November graced us with it’s presence yesterday, and along with it the approach of one of the best holidays of the year: Thanksgiving. From now until the big day, look for my recipes and posts to take on a seasonal twist—I’ll incorporate items you’d find on the traditional Thanksgiving table, but in a new way. Hopefully they will help you put a fresh spin on one of the best opportunities to experiment with new foods for family and friends.

To get the ball rolling, I made one of my favorite (and healthier) snacks for this week’s Fantasy Football Fuel: sweet potato fries. Since these are baked in the oven, they aren’t quite as crispy as traditional fries, but I’ve found some ways to make them really delicious. I highly encourage you to give them a try—I promise they’re irresistible.

For this recipe you’l need:


Sweet Potatoes

Olive Oil to Coat Fries

Caribbean Jerk Seasoning

A Touch of Honey (think a tablespoon or less)

Garlic Powder

Salt

Here’s the easiest way to cut the sweet potatoes into fry-size.

First, cut off the top and bottom.

Next, cut the potato in half, lengthwise.

Then cut each half into strips, about 3/4 inch wide.

Cut each strip in half.

Put the fries in a bowl with seasoning, oil and honey and toss to coat.


Here’s a secret: use a cooling rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet to allow air to circulate between the fries.

Place the fries on the rack, allowing for as much room to breathe between fries as possible.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until they begin to shrivel up a bit.  Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.

Classing it up…

I got the idea for these adorable deviled eggs from the Second City Soiree blog. Although I’m not entirely sure “football” and “adorable” go hand in hand, these were really good. Because I’m more of a fan of spicy, I swapped the chives for Serrano peppers, with the white veins cut out. (By the way, removing the membrane and seeds reduces the heat for any pepper.) I also used a more traditional deviled egg recipe than the one Southern Living uses. I used salt, pepper, paprika, Dijon mustard, Tabasco and mayonnaise, but I’m not quite sure I had all of the ratios correct, so I’ll leave you to use your favorite recipe.

Next time you’re looking to class up a football watching party, I highly recommend giving these a try. It’s an easy way to add a little fun to a traditional snack.

Game Day Breakfast

One of the best things about moving to Phoenix from Austin (besides the obvious) is that games start earlier on Sunday here. This leaves lots of opportunities for lounging on the couch for the first set of games in pj’s with coffee and yummy breakfast treats.

Probably my fiancé’s most favorite breakfast food of all time (besides Cream of Wheat pancakes) are migas. He was first introduced to these when my mom made us the most amazing farewell breakfast the day we left for Phoenix. I’ve grown up with these as a common weekend breakfast treat. Something about the combination of these, bacon and refried beans just screams lazy Sunday. (Maybe it has something to do with the heavy reliance on pork fat… hmmm…) Anyway, I love migas for breakfast and hope you will too!

Mama’s Migas

  • 6-12 eggs, beaten (3-4 eggs per person)
  • 2 fresh roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 serrano peppers, minced (add more or less depending on your heat preference)
  • one yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer longhorn-style)
  • 6 corn tortillas, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil to coat skillet

Heat oil in skillet. Add onion, tomatoes, peppers, and tortillas and cook until onions and tomatoes are soft. Be careful not to over-stir as it will make the tortillas mushy. Add salt and pepper to eggs pour into skillet. Allow eggs to set up before scrambling. When eggs are about halfway cooked, stir in cheese and allow to melt through and eggs to finish cooking.

Serve with refried beans, tortillas, and bacon. : )

Peppers, onions, tomatoes and tortillas. The finished product.

This week, tacos and Spanish rice were on the menu for the Cardinals-Colts game Sunday night. Tacos are yet another one of those perfect football-watching foods– they’re portable, tasty and you can easily unconscionably eat so many you’re uncomfortably full by the end of the 3rd quarter.

Normally, I use Goya’s sofrito for my Spanish rice, but I’ve yet to find it in a grocery store here in Phoenix. (HEB, I miss you!) This time I substituted El Pato’s “Salsa de Chile Fresco”, basically a spicy tomato sauce. Either way, this adds a nice tomato-ey flavor to the rice.

elpato

Also of note: somehow, my mother instilled in me the concept of adding ridiculous amounts of chile powder to my taco meat. My recipe may call for much more than you want, but it just doesn’t taste right without it to me. Feel free to adjust the seasoning to your palate.

