Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Football Party Snacks Traditional and Healthful

I'm always emotionally torn this time of year. I love Summer and nearly everything about it. But I like Fall as well. Fall, though, has an additional advantage that Summer lacks - Football!

Yes, it's that time of year again when The Boss losses me every Sunday until February. From years of experience she's learned that if she wants anything out of me, she better ask for it on Saturday.

This year will be only slightly different. Oh, I still won't be doing any major projects on Sunday, but as far as dinner and cooking, that will be taken to a whole new level and realms unexplored.

In the old house, Sunday dinners were quite an ordeal as I ran back and forth between the kitchen and television, eventually leaving us with a subpar meal or one that was prepared so late it was nearly time for bed. But now, with the new house, I have a clear view of the large screen television from the kitchen,  and as an added bonus, I have DirecTV NFL Sunday ticket. I won't miss a single Seattle Seahawks game while I party in the kitchen.  Can you say "awe inspiring"?

The temptation to cook more and more elaborate snacks and appetizers will only increase with each week of the season as I try to add variety and originality from the previous weeks. It will be Football Food Heaven - all varieties of chicken wings, imaginative pizza combinations that will spin your head, and chips with salsa, cheese, and chili that'll leave ya bloated until next week.

But when I think past these immediate exalted images and sensations, I realize that this approach may not necessarily be a healthy one - afterall it was over ten years ago when I quit smoking and spent entire Sundays at a local sports bar, watching football and drowning myself in hot wings and beer, eventually earning an additional 60 pounds of bulk to carry around by the time Spring hit.

So with that in mind, I've decided that each Sunday of this coming season I'll have one of the traditional, often high calorie, snacks paired with at least one healthful alternative. And I'm talking more than just your average veggie tray (which for many football fanatics is usually nothing more than scooping large amounts of Ranch dressing with a celery or carrot stick).

A quick search of the internet has landed two new appetizers already. The first snack comes courtesy of Old El Paso and is simply called Taco Humus (let that idea roll around in your head a moment). I figure I can pair this with the traditional Loaded Nachos, and have a Mexican theme snack day.

The second snack is Zucchini Parmesian Crisps directly stolen from The Food Network website. Since it's zucchini and parmesian, I'm guessing this might go well with my personal favorite - Pizza. The Italian spices on the pizza will be a good compliment with the sprinkled parmesian baked on the zucchini.

If you can't wait to see how they turn out for me, follow each of the links I provided above to find the recipes and discover for yourself.

In the next few weeks, I'm going to continue to comb the internet and pull all the cook books off the shelves in my search for inspiring healthful alternative. I'll share each one here, as well as post pics on my Instagram account. So bookmark this blog, follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and I'll see you on the I mean, the kitchen.

Until Next Time...
Here are two videos (Video #1 and Video #2) that tackle the theme of gastronomically entertaining football parties.

Scoringly Yours,

Monday, August 8, 2016

Garlic Butter Festival

The other night, The Boss and I had a Garlic Butter Festival. Most people call it Surf and Turf, but considering how much butter and garlic I melted, and how much we love our garlic butter (on Shrimp Scampi as well), I thought it might be appropriate to temporarily rename the dish.

It started out as something simple - I had purchased some unfavorable steaks from a national warehouse retailer and needed something to help out and prevent them from ruining a weekend meal. My initial thought was salmon. It's a fish that's easy to grill and pretty hard to screw up. But a few days previously I had watched a few some videos, including a couple that showed how easy it was to grill lobster tail.

I've never cooked lobster tail before, mostly because of the expense in relation to the size of the cut - seems like a lot of money for something that, at least locally, is usually available in sizes about the same as crawfish. This time, though, since I've been making an effort to expand my cooking abilities, I decided to purchase some bigger lobster tails I had seen and surprise the woman of the household with her favorite shellfish. So I bit the bullet on expense and laid out the extra cash.

Once home, which just that unique touch of trepidation that comes with stretching your comfort zone, I fired up the grill and followed the steps I had spent thirty minutes on YouTube researching.

The aluminum-wrapped corn on the cob went on the grill first for a few minutes, followed by the steaks, and just moments later, I gently placed the lobster tail on the hot metal with a small prayer to the cooking gods ("Please don't let me royally screw these up.")

I kept a careful eye on the timer while I minced the garlic and melted the butter (an entire stick of butter and three garlic gloves). I pulled everything off the heat exactly when I was supposed to, and in the end, we had a meal that was absolutely worth every penny and the small effort to make. maybe the lobster could have remained on another minute, maybe two, but the meal was absolutely wonderful and well worth the money and effort. Later, when I did the math, I calculated I had spent on the entire meal for two people what I would have spent on one meal at Joe's Crab Shack or Red Lobster. (Note: the lobster could have arguably stayed on for one more minute, seems The Boss's piece was still just a hair rubbery in one small part, but I'll need to further research if the cause is due to the length of time on the grill, or placement, etc.)

I don't see myself cooking lobster anytime in the immediate future, but I'm definitely over any confidence issues I had, and assuredly will be making lobster again (and again).

Until Next Time...
Here's a video from Lighthouse Seafood and Deli on the simplicity of grilling lobster tail.
Butterly Yours,