Tag Archives: snacks

I love a good pimento cheese sammich

Pimento Cheese Sandwich - Inside NanaBread's Head

It’s hard to beat a good sandwich, isn’t it? Some people like tuna or egg salad. Some reach for a PB&J, a BLT or a grilled cheese. All are great, but let’s not forget the sometimes overlooked pimento cheese sammy. In my book, a really good homemade pimento cheese made with great cheddar and roasted piquillo peppers is hard to beat.

Let’s break one down. It starts with a great cheese. In this case, my favorite – Tillamook Cheddar. Medium or sharp, it needs to have great flavor.

Pimento Cheese - Tillamook Cheddar - Inside NanaBread's Head

Oh, Tillamook Cheese… how I adore you. If you have a food processor with a grater blade, grating the cheese happens in mere seconds. No fooling.

Pimento Cheese - Grating the Cheese - Inside NanaBread's Head

You only need 6 ounces to make two good-sized sandwiches. Which gives me an excuse to show off one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, my OXO food scale. This little guy is awesome. I’m using it with the digital reader in its ‘parked’ position, but if you’re trying to weigh something larger, it pulls out about 3″ so you can still see it even when using a larger container. Very cool. Just set your empty bowl or plate on the scale and hit ‘zero’ to clear the weight of the plate off, then add enough cheese to hit six ounces.

Pimento Cheese - Cheese Peppers & OXO - Inside NanaBread's Head

Next, grab jar of these gorgeous DeLallo grilled piquillo peppers. No cheap pimentos here, kids. Trust me – these piquillo peppers will rock your world. I love their rich roasted flavor and that they’re packed in water, not vinegar. They are robust and so much better than those small jars of brined pimentos. For this, five or six of these beauties will do nicely.

Pimento Cheese - Piquillo Peppers - Inside NanaBread's Head

In a mixing bowl, combine the grated cheese, chopped peppers and 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (we’re a Hellman’s house). Toss in a pinch of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper. Stir until well blended, then cover it tightly and let it sit in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.

After that, the only decision left is which bread to use, whether to toast it, and what to top it with. We like a good oat nut wheat bread. It’s so darned tasty. I love mine plain; he likes his with add-ons. A pickle on the side gets an A+ too.

Pimento Cheese - His & Hers - Inside NanaBread's Head

Mmm… so good. So creamy. So cheesy. And those piquillo peppers? I could kiss them. So, share time… do you like pimento cheese or do you reach for that BLT? Are you a grilled cheese & tomato soup guy/gal or do you prefer a good tuna or egg salad? Let’s talk sammies. And GO!

Note: I’m aware this post sounds like an advertisement for certain brands, but I swear it’s not. The post was not sponsored in any way by Tillamook Cheese, OXO or DeLallo Foods. These are products I love and use frequently; they just all came together beautifully for this post. All opinions are my own and are shared without influence from the companies shown. I promise.

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Filed under Food & Recipes, Things I Love

Mom’s Fudge Drops

Or in this case, Mom’s Fudge Balls since I rolled them. These were one of my favorite treats as a child. Mom would make them and my four sisters and I would devour them like a plague of locusts. Then we got old enough to make them ourselves so we made them all the time. And we devoured them like locust.

Mom’s Fudge Drops – no one can eat just one. I’m serious.

Anywho… did I mention this snack was always one of my favorites? Well, I made them again just so I could share them with you. Because I think you need these. No, I KNOW you need these. And while they look totally decadent, they’re really not bad. Okay, stop laughing and shaking your head. I mean it – there are whole oats in there. Old-fashioned oats. So they’re practically a health food (she says with her fingers crossed behind her back). Okay, judge for yourself then.

Mom’s Fudge Drops:
1 stick butter, unsalted
1 cup sugar (Mom used 2 cups; I use 1)
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats (I love Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup shredded or flaked coconut (optional)

Grab a large saucepan with a heavy bottom and melt the stick of butter over medium heat. While that’s melting, combine the sugar and cocoa in a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the sugar/cocoa mixture and add the milk, whisking until blended. Turn the heat up to medium-high and continue to whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Don’t walk away while this is cooking, or it will burn! Stand there and whisk it until it comes to a boil and has the texture of glossy hot fudge sauce.

Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth, then turn off the heat. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, add the old-fashioned oats and coconut, stirring until well combined. Using a cookie scoop or a metal spoon, scoop and drop onto parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Allow them to cool to room temperature. Once cool, they will still be soft and pliable. If you want to roll them into balls, now is the time. Gently roll each drop in your hands until a ball forms and put them back onto the waxed paper. Or, if you like them just fine as drops, leave them as is. Either way, pop the baking sheet into the refrigerator for about an hour to allow them to firm up completely. Once firm, you can layer them into an airtight container. These will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

If you really want to get fancy, you can roll the balls in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, ground peanuts or even graham cracker crumbs before you refrigerate them. Talk about getting dressed up for a party!

Pop a few in a plastic bag, and these make a perfect lunchbox treat for school kids or a great afternoon snack for a working girl or the perfect easy breakfast for a stay-at-home mom. At my house, they’re all mine. The Complete Package won’t touch them. And that, my friends, is what they call a win/win.

Fudge, oats, coconut & peanut butter for the win!

Now DROP me a line and let’s talk favorite childhood treats. Was yours homemade or store-bought? Do you still make them as an adult, either for yourself or for your children? And if your favorite was the ever-present never-perishable Twinkie, that’s okay too. No judging here. I grew up eating those, too. Although, for the record, I will always be a pink & fluffy Snowball kind of girl.

