Monday, September 26, 2011

Bacon Versatility

You know what's delicious? Bacon. You know what's bad for you? Also, sadly, bacon.

As a general rule I would never make this snack day in its entirety again. And that is because for the 5 recipes that I made, I used 1.5lbs of bacon... It was a little bit too much. Some of what I made I didn't like and will show pictures of, but don't feel the necessity to type out recipes for. Somethings just didn't work.

Fun fact: Apple slices wrapped in bacon will explode  long before the bacon is finished.

Blue-Cheese Stuffed Dates... Wrapped in Bacon

Remember last week as I used delicious blue cheese stuffed olives? Well blue cheese is delicious and not limited to stuffing only a single item. This time I did the stuffing myself. I thought that this might seem like a daunting task for those less familiar with cooking so I thought ahead and actually took some pictures of the process as well.

All you need is a knife, a chopping block and your ingredients.

Pitted Dates--I had about 2 dozen
Blue Cheese--you can use part of a block, but I used about half of a container of the crumbled stuff
Pecans, about half a cup chopped coarsely
Bacon--about half a package with slices cut into thirds.

Preheat oven to 375F

Mix your blue cheese and chopped up pecans. I sort of mushed them together with a fork.
I actually mixed about twice as much as I needed... have to find something delicious for leftovers
Take your dates and slice length wise through one side. Since you have pitted dates there will probably be a hole somewhere where the date was removed. I like to use that hole as my starting point since otherwise when you go to stuff the date there's a hole in it if you don't.

Try not to eat delicious dates.
You may be tempted to hold the date in your hand and slice it up in the air because you're tall and the counter is slightly too low to be really comfortable to cut on... resist that urge! Because, somewhat strangely, you can miss the date and slice your finger. Hurting yourself is bad. People also will generally not be fans of eating your blood. Unless you hang out with an "alternative" crowd... then slice away.


Fill the date with a pinch of blue cheese mixture and close up... Because they're sticky they stay closed on their own and don't really need a tooth pick or anything.
ta da!
Wrap each date with a third a slice of bacon. A lot of recipes that deal with bacon wrapped goods seem to think that you must secure the bacon with a toothpick. You really don't. The fat in the bacon is sort of stretchy to get a tight fit and also sticks to itself. Kind of like pork-plastic wrap.

Place the dates on a jelly roll pan or in a baking dish. Bake for 18 minutes (approximately) flip and bake another 5 minutes.

While not the most colorful and attractive appetizer, these are one of the most delicious things I've ever made. They are sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy in just the right proportion. Plus they're easy and seem fancier than they are.

Bacon Breadsticks

This was really tasty and just ridiculously easy to make. Nathan (my husband) really liked them and I think they are a terrific "man food".

Sesame Breadsticks (I found them with the fancy crackers)
Bacon cut in half


Pre-heat oven to 400F

Wrap each bread stick with bacon. Place on a baking sheet with sides. Bake10 minutes. Flip and bake another 5 minutes.

Place on paper towel lined plate and let cool. If you eat them right out of the oven they are soggy.

Eat plain or dip in some spicy mustard.

 I also made some bacon wrapped water chestnuts which I didn't particularly care for (Nathan ate the whole thing), bacon wrapped shrimp, and bacon wrapped scallops.

I wouldn't make any of them again (didn't like the scallops at all... not sure if it was me or the scallops or the cooking method) so I'm not going to take the time to share the recipes (in brief, wrap with bacon, bake). I'll post a link to the water chestnut recipe in case anyone thinks that sounds appealing.

Nathan with bacon-wrapped feast
Next week I think I'm going to on the less fatty side of things, especially since Saturday we will be enjoying the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival which is already full of less than healthy items.

bacon wrapped water chestnuts

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday on a Stick

As I was searching for new and exciting recipes last week, I came across these potato pinchos from the food network. While they look delicious (and I may eventually try them out) what I really liked about them was the fact that they were on toothpicks. Nothing says classy like being served on a stick.

