Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Jalapenos Stuffed with Sausage

print recipe card posted in Appetizers and Snacks by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

HOT! HOT! HOT! Well maybe not! You can actually control the amount of heat in this recipe for Jalapeno Peppers Stuffed with Sausage in two ways:

  1. The type of sausage you choose
  2. How you clean the peppers

You need just four ingredients needed to make this recipe:

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of jalapeno peppers (about 18 small to medium)
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound of sausage

Start by softening the cream cheese. Just take it out of the refrigerator, open the wrapping, and let it sit on the counter while you cook the sausage. It will soften on its own!

I chose HOT Italian sausage to make this recipe. It ended up with quite a kick! Choosing sweet Italian sausage or pork sausage would definitely have decreased the amount of heat. Buy whatever sausage you prefer, depending on YOUR taste or that of the people invited to your party.

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Let’s startcooking!

With a sharp knife, slice through the casing of the sausage.

Remove the skin and add the sausage to a large frying pan that has been pre-heated on medium-high heat.

The sausage needs to get broken up into bits and cooked completely.

One way to break the sausage apart is with a spatula (shown above), but it does not do a great job at breaking apart the meat as it cooks. You could try using a fork (shown below) which works a bit better…

…or a potato masher (below), which actually works the best!

Once the meat is cooked put it into a bowl lined with paper towels.

Once all the fat has drained from the cooked sausage, which will only take a minute or so, remove the paper towels and throw them away.

Add the softened cream cheese and the grated Parmesan cheese.

This needs to get totally mixed together.

If the cream cheese is not soft it will make mixing quite difficult.

It should end up looking like the photo below.

Now for the peppers!

(Please take a moment to review my photo-tutorial on Handling Hot Peppers.)

Wash the jalapenos and cut them in half with a sharp knife.

OK! We’re now ready for the second way to control the heat of your final dish – cleaning the inside of the peppers.

The outside flesh of the peppers contain a lot of flavor. Most of the “heat” is contained in the internal seeds and the membrane that they are attached to.

So, we’re going to remove the seeds and membrane with a knife …

…or a spoon or melon baler.

Even the slightest bit of that white membrane will give these Sausage Stuffed Jalapenos quite a kick!

Fill each jalapeño half with about 1 to 1 ½ Tablespoons of filling. A small pepper will require less filling.

Some of the filled peppers may tip over in the oven. To prevent this, you can “snuggle” or “nestle” them together on the baking sheet. (Be sure to use a baking sheet with sides!)

Bake them in a pre-heated 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes.

You can see how some of the larger ones sort of toppled over. Next time, I am going to try to get smaller jalapeños and be sure to nestle them together on the baking tray so they will remain upright.

I left the top stem on some of them just for presentation purposes.

However, be warned. You don’t eat the stem! (Warn your guests.)

Enjoy!

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How To Make Egg Salad

print recipe card posted in Appetizers and Snacks, Lunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

There are a lot of ways to cut up a hard boiled egg. You can just use a knife to chop the cooked egg. Or you can also mash the cooked egg with a fork. An egg slicer which is shown in the photo below, makes perfect slices for sandwiches or for a garnish. You can also use the slicer to slice the egg in both directions and end up with chopped eggs for salad and dip.

If you are going to make egg salad sandwiches, three eggs will be enough for two sandwiches.

Celery and/or green olives are traditional “add-in”s to egg salad.

Be sure to mince the celery (cut it into really small bits) when you are adding it to a salad. Cut the celery length wise into thin strips, and then cut the strips into very small pieces.

Also be sure to slice the olives.

Crispy chopped bacon can add an extra zing to the taste and texture. A dash of curry powder is fantastic when you serve the salad as a dip with crackers and cut up vegetables.

Add a dash of Salt and Pepper

Add about 2 T. of mayonnaise, and give it a stir.

That’s it! The egg salad is all made, now just pick your favorite bread and you’ve got yourself a great sandwich!

Enjoy!

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32 Simple Snacks for Football Fans

posted in Appetizers and Snacks by startcooking team

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Jalapenos Stuffed with Sausage and Cheese

So what’s on your party menu for watching the big game? We’ve put together the following items, which go beyond bowls of corn chips, pretzels and cheeses. We make no specific claims about their healthiness, so pace yourself!  Your final menu choices will depend on how much prep work you feel like doing for your party.

The Easy & Traditional Snacks

These are the snacks that are easy to put together, and mostly require minimal effort.

  1. Kielbasa wedges . What meat lover doesn’t like kielbasa? Cut up some thick slices and serve with crackers and/or cheese.  A dab of spicy mustard works well with kielbasa.  (By the way, turkey kielbasa is delicious!)
  2. Garlic bread or Pull Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread is great fun for a party and will disappear fast.
  3. Meatballs. Little Sweet and Sour Meatballs served with toothpicks or Sausage Balls(shown below) are always a crowd pleaser.http://startcooking.com/public/IMG_1572k.jpg
  4. Mushroom caps. For a change of pace, try these bacon Stuffed Mushroom Caps(video).
  5. Chicken wings. Make chicken wings in the oven for an easy-to-prepare football snack that everyone will appreciate. Serve with the traditional sides — thick blue cheese dressing, celery and carrot sticks, hot sauces, and a fistful of napkins.
  6. Grilled sausages. If the weather’s still good (or you’ll grill in the snow), fire up the backyard grill and throw on some nice Italian or Polish sausages.
  7. Nachos and cheese dip. “Guilty pleasure food” at its best with this 2 ingredient nacho cheese dip.
  8. Potatoes. Potato wedges a really inexpensive snack are great with ketchup or sour cream.http://startcooking.com/public/images/imgp2610_305.jpg
  9. Stuffed potato skins. Or if it’s not wedges, it’s potato skins, which can be assembled ahead of time for baking. Make sure to set out extras, like sour cream, chopped chives, crumbled bacon, and grated cheese.
  10. Classic cheese ball.  Need I say more?  Serve cheese balls with a variety of crackers or thinly sliced pumpernickel bread.
  11. Chex mix. There are an endless number of combinations to the snack most of us know as chex party mix. Customize the recipe to your liking, but keep an eye on the oven, as the onion powder tends to burn easily.