Tasty Tacos

  • 1 lb. ground meat (I prefer sirloin or turkey)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp. chile powder
  • 1 tsp. ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2- 1/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil to coat skillet

Heat onion in a skillet on medium-high with oil until translucent. Add in ground meat and break up. Allow meat to begin browning for 1-2 minutes, then add all seasonings. Incorporate mixture and reduce heat to medium. Brown the meat until it starts to look like it’s drying out. Pour water into skillet (just enough to rise to level of ground meat) and mix to help incorporate seasonings and keep meat from getting too dry. Continue cooking meat until it has absorbed most of the water and is fully cooked. (You can repeat the water process another time if you think the meat should cook longer.)

Spanish Rice

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1- 7 3/4 oz can of El Pato, or about 1 cup sofrito
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • about 2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil to coat pan

Cook onion on medium heat in a deep skillet until translucent. Add rice and allow to toast for 1-2 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce and incorporate with rice. Add chicken stock to cover rice, salt and pepper, and mix again. Quickly cover rice and turn to low heat. Cook for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Allow rice to sit, covered and off the heat for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve.

This Sunday, I left it to my dear fiancé to do the heavy lifting for our football snacks—we just got in from a trip to Austin (more on that in an upcoming post) and were ready for some homemade deliciousness. He decided to make a pot of chili and I said I’d help with some cornbread. To me, chili is one of the ultimate football-watching foods, and cornbread its natural companion.

This one is also a good example of how you can take mixes or other pre-packaged foods and make them your own—we used McCormick chili mix and Jiffy for the cornbread (Shh!! Please don’t tell my mom I used Jiffy!)

I must admit, being from Texas, it is very difficult for me to accept chili with beans in it, but the stuff my fiancé makes is so good I let it slide.

Also, to try and make up for not using my family’s 3-generation-old (at least!) recipe for cornbread, I did use my great grandmother’s cast iron skillet to cook it in. The skillet makes the edges a little crustier and cooks very evenly. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one—there’s nothing else like it!

So… My fiancé’s chili recipe—as closely estimated as possible (he’s not a measurer)

  • 1 packet McCormick Chili seasoning (or whatever brand you prefer)
  • 1 ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1-2 jalapenos, minced
  • canned tomato sauce—per the mix’s recipe
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder

Brown beef or turkey in a skillet. When meat is cooked through, combine in a large pot with remaining ingredients. Simmer until onions are softened and flavors are combined.

To “doctor up” the Jiffy—combine all ingredients except for shortening. Heat shortening in skillet until it starts to bubble. Carefully pour the shortening in the rest of the batter and combine. Pour into skillet and bake until golden brown.

Yummy cornbread!

The finished product.  Good work, team!

Ahhh, football season.  For those of you who are unaware, today is the first day the NFL regular season. From now until January guys everywhere (and some girls) will be glued to their televisions and computers, tracking stats and plays for their fantasy football teams.

If you’ve got a case of fall football fever, or you’re subjected to someone else in your house’s fever, I’ve got some recipes to enhance your viewing experience.  I’ll add Fantasy Football Fuel recipe posts every Sunday or Monday, with ideas for snacks during the game.

Because I looove salsas and all things Tex-Mex, a number of my recipes will be heavily influenced by that style of cooking.  But, if that doesn’t particularly suit your fancy don’t worry, I plan to mix it up a bit too.

So, without further adieu, here are today’s two FFF recipes.  I thought I’d start off with the two snacks that are game-time staples in my house: guacamole and pico de gallo.

Kelly’s Glorious Guac:

2-3 ripened avocados
½ cup red onion, diced
juice of 2 limes
1 tsp. garlic powder
2-3 dashes Tobasco
salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients and mash with a fork to break up avocado.  Refrigerate.  Enjoy!

Pico de Gallo:

4 Roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup red onion, diced
1-2 jalapeno or Serrano peppers (remove the ribs and seeds to reduce heat, if desired)
2 tbsp. cilantro, minced
juice of 2 limes
3-4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic powder
salt, to taste

Combine ingredients and refrigerate up to 24 hours.  (The longer the pico sits, the better it gets as the vinegar and lime help combine all of the flavors.)  Enjoy!