everyday food made simple

 The Big Game is tomorrow – are you ready?!

For all your last-minute party planners that are in need of a last-minute appetizer ideas, I’ve got you covered today! Here are some of the most popular game day recipes here on SEF:

>> Buffalo ranch chicken cups

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>> Mini taco cups

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>> Mini taco cups, 2.0

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>> Wonton wrapper wrapped mozzarella sticks

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>> Chipotle hot corn dip

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>> Bacon cheeseburger quesadillas

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>> Tailgate turkey chili

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(can you tell which of these pictures were from a few years ago when I knew nothing about food photography?)

Plus I even have a new super quick and simple shrimp cocktail recipe for you to satisfy all your seafood-loving party guests.

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Instead of the traditional cocktail sauce, I made a soy-ginger sauce to go with them instead. Because you know, I can never seem to make anything “traditional”. That’s just how I roll, yo.

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This dish comes together easily within an hour and there’s really not a whole lot of prep work that goes into it – the most work you’ll have to do is mince some herbs and grate some garlic and ginger. Otherwise it’s just a lot of “throwing the ingredients in a bowl”, boiling, chilling, mixing, and more chilling. Not a lot of labor involved so you can spend more time watching the game and spending time with friends.

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Whether you’ll be rooting for the Seahawks or the Patriots tomorrow, or if you’re just going to parties just for the food – I hope everyone has a fabulous time spending the day with family and friends!

shrimp cocktail with soy-ginger dipping sauce
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For the shrimp
  1. 2 bay leaves
  2. 1 lemon, quartered, plus more for serving
  3. 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  4. 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  5. 2 tablespoons salt
  6. 1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
For the sauce
  1. 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  2. 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  3. 1 green onion, green parts only, minced
  4. Juice of 1 lemon
  5. Juice of 1 lime
  6. 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  7. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  8. 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  9. 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
Make the shrimp
  1. In a large pot, combine 8 cups water, bay leaves, quartered lemon wedges, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the shrimp and simmer until the tails curl slightly and the shrimp is just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp onto a plate and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. While the shrimp is chilling, make the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Mix to combine and refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
  3. Shrimp can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Adapted from Food Network Kitchens
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchens

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Does everyone have their Super Bowl party plans planned out already?

Will you/are you:

  1. Be heading over to someone’s house to watch the big game?
  2. Going to be the one who hosts the party and has to plan out the big game day menu?
  3. Be going to bed at the lame hour of 8:30 because you have to get up the next day at 4 a.m. to go to work (and getting less than 7 hours of sleep is completely unfathomable)?

…I think we all have an idea of which of the three options I will be doing.

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No matter which of the above categories you fall in, I’ve got a party appetizer for you today that’s guaranteed to be a big hit! The mini taco cups I posted two summers ago has turned out to be super popular, and has also been the most visited recipe here on SEF since then.

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Today I gave them a little makeover and they taste even better than the ones before. Consider them to be the second generation, new-and-improved version of the original taco cups. What makes these better? I minced up some cilantro and mixed a bit of that into the filling. Then I dolloped the tops of the baked cups with a small amount of salsa and sprinkled more cilantro on top.

AND! New photos! Way prettier photos than the first generation mini taco cups 1.0. It’s funny how much my food photography skills have evolved throughout the past two years. I look back at my old food pictures and I’m not going to lie – most (if not all) of them make me cringe. But I still have so much to learn!

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You really should make these for your party. Or bring them to a party. Or if you’re like me, make them for just you and your husband during pregame because once the game starts you’ll be going to bed shortly thereafter. And if none of the above applies to you, you should still make a pan of these and eat them yourself anyway, because you’ll be missing out if you don’t.

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mini taco cups 2.0
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Ingredients
  1. One 12-oz package of wonton wrappers
  2. 1 pound lean ground turkey
  3. 1 package 40% less sodium taco seasoning
  4. 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (you probably won't use all of it)
  5. A few handfuls of cilantro, finely chopped
  6. 1/4 cup of your favorite salsa
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet. Drain the fat, and then season the meat with the taco seasoning according to package directions. Sprinkle in a few tablespoons worth of the cilantro, more or less depending on taste.
  3. Using a mini muffin tin, line the wells with wonton wrappers, so the wrappers are shaped into little cups inside the wells. Spoon the taco meat into each cup, about 1/2-2/3 full. Sprinkle the tops with cheese. Bake for 8 minutes, or until wrappers are slightly turning brown. Remove from oven, dollop the tops with salsa, and add more chopped cilantro as garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.
  4. Makes about 30 cups
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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First things first – I’ve become a publisher on Yummly! You can now find my official Publisher Page here (or simply click on the Certified Yummly button on my sidebar). And as you scroll past the recipe below, you’ll also notice that my social media sharing buttons have changed! I added a new Plug-in to SEF so now you can “Yum” my recipes and add it your Recipe Box on Yummly along with all your other “Yum’d” recipes… you know, for convenience and all. I started using Yummly a few months ago and it’s now one of my go-to places when I’m looking for dinner inspirations. They even send you weekly recommendations based on what you’ve “Yum’d” in the past! I’m super excited to be part of this new social media sharing platform, so bare with me as I get my Yummly page updated… in the meantime, keep Yum-ing!