Eventually I decided to stick (get it) with two different recipes. The first choice was due mostly to the fact that I bought a couple of sweet potatoes earlier in the week and needed to use them.

Behold sweet potato sausage bites!

I had a really hard time getting my camera to focus on them...
 These were awesomely easy, and I also made them healthier!
1 sweet potato washed
half a package smoked sausage.. about 7 oz (I used Hillshire Smoked Turkey Sausage... see? healthy.)
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

for sauce
1/2 cup mayo (I used reduced fat)
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp garlic (I used the pre-minced kind you get in a jar 'cause I was too lazy to chop)
1 T minced parsley

Preheat your oven to 450F
Cut your sweet potato into half inch "cubes". You'll notice that since the potato itself is round you don't get 100% as squares or rectangles. This is ok, they will taste delicious.

Put your cubes in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread across a greased baking sheet.
Bake for about 15-20mins, turning two or three times. They will get sorta carmelized and extra delicious

While your sweet potato is baking slice up your sausage. I did about half inch slices and then halved them so they are half circles. Place your sausage in a hot pan and sprinkle with the cayenne pepper. Alternately you could have bought spicy sausage and just left out the cayenne...

Let the sausage brown on both sides, it will only a minute or two per side.

Make your dipping sauce! These are totally delicious with no sauce at all, so if you're looking to cut your calories even further you can just not make it. Mix all ingredients. Store in fridge. This is actually best if it can sit a little bit to let the flavors meld, so feel free to make it the night before you want your snack.

Skewer your potato and sausage. I did it potato on the bottom, but you could put the sausage on the bottom.

These are good hot, and also good at room temperature so they're awesome for those of us who like to make things a little in advance and eat them throughout an extended period. I would make these exactly the same again and again because they were a great blend of sweet and salty with a bit of spice.

I also made Tortellini Salad Skewers

1 package frozen toretllini (cheese or meat your choice!)
1 package grape or cherry tomatoes
Olives--I used blue cheese stuffed olives from the fancy olive bar at my grocery store about 1/2 lb
1/2 cup vinagrette style dressing--I used Zesty Italian

Cook about 40 tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Halve 20 tomatoes and all of your olives.

Skewer half a tomato, a tortellini, and an olive half on each skewer.

Place skewers in a 9x13 dish. Pour dressing over top. Let sit in fridge for a few hours (I left mine overnight). Remove skewers from dish to a separate serving tray. Discard excess dressing.


Here was my issue with this recipe... the olive was super over powering. I ended up eating the olives in one bite (because blue cheese stuffed olives are AMAZING. go eat one right now) and then the tomato and tortellini together in another. This was partially my bad because if you look at my reference recipes below you'll see that it in fact called for snow peas instead of olives but I was thinking a mediterranean flair would be tasty...I think if it were to make this into an actual salad vs a skewered salad I would still include the olives but have significantly higher proportion of tortellini and tomato.

Origin Story

Welcome to the first Sunday Snack Day blog post!

Here's how this blog came about. My husband is a huge Packers (football) fan. I am... not so much. At the start of the 2010-11 season he asked me if I could make nachos for a snack on Sunday. My tradition was to curl up with a laptop and headphones and watch trashy chick-flicks while he watched football. Nachos are also good as a movie snack so I thought what the hell?

After eating the small mountain of nachos with all the fixings that I prepared, we had basically been snacking all day and had no appetite for dinner. And thus Sunday Snack Day was born. It is a day where my husband and I eat "snack" or "appetizer" style foods and munch them all day in lieu of having any actual meals.

The purpose of this blog is to keep track of what I'm making, the recipes, and what I would change for future snack days. Some of the recipes come from the internet (I will link whenever possible) some come from books (which I will credit if possible) and some come from me. I'm not a professional chef or a professional photographer. I try to keep our snacks generally pretty easy, as mess free as possible, and semi-healthy (I am not always 100% successful at that part...).