Categories
Appetizer Main Dish Snack

Pizza sticks will make you say, ‘Yes, cheese!’

Cheesy Pizza Sticks
Cheesy pizza sticks are great for a quick snack an especially good recipe for beginning cooks to try their hand in the kitchen.

While my sister was still pregnant with my now almost 1-1/2-year-old niece, I noticed my shopping habits change.

I was constantly picking up this cute outfit or that cool toy even before our beautiful Emi graced us with her presence.

My only problem has been patience, as I always seem to find toys or outfits that she’s not quite ready for yet.

The other day, it was a child’s apron and baker’s hat. It was adorable, and I nearly shoved it into my cart before I thought through the fact that (1) this outfit was clearly made for someone more the size of a five-year-old and (2) my niece, while smart and sassy, is just now completely conquering solid foods and probably isn’t quite ready to help prepare them with me yet.

That being said, I have, on occasion, gotten to cook with kids over the years, and it’s always fun to watch them learn a life skill and enjoy their creations afterwards.

The recipe I found this week on the blog “I Wash, You Dry” is one I’ll be setting aside for Emi and I to try out when she’s a little older. It’s so simple there isn’t much to