Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Coconut Spiced Rum Mocha Latte!!!

Hey Homegaters!

I was at a loss about which recipe I wanted to share with you for this weekend, what with Thanksgiving and all. Most of you are probably cooked out for the weekend and might not want to start whipping up munchies for gameday. On top of that, the gang might not be as ravenous as they usually are when they come over, either. So I rattled the ol' noodle and decided to share with you a pretty cool latte drink that you can serve: Coconut Spiced Rum Mocha Latte! Hey, who's not going to want to check out one of these with those turkey leftovers?

Blue Chair Bay Rum recently released a Coconut Spiced Rum Cream. Holy freakin' moley! This is a tropical holiday in a bottle! It's crazy good. The minute I tasted it, I knew that it would be perfect in a coffee drink. After a couple of trial and errors (and a caffeine buzz to send me into next Thanksgiving), this java jolt evolved.

Coconut Spiced Rum Mocha Latte                                

(makes 6 mugs)

10 cups brewed coffee or espresso
1/3 C chocolate syrup
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp vanilla
Steamed or Frothed Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum Cream 


1.  Brew the coffee or espresso.

2.  Add the chocolate syrup, cinnamon stick and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

3.  Steam or froth Coconut Spiced Rum Cream and pour into each mug.

4.  Slowly pour the coffee into each mug.

5.  Take a sip, kick back and enjoy.

(Note:  between the chocolate syrup and the rum cream, the coffee is already sweet, but if you want to make it sweeter, you can add more sugar. I recommend brown sugar.)

And there you have it, Homegaters! Pretty quick and pretty simple.  Hope you try this and let me know how you like it.

Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy all the games!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spicy Chicken Puffs!!

Greetings Homegaters!

I was brainstorming on what to make for the gang last weekend, so I decided to rummage through my freezer for inspiration. I came across a box of puff pastry and the ideas started to flow. Puff pastry is very versatile for both sweet and savory dishes. For this recipe I went savory:  Spicy Chicken Puffs. These little snacks are packed with flavor. They're a great finger food and as you know, finger foods are perfect for gameday. They were a hit with the gang. As a matter of fact, I'll have to double the recipe next time because they went in no time and people were looking for move. That's a good sign!

Spicy Chicken Puffs are relatively easy to prepare and serve. Place the chicken breasts (or thighs) in the slow cooker and cover with hot sauce. Cook on slow for 2-3 hours until the meat can be shredded with a fork. While the chicken is cooking, take the puff pastry out of the freezer and follow the instructions on the box for same-day defrosting (or you can defrost it in the fridge the night before). Let the chicken cool and then shred it. While the chicken is cooling, saute some chopped onions and garlic and fold into the shredded chicken. Take a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle a little flour on it. Unroll the puff pastry onto the parchment and cut in half. Sprinkle a layer of shredded jack cheese down the middle of each half and then place the chicken mixture on top of the cheese.

Roll the dough over the filling and pinch the edge of the dough to make sure the seam is sealed. Slice into bite-size nuggets and cut a tiny hole on the top of each one.

Brush each nugget with a little egg wash, place on a baking sheet and bake at 425-degrees for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden. You can make these ahead of time and freeze them. That way they're ready at any time. All you have to do is reheat them in the oven when the gang comes over.

Spicy Chicken Puffs
(Serves 4-6)

2 lbs chicken breast or thighs
32 oz bottle of your favorite hot sauce          
1/2 medium white onion, minced
1 small clove of garlic, minced
8 oz package shredded jack cheese
(or any melting cheese)
2 sheets of puff pastry


1.  Place the chicken in a slow cooker and slightly cover with the hot sauce. Turn slow cooker on low and let cook 2-3 hours - or until chicken can be shredded with a fork.

2.  Place the frozen puff pastry in the fridge and let defrost overnight. If preparing the same day, read the instructions on the box for same-day defrosting.

3.  Sautee the minced onion and garlic until translucent. Fold into the shredded chicken.

4.  Roll out the puff pastry onto a sheet of lightly floured parchment paper and cut in half lengthwise.

5.  Sprinkle a layer of jack cheese down the middle of the dough.

6.  Sprinkle a layer of the chicken mixture on top of the cheese.

7.  Roll the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal the seams.

8.  Cut into 2" nuggets and with the tip of a sharp knife, pop a little slit on top of each one.

9.  Bake in a 425-degree pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.

And there you have it! Easy little snacks for the gang to pop in their mouths and enjoy! Hope you try this. Let me know how you like it!

