It’s that time of the year again.. The smell of autumn will soon be in the air and that means FOOTBALL is near. Before long, we’ll be gathering with family and friends for a tailgate at the stadium or a calm, peaceful day watching our favorite college or pro team compete for a victory. When I say calm and peaceful, I’m referring to those households unlike mine, where stress and anxiety are only subdued by good snacks. After all, “Food is the gateway to happiness.” I know that’s not the famous cliche’, but it’s my motto for life..or at least nervous situations? I want to share with you a few of my favorite snacks. I use recipes found on various websites like allrecipes.com or thespruceeats.com.
My all-time favorite gameday, [or anyday] snack/meal is my Build Your Own Nachos.
Seasoning mix for the proteins are made in advance and I keep them in a sealed jar and use 2 tablespoons per pound of meat, which is equal to 1 packet of store bought mix. A baggie with a zipper top works well too if access to a jar isn’t doable. I used a recipe from gimmedelicious.com and have added to it to satisfy my taste.
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground rosemary
- 1 teaspoon minced onion (dried)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
I usually prepare 2 lbs of ground beef when I make my nachos, but chicken, shrimp or whatever protein you desire can easily be substituted or added to give your nachos more dimension. There are a wide variety of bagged tortilla chips on the market to choose from. I use 1 bag per 3 people. I also place the chips on a cookie sheet and place in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes prior to nacho assembly. I love refried beans for my nachos. To me, the name brand canned ones have great flavor so I don’t go through the trouble to make them from scratch. I like the fat-free option because it makes me feel like I’m eating healthier. Make sure he beans are heated up, because the taste of cool ones is unpleasant. Cheese is essential for flavorful nachos. I prefer a melted cheddar to drizzle over the chips, meat and beans, then I add grated pepper jack atop the vegetables. For my company that are not fond of spicy foods, I offer a grated sharp cheddar. Like I said, it’s a build your own nachos, so add or subtract as you will. Sour cream is another condiment that I offer. I can my own salsas so of course I’m going to highlight them as a topping. Whether you prefer a mild or hot salsa, I got you covered. I can my own salsas from what my garden gifts me with, so I take pride in highlighting it. As far as the vegetables go, I feel that diced fresh tomatoes, chiffonade lettuce [iceberg or romaine], finely diced sweet onions, sliced jalapenos for the adventurous eaters and sliced black olives are the mainstay for a hearty and delicious nacho plate.
FRIES..FRIES..FRIES..and Bacon too.. Another one of my favorite snacks is seasoned and/or loaded fries. I usually make these with six medium sized russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch square, 3 inch long sticks. I have gotten away from using the deep fat fryer and now utilize my air fryer or oven. I take my fry sticks, rinse and drain. Once they are dried out, I’ll put then in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil, [vegetable oil can also be used, but I’m watching my figure..through squinted eyes albeit], then I season them with either my taco seasoning, Italian blend or just air fry or bake them [at 425 for 15-20 minutes] plain to be topped with melted cheese and bacon after they are done cooking. If deep frying is your go to..fry up the sticks, drain the oil, then while the fries are still hot, add the seasoning of choice and mix until fries are completely covered. Recently, Ive been experimenting with different ways to use the fresh produce from my garden and I’ve replaced the potatoes with zucchini. A point that I feel I should enlighten you on is that zucchini and squash contain a lot of water and when baked, they get soggy and limp. To avoid this, I cut mine a little thicker and ensure that each stick has some rind on it. This helps keep them more firm. You could always use your deep fryer set at 375 and fry until desired crispness is obtained. It’s still a veggie..right?
Ever have that moment when you realized that you need a snack for a party or gathering, but you only have a few hours to get it done? I got you covered with three simple ingredients and a crock pot. 1 or 2 packages of those cocktail weenies [generic ones are fine], 1 bottle [12.5-15 ounce] chili sauce and 1 jar [24-32 ounce] grape jelly. Turn crock pot to high, add jelly and chili sauce, allow to begin to liquidfy, then add cocktail weenies. Cover and cook for 21/2-3 hrs on high, then reduce heat to medium- medium low. Have some tooth picks, small plates and to really be high end, finely chopped fresh basil to sprinkle over these bite size smokey treats.
I hope that my snacks have tempted your taste buds and got your mind creating your own variations for a snackfest…