Super-Bowl Recipe Brainstorming for the Big Game We Probably Can’t Watch

Y’all, I’ve about had enough of this crap.

So, my local TV station is in an epic battle with DirecTV, one that has been waging for at least five months. As such, we will not have access to the Super Bowl, because the NFL has broadcasting rights locked down tighter than a pop star’s conservatorship. I’m trying to figure out a work-around so the guys don’t riot, but in the meantime, I need to come up with some food ideas because, frankly, I’m a wee bit burnt out. Even after the holiday hustle and bustle, we’ve still had a steady stream of guests or events this past month, as well as pesky Heathens who get hungry with frustrating regularity. But alas, tradition beckons, and I need to come up with some kind of plan. So, let’s do a bit of brainstorming, shall we?

I’m 99% sure I will make my Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls, because they are a universal hit. As much as I hate frying crap while I’m entertaining, game day is the exception to that rule. If I go this route, I will probably serve it with some version of a “come back” sauce, similar to this one:

Bourbon Meatballs are always a good possibility, especially since I can make them in my sleep at this point:

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The Sausage and Black-eyed Pea Mini Muffins:

Looking around the internet, I found a few ideas we have tried in the past that may be worth a revisit:

These Hot Brown Party Rolls from Southern Living were a welcome change from the usual ham/Swiss concept that we usually make, and they are easy and filling. By now, everyone has also recovered from their post-holiday turkey overload, so it’s a good option.

Hot Brown Party Rolls

The Cheese Dreams were a big hit at Christmas, especially with warm marinara on the side. They are labor-intensive in prep, but can be assembled ahead of time and frozen, so it’s just bake and serve at party-time:

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had these Crawfish Boulettes and it might be worth revisiting. If I’m frying the egg rolls anyway, might as well. But just remember, if you are frying any fish or shellfish, fry it last or in a separate oil vat. Fish/shellfish permeates frying oil, and Mom’s golden rule when catering was one fryer for fish, one of the other stuff, and DO NOT CROSS THE STREAMS. Unless you like your chicken wings with a faint fishy flavor, that is.

Crawfish Boulettes With Creole Tartar Sauce

Finally, for the Crawfish Boil last weekend, I made these Spicy Sausage Balls from my CCTT post from last year, but instead of two pounds of sausage, I used one pound of the hot sausage and one pound of ground beef. I baked the balls at 400 for 20 minutes before adding them to the sauce. I got big thumbs up all around so they may have an encore this weekend:

Well, I still need to noodle on the menu more, but at least I have some ideas, plus queso and store-bought dips and wings to consider.

Now, let’s just hope I can find the game somewhere, lest they suggest…gulp…a Sportsbar alternative. If that happens, well…let’s not borrow trouble yet.

 

 

Spicy Sausage and Black-Eyed Pea Cornbread Mini-Muffins: My New Favorite Party Appetizer

So, I’ve shared Mom’s Hot Sausage Cornbread recipe in the past, but I confess, it was not my favorite. The Husband (and most guys in my life) love it, because between the sausage, corn, and spice, what’s not to like? I still felt like the recipe itself was a wee bit weird. Was it an appetizer? Was it a side dish? Was it the product of too many cocktails on a Saturday night? Originally, Mom baked this in a 9×13 casserole and served it in squares, so it’s easy to see my confusion. The sausage and peas lend enough protein that I felt it never really fit into a main dish or side dish category, and serving it in squares with a fork definitely didn’t seem like an appetizer either.

However, as I was doing extensive recipe testing in anticipation of both the holiday season and the big family party, I had the idea to see if this could work as a handheld appetizer. I was worried because honestly, the filling-to-cornbread ratio made me question the structural integrity of the finished product. I rounded up the troops (i.e., the neighbors, Husband, and Heathens) and got to cooking.

Whelp, I am happy to report that we absolutely love this iteration so much more than the original. By cooking the cornbread in the mini muffin pans, we had more browning on all sides (rather than just top and bottom), which added better texture and flavor in comparison to the first recipe. If you are an edge-piece-eater of the things, you already get it.