I'll see you back here next week for some more gameday inspiration!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chicken Sausage Bread!!

The other night a couple of pals showed up unexpectedly to watch the hockey game. Personally, I think they came over more because they were hungry, rather than to watch our team get creamed that particular night. But because I am a good homegater, I was prepared for this little last-minute surprise so I got right to work before those 2 started eating my livingroom furniture.

I decided to whip up a little Chicken Sausage Bread which consists of sauteed chicken sausage, provolone cheese, onions, garlic, red wine and roasted peppers on top of Whole Foods sperlonga bread. The chicken sausage was previously sauteed and frozen (I had leftovers from another dish) so I just needed to nuke it a little to defrost it. I also had the bread in the freezer so I popped that in the oven and got that defrosting as well. Once everything was defrosted (which took about 10 minutes), I layered the provolone on top of the bread, followed by the sausage, roasted peppers and a little more provolone. The guys Hoover-ed it down (I think one of them might have downed a napkin during their feeding frenzy). It was a hit.

Having things on hand in the freezer takes the angst out of unexpected company. You can always prepare ingredients and fillings ahead of time and freeze them until you need them. That way you're not wigging out if someone shows up unannounced or if more people than you were anticipating show up on gameday. That way your day/evening is freakout-free.

Sausage Bread
(makes 6 servings)

2 lbs sausage meat, removed from the casings (can be either chicken, turkey or pork sausage)
1/2 large onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced                                              
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbs olive oil
1 loaf French Bread, Italian Bread or Sperlonga Bread (available at Whole Foods), sliced in half length-wise
Roasted red peppers (home made or jarred)
1/4 lb provolone cheese


1.  Pre-heat the oven to 450-degrees. In a medium-sized saute pan on medium heat, heat the oil and add the onions and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add the sausage meat and saute, breaking the meat up into small pieces as it cooks.

2.  When the sausage is cooked through (about 10 minutes), add the red wine and continue sauteeing until the wine is absorbed (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and let it cool down slightly.

3.  Cut the bread in half length-wise and place slices of the provolone on top of the bread. You can add as much cheese as you like. Since my cheese was sliced relatively thick, I made one layer.

4.  Sprinkle the sausage on top of the layer of cheese, until most of the surface is covered.

5.  Place slices of roasted peppers and thin strips of provolone on top of the sausage.

6.  Place the sausage bread on a sheet pan and place in the oven. Heat through until the cheese melts and slightly browns around the edges.

7.  Slice and serve.

There you have it. It doesn't take much to whip up and will get rave reviews when you serve it.
See you again next week!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stuffed 'Shrooms!!!

Finger foods are really popular when homegating. They're easy to prepare, easy to plate and easy to grab and pop in the mouth. They can act as appetizers to the main dish that you might bring out at halftime or between periods. Mushroom caps are perfect finger food because they act as vehicles for a variety of fillings.

This time out, I decided to go with a ground turkey filling because around this time of year, turkey is in abundance and it's on the light side. If you want, you can make the filling ahead of time. Once the gang comes over, you can stuff the 'shrooms and pop them in the oven because they don't take long to cook.

Stuffed 'Shrooms
(serves 4-6)

1 package whole white button mushrooms (stems removed and minced)
1/4 lb ground turkey
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1 medium clove of garlic, minced                                        
1/8 tsp dried ground sage
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheeese
2 oz monterey jack cheese cut into tiny cubes
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste


1.  Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and mince.

2.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a heated skillet on medium heat and add the onions, garlic, sage and minced mushroom stems. The mushrooms will release some liquid. Add the vermouth and continue to sautee untl the liquid almost completely evaporates.

3.  Add the ground turkey to the skillet and cook through (about 10 minutes).

4.  Add the bread crumbs, grated parmesan and broth. The stuffing by now should be mixed thoroughly and moist.

5.  Place the mushroon caps in a shallow roasting pan. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the cap. You can fill each mushroom as much as it will take.

6.  Pour some chicken broth (about a 1/2 cup) into the bottom of the roasting pan and place in the oven. Cover the pan with foil. Roast for 15 minutes, remove the foil and then continue roasting for another 15 minutes.

7.  Remove the stuffed 'shrooms from the oven and place a tiny cube of the jack cheese on top of each one. Return to the oven until the cheese melts.

8.  Remove from oven, place on a serving platter and unleash on your guests.

And there you have it! Easy peasy! Enjoy!

See you back here in next week with some more homegating inspirations!