The Little Apple That Could


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This week has been fraught with a total absence of cooking. (what? fraught with an absence?) Since I am running solo this week, I have not been inspired to cook for a party of one. In fact, I have found that if given to my own devices, I would probably live on prepackaged salads and quesadillas alone with a side of guilt for using all that petrol for the packaging. Also, solo is not entirely accurate because I have been wrangling the Three Dog Night Circus, two dogs new to the house and one new to the world. It’s pretty time consuming, so I thought I would post about the cocktail I served at Chicas Gone Bonitas: Apple Pie Punch! I wanted something cold and refreshing (this is Texas after all and even in October things can still be pretty heated) but embody fall. I think this little ditty accomplishes both and as a bonus it can be served hot on those chilly days.

But first, The Dames:

Meet Tahlullah and GG (short for Galactic Girl cause she's got eyes swirling with galaxies.

Meet Tahlullah (the brindle pup) and GG (short for Galactic Girl cause she’s got eyes swirling with galaxies)

Then the Drink:

Apple Pie Punch

For the Apple Pie Simple Syrup:

1/2 c maple syrup

1/2 c water

1 4 inch cinnamon stick, broken in half

2 whole cloves

small piece of nutmeg (like 1/8 inch) or a few shavings

For the Punch:

1/4 c Apple Pie Simple Syrup

3 c Applejack

3 c apple cider

3 bottles hard apple cider

1 orange, thinly sliced

1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

1) To make the syrup, place all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Let cool and infuse for at least 30 minutes. Then strain out the chunky bits.

2) Punch assembly: Pour all the ingredients into a punch bowl (or a drink dome like I did) and top with the fruit. Serve over ice and top with a piece of fruit OR eat all the fruit after the guests have left and get REAL festive. (festive meaning drunk, of course)


Behold; THE DRINK DOME (not really at all like the Thunderdome)

Behold: THE DRINK DOME (not really at all like the Thunderdome although only one may be left standing)

Chicas Gone Bonitas: Halloween Edition


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Happy Howl-a-ween! And at this house, that is pretty accurate since the dogs are about to outnumber the humanoids.

In other news, like the title suggests, we have Chicas Gone Bonitas which as you might suspect is a gathering of the lady folk sans baggage (cute and lovely baggage like kids and squeezes). It’s a time to relax, breathe, share stories and bust out the laughter. This Halloween edition meant it was also time to decorate some frightfully good cookies. I brought out my cutout cookie A Team, also known as Mexican sugar cookies. These cookies have so much flavor, keep their shape and freeze well: the triple crown of cutout cookies, if you ask me. Warning: these cookies have anise seeds and many of you may not necessary like their flavor but it is so subtle and essential, I encourage you to leave them in, at least for the first batch. This recipe comes from a BH&G Christmas Cookies magazine which means I spend a lot of time searching through all my Christmas Cookie magazines every time I need it. NOT ANYMORE!

Night of the Living Unbaked

Night of the Living Unbaked

Mexican Sugar Cookies

1 c shortening

1 c granulated sugar

1 egg

2 Tbs milk

3 c AP Flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp anise seeds, crushed

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I like the Vietnamese version also called Saigon cinnamon)

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbs brandy (I use Calvados)

1) Beat shortening in mixer for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar and mix until fluffy. Beat in the egg and 2 Tbs milk. Mix to combine.

2) Stir together flour, baking powder, anise seeds, the cinnamon and the salt. Alternately add the flour mixture and the brandy to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Form into 2 discs and and chill for 1 to 2 hours or until easy to handle.

3) Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Spread a tea towel on the counter and dust with flour. Place dough on towel and sprinkle with more flour. Sprinkle your rolling pin with flour as well. Begin rolling out dough, adding small amounts of flour when needed (when things start sticking) but be careful and only add as much as you need. Roll out to about 1/8th inch thick. Use your awesome collection of cookie cutters to make whimsical, yet horrifying works of edible art.

*Note: you may have to flour the cookie cutters in order to easily release them, generally the ones that press an image onto the dough are the ones that need a little extra help.

4) Place cookies on the parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10 to 16 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Now you have beautiful and delicious cookies that are ready to decorate or eat.

**To store them place in a container and layer with wax paper. They should be good for a week at room temperature or good for months if frozen.