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Filed under Family Stuff, Food & Recipes

Dude Food? No way! It’s Ladies Night.

Are you ready for some football..... food?

Who says women can’t enjoy football food? Or even football, for that matter. Okay, I’m just bluffing. I’m not really that into football, but I stand by my statement that good football food is not just for the guys. Last night, I hosted a Ladies Night for 8 friends with a pre-Super Bowl football theme, and we turned traditional game day snacks on their ear. Forget what you’ve heard about dude food. This one’s dedicated to the ladies.

To start, there was the usual line-up of raw veggies and ranch dip.

Crispy, crunchy veggies with homemade Ranch = yum!

Want to know a secret? That ranch dip is fat free. I stirred one envelope of dry Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix into a 16-ounce tub of Fage 0% fat free Greek yogurt. And the kicker is that you’d never know it wasn’t made with full-fat sour cream. I’m not kidding. You can’t tell the difference. At all.

Of course, it’s not a party without a good layered nacho dip, am I right?

Nacho Dip - so many layers, so little time

And I don’t know about you, but come game day – I hafta get my queso on.

Heart be still - it's a big vat of ooey gooey cheese

This is my recipe for easy Queso Blanco. In a large saucepan, brown one pound of hot breakfast sausage, mashing it into little pieces as it cooks. If it’s too greasy, drain it. Throw in 2 cans (4 ozs. each) of roasted mild green chilies, 2-3 diced jalapenos (depending on how much heat you can take), a one-pound box of Velveeta (cubed) and one pound of white American cheese from your grocer’s deli (sliced thin works well since it melts faster). Put a lid on the pan and let it simmer over low heat until the cheese is mostly melted, then add enough milk to bring it to your desired consistency. I like mine in the medium range. For me, runny queso is no bueno and queso that’s too thick makes me think of my colon and the prune juice I’ll be shopping for tomorrow (sorry for the visual).

Next up, my take on buffalo wings. Here’s my take – they’re too dang messy.

Buffalo Chicken Rolls - much easier to eat, ladies.

Taking inspiration from my phobia of dirty hands and the blog ‘Can You Stay for Dinner?’, I made Buffalo Chicken Rolls instead. Andie’s version is fancier than mine, but she inspired this treat. To start, I simmered 6 boneless/skinless chicken thighs and 2 boneless/skinless breasts until they were fall-apart tender, then I let the cool and chopped them into tiny bits. I threw them in a bowl and tossed them with one 16-ounce jar of Hooter’s Wing Sauce and 1 1/2 cups of grated Monterrey Jack cheese. I stirred it all together until it formed a cohesive ball, then I scooped it one tablespoon at a shot onto wonton wrappers. Using a little water around the edges so they would stick, I rolled each wonton wrapper into a miniature eggroll. Once they were all wrapped, I placed them onto wire racks set over rimmed baking sheets (because the oil from the wing sauce WILL find a way to leak out), sprayed them lightly with cooking spray to help them crisp up, and baked them for 30-40 minutes at 350F until they were golden brown and crispy on the outside. Served up with a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot wing sauce and a bowl of creamy blue cheese dip, these had all of the flavor and none of the mess of traditional hot wings. It was a total win/win.

Next up, my friend Kaki’s award winning championship chili with all the fixins’.

The chili station. I want to live here.

I can’t give you the recipe for Kaki’s chili. Seriously, it’s her competition chili. And when I say competition chili, I am NOT. MESSING. AROUND. She travels the U.S. with her new cutie patootie husband competing in state and national chili championships. She doesn’t have a sash, but she is a former Arizona state champion. Her husband competes, too, using his own special recipe. He’s a former Tennessee state champion. No foolin. They’ve been to nationals, y’all! So while I can’t share the recipe, I can tell you that Kaki’s chili is thick and beefy and has just the right amount of burn that radiates through your entire palate when you eat it. It’s perfection. Please don’t ask if she puts beans in it, or I’mma hafta hurt you. Sorry, but it’s a Texas thing.

If you’re like me you’re already thinking ‘yeah, that’s great… but where’s dessert?’ Did you miss it? I’ve already shown it to you. Let’s take a closer look.

That's not layered dip. It's Nacho Average Cheesecake!

That’s right. That pan of layered nacho dip is not dip at all. It’s a cheesecake. Go ahead and take a minute to be blown away. Give me your best E-Trade baby ‘surprised face.’ This clever little beauty came from the Food Network Magazine. Not only is it the most adorable football game day dessert ever, but it was also a ton of fun to make. Basically, it’s a simple cheesecake topped with various candies and pie crust ‘tortilla chips’ that so closely resemble the real deal, most of the ladies walked right up to it and had no idea it was dessert. So not only is it fun to make, and extremely clever, but it also serves as an awesome ‘I just punked my guests’ surprise that no one will ever see coming.

I can’t share the recipe since it’s copyrighted material, but Food Network has it posted online here. I will tell you that I made one substitution. Instead of using sour cream, I used an inexpensive tub of store brand cream cheese frosting. Half the tub went over the top of the cooled cheesecake to mimic sour cream, and the other half of the tub was tinted orange to mimic the melted cheese poured over the top. I left off the black licorice fake olives. Eeesh… can’t stand black licorice!

Best. Game Day Dessert. Ever.

You have to try this one. Please promise me you’ll try it. It will put the fun back in Super Bowl Funday. So Dude Food? It’s a total myth. And we just debunked that sucker. Booyah, boys!

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