Crispy Roasted Beech Mushrooms

This is a snack I made around the cocktail hour. If you like mushrooms, you’ll love these. There are clean and ready to use. The Brown Beech mushroom, or Bunashimeji, and the White Beech mushroom, or Bunapi has a nutty, buttery flavor, and a firm, crunchy texture. The mushrooms grow in clusters and produce tender caps.
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Crispy Roasted Beech Mushrooms

Makes about 2 cups

1 lb white and/or brown beech mushrooms
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F with a rack set about 4 inches from the heat source. Put a baking sheet on the rack to heat up while you prep the mushrooms.

Use a knife to cut off just enough of the base to separate the mushrooms-you may need to use your hand to help separate them. Discard the bases and put the mushrooms into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the mushrooms and season with 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat.

Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and pour the mushrooms onto the sheet. Use a spatula to gently spread out the mushrooms into a single layer. Roast until mostly golden brown and crispy, about 20 minutes, using a spatula to turn the mushrooms occasionally so that they cook evenly.

Season the mushrooms liberally with salt and pile in a small bowl. Serve immediately as a snack.

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Dill Pickle Dip

When my husband and I were dating 100 years ago and we would go to the supermarket, he would buy a jar of dill pickles and eat the entire jar in the car before we got home. He likes his dill pickles. His brother used to drink the juice, not sure if he still does this! Russell?! Anyway, this dip is divine!

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Dill Pickle Dip

1 cup sour cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs green onion, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dill
2 Tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
4-5 medium dill pickles, finely chopped

Combine all the ingredients and stir until smooth.

Refrigerate until serving. Serve with pita chips or vegetables.

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

I have been know to wake up in the morning and eat pickled beets.  Yes, I know I’m weird!  My favorite being Pickled Beets and Eggs.

Beets are high in many vitamins and minerals, and the juice from red beets has been actually shown to reduce high blood pressure. Beets help cleanse your liver, boast your sex drive (nature’s Viagra), combat depression, relaxes the mind, contributes to a sense of well being and the list goes on.

n 1975, during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, cosmonauts from the USSR’s Soyuz 19 welcomed the Apollo 18 astronauts by preparing a banquet of borscht (beet soup) in zero gravity.
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Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

Serves 4

4 medium beets, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
1 Tbs olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
4 scallions, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
crumbled goat cheese

Toss beets with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste on a baking sheet.

Roast at 450 degrees F, stirring once or twice, until tender, 35 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; toss with scallions and lemon juice. Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Potato Tot & Bacon Nachos

Another post Super Bowl snack. It’s similar to Irish Nachos.  Tater Tots, a registered trademark of Ore-Ida (a division of the H. J. Heinz Company), are fried slices of potatoes.  Tater Tots were created in 1953 when the Ore-Ida founders were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes. They chopped up the slivers, added flour and seasoning, then pushed the mash through holes and sliced off pieces of the extruded mixture. The product was first offered in stores in 1956. Originally, the product was very inexpensive. Apparently, people did not buy it at first because there was no perceived value. When the price was raised, people began buying it.
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Potato Tot & Bacon Nachos

32 oz bag of frozen potato tots
12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz bacon, cooked and diced
1 jalapeño, sliced or diced
4 oz sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium oven safe dish, spread tater tots in an even layer. 

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven, flip potatoes and add cheese, bacon and sliced jalapeños.

Bake for another 7- 10 minutes until cheese starts to bubble. Remove dish from oven, add a hefty scoop of sour cream on the top and serve.

Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips

I managed to make this quick and easy snack while at my mom’s in New York. I packed a yam in my suitcase! I wonder what they thought it was when my bag was xrayed?
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Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips

Cooking spray
1 (14 oz) sweet potato, peeled and very thinly sliced, divided
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped, divided
½ tsp salt, divided
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided

Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit a microwave-safe plate; coat parchment lightly with cooking spray. Arrange one-fourth of the potato slices in a single layer on parchment. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon rosemary, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a dash of pepper. Microwave at POWER LEVEL 9 for 4 minutes. Check for crispness. Continue to cook at 30-second intervals until done. Repeat procedure with remaining potato, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

Baked Parmesan Green Beans

This came to me through facebook. It seems very appealing. They word crispy was used in the title, which I removed. They aren’t especially crispy, though they are delicious.

I am off to New York for a couple of days, so I will be posting from there. Brrrrr….. I’m already cold just thinking about it!