Lighter & Healthier Snacks

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Make Ahead Layered Salad

If you’re feeling slightly peckish instead of all-out hungry, here are a few suggestions. Most are pretty traditional, like the items above – just lower in calories.

  1. Crudites and dip. Cut up some celery, carrots, cucumbers, and red peppers into bite-size pieces and serve with a nice dip.
  2. Cold cuts. We feel that some of the best cold cuts and sliced meats come from Italian markets. Just roll each slice up into a tube, or fold into a wedge, and arrange on a platter.
  3. Olive selection. Even simpler than cold cuts or crudites. While you’re at that Italian or Mediterranean market, pick up a nice array of olives – from savory to spicy, with different stuffings, from pimento to cream cheese to even almonds.
  4. Cheese bites and (wheat) crackers. Cheese platters do not have to be boring. There are so many cheeses to choose from – go for different textures and flavors – and then add some grapes and nuts to the platter as well.
  5. A crazy big salad. A big salad is the perfect complement to most game day foods – and relieves the guilt of eating all the other (heavier) snacks. Chop items small and throw it all in — vegetables, fruits, olives, boiled eggs, cheese, etc. — depending on your tastes. Top with balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lime.
  6. Savroy Pies. Quiche can be served hot or at room temperature. Baked spinach pie, reminds me of spanakopita, only easier to make because this recipe uses frozen puff pastry.   A store bought pie crust makes these recipes easy as…

Sandwiches and Burgers

http://startcooking.com/public/images/IMG_1987.jpgWhat’s a game party without some sort of sandwiches. Here are a few variations, some possibly unique to this article.

  1. Hot sandwiches. Serve spicy Italian sausage with plenty of peppers and onions, on crusty rolls.
  2. “Grilled cheese” burgers. You read that right. Make your burgers in one pan and keep it warm. Then, on order, make a grilledcheesesandwich (shown above) in another pan, using regular bread slices. Split it open (careful, it’s hot) and place tomato slices, pickles (optional), and a cooked burger patty. Have hot sauce or ketchup on the side.
  3. Tex-Mex Cheese Burgers. Need I say more! Check out the video.
  4. Pocket subs. Whether you call them hoagies, rockets, subs or something else, these are always a hit, especially with kids. Make sure you have lots of small Italian buns or sub buns, a variety of cold cuts, pickles, toppings and spreads.

Something Extra and Hearty

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Quesadillas!

These are for those colder football days, when you feel like something heartier.

  1. Perogies. Potato, onion and/or cheese perogies are so readily available in most supermarkets freezer section that you don’t need to make them from scratch. Serve with sour cream, salsa, dips, hot sauce.
  2. Pigs in a blanket. Don’t forget the kids in the snack list. We don’t know what it is about pigs in a blanket, but kids (and adults!) love them.
  3. BBQ ribs. You don’t need massive brontosaurus ribs like Fred Flintstone. Some regular sized, finger-licking, melt in your mouth  slow cooked barbecued ribs will do just fine.
  4. Burritos. Beef and bean burritos are easy to put together beforehand or assemble on the spot and who knows better how to make them then The Pioneer Woman!
  5. Chili. A great, hassle-free, “simmer in the pot until you are ready for it” game food like chili (video) is hard to beat. Chili is also an excellent make-ahead dish, freeing you up to enjoy the game while it simmers.
  6. Meatloaf. Meatloaf isn’t particularly original, but if you like to get creative, you could shape it into a football.
  7. Calzones. While traditional calzones are delicious, this spinach and ricotta stuffed variation, flavored with a touch of nutmeg, is simply delectable. Buy prepared pizza dough to make it really easy.
  8. Pizza Loaf. This fast and simple-to-prepare pepperoni and cheese stuffed snack is sure to be a hit served with a bit of tomato sauce on the side for dipping. It’s a fair bit like calzones, but probably less work over all.
  9. Sweet potato fries. Be sure to pre-heat your oven for about 20 minutes to make sure that these baked fries come out crispy.
  10. Chicken kabobs. Kabobs are eaten in a number of countries across Northern Africa, Europe and South Asia. So you have many flavor choices for chicken kabobs. Or just buy some from the deli counter and throw them on the grill or bake in the oven.
  11. Samosas. These East Indian potato-filled pastries are said to taste great with beer – an alcoholic beverage of choice for football viewing. Making these from scratch is time-consuming. So just pick some up fresh from an Indian or Pakistani grocery store, or in frozen form from most large supermarkets.

Now if none of these look tempting, check out Cooking Light’s list of Football Party Recipes!

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