Now, here’s the deal. This works if you follow some basic rules and suggestions:

  • You must spray the mini muffin tin with nonstick spray
  • DO NOT be tempted to try to remove muffins post-bake prematurely. They will fall apart. There’s just enough batter to hold to them together with a wing and a prayer. Letting the muffins set up is crucial to success.
  • Once you let these cool, the best way to get them out is to run a butter knife around the edges then use a spoon to scoop them out. Don’t expect appearance perfection, so refer to the picture above. I promise the taste makes up for the less-than-Instagram worthy appearance.
  • It’s better to let them cool, get them out of the tin, then reheat them in a warm oven or microwave for serving. If you aren’t too concerned about perfect appearances, go ahead and evacuate them at the 20-30 minute rest mark. They will still be plenty warm.
  • You can absolutely make them ahead. Store in the fridge, then reheat in the oven or microwave. They are best warm, not piping hot.
  • Finally, serving ideas: Mom traditionally suggested salsa and/or sour cream, but Bear swears they are better with the tiniest hint of a honey drizzle. Either way, it’s still guaranteed to be unique, tasty, and not yo mama’s cheese ball.

 

Spicy Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas Cornbread Mini Muffins

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 44 mini muffins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound hot bulk pork sausage
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh jalapenos
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 (15-oz) can black-eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 (7-oz) can cream-style corn

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees (or 350 for convection ovens). Spray two 24-count mini muffin pans with nonstick spray.
  • In a skillet, add the sausage, chopped onion, and minced jalapeno. Cook over medium-low heat, breaking up the sausage as you go (like browning ground beef). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until sausage is browned, and onions are translucent. Set aside to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together corn muffin mix, eggs, buttermilk, and vegetable oil until blended. Stir the cooled sausage mixture, cheese, black-eyed peas and cream-style corn.
  • Using a cookie (aka 1-ish-inch) scoop, divide batter into 44 of the muffin tins. These muffins really do not rise much so they can be filled to the top of the cups. Bake for 30 minutes or until nice and browned (see pictures).
  • LET MUFFINS COOL AND REST 30 MINUTES or they will fall apart. Run a butter knife around the edges and lift out gently with a spoon. Serve warm with salsa and sour cream on the side, or a tiny drizzle of honey on top. It's better to let these cool completely and rewarm them than to try and evacuate them from the pan early. Store leftovers in the fridge, and reheat in a 250-degree oven or in the microwave until warm.
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Easy Bacon-Cheeseburger Egg Rolls for Game Day!

It’s the first Saints’ game of the season, so like a lunatic, I let everyone have a pick for snacks/appetizers. Both of the boys came home this weekend, and since I’m still on the struggle-bus after sending Bear off to college, I went a little over-the-top by committing to this endeavor. Luckily, the drinks were strong and the “Who Dat” energy electric.

The Husband requested these Bacon-Cheeseburger Egg Rolls, and I made so many, the boys’ roommates will certainly be happy when they get back to campus. These egg rolls are bacon-y, cheesy, beefy delicious bombs, with a hint of dill pickle to cut through all that richness. Serve them up with your favorite burger condiments and enjoy game day. I sure did. Now I’m going to drink cocktails in the bathtub and decide how soon is too soon to decorate for Halloween. Spoiler alert: you already know the answer.

Easy Bacon-Cheeseburger Egg Rolls

Meaty, Cheesy, Bacon Deliciousness Fried to Perfection.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 12 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 8 ounces Velveeta cubed
  • 3 tbsp dill pickle relish
  • 12-14 egg roll wrappers
  • vegetable, canola, or peanut oil for frying
  • ketchup, mustard, fry sauce, or favorite burger sauce condiments for serving

