Here are a few ideas for your Super Bowl feast… I know the list is long… pick and choose what will work well for you depending on the size of your party and if you need to cover for picky eaters.
I chose Chili because you can throw it into a crock pot and forget about it… it can stay hot in the pot as well… so it’s an easy serving idea…. I serve Chili with toppings for guests to choose from…shredded cheese, chopped green onion, chopped tomatoes, Guacamole, sour cream and chips…. So I also chose mini tacos… they get the same toppings… as well as, shredded lettuce and salsa…. You can make the taco meat ahead of time… so there’s virtually no work on Game Day.
I know I said keep to a theme… so Bavarian Cheese Fondue may seem out of place… but it’s really not… It’s a cheese fondue made with a dark beer… make large soft pretzels and cut them up as dippers… the guys will love them…. you can buy frozen pretzels in the freezer section at the grocery store… pop them in the oven …. Let them cool… and cut them up… also the cheese fondue is really quick… stays hot on its own… so it's really an easy party food.
Snacks and dips work well with everything…. I added popcorn as an alternative to chips. I included a veggie platter… I wouldn’t go nuts… just a few kinds of veggies… something for those watching their diet to snack on… add a Southwest Ranch Dip… make your own or buy it… either way it will work well. Salsa will go well with these too.
Buffalo Style Beef Empanadas with blue cheese or ranch dressing fits right in and they’re easy to make….
Potato Skins also fit right in to that “Happy Hour” feel.
Smoked Turkey Quesadillas and Chicken Dippers with sauces are just an alternative to the Chili for those not crazy about Chili…. The quesadillas are easy… use taco size tortillas... cut them into wedges.. the taco and chili toppings go well with them too… so put them next to them. The Chicken Dippers…. I would buy frozen nuggets… and put out honey, barbeque sauce and a mustard sauce…. again …little prep and not expensive.
I listed Corn and Green Chili Rice because it goes so well with Tacos and Quesadillas… depending on what you choose for main dishes… you can consider this… and it can be made ahead… it actually is better the second day.
With a spread like this… I keep sweets simple… you have to include them… but keep it simple… I found this fantastic recipe for easy Margarita Ole Bars…. and Brownies are always a hit.
Large soft pretzels with Cheese Beer Fondue or Assorted hors’dourves (your choice)
Buffalo Style Beef Empanadas with Bleu Cheese or Ranch Dressing
Smoked Turkey Quesadillas
Corn and Green Chili Rice
Chicken Dippers & Sauces
Make Your Own Mini Tacos (Use my Taco Seasoning recipe)
Margarita ole Bars
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This hearty White Bean and Bacon Soup is chockfull of wonderful flavor. This time of year with most of the country in a deep freeze and knee deep in snow .. what could be better than a hearty soup. We really can’t complain here in south Georgia, while our weather is cold for us, it’s practically balmy compared the weather up north.
Last week, after spending days trying to get warm, and a chest cold settling in… I decided soup for supper was the answer. I have been wanting to make a white bean soup for weeks and just hadn’t gotten around to it, thinking it would be time comsuning… well I was in for a pleasant surprise… the soup was quick to start and finishing it took no time at all…
The actual recipe is a slight revision of a recipe from Michael Chiarello. He used dried beans that needed to be cooked… I used canned… which saved a lot of time.
His recipe was decidedly more Italian with a Basil topping that I skipped and he made his soup with prosciutto, which I didn’t have in the house and it was far too cold to venture out to the market to get some, so I used smoked bacon… a fabulous choice.. the flavor was fantastic.
The only other change that I made was that I did not put the puree through a sieve… I like a hearty texture to my soup…
We had steaming bowls of this wonderful soup topped with a few garlic and cheese croutons and served with a crusty Cuban bread… we were warmed from the inside out… fabulous for a cold winter night.
I hope you try this wonderful soup!
Recipe: White Bean and Bacon Soup
All you need:
3 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 slices of bacon, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, quartered
About ½ cup of Begium carrots or 1 carrot, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
1 (32 oz.) container chicken stock or broth*
Freshly grated Parmesan, optional (for garnish)
Croutons, optional (for garnish)
*you may need to add more if your soup simmers harder, you want about an inch of liquid over your vegetables
All you need to do:
Combine all ingredients in a large pot.
Simmer gently over low heat for about two hours. Make sure liquid stays about an inch more than the vegetables and bacon.. add more broth if needed.
Remove pot from the heat and allow to cool down.
Remove the bay leaf.
Puree batches of the vegetables and bacon pieces with a little liquid in a blender.
Pour into a bowl.
When all vegetables and bacon have been pureed, return the puree back to the pot and heat until hot.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the soup and garnish with croutons.
So you can guess… I did make my Yankee Pot Roast my old way again. The other recipe is excellent and quick, but I have been craving the traditional Yankee Pot Roast of my childhood.
