Cooking On A Budget: March Madness and Munchies

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March Madness and Munchies

March Madness Has Arrived!
Who will you be routing for?
Love the game of basketball.
I live in Connecticut so the University of
Connecticut Women's Basketball
team is my team.

Throughout the tournament thousands upon thousands will gather together to watch the games - it's an exciting time in the sporting world. To see who will rise to the top - and eventually become the national champion.  As always the tournament should be filled with surprises; those "Cinderella" teams that surprise the daylights out of everyone. They play their hearts out and beat higher seeds - the teams that no one expects to go very far.

I have some recipes on this site for delicious and affordable munchies and will give them a replay here.

Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings
The trick to getting a crispy skin without deep frying, is to line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and liberally spray it with a cooking spray.  The cooking spray helps the wings not to stick and aids in the browning process. I remove the wing tips and split the drummette from the wing.
After washing and drying your chicken wings (very important steps), you will season them with black pepper, paprika, onion powder and granulated garlic to taste. Mix with your hands and refrigerate until you are ready to bake them.  Be sure to pull them out and get them to room temperature prior to baking.  You will bake the wings part way without the sauce!
Another very important tip - this recipe makes more than enough sauce. Be sure you place the partially cooked wings in a separate bowl and when it is time to baste them you will pour the wing sauce over them. The remainder of sauce remains untainted from the chicken and can be refrigerated for up to 3 months.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl you will whisk together the following ingredients. It is very important to whisk it versus stirring - you get the oil fully incorporated into the sauce.

1 1/2 cups Red Hot Sauce (I recommend Franks)           
3/4 cup olive oil or any other oil you choose is fine
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/3 cup and 1 tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp. salt
1/8 cup (approx. 2 tbsp.) cayenne pepper
3 heaping tbsp. light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic

In a preheated 400 degree oven bake the wings and drummettes skin side down for about 20 minutes.  At the end of the 20 minutes turn them over and cook about 5 more minutes.  Remove them from the oven and place them in a large bowl.  Pour as much of the sauce as you want over the chicken.  Mix thoroughly in the sauce and place them skin up in oven.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes more until the sauce has had its' chance to bake onto the chicken.

Serve with sour cream, ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Egg Roll Recipe

Wonton wrappers
.85# Ground Pork
4 oz. Ground Chuck
1 small bunch scallions diced (use both white and green parts)
½ tsp. fresh ginger minced or use dry
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp. Mirin
2 tbsp and 1 tsp. Soy Sauce
1 small head of Savoy Cabbage, shredded
¾ cup shredded Carrots – 1 or 2 large carrots or small bag of already shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 small pinches Chinese Five Spice Powder*
1 Egg white beaten (use to seal wonton wrappers)
1 tbsp. chicken stock
1 ½ tbsp. Olive Oil
Regular oil for frying

In a wok or frying pan cook the ground pork and ground chuck almost all the way through – drain and set aside. In the same pan with olive oil, cook the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots and scallions with garlic, soy sauce, Mirin and spices. If you need some liquid, add a little bit of chicken stock – 1 or 2 tbsp.

When this mixture cools, combine with the beef and pork.
Fill each wonton with about 2-3 tbsp. of mixture.  Wrap envelope style and use the beaten egg white to seal up the edges.

Fry in oil at 350 degrees until nice and golden brown.  Use duck sauce, soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce for dipping.

You can make homemade duck sauce by combining apricot jam melted with dry mustard.  Melt 1 jar of apricot jam in the microwave or on the stove top.  Add 1 to 2 tbsp. dry mustard and mix well. Add in 2 tbsp. cider vinegar and stir.  It’s ready to serve.

At my restaurant I created this for a sweet and sour sauce:
1 cup honey
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup lemon juice
1/3 cup ketchup

Place all ingredients in a sauce pot and whisk together.  Over medium low heat bring the mixture to a boil, stirring with a whisk until the mixture reaches 220 degrees.  It should start to thicken as it cools.

*If you don’t have Chinese Five spice in your pantry leave it out.  This is a spice that either you love it or you don’t.  It’s a very intense blend of spices.

Grilled Kielbasa with Barbecue Sauce Glaze
Kielbasa is made by a number of different companies.  The brand we like in our household is Roesseler's. They are larger than most on the market in a local grocery store here in Connecticut. The flavor is on the mild side and perfect for this dish. You can choose any grocery store brand of barbecue sauce you like or try mine.
You can make the barbecue sauce days in advance. Put in a sealed container and refrigerate. Any left over sauce will keep well in a sealed container for at least 3 weeks.
1 or 2 rings kielbasa
Barbecue Sauce:
1 1.2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 sweet onion - finely diced
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil (or any oil)
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper - more to taste
Pinch of salt
Add the olive oil to a sauce pot and then the onions.  Cook until the onions begin to soften then add in the garlic and stir.  Cook for 1-2 minutes and add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
Take the kielbasa and split open lengthwise. On the outdoor grill over 300 - 350 degree heat, grill the kielbasa to a nice brown. Baste with the barbecue sauce and grill for 1-2 minutes more and turn over and do the same for the other side. If you don't have an outdoor grill do this on an indoor grill pan or a frying pan.
Slice the kielbasa on the bias (looks better for presentation) into 1/2" thick pieces. You are ready to serve. Serve hot or at room temperature. 

March Madness Snacks Article

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken
This is really, really good and can be an appetizer served with toothpicks. It's not overly expensive to make, especially if you take advantage of your store's sale items.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts
In a bowl combine these ingredients:
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Take the boneless skinless chicken breasts and cut into bite sized pieces (about 1/2" thick)
Bacon - slice and wrap around each piece of chicken then roll in the brown sugar mixture.
Place the pieces on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until the bacon is crispy and the chicken is done. About 15-20 minutes.

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