Hot out of the oven Christmas cookie cutter goes sinister

Hot out of the oven
Christmas cookie cutter goes sinister

Gallery of Fright

Ugly Sweaterdom

Ugly Sweaterdom

Witchie WHOA-Man

Glitter Kittie

Glitter Kittie


Pie, Oh My!


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This week is one of pies. Eight of them to be exact but all of them are of the Chocolate Chess variety. That is how much we like them around here. This might have been the very first pie I attempted and that’s good because it’s so easy. So much so, I just kept on making pies of all kinds. It was, I guess, my gateway pie and I’m thankful that it was so easy or I might not have continued on. I had never had anything like it (I’m not originally from Texas or the south) and it’s not one you find in bakeries. A good friend made it for a Thanksgiving celebration, oh so many years ago, and i jotted down the recipe and have been living happily ever after, Me and My Pie!

The 'Original' I'm Down with CCP

The ‘Original’ I’m Down with CCP

Chocolate Chess Pie

1 unbaked pie crust for 9 inch pan

*my go to for pie crust is the America’s Test Kitchen recipe that involves both butter and shortening and has vodka thrown in for good measure

1 stick margarine or butter, melted

1 1/2 c sugar

3 1/2 tsp cocoa powder

2 Tbs flour

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 small can of evaporated milk (5 oz.)

1) Preheat oven to 325°F. Line pie pan with the crust and keep in fridge until ready to fill.

2) In a medium sized bowl combine the margarine or butter with sugar, cocoa powder and flour. Mix well. In another bowl mix together eggs, vanilla and the evaporated milk until combined. Then add this mixture to the margarine mix and stir together to fully incorporate. Make sure to mix thoroughly, you want the eggs to work their magic throughout the filling.

3) Put the pie tin on a baking sheet. Add the filling and bake in the oven 50-55 minutes. Allow the pie to cool at least an hour then dig in and say goodbye to the ole waistline!

The Gateway Pie

The Gateway Pie

Potato Sweet Potato


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One of my dream jobs would be to travel the country dosing myself with veggie burgers to find the best in all the land and maybe learning how to make some good ones along the way. Until then I will just have to fire up ‘The Lab’ and experiment at the homestead. On my last blog post, I talked about volunteering at JBGOrganic and the mountain of veggies I received for my efforts. I have been dwindling down my pile and this is one of the benefactors of those gems. Veggie Burger Experiment: Smoky Sweet Potato Patties with Garlic cream found at How Sweet It Is. I made the patty and the garlic cream pretty much as instructed (pure genius adding the maple syrup to the yogurt sauce) and only made a few changes based on ingredients I didn’t have: avocadoes and some that I did have: collard greens. Confession: I have never used collard greens, so I was trying to find recipes that were collard friendly and I had seen collards used as wraps and I said, “That’s a wrap!” Uh, yeah, I just made that pun.


Portrait from the South

Collard Wrapped Sweet Potato Patties with Garlic Cream

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 c cannellini Beans (rinsed and drained if canned)

11/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp onion powder

1/8 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 c panko bread crumbs

1/3 c flour

1 egg, lightly beaten

2-3 Tbs olive oil

1 bulb roasted garlic

2/3 c yogurt

1 tsp maple syrup

1/2 medium onion, sliced into rings and then each ring into quarters

8 large collard leaves

To make patties:

1) Prick potatoes all over with a fork and microwave for 5 minutes. Then Flip and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove and slice in half until cool enough to handle then scoop out the flesh.

2) Mash the beans with a fork and then add sweet potato and mash together. Add spices, salt, pepper, minced garlic, egg, panko and flour. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to make the mixture easier to form into patties.

Garlic Cream:

3) Make the cream while the patty mixture is chilling. Combine the yogurt with the roasted garlic and the maple syrup in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.

4) Form the sweet potato mixture into 4 patties. Heat 2 tbs oil in a skillet over medium heat. Carefully add the patties and let cook 5-6 minutes taking care to not disturb them until ready to flip. Flip them over and cook another 5 minutes or so. Add more oil if needed.

For Assembly:

5) Microwave each collard (face down) for 10 seconds. Cut each patty in half and place in the center of the green, top with cream and onions. Fold up the short sides and roll to close. Cut in half. Repeat with the other collards. Bite into something healthy and scrumptious.


Dig in!

Tripping and Then Falling For Fall Vegetables


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I recently had an adventure at one of the local farms. It turns out, if you help out for a mere five hours, they will send you home with an obscene amount of produce. See below:


Haul from JBGOrganic

So after I got back to a reasonable sense of normalcy, (I had to be fed, watered and washed => I sound like a farm animal already) I, of course, began to worry about how to use these beauties while they are still in their prime. In swept a recipe from the Vegetarian Times magazine from earlier this year: Roasted Vegetables with Green Olive Vinaigrette and Pistachio Couscous with some additions and deletions. First, I added sweet potatoes to the veggie lineup. I thought it sounded like a good idea and it was actually the star of the whole shebang. On this go round, I thought since I also had butternut squash I would throw that in. Then I omitted the vinaigrette. While it was good; it was unnecessary, same thing with the pistachios. I love pistachios and I cannot even imagine something better without them but I found myself just eating handfuls of them, not really incorporating them into the dish. So I encourage you to take a look at the original recipe and maybe try it but here’s how I tweaked it. Now for a new name since it no longer has the vinaigrette or the pistachios.

Tunisian Inspired Descended from Heaven Roasted Vegetables on a Bed of Couscous

1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 in cubes

2-3 sweet peppers cut into 1/2 chunks

1 large red onion, sliced into rings

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs finely chopped mint*

2 tsp harissa

2 cloves garlic

2 c couscous

1 tsp salt

For the Veggies:

1) Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine the butternut squash and the sweet potatoes with 1 Tbs of the oil. Line a baking sheet with foil and transfer them to the pan and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. While those are cooking, combine the onion and peppers with the other Tbs oil and put on another baking sheet lined with foil. When the 15 minutes are up place this pan in the oven along with the other and cook both for 15 minutes more.

2) While those are roasting, combine the balsamic vinegar, chopped mint, harissa and the garlic.

3) When the veggies are done roasting, transfer to a bowl and drizzle with the vinegar mixture.

For the couscous:

4) Bring 2 c water to a boil, add salt and couscous and give it a stir. Cover the pan and take off the heat. Let stand 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

5) Put 1/2 to 1 c of couscous on each plate and top with some of the veggie mixture. Easy Peasy!

Descended straight from the heavens to your plate

Descended straight from the heavens to your plate

*Those of you who are inclined to leave out the mint: I gently urge you not to. Spoken as someone who usually doesn’t like to incorporate the ‘sweet’ spices into savory dishes, the mint adds a sweetness and brightness that balances out the harissa (especially my harissa because it’s hot and cumin-y) and I think it really is integral. Plus, it’s not a huge amount but like I’ve said before, you are in charge of your kingdom.

P.S. If you find that all you talk about is pumpkins/ pumpkin spiced lattes/ leaves turning/ sweater weather and you are using #fallingforfall or other fall related hashtags this video might help you and you suck because fall doesn’t come to Central Texas for another 6 weeks. At least that’s what Arnie the Armadillo seeing his shadow means never mind that armadillos have poor vision and are rarely out before sunset.

Now what to do with that okra? Yipes!

Midmorning Break with Pomegranate



Introducing, Ellavation! Originally named Mr. Wonderful after its variety and then changed to honor Ella, who gifted this magnificent specimen as a betrothal gift to the Musick Manner seven years ago. He/she has been going strong, (through crazy weather and all) needs very little attention but has not produced edible fruit. Sadness on that front but THIS is gonna be the year.


Have Your Coffee and Eat It Too


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We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for this: Chocolate + Coffee + Sticky Buns. Today is National Coffee Day, which I was all set to celebrate by having my regular ole 6 oz, nothing fancy here, hot drip coffee with a spot of sugar and cream. For once, I actually knew about the impending day of celebration for the world’s most awesome drug but I was content with just sitting smugly with my little hot and dark mug of magnificence. However, yesterday I was innocently perusing my iPad subscription of Donna Hay’s magazine, (more on this later*) when I came across this combo and I couldn’t shake it this morning so…… I gave in. Today’s most perfect weather combo of cloudy with spitting rain and much cooler temps didn’t do much to convince me not to turn on the oven.


Soft and silky dough

Sticky Dark Chocolate and Coffee Buns

For the dough:

1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

2/3 c lukewarm milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 c all purpose flour

1/4 c granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 stick plus 1 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

For coffee glaze:

1/3 c maple syrup

1/3 c brown sugar

2/3 c unsalted butter

1 Tbs instant coffee, dissolved in 1 Tbs boiling water

For Dark chocolate filling:

little less than 1/2 c dark chocolate chips

2 Tbs cream or 1/2&1/2

Make Dough

1) Combine yeast, milk and vanilla extract and mix. Let sit for 5 minutes or until it starts proofing.

2) Put flour, sugar, salt, egg, butter and yeast mixture into an electric mixer with a dough hook. Beat until just combined on low speed. Increase speed to high and beat until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, 5-8 minutes. You may have to add more flour for the dough to come together.

3) Put dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until the dough doubles in size (approx 1 hour).

Meanwhile make the coffee glaze:

4) Combine maple syrup, brown sugar, butter and coffee mixture in a saucepan over low heat. Keep over low heat until all the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.

5) Then increase the heat to medium, bring to a boil and cook 3-4 minutes or until smooth and glossy. Pour into a lightly oiled 9 inch diameter pan.

Make the dark chocolate filling:

6) Heat the chocolate and the cream over low heat until completely melted. Alternative: combine the two and heat in microwave. I usually start with 20 second increments, take it out and stir and add more time until mostly but not completely melted. As is always the case with microwaves, err on the side of caution=> less is more.

7) Let cool slightly.

Now back to the dough for assembly and last rise:

8) Roll out the dough to make a 25 x 10 inch rectangle. I find rolling dough out on a floured, clean and dry tea towel is the easiest method for working with potentially sticky situations.

9) Spread the dough with the chocolate mixture, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Roll the dough tightly starting with one of the longer sides.

10) Trim the edges and cut into 12 pieces. Place the slices, Scroll-side up, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an additional 40-60 minutes, until doubled in size.

11) Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the buns for 20 minutes. Then loosely cover the pan with foil and bake another 15-20 minutes until golden.

12) Let cool for 2-3 minutes then flip onto your serving plate.

13a) Hoard all the sweet treats and nosh on them every morning this week creating a serious sugar addiction.


13b) Call your friends and share your snacks while being referred to as a hero. Maybe they’ll bring over something boozy to add to your coffee.

Cavity and jogs around the block inducing

Cavity and jogs around the block inducing

* Notes about Donna Hay: You should know her. She is amazing. Her books are amazing and her magazine has always been eye-popping beautiful, BUT the digital (for me the iPad) version is every bit as wonderful as the print copy (but cheaper) it includes videos and won’t take up all that real estate on your bookshelves.

Avocado Bravado


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Oh crap, it looks like I missed it by a week. National (International? Intergalactic?**) Guacamole Day was last Monday. The good news is you can still enjoy this wonderful good fat filled dish any day, provided you have access to avocados. Did you know that if you have an avocado tree, you can even leave the avocados on the tree and they won’t begin ripening until you pick them? They are truly magic morsels. Unfortunately most of us do not have our own tree (although global warming might alter that). This is another very simple recipe, in fact calling it a recipe is probably a stretch. I think people usually try to over complicate guacamole, adding unnecessary fats and flavors. The most essential part of guacamole is picking perfectly ripe avocados. I said it, PERFECT. I know what you’re thinking, avocados are like eggs, very mysterious inside until you break them open but you can at least have an educated guess. Pick ones that are still firm but have a little give when squeezed. If you have a few days, you can also pick ones that are harder and let them sit on the counter. If you are like me, they will become ripe before you get a chance to use them. DON’T PANIC! Just put them in the fridge and use them within a couple of days. Avocados are so easy going. They really are the best friends, delicious, delicious friends.


Accidentally (I mean I used my amazing skills) and picked the most dreamy avocados. Wow!


2-4 avocados (to make about one cup of mash)

1/2 small white onion minced (to make 1/4 cup)

juice of 1/4 lime

salt to taste

1) Crack open those avocados, remove the green and creamy centers and mash with a fork. Add the onions to the mix, sprinkle with the fresh lime juice, add about a teaspoon of salt. Then taste and adjust the salt and lime accordingly. Then do tequila shots with the remaining salt and lime. Use chips coated with guacamole to sober up. So simple!



*Another cool thing about avocados: you can also spell them avocadoes, which I am partial to because it makes me say it like this: AVO-CA-DOES it!

**Upon further investigation, I believe until we find avocadoes and guacamole on another planet, we can safely declare September 16th Intergalactic Guacamole Day. Go Planet Earth!

Where Have You Bean? The Quest for Epic Refried Beans


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I was having a hard time with this post because I was trying to show how sexy and important this cornerstone of Mexican food is while reconciling how easy (although time consuming) it is to prepare them. Plus it took me 10+ years to finally conjure a recipe that fit my requirements, embarrassing. Part of the long journey is due to their very name, REFRIED beans. Well guess what? Not only are they not RE-Fried, they aren’t even fried one time, so deceitful, you little legumes.

So for the requirements: Taste and Texture

Taste: I want them to have a nice flavor that is not overwhelmed or overcrowded with other elements (I made the mistake of adding onions, celery, garlic, and even carrots which makes for some nutritious eats but detracts from the goal at hand.) What reigns supreme here, is simplicity. Pinto bean flavor with a hint of garlic and salt and oil to bring it all together.

Texture: This is actually the more important element. These guys should be so creamy, you won’t even need cheese in your burritos. I thought the more oil administered, the creamier, right? Not so. In fact you can leave out the oil completely if inclined to do so. What I’ve found is the combination of a low boil + enough bean boil liquid +  immersion blender = Creamy Overload. So, Let’s do dis!


Speckled Beauties

Epic Refried Beans

1 lb pinto beans

1 tsp garlic powder

up to 1/4 c vegetable oil (optional)

salt to taste (I use kosher salt so if using table salt use less to start off with)

1) Cover beans by 1-2 inches water and soak overnight 6-8 hours.

2) Drain beans and cover with an inch of fresh water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a nice simmer. Nice simmer means a low boil which also means you have bubbles rising to the top but you don’t need to add water every 5 minutes. The initial boil will probably create some frothiness; skim that off the top.

3) Keep at a low boil for an hour, adding water to keep the level at an inch or more above the bean level. At this time add about 2 TBS salt.

4) Keep cooking for 1/2 hour more. At this point taste a bean to see if they need more salt and if the beans are done => done meaning that the bean is cooked through and you have brought out its own creamy nature. Add more salt if needed. If the beans are cooked through and the pot still has enough liquid to be classified as juicy then move on to the next step. If not, cook longer, adding more salt and water as is necessary, checking at 10 minute intervals. I usually add about a 1/4 c salt when it’s all said and done but I do it gradually so I don’t have a salty mess. (I know a quarter cup sounds excessive but it is a pot of beans not something that will be consumed in one sitting. Plus, you have control and can add zero salt if you want. Look at you being in charge of your own kingdom.)

5) Fun Part: Turn off beans and let them cool slightly (say 5 minutes) add the garlic powder and oil 2-4 TBS (if using) and bust out your immersion blender and watch the magic unfold. (If you don’t have an immersion blender then go out and get one. Seriously this tool is super handy and relatively inexpensive. I use it all the time. It cuts down on the danger element of pureeing, especially with soups=> no more blender burns. BUT you can also use a potato masher to transform the frijoles. Pros: caloric burn would equal caloric intake of said beans Cons: takes a much longer time to take beans to next level AND beans not quite as creamy)



And Dressed and Pressed

And Dressed and Pressed

Ahhh… Perfection, finally It only took a dozen years or so but it was worth it.

The Philadelphia Cheese Steak Experiment


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Now to the FOOD

This week marks the beginning of football season and the end of the tennis Grand Slams, so it’s a happy yet bittersweet time. For the final day of a Grand Slam Tournament our household usually prepares a caloric showdown (so we will not be able to actually leave the couch and play one single game of tennis) that is inspired by the host country’s food. So I began my quick internet search for the quintessential cuisine from the states and what emerged was a decadent celebration of spuds to compliment your suds =>Philly Cheese Steaks meet Tater Tots!

Objective #1 The Meetie Element Fake Yumms


You forgot all about those ‘interesting’ meat conglomerations called Steak Umms, well we didn’t.

I based this recipe on Terry Hope Romero’s seitan cutlets from Vegan Eats World

Fake Yumms

1 1/2 cups cold veggie beef broth (I used 2 1/2 TBS vegetarian beef broth powder mixed with water)*

2 cloves garlic minced

3 TBS liquid aminos

1 TBS oil

3 TBS tomato paste

1 3/4 c vital wheat gluten

1/4 c nutritional yeast

1/4 c chickpea flour

1 TBS fresh ground pepper

oil and garlic powder as needed for pan frying

1) Combine the veggie beef broth through the tomato paste (preferably in a glass pyrex measuring cup for easy pouring) and in a bowl whisk together the rest of the ingredients.

2) Form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the veggie beef broth into the well. Using a rubber spatula combine the wet and the dry until all the broth is absorbed by the flour mixture.

3) Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes and then let it rest for 10 minutes.

4) Divide into 4 pieces, shape them (since I wanted to slice it into strips I made the loaves round with a flat top and bottom).

5) Wrap by taking a 12 inch piece of foil and coating it with oil. Lay the wheat gluten loaf in the middle. Fold the opposing sides over the loaf, leaving room for it to expand and finish by folding the other 2 sides of the foil toward each other, again leaving room for expansion.

6) Set up a steamer, and steam for 30 minutes. The seitan should be ready when it is firm to the touch if not continue steaming for another 5 minutes and check again.

7) When it has completed cooking take the foil packets out and let cool to room temperature (leave the seitan in the foil as it cools).

8) Take one loaf and slice into 1/8 inch slices. Add oil (1-2 tsp) to a skillet style pan and heat over medium heat. Add the sliced Yumms and sprinkle with garlic powder. Fry until they start to get a little color (about a minute) and turn over to crisp up other side (for about 30 seconds more). Repeat with all the remaining slices. *important: you don’t want to overcook or the seitan will be less Yumms and more chewy hard pieces.

9) After they have cooled cut into bite size pieces.

Objective #2 The Potato Party

Nothing fancy here, just a bag-o-tots

Nothing fancy here, just a bag-o-tots

While preparing the veggie team and the cheese sauce, throw these in the oven and bake according to the directions on the package. I like to make sure they are extra crispy since I am going to be drowning them with cheesy goodness.

Objective #3  Liquid Gold Phase



In my search for the ‘original’ and ‘authentic’ cheese steaks sometimes a cheese sauce was involved, sometimes just provolone cheese made an appearance. I wanted to be correct so I decided to include both. I am using a cheese sauce recipe I found from Lucinda Scala Quinn via Martha Stewart but you could probably use cheese whiz. (Maybe at a later date I will attempt a vegan version and call it Geeze Whiz.)

Cheese Sauce

1-12oz can of evaporated milk

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 lb mild cheddar cheese, shredded

1) Heat milk over high heat until bubbly, add mustard and reduce heat (medium low).

2) Add cheese by the handful, whisking until each portion has melted. Continue with the rest of the cheese and keep on low until the veggies are ready.

*This makes WAY more cheese sauce than you will need but I bet you can find plenty of ways to utilize the surplus.

Objective #4 The Veggie Team

Don't overcrowd your pan like I did in this photo or it will take forever to get any color on the onions and green peppers

Don’t overcrowd your pan like I did in this photo or it will take forever to get any color on the onions and green peppers

Sautéed Veggies

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 white onion, thinly sliced

2 TBS oil

1) Place oil in a skillet and heat on medium high until hot enough to sizzle when veggies are placed in pan (you can determine by placing a piece of onion or green pepper in the pan).

2) Add veggies to the pan with a pinch of salt and sauté  until they begin to color, approx 10 minutes.

3) Turn the heat off and add about 1 cup of the cheese sauce to the veggies and mix.


When C Meets V

Objective #5 Assembly

Gather all the ingredients from the previous steps plus:

1 cup grated provolone cheese

1) When the tater tots are done sprinkle them with the grated cheese (used for both delish factor and as a barrier so the tots don’t get too mushy from everything else that is going on).

2) Add the Fake yumms pieces and generously coat the tots with the cheese sauce mixture.

Now you have created a gut busting celebration of American food worthy of your Saturday and Sunday couching through football season.

Philly Cheese Steak Tater Tots