My Mother experimented with her gravy recipe and came up with a delicious healthier version of Pot Roast gravy… my version is a variation of hers and in my opinion, is the typical Yankee Pot Roast gravy. That recipe will follow in my next post. Click here for the recipe.
Cuts of Beef
I’m in the south now and one thing I have noticed is that different areas of the country use different cuts of meat for the same recipes… and in some cases, they call it by different names. So I was totally confused when I went to my local grocery store and found a package of beef labeled “For Pot Roast”.. it by no means resembled anything I have ever used for Pot Roast. So I pressed the bell and asked the butcher about it who insisted what I had in my hand was for Pot Roast.
This lead to a long discussion about cuts of meat. The piece of meat I had in my hand was about an inch or so thick and the size of a giant steak… I finally asked him… how in the world would I slice this after cooking… that was the break through question… his answer was… you don’t.. you cook it until it falls apart. Ahhhh.. now we were making progress… the Yankee Pot Roast I know and love… is a roast you braise then slice…. a younger butcher knew exactly what I was talking about and produced my beloved bottom round roast… YES! That was the cut I always used… it seems it’s not that popular in these parts… so it seems I have to ask for it by name to get it here…
As I always say.. all is well that ends well.. and it ended well… for sure.
Yankee Pot Roast can be made a number of ways and I have tried them all…. ideally .. for me… is making it in a heavy pot over a low flame on the stove…. cooking it with barely a simmer. You can also cook it in a crockpot or oven roast it.
I decided to do a bit of a combination for the Pot Roast I made last weekend for family that was visiting. I didn’t want to have to watch the roast as carefully as I normally do…. so I decided the crockpot method was the best way to go. I like to sear the meat first before braising, so I browned the meat in a heavy pot then placed it in the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients and cooked it at a slow simmer until fork tender.
You can follow these instructions and instead of putting it in a crockpot, continue to cook it in the original pot, just skip the deglazing of the pot step.
For a 3-3 ½ pound roast, you can cook it on low for about 9 hours or high for about 5 hours… My roast was a little over 4 pounds, a bit larger since we had more people than usual at supper, I cooked mine on high for about 6 hours.
I used small Belgium carrots.. it saves time and makes for a pretty presentation ( I do serve some with the roast). I remove the celery after the roast finishes cooking, we just don’t care for it, but you certainly can serve it as well.
This traditional meal is perfect for cold winter nights. Serve with mashed potatoes and carrots… your family will love it.
Before anyone says anything about just serving the braised vegetables with the meal… yes you can do that too… but when you read my gravy recipe you will see how I use those vegetables, of course you can still serve them with the roast too… but they tend to get mushy.
Okay… without further delay… here is my Yankee Pot Roast recipe.
Recipe: Yankee Pot Roast
All you need:
3-4 pound bottom round roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground black pepper
About a cup of small carrots or chopped regular carrots
1 medium onion, cut in wedges
1 celery stalk cut in half
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 container (32 ounce) beef stock or broth
2 bay leaves
All you need to do:
In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
Sprinkle garlic powder and pepper over the meat.
Brown the meat quickly on all sides.
Remove the meat to the crockpot.
Deglaze the pot you seared the meat in by adding some beef broth to it and scrap the bits off the bottom. Pour it into the crockpot.
Add the remaining ingredients and cook on a low simmer until fork tender.
When fork tender, remove the meat to a cutting board and allow to stand for about 10 minutes before slicing.
While meat is resting, cover loosely with foil and make the gravy… see gravy recipe.
This recipe is a version of my Mother’s recipe.
My Mother experimented with her Yankee Pot Roast gravy over the years… in an effort to make a more flavorful and healthier gravy, she would remove the roast and vegetables, discard the bay leaves and then take most of the vegetables that cooked in the pot with the meat and puree them with a little broth… then add it back into the cooking liquid to thicken it… the result was delicious… albeit a bit orangey in color because of the carrots.
The difference?... she uses more cooked veggies… especially carrots… she uses the cooked celery… I don’t… and I add a bit of flour to help thicken it.
So here is a No-Fail… perfect every time … Yankee Pot Roast Gravy.
Recipe: No-Fail Yankee Pot Roast Gravy
All you need:
Beef broth (cooking liquid from the Pot Roast)
2 tablespoons flour
Pureed vegetables from the pot
Salt and pepper to taste
All you need to do:
Remove the roast and discard the bay leaves.
Puree about a ¼ cup of the cooked carrots, all the potato and onions with some cooking liquid in a blender, then add it back into the pot.
Then take about a ½ cup of broth and add two tablespoons flour and whip that in the blender and add that into the pot…
Whisk it over medium heat until the desired thickness….
Salt and pepper to taste.
Perfect gravy every time.
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