The past few months, I’ve been hooked on the Lizzy Gardner series, written by T.R. Ragan. In case you’re not familiar, it’s a series of four books (so far) that centers around a private investigator Lizzy Gardner and the cases that she somehow always gets herself, as well as the people around her, involved in. The books aren’t particularly deep and complex, and the plots are always somewhat predictable (there are murders, Lizzy gets involved, she ends up figuring out who did it, yada yada yada). However, the author does do a good job at keeping the reader’s attention and the novels are pretty easy to read.

It started with spending 99 cents on the first book, then realizing I was able to borrow the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th book for free through my Amazon Prime membership. So for the past few months, I’ve been borrowing the next book in the series the first day of the month, finishing the book within 10 days, and impatiently waiting for the next 20 days until I can borrow the next book. It doesn’t help that the author seems to looooove ending her books on cliffhangers, because when I realized the 4th book was over (less than a week of starting it), I may have slammed my Kindle on my pillow a few times and yelled “NOOOOOO!!!!!!” (ask Brian about it – I’m pretty sure he jumped and thought I was crazy).

Initially I was going to wait it out and borrow the next book next month, but I just couldn’t wait it out any longer, so I broke down and went on Amazon with the intent of spending a few dollars and buying the next book….. only to realize that it won’t be released until February 3rd. Ahhhhhh! So much for that plan. Guess I’ll have to wait in the end anyway. Have I mentioned I hate waiting?

Okay, back to food. Because I’m sure you didn’t come on here to read about book reviews.

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Can I just say these buffalo ranch chicken cups are so ridiculously deliciously easy to make? I even like them more than my mini taco cups, which happen to be the #1 most popular recipe on my site. That’s right, they’re that good.

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These bite-sized appetizers are so easy to assemble and they pack so much flavor in just one bite, you won’t be able to eat just one! The light, crispy, flaky phyllo (or “fillo”) shells are filled with a creamy chicken filling with large chunks of chicken and a slight hint of heat, baked to crispy perfection.

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So in case you’re already looking for Super Bowl party finger foods for next month, you should most definitely add these to your list… your guests will thank you! And even if you decide to eat the whole pan yourself, that’s okay too. We don’t judge here in the food blogging world.

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buffalo ranch chicken cups
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup light ranch dressing
  2. 1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot sauce (more or less depending on taste)
  3. 3 oz low fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  4. One generous 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  5. 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  6. About 10 pieces of Tyson's Any'tizers Buffalo Chicken Wyngz, roughly chopped
  7. One package pre-baked fillo (phyllo) shells
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ranch dressing and hot sauce. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, and 2 tablespoons of the ranch mixture. With a spoon, mix ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in the chicken bits and mix some more.
  4. Place the fillo shells into an ungreased mini muffin tin, and generously spoon the chicken mixture into the shells. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the fillo shells are golden brown.
  5. Drizzle the remaining ranch mixture over the chicken bites and sprinkle with additional cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately.
  6. Makes 15 mini cups
Adapted from Lauren's Latest
Adapted from Lauren's Latest
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Lauren’s Latest

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Ooooh man. Life has been so busy lately. I need more hours in my day. Along with my new internship, classes, blogging, making food so I can blog about it, and trying to spend time with my family as much as I can, I don’t seem to have a life outside of all that anymore (not saying that I did have a life before anyway…). The Amazing Race and Survivor just started a few weeks ago, and I’m already behind on all my TV shows. I have about 30 episodes of Chopped, 13 episodes of The Incredible Dr. Pol, about 20+ episodes of Criminal Minds (that dates way back to last December), 15 some episodes of Cupcake Wars, along with a bunch of miscellaneous shows that are taking up space on our DVR…. good thing we’ve got two DVRs that can be used at the same time, otherwise we’ll for sure run out of space quickly!

…talk about First World Problems.

On a positive note – I’m truly enjoying this quarter. It’s exhausting and busy, but I feel like I’m learning a ton during my internship, and I absolutely love that everyday is different. Everyday is a surprise and I’m constantly challenging myself to do better.

Okay. Back to food. When I first set out to make this appetizer, I had every intention to bake it in the oven so it’s healthier than the deep-fried mozzarella sticks we usually get at restaurants. Well, that plan failed miserably… somehow the wonton wrappers didn’t brown nor did it crisp up in the oven, and cheese oozed out from all kinds of directions from the holes I managed to create during the wrapping process.

[sigh] It was a sad, sad sight. And needless to say, I was quite disappointed. I would’ve taken a picture of the horrible sad mess that laid there on my baking sheet, but it was just so bad that taking pictures of it seemed like a waste of energy..

