can be enjoyed by everyone even if there isn't general understanding. It is a great excuse to curl up on the coach with some Steak Quesadillas and really pig out with friends.
This year I am challenging myself to get more into the sport, at least learn a few things. My challenge for you non-chefs out there, is to get your tight ends' into the kitchen. Even if you don't cook or entertain make this the day that you choose to. I have provided simple, delicious, and healthy snacks for you and your guests. I am sharing the delicious Succulent Sucotash, Steak Quesadilla, and our Lemon Cheerleaders (think tarts) recipes.
I hope you accept my challenge to get in the kitchen or out to the grill. Just yesterday, I was talking to my friend, Joe, about going out for Monday night football soon. His response? 

"Babe, Monday night football is WAY over. We are in the playoffs now. Try to keep up." Okay, maybe I better apply myself a little harder and at least learn the schedule of the games... Yes, I think I should start there, don't you?

This is only the beginning. I have many more game day recipes that I will be sharing over the next week and I will also share what I have learned about football so far. Stay tuned and get prepared for some delicious fare on SUPERBOWL SUNDAY!

Steak Quesadillas

12 oz. sirloin steak (or your favorite cut of meat)
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper
1/2 cup red onion
1/2 cup cheddar cheese; grated
1/2 cup fresh cilantro; chopped
4 whole wheat tortillas

1. Heat your grill. Salt and pepper your steak and grill for 3 minutes a side or until medium rare. Remove from the grill and place on a plate. Let rest for at least 10 minutes, then slice into thin strips. 

2. Heat a grill pan until medium heat and spray with olive oil. Place one tortilla on the hot grill pan and top with half of the sliced steak, red onion, cheddar cheese, and cilantro. Top with another tortilla and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Then flip the quesadilla and cook on the other side for another 3-5 minutes. The cheese should be all melted and hold the two tortillas and the delicious toppings together.

3. Using a sharp pizza cutter or knife, cut into pizza-like triangles! Enjoy with sour cream, guacamole (I have a great recipe in my previous blog Stay and Celebrate that was posted on 12/8/09), and salsa!

4. This makes two large quesadillas that depending on appetites can feed up to 6 people. If you are expecting more, grill a few more steaks and make as many as you want. These are great left over then next day so don't be afraid to make more than everyone will eat!

Succulent Succotash
1/2 White Onion
2 tbsp. Garlic (approx. 4 cloves chopped)
1 cup Crushed Tomatoes
1 can Black Beans (rinsed to remove excess salt)
1/2 cup Roasted Red Pepper
1 small Tomato; diced
14 oz. Frozen Okra
1/2 cup Red Pepper; diced
1. Heat a large skillet and add 2 tsp of olive oil to the bottom of the pan and swirl. When the pan is hot add the onion, garlic, and fresh red pepper. 

2. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and stir together. Turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, however this can simmer on low for up to an hour while you prepare other things too!

This is a great and healthy alternative to a cold salad. This can be paired with almost anything and is a great way to sneak in fiber and vegetables with almost no one noticing! It goes great with the wings!

Bonus Tip: We also mixed this in with eggs the next morning and it made a delicious scramble with a little Canadian bacon and mozzarella cheese added in!

Lemon Cheerleaders (think tarts) ;)
16 ounces Low Fat Cream Cheese
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Ground Ginger
Zest of One Lemon
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
10 packets of Splenda*
Phyllo dough
Olive oil spray

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Mix the cream cheese, eggs, ginger, lemon zest and juice, and spenda together in a medium mixing bowl. I use a whisk to make sure air is incorporated. Whip until smooth and creamy!

3. Lay out the phyllo dough sheets and get our your favorite muffin tin and spray with cooking spray like PAM or olive oil. Grab 3 sheets of phyllo and lay on a flat surface. Spray the top sheet with olive oil spray and, using kitchen sheers, cut the sheets into 4 equal squares. Lay each square in one of the muffin basins. Pour in the lemon cream cheese mixture into the squares until they are filled. Repeat with three more sheets of phyllo until all 12 muffin basins have phyllo and lemon cream cheese mixture in. All of the cream cheese mixture should be used up. To finish, using the kitchen sheers, cut the top of each of the phyllo crusts and fold over the lemon cream cheese mixture making flower like folds. Once all are cut and folded over the cheese cake mix spray the top with olive oil.

4. If the phyllo gets a little dry and flaky, spray with olive oil to continue to moisten as you compile these delicious cheerleaders!

5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Everyone will be cheering when they taste these delicious tarts and you tell them that they are low fat and SUGAR FREE! It is the perfect end to a hearty and heavy football fair!

Mental Health Tip: It doesn't matter what new craft you may be learning about this year. Take one step at a time and set small goals. Whether it is learning more about cooking, football, or Tweeting (I am still trying to figure that one out!) You can climb that mountain or forge that stream one step at a time. Be patient and kind to yourself and remember; you can do anything you put your mind to!

Bon Apetite!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the Kitchen

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