Saturday, February 6, 2010

In it to win it!

Super bowl is second only to Thanksgiving in consumption days in the United States. You know what that means? Lots of cooking goes on and lots of eating is happening! So I am here to help you all decide what to cook. I am a Saints fan so I am going to provide you with some great Creole ideas so that you can get your munch on and help me cheer on the under dogs!

I am not really competitive about anything. I am typically the one who, during a board game, will give up my turn or bonus card in order to make sure everyone else is having fun. When I tell people this that are extremely competitive I see them literally cringe and slowly back away; afraid this might be contagious. Don't worry it's not. But we all have 'things' that we don't back away from. Recently over our Saucy Italian Pasta dinner I was eating with my honey, Scott, I asked him what my 'thing' was that I don't back down from. He sat across from the candle lit dinner weighing his response. He didn't want to say the wrong thing and jeopardize the night. "Well, you are extremely sensitive about negativity. When ever anyone talks negative you are in there reframing, spinning, and looking for silver linings and rainbows." I laughed, I guess I had never thought of myself as the 'negativity assassin' but I guess that is pretty dead on (pun intended).

I might not be competitive about the football game coming up, but don't you dare say anything bad about the Saints or New Orleans or we might have a face off. So no matter what your 'thing' is or who you are rooting for this Super bowl 44, remember that the only competition for what to eat is making sure that you made enough to feed an army. It is one of the biggest eating days of the year remember! Your guests will love these recipes, I am sure of that.
In honor of the creole roots in New Orleans, I called up my best friend Mike, who is the Ambassador of Mardi Gras and asked for advice. He sent along his famous Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya.  With it we are making our Massive Muffuletta and my own Mountain Momma Muffuletta version, which everyone preferred by the way. Of course the largest eating night of the year couldn't be without desert, so we have prepared Apple Pie Pancake Cookies and Delux Caramel Apple Bars.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
1/3 cup butter
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup chopped scallions
1½ cup uncooked chicken; diced
1½ cup sliced andouille or other spicy smoked sausage
1 cup fresh or frozen okra; diced
2 cups fresh or canned tomatoes
½ cup tomato paste
1 cup of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon sweet basil
½ teaspoon oregano
1 cup raw rice (wild or white can be used)

1. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof saucepan or dutch oven. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until tender.

2. Stir in scallions, chicken and sausage and sauté the mixture an additional 10 minutes. Add the okra, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, cayanne, basil, oregano and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

3. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package directions using chicken broth instead of water. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork. 

4. To serve place a generous helping of jambalaya in a bowl and top with a scoop of rice. 

Note: We doubled the recipe and served eight people and still had leftovers!

Massive Muffuletta
1 large round sourdough bread
1 cup outrageous olive salad; recipe follows
4 oz. Genoa salami; thinly sliced
4 oz. pepperoni; thinly sliced
8 oz. black forest ham
8 oz sliced provolone
pepperoncini as garnished (as desired)

Slice the bread in half horizontally and remove a little bit of the bread from inside just to make room for the fillings. Spread 1/4 cup of the olive salad on the bottom and top of each of the halves of bread. Then layer the salami, pepperoni, black forest  ham, and provolone cheese. After each layer of meat and cheese spread more of the olive salad on the top and continue to layer the meat and cheese until everything has been layered.

Place the top piece of bread over the bottom and wrap in foil. Place in the fridge for all the flavors to marinade for at least an hour. When ready to serve slice the into eights and serve with pepperoncinis. Enjoy the delicious flavors of the Saints!

Outrageous Olive Salad

1 tsp. capers
1/2 cup large pimento stuffed olives
1/2 cup large niciose olives
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sweet white onion
1/4 cup celery
1 tbsp. fresh parsley
2 tbsp. garlic
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until just combined. It should be slightly chunky, but very spreadable.

Mountain Momma Muffuletta
1 large round sourdough bread
1/2 cup outrageous olive salad; recipe above
4 oz. Genoa salami; thinly sliced
4 oz. pepperoni; thinly sliced
8 oz. black forest ham
8 oz sliced pepper jack cheese
3 tbsp. cesear dressing
3 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. roasted red pepper
baby dill pickles as garnish (if desired)

This recipe is extremely similar, but I add a few other things and bake it to make a gooey center. We need some extra warmth up here in the mountains.

Sliced the top off the sourdough bread round and scoop out most of the bread making a hollow bowl. Spread 1/4 cup of the outrageous olive salad into the bowl and up along the sides and use the other half for the top reserving some to spread in the middle. Then layer the meats and cheeses making one layer and spread 1 tbsp each dijon mustard and cesear dressing in between each layer. Continue layering the meats, cheese, and dijon mustard and cesear dressing until all is gone. Then top with roasted red pepper and cover the top 'lid' of the bread. Wrap in foil.

Bake in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to settle for 5-10 minutes. Slice into eights and serve with pickles. Enjoy this delicious warm mountain version of the muffaletta! Delicious!

Apple Pie-cakes
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Splenda
1 egg
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup white flour
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg
2 cups apples; chopped
2 tbsp. sugar free maple syrup

Using a mixer, combine the butter, apple sauce, sugar, and splenda in a large bowl until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue mixing. In a separate bowl combine the flour,  cream of tartar, baking soda, and spices and combine with a whisk.

Next, add the dry ingredients to the moist ingredients until a dough forms. In a separate bowl, combine the chopped apples and the sugar free maple syrup stirring to coat the apples. Next pour the apples into the dough and using your hands, kneed in the apple chunks.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and drop the dough onto a greased cookie tray using a spoon. Then press the cookies down using a spatula and bake for 15 minutes.

I topped each of these cookies with a 1/4 tsp. sugar free syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon when they came out of the oven and they were delicious! Like apple pie in your mouth from a cookie! Delicious!

Delux Caramel Apple Bars

For crust:

1 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 tbsp. splenda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 apple sauce unsweetened
1 egg
1/4 cup plain fat free yogurt

Combine all ingredients above and kneed into a ball. The dough will be moist. Spread along the bottom of a large greased baking dish.

For topping:

4 cups apples with peels (chopped)
3 tbsp. sugar free maple syrup
2 tbsp. Splenda
2 tbsp. cinnamon
2 cups granola (we love Northern Gold Whole Grain Cereal)
1 cup creamy all natural peanut butter (we love Adam's All Natural)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (we love Hodgson Mill)

Combine all ingredients above in a large bowl stirring to incorporate all well. Then place this topping on the crust in the pan layer it evenly.

For Topping:

1/2 cup sugar free caramel ice cream topping
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips

Sprinkle the ice cream topping and the chocolate and peanut butter chips on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes. This is delicious and you will will be transported back to the golden years of caramel covered apples!

Mental Health Tip: It doesn't matter who you root for during this Superbowl or what your 'thing' is. Do it with enthusiasm and own it. It is you after all and aren't you the best just the way you are? I happen to think so! Cheer loudly, without abandon and may the best team win!

May there be victory in your kitchen and for the Saints!

~"Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the Kitchen!

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