Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Party Snacks

My friends are having a New Year's party tonight and I offered to make a few treats for the event. I love to cook and it helps take pressure off the hosts to make sure there is enough food.

I offered up meatballs, chicken enchilada dip and breafast, because we will all need something to absorb the booze :). And of course I can't attend a party without bringing jello shots.

I shopped at Woodman's (my new favorite store) and figured out that I can make homemade meatballs for less than buying a few bags of the premade kind. Plus, with homemade, you know what you are eating. I sometimes question what frozen prepackaged foods really have in them.

A few years back, my former boss' wife had us all over and made these to-die-for meatballs and cherry jalepeno sauce. I have made those a few times since, but I couldn't find the ground veal, so I decided to live on the edge and figure out a new recipe for meatballs.

I know the basics that go in - bread crumbs, milk, eggs, onion, meat and seasonings. So I had a little fun and added some new flavors. I bought a blue cheese dip mix a few months back and decided to add some of that mix to the meatballs.

Then I threw in some fresh parsley, pepper, salt, paprika, chili powder (for a kick) and a few other things. These meatballs won't be replicated because I just sort of did a dash of this and a pinch of that. And for meat, I used a combo of ground beef and ground pork and about 2.5 lbs. of it.

When you roll the meatballs yoruself, you really get to control the size and shape of them. I typically go for smaller ones so you can have a few more and not feel so guilty.

I cook my meatballs in the oven at 400 degrees for 10, then flip them all and cook for another 10 or until they are browned on both sides.

They turned out great, but I wish I added a bit more of the blue cheese mix as you taste it, but I wish the flavor was a little stronger. Next time :)

Then it was time for the sauce. Sure you can grab grape jelly and chili sauce and make an easy sauce, but I can't leave things simple. Here again is where I won't be able to repeat the sauce. I minced some onion up in my processor and then sauteed it in a pan with a little salt and pepper.

I then added some WildTree FraDiavola mix, chili pepper, raspberry vinagrette dressing, garlic powder, paprika, chili sauce and a scoop of grape jelly. That wasn't enough so I added a 1/3 cup of zinfandel wine to cut the sweet. I think after it will now sit for almost 24 hours before being added to the meatballs, it will be marvelous.

The other items I made for the party is my chicken enchilada dip and my breakfast casserole from Halloween.

And for the jello shots, Woodman's has a spectacular selection of gelatin and I picked Jolly Rancher Green Apple to mix with Apple Pucker, Fruit Punch with citrus vodka and peach with Champagne for a bellini. I can't wait to try all of these.

Here is my ratio for jello shots.

1 small box gelatin
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup cold booze
1/4 cup cold white soda or water

Mix hot water and gelatin for 2 minutes or until thoroughly mixed and no chunks. Then add the booze and water and mix for 30 seconds. Pour into shot cups and leave uncovered until chilled and hardened. Then add lids. I use the Diamond condiment cups because they are the perfect size, aren't too expensive and have nice lids. 

Hope these treats spark your creativity in the kitchen. These definitely did it for me and I hope to experiment more in the kitchen in 2014! Cheers and Happy Eating!

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