Instructions
 

  • Cook chopped bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat until crispy. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside. Remove all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease from the skillet, saving it for another use.
  • Add ground beef to the skillet with the bacon grease, break it up with a spoon, and cook until browned. Drain any excess fat. Season beef with salt and pepper.
  • Add Velveeta to the skillet and stir until melted and evenly incorporated. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the cooked bacon and dill relish. Let beef mixture cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, heat a couple of inches of oil in a cast-iron skillet or pot to 325 degrees. Place an egg roll wrapper on a clean work surface so a point faces toward you like a diamond and set a cup of water next to your work area. Place 2-3 heaping tablespoons in the center of the wrapper, and using your finger, wet the top edges of your diamond with water. Fold the bottom section over the filling, fold in the sides, then roll it up toward the top (the wet edges will seal it up). There's plenty of tutorials online that are WAY better than these rolling instructions, FYI.
  • Fry the egg rolls in batches (about 5 at a time will fit in a 12-inch cast iron skillet with room to cook evenly), turning every 30 seconds or so until golden brown to your liking, roughly 4-5 minutes in total. Remove to a rack or a paper towel-lined sheet pan to cool.
  • Serve with your favorite burger sauces, like ketchup, fry sauce, mustard, etc. NOTE: these are like molten cheese volcanos fresh out of the frying. Let them cool off for a couple of minutes before consuming, unless you live for burnt taste buds and misery. You do you, Boo.
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Our Easter Menu 2022 and a Carrot Soufflé Recipe

I finally planned out the Easter menu, because procrastination is apparently my thing this Spring. The days are flying by this year, for sure.

While I know that ham is traditional on many a southern Easter table, we usually opt for lamb. My family goes bananas for my grilled lamb chops, and with such easy prep and a fast cook time, I’m not juggling cook times and oven space as I often am on other holidays. I also aim for dishes that I can prep ahead, then just toss in the oven or on the grill come lunch time. I’d rather be hanging out and visiting with everyone than stuck in the kitchen on a holiday.

So, here’s the rundown of the big meal:

Maple Mustard Grilled Lamb Chops

Cheesy Hash Brown Potato Casserole

Roasted asparagus (olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 375 for 10-15 minutes)

This fruit salad

Garlic breadsticks (shaped and baked into rolls instead of sticks)

and Carrot Soufflé (see recipe below).

However, if you are hell-bent on ham, I love this Maple Orange Bourbon Ham, and this Jalapeno Honey Glazed Ham. Both of these would go well with this menu, though I’d switch out the rolls for biscuits.

As for dessert, I will probably whip up a carrot cake, assuming my lost motivation shows up sometime soon. Or maybe break with tradition and do a chocolate fondue-type spread. Now, here’s hoping that I can actually get my hands on everything I need, as the grocery store has been looking a little on the lean side lately.

Carrot Souffle

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds carrots peeled and sliced
  • salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs large
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter room temperature

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9x13 casserole dish.
  • Cook carrots in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and set aside.
  • In a food processor or blender, pulse the sugar and eggs until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, carrots and butter, and pulse to combine. Pour mixture into prepared dish.
  • Bake casserole until set, about 45 minutes to an hour. Serve immediately.
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Community Cookbook Throwback Thursday–Rotisserie Come Back Dressing

After spending a lot of time in Utah last year, my husband got really into what he calls “fry sauce.” While I usually just throw a bottle of ketchup on the table when I make fries, I decided to be less lazy and up my burger-night game.

This recipe comes from Pirate’s Pantryfirst published by the Junior League of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and was submitted by Mrs. Edwin DeWeese. It was originally listed as a salad dressing, but I modified the recipe a bit so that it ended up being a perfect sauce consistency (see notes below). This sauce offered a great balance of creamy, slightly sweet, tangy, and savory. I whipped it up, and the entire crew gave it a resounding thumbs-up.

Rotisserie Come Back Dressing

Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 2 tsp prepared mustard
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • salt to taste (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 6 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup Wesson oil
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 3/4 cup ketchup

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender or small mixing bowl. Will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. Serve on green salad or head lettuce.
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As always, I am posting the recipe as it was published, but I did make a few modifications to make it more fry sauce and less salad dressing.

  • I did not use the vegetable oil at all. That kept the consistency of a sauce, instead of diluting it to a thinner dressing.
  • As such, I adjusted the seasoning to about 3/4 of a teaspoon and pepper each. Even if I did use the oil, one tablespoon of salt would probably have been way too much in my opinion.
  • I only used half a small onion.
  • I think this sauce tastes a lot better after it has time for the flavors to meld, so I suggest making it ahead if you can.