Good thing I had a Plan B in mind. If baking didn’t work out, I could at least quickly fry it in a pan. That can’t be as bad as deep frying it, right?

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This appetizer can be made within 15-20 minutes, so it’s perfect if you’re craving a quick little snack in the afternoon, or if you need something to munch on during a football game! You can make as many or as little as you need, and they turn out to be cute mini-sized mozzarella sticks, which makes them that much more fun to eat!

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You know, just a mozzarella stick chillin’ in the marinara hot tub… no big deal.

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Wait, you know what’s even better? Nowadays they make string cheese in different flavors, so you can customize your mozzarella sticks based on what kind of string cheese you buy! No more boring plain ol’ string cheese! In our house, we’re a big fan of anything that has a hint of jalapeno or black pepper, so we used string cheese with cracked black pepper to give it a subtle kick of flavor. They turned out to be amazing!

wonton wrapper wrapped mozzarella sticks
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Ingredients
  1. 3 sticks of string cheese of your flavor, cut in half
  2. 6 wonton wrappers
  3. 1 large egg, beaten
  4. 1/2 teaspoon water
  5. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  6. Marinara sauce for dipping, if desired
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the egg and the water. Brush a wonton wrapper with the egg wash, then wrap the string cheese with the wrapper, making sure the the wrapper covers the string cheese entirely and there are no holes for the cheese to leak out of during the cooking process. Also make sure the edges of the wrapper are sealed nice and tight with the egg wash. Repeat process for all the string cheese sticks.
  2. In a medium pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Place your uncooked mozzarella sticks in the pan, making sure they're not crowded. Using a pair of tongs, cook cheese sticks on each side for about a minute, or until the wrapper has turned golden brown and crispy.
  3. Transfer mozzarella sticks on a paper-towel lined plate to soak up all the excess oil. Serve immediately with marinara sauce while hot.
  4. Makes 6 mini mozzarella sticks.
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Creamy, cheesy mozzarella cheese wrapped in a light, crispy wonton wrapper… who knew a healthier version of mozzarella sticks can be so delicious (and addicting)?!

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Here’s a couple things to keep in mind while you make these golden crispy appetizers:

  • The egg wash serves as a glue to hold your wonton wrapper together. Don’t be shy when brushing it onto the wrappers – if you don’t put enough on, nothing’s going to stick and your mozzarella stick is going to fall apart.
  • Try to make sure that your cheese stick is wrapped nice and tight with the wrapper with no gaping holes. Gaping holes is how the cheese can leak out of the wrapper during the cooking process, leaving you with just an empty wonton wrapper shell…. not good.
  • These babies cook fast when you have a nice hot pan. I think mine took about 45-60 seconds for the first side to brown up. I then turned them three other times to make sure all four “sides” are nice and crispy. The whole cooking process took maybe less than 3 minutes.

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Today I’ve got another football game-day-friendly appetizer for you guys (because who likes to eat the same game day foods week after week?!).

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One of Brian’s favorite game day foods is nachos with cheese. Whether he’s at the game or watching the game at home, he always has to have tortilla chips with some sort of artifically-flavored-factory-processed liquid cheese to go with it. I, on the other hand, am not a big fan of this liquid cheese thing. There’s just something wrong about eating cheese that can sit in a glass jar for years and still remain liquid-y.

Ugh. Yuck.

So this week, we’ve gone fancy in the dip department. Rather than cheap, processed liquid cheese, I made a hot chipotle corn dip. It’s got corn, green chiles, two kinds of cheeses, mayo, garlic powder, and chipotle peppers for a kick. It’s creamy and spicy, and because it’s homemade and served fresh out of the oven, it elevates the traditional game day nachos up a notch. If you’re big on spicy foods, you can add a bit more of the chipotle peppers. This recipe can also easily be turned into a kid-friendly appetizer by eliminating the hot peppers altogether.

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chipotle hot corn chip
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups shredded chedder cheese
  2. 1 cup shredded Montery Jack cheese
  3. 2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced (or to desired spiciness)
  4. One 4 oz can diced green chiles, undrained
  5. 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  6. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. One 15 oz can of corn, drained
  8. Additional toppings as desired (diced tomatoes, diced onions, cilantro, green onions...)
  9. Tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the two cheeses, chipotle peppers, green chiles, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and corn. Stir until combined. Pour into two 18-oz oven safe baking dishes or one big dish.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbly.
  4. Top with additional toppings, if desired. Serve hot with tortilla chips.
Adapted from Gina Marie's Kitchen
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
After it gets brown and bubbly from the oven, you can top it with all sorts of toppings. I chose to keep it simple and only added diced tomatoes and green onions to mine. I’m sure some diced onions, cilantro, and more cheese would be pretty dang good, too.

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It’s perfect for when you have a crowd over for game day – I divided ours up into two-18oz portions, one for me and one for Brian. If you have a couple friends over, you can even divide the recipe up into several ramekins or mini serving dishes so each guest can have their own!

Enjoy!

Recipe from Gina Marie’s Kitchen

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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