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Baked Parmesan Green Beans

1 (14 oz) Bag of frozen whole green beans (or about 4 cups fresh)

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
⅛ tsp pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

If using frozen green beans, put the bag of green beans in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until just thawed (or you could leave them out at room temperature for a few hours). If using fresh green beans, wash and snip off the ends.

Place green beans on prepared baking pan, making sure they are evenly spread out, and none are laying on top of each other, (this will ensure even crispiness!) Sprinkle seasonings and parmesan cheese evenly over green beans.

Place green beans in the pre-heated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy! (To make them extra crispy, I like to broil them for an extra 1-2 minutes before pulling them out of the oven). Serve with dipping sauce of choice.

Baked Chicken Wings 2 Ways

Traditional chicken wings are pretty spicy. I added a non-spicy version. You can divide the recipe in half and make both to satistfy everyone. The key to crispy chicken wings is boiling them first. These seems counter intuitive, but it works. Make sure you pat them dry before roasting. Moisture is the enemy of crispiness!

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Crispy Baked Chicken Wings

Serves 2-4

2 lbs chicken wing pieces
1 Tbs salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat up a big pot of boiling water with the salt.

Boil the chicken wings for 7-8 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack so the excess water can drain off. Let them drip dry a little bit, then dry them well with a paper towel.

Place the chicken wings directly on a sheet pan. Bake the chicken wings for 25-30 minutes on one side, then flip the wings and bake for another 5 minutes on the other side. The wings should have crispy crackly golden skin on the side that was in contact with the sheet pan. The wings are now ready to be bathed in the sauces below.

Spicy Chicken Wings

3 Tbs Frank’s hot sauce
2 Tbs butter
dash of worcestershire sauce
ground cayenne pepper to taste, optional

In a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat up the hot sauce, butter, worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper, if using, until melted and combined. Toss the hot wings in the sauce, and serve immediately.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

¼ cup butter, melted
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion salt
¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

In a small glass bowl, whisk the melted butter with the garlic powder, onion salt and pepper.

Arrange hot wings on a serving platter and drizzle with butter mixture.

Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Brown Sugar Smokies

Do I care who won the super bowl? NO. We went to a party at our friend’s house (lots of fun and he made 4 racks o’ ribs!) and I brought some snacks – high caloric snacks. Here is one of them. It is reminiscent of Brown Sugar Bacon, which is transcendent.  My husband thinks the little smokies should be bathed in Dijon mustard before wrapping up in the bacon, which would be very good.  I will try it the next time.

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Brown Sugar Smokies

Serves 12

1 lb bacon
16 oz package little smokies sausages
1 cup brown sugar, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cut bacon into thirds and wrap each strip around a little sausage. Place the wrapped sausages on wooden skewers, several to a skewer. Arrange the skewers on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar.

Bake until bacon is crisp and the brown sugar melted.  About 30 – 40 minutes.

Lemon Rosemary White Bean Dip

It seems like hummus is taking over the supermarkets. It occupies a big piece of refrigerator real estate. Don’t get me wrong, I love good hummus, but I am a bit sick of it. Here is a new dip idea that’s fast and easy.

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Lemon Rosemary White Bean Dip

Makes 1½ cups

15 oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs freshly chopped rosemary
Crackers

Rinse the cannellini beans in a strainer with cold water.

Add the beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and rosemary to a food processor or blender with flat blade attachment and pulse until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.

Top with fresh rosemary and olive oil if desired. Serve with crackers.

Crunchy Chickpeas 3 Ways

To me, snacks are all about texture and crunch. This is a very healthy, yet satisfying snack. You could slip these in among the chicken wings at your super bowl party. I have done in the ways. Please note that the chick peas I used were very small and cooked much faster than 40 minutes. Watch them carefully after 30 minutes in the oven.

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Crunchy Chickpeas 3 ways

Serves 8

2 – 15 oz cans of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

Rosemary
2 Tbs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper

Curry
pinch of cayenne
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp curry powder or turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Dill
1½ tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400º. Toss the chickpeas with oil and seasoning. Spread on a large baking sheet and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy.

Make ahead:
The chickpeas can be roasted up to 1 day ahead. Cool completely and store in an air-tight container. Can be served at room temperature or briefly reheated, about 5 minutes at 400º.

Notes:
Water is the enemy of crunch, so make sure you remove as much moisture as possible after rinsing the chickpeas. Use paper towels to remove any surface moisture, and if you have time, let them air-dry for 30 minutes before tossing with oil and baking.