Community Cookbook Throwback Thursday–Spicy Sausage Balls

Breaking with tradition, we decided not to host anything for the Super Bowl this year. I hosted a LOT of parties last year, and I’m still just kind of burnt out. While I love entertaining, I was just not up for a party on a school night. I wanted to watch the game and relax, preferably with PJ pants and a cocktail.

Despite it being just us, I planned on a small scale spread so we still had a special occasion feel. While I was looking up a dip recipe, I stumbled across these sausage balls and since I had everything on hand, I decided to give them a try.

This recipe comes from Revel, a cookbook from the Junior League of Shreveport/Bossier Louisiana (1980) and was submitted by Edie Broyles Williams. These were super quick to make, and the sauce showcased a really good balance of sweet, savory, and (a very mild) sour. The boys devoured them, and considering the incredibly low effort, it was a winner all around. For a pantry pull recipe, you really can’t beat this one for fast and easy. It’s safe to say that Spicy Sausage Balls will definitely remain in the appetizer rotation.

Notes

  • Remember, I publish the recipes for CCTT as written. I write these notes to clarify how I interpreted the recipe or streamlined it.
  • For this recipe, I used red wine vinegar and ginger powder (which is what the author most likely intended).
  • My broiler resembles a fire-breathing dragon, so instead of smoking us out of the house, I baked the sausage balls at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
  • I was in a hurry, so rather than rolling out 80 balls, I used my one-inch scoop which resulted in about 30 balls.
  • Next time, I will use one pound of sausage and one pound of ground beef, rather than straight sausage. I think the sausage seasoning flavor can be pretty strong depending on the brand and cutting it with some ground beef would balance things out perfectly.

Spicy Sausage Balls

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds hot sausage
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger

Instructions
 

  • Roll sausage into balls about the size of pecans. Broil in oven 10 minutes. Turn while broiling. Drain. Mix sauce in a saucepan and heat until bubbly. Add sausage balls to sauce. Serve in chafing dish. Men especially love this.
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Spicy Tamale Meatballs–Stupid-Easy & Delicious Party Food at Its Best

If you are looking for a new, easy, and delicious snack for your big game party, have I got the recipe for you. These tamale-inspired meatballs combine the sweetness of cornbread with the spice of enchilada sauce, while the cumin comes in to punch up the flavor. My family devoured these meatballs at the Christmas party and have already requested them for our game-day spread.

Recipe Notes

  • While this recipe calls for ground beef, you could use ground pork or a combination of the two. I have not tested these with ground chicken or turkey, but commonsense tells me that, should you attempt it, I think they would end up on the dry side so take that for what it’s worth.
  • If you want more spice, use the spicy enchilada sauce, or add some hot sauce. I stuck with mild to make sure the gaggle of kids at the party could eat them, but will use the medium this weekend since it’s just the five of us.
  • To make portioning easier, I use my one-inch cookie scoop, and spray my hands with a little non-stick spray, but that’s because I truly suck at eye-balling portions.
  • I whipped up a box of the Jiffy Corn Muffin mix in an 8×8 pan as a shortcut, which was the perfect cornbread portion for this recipe.

So, overall, this ended up being a stupid-easy recipe that wowed the crowd, and I’ll take that kind of victory any day (especially one that gets me out of frying some damn wings come Sunday). Whip up a batch of these this weekend and you will become everyone’s new best friend.

Spicy Tamale Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups cornbread crumbled
  • 2 10-ounce cans mild red enchilada sauce divided
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray it lightly with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce, and salt, stirring lightly to combine. Add the beef and mix well, but not to death. Shape the beef mixture into one-inch balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 minutes.
  • While the meatballs are baking, spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine remaining enchilada sauce, tomato sauce, and cumin, stirring well to combine.
  • Remove meatballs from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Transfer meatballs to prepared casserole dish, and pour sauce mixture over them, being sure to coat meatballs evenly. Place casserole in the oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Top meatballs with cheese, and return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
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