Monday, November 24, 2014

Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Chex Mix

Sorry for the break everyone.   A friend of mine just asked me for this recipe that I made last year at my friend’s Urban Family Thanksgiving Party last spring and I had started a post and then never posted it.  So here it is.  

In case you are wondering, Urban Family Thanksgiving is basically a replay of Thanksgiving only with the family you choose and food options that are either family favorites or something untraditional.  I settled on this Chex Mix recipe as an appetizer because Bourbon and Bacon should show up to every family gathering.  Right?

Of course I didn’t totally follow the recipe (shocker, eh?) and I made 3 batches which took me 3 hours because I only had 2 pans.  (Santa are you listening?)  

Here is the original recipe from General Mills:
Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Chex Mix®
1  bag (15 oz) Chex Mix® traditional snack mix
1 cup pecan halves
½  lb bacon (6 to 8 slices), crisply cooked and crumbled
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
¾ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • Heat oven to 300°F. Line two 15x10x1-inch pans with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix snack mix, pecans and bacon. Set aside.
  • In 2-quart saucepan, heat brown sugar, butter and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbly around edges. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from heat. Cool 2 minutes. Carefully stir in bourbon and chipotle chili powder. Pour over snack mixture; toss until evenly coated.
  • Spread snack mixture on pans. Bake 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, to caramelize mixture. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Break into pieces. Store covered in refrigerator.

Miko can smell the bacon

The original recipe is very good.  I had some when I did the cooking day and General Mills and fell in love with it.

I kind of changed the whole thing with my version.  The original recipe uses the bags of Chex mix and I wanted to go more from scratch.

This is what I did. I bought:
  •  Corn Chex Mix
  •   Rice Chex Mix
  •  Bacon (2 packages already cooked; cheating I know but I didn’t want my house to smell like bacon)
  • Pepitas (I thought since it was Thanksgiving I should use pumpkin seeds instead of pecans)
  •  Slivered Almonds – I had some in the cupboard so I added those as well
  • Bag of pretzels – I threw the bag around and stomped on it to break up the pretzels
I tripled the “sauce” recipe/ingredients from the original recipe.  Lots of butter and brown sugar and corn syrup!   Oh, and a touch more bourbon and plenty of cayenne - you know I can’t resist booze and spice.  

Miko won't guard the door, but she will guard the Chex Mix

Because I didn’t use the prepackaged Chex mix, I needed to turn up the heat and leave the mix in longer.  This took some time to play with but I landed on 375 for about 25 minutes. I took it out and stirred/mixed it 2-3 times in that amount of time.  You want to make sure to brown and caramelize it a little bit.  
The Mix was a Big Hit!
I would definitely make it again but I would probably use pecans instead of the pepitas because the flavor was so mild that you didn’t really taste the pepitas as much.  It definitely needs something bolder.  I would also use more bacon.  Because you can never have too much bacon, right?

Had to show a photo of the CRISPY deep-fried turkey.
Don't worry, it was still good.  And there was another one in the oven

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Every year, I attend a Super Bowl party where the hosts ask people to bring food representative of the cities of the teams playing and the host city.   Denver, Seattle, and New York were on deck this year.  I’ve heard Denver has good Mexican food (I will have to find out for myself sometime), so I went with this Enchilada Dip that I had seen online.  Of course I made plenty of tweaks to make it my own.

Original Recipe:

16 oz. regular cream cheese, softened (500 g)
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, (411 g) (not drained)
2 green onions, chopped (optional)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed, or use a melon baller (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder (5 mL)
1 tsp cumin (5 mL)
1/2  tsp paprika (2 mL)
1/4  tsp oregano (1 mL)
1/4  tsp salt (1 mL)
1/8  tsp onion salt (0.5 mL)
2 cups cooked, diced chicken (500 mL)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided (500 mL)

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).  In large bowl, mix softened cream cheese (nuke if necessary in the microwave oven first), tomatoes, green onions or avocado (if using), garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and onion salt. Stir in chicken. Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) Cheddar cheese.

Place in a pretty, large 2-quart (2 L) capacity oval dish or use a 9 x 13-inch (2 L) casserole dish.  Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese.  Bake 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly.  Serve with sliced cucumbers, sliced jicama, or low-carb crackers.

My version:

Shredded pork instead of chicken.  I had a pork shoulder that I put in the crock pot with all kinds of seasonings to make tacos with and had a ton left over so I decided to use it in this dip instead of chicken.  It was a good call.
The pork was kind of long and I thought it would be difficult to maneuver with chips
so I cut it up with my kitchen sheers.    

Avocado added last (after baking).   Cooking the avocado in the dip sounded strange to me, so I added it on top after I took it out of the oven.   There was also sour cream nearby as a chili topping so I dolloped that on top (yes, dolloped is a word).   I think next time, I would put a bowl of guacamole, sour cream, and fresh jalapeno slices out as topping options.

Serve with Tortilla Chips (or Fritos).  The recipe above was mentioning that is “slow-carb” (hence the suggested cucumber and low-carb crackers for dipping).   Well, if you are going to have an enchilada dip, then you might as well go all out with the tortilla chips.   I served mine with tortilla chips but I was wishing I had grabbed a bag of Fritos as well as I think that would’ve been really good too.  

Pepper Jack Cheese instead.  I used pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar.  I like both cheeses.  Heck, I love all cheese.   But as Tara at the party mentioned “I’m not afraid of a little spice.”  (As an FYI - Most Minnesotans tend to think black pepper is too spicy.)  I also love Monterrey Jack cheese in Mexican food, so there you have it.   I was happy with my choice.  I mixed most of it in the dip and then piled a layer on top too. Cuz you can never have too much cheese.

Spices.  I didn’t have all of the spices so I just threw in what I had.  Okay, I had all of the spices except onion salt; and I had oregano but I didn’t think that sounded very “Mexican” so I left it out.   And I wasn’t paying attention because while most spice jars have small holes in them, the cumin did not and I accidentally dumped the whole bottle in.  (Lesson learned:  pay attention!).   It wasn’t a full jar, and I like Cumin, so I just stirred it in really well and went on my merry way.

Fresh Tomato.  I had a fresh tomato sitting on my counter so I chopped that and threw it in along with the can of diced tomatoes. 

You’ve probably noticed by now that I am the Queen of only using recipes as a guide, I rarely follow a recipe exactly.  (Except in baking, that is one area that you really have to pay attention to the correct measurements and ingredients or you end up with a limp cake or something.)   I hope you are learning that recipes are meant for tweaking; you can add things, and take away things, at your leisure.   Play away! 

I would definitely make this again.  


Thursday, January 23, 2014

21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes

I'm not sure if you've seen these yet.  They've been circulating on Facebook but I thought I would share them here too.   Both the recipes and the photos are truly upsetting (in an unappetizing kind of way).

21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes:

While, I'm going to say that the banana candle is the most "interesting" photo (no further comment.)    I'm not sure which one is the most unappetizing.   

Tuna and jello pie? 

Steak Pudding? 

Liver Sausage Pineapple?  

Monterey Souffle Salad?   

Mystery #21?

It is hard to pick just one....  Which one do you think is the one you'd least like to eat?

I will have to say, this reminds me of how far we've come in recipe development and food photography.   Cheers to that!