Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they are always glad you came…

That’s what we are going for this week.  Your favorite late night munchies like nachos, wings, poppers and more, all served up with booze and good company.  My husband is the idea guy.  I’m the executioner.  Wait, that sounds weird.  We aren’t a couple of serial killers, we are just serious tailgaters.  About four years ago he talked me into buying a propane slow cooker.  It is really just a large crock pot that keeps things warm, and it is awesome.  Pure awesome.   All year it holds kalua pig, au jus, chili, and more.  But most importantly, it holds cheese.  Lots and lots of liquid cheese “product”.  No health food at this party.  Deciding to serve nachos at our tailgate party was one of my husband’s best ideas.  It is one of the season’s favorites every year and we’ve even had strangers pay to go through the nacho bar line.  Like I said, pure awesome.  This year, we’ve upped the ante and added to the nacho bar menu, which means I’m busily chopping, mixing, stuffing and baking a variety of goodies to share with you.  Enjoy!

 

NACHO BAR

1 very large, very suspicious can of liquid cheese (I’m talking a 6lb can here folks)

2 lbs. taco seasoned ground beef, or meat of your choice

1 lg can sliced olives

1 lg can sliced jalapeños

1 lg sweet onion, finely chopped

1 16oz container sour cream

1 16oz container salsa

16 oz guacamole

Lots of tortilla chips

Heat the cheese over medium heat until warmed through and thin enough to pour over your chips.  Top with taco meat, olives, jalapeños, onions and a dollop of sour cream, guac and salsa, and any other topping you see fit.  If you ever make your way to our party, you’ll also get the treat of having Chad’s famous homemade salsa verde as well.

 

NAKED HOT WINGS

4 packages fresh party wings, or about 56 wing pieces

1 ½ bottles buffalo wing sauce (Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce is great)

1 16 oz container light sour cream

2 oz crumbled blue cheese

1/3 packet ranch dip mix

4 tbsp milk, or more depending on preferred consitency

I call these naked hot wings because there is no breading involved and I trim off the fattiest parts of the skin.  Trimming the wings can be tedious, but it makes them better.  Once you’ve trimmed the wings, lightly season them with salt and pepper and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven, turning once.  You will likely need to do two rounds in the oven as you don’t want to crowd the raw wings.  Dump the cooked wings in a large bowl and coat with the wing sauce.  If you are making these ahead of time, just use half the sauce now and the other half when you reheat them at your party.  I put the wings and the sauce in a big pot on the stove grate of my grill and heat them up.  Mix the sour cream, blue cheese and ranch in a separate bowl.  Add milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached for the dip.  Refrigerate for about an hour prior to serving.  Serve the wings with the blue cheese ranch and celery sticks.

 

JALAPENO BACON POPPERS

20 medium jalapeño peppers, sliced in half, seeds and ribs taken out

2 8oz packages Neufchatel cheese or regular cream cheese

20 slices of regular cut bacon, halved

A former co-worker of mine from Texas called these Armadillo Rolls, which is cute, but confusing to people who don’t already know what they are, thus the boring name above.  It is best to wear disposable gloves while you prepare the jalapeños.  This will prevent you from getting the oil from the seeds on your hands and subsequently in your eyes or mouth.  Once you have all of the jalapeños prepared, use a small spoon to fill them with cream cheese.  Wrap ½ slice of bacon around each jalapeño, trying not to overlap the bacon too much.  Cook the poppers on a foil lined baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees until the bacon is cooked and crispy.  You can also grill these on a medium-high grill until the bacon is cooked and crispy.

 

OATMEAL JUNK BARS

¾ cup margarine, softened but not melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup white whole wheat flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ cup each chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and white chocolate chips

¾ cup sweetened coconut flakes

¾ cup crushed pretzel sticks

1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the first five ingredients in an electric mixer on medium speed.  Slowly add in flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Stir in oats and remaining ingredients.  You can also sprinkle the coconut on top for aesthetics if you want.  Spread the dough in a jelly roll pan or a large cookie sheet with high sides sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden around the edges and set in the middle.

 

P.S. Our preferred cocktail this week is a Blackberry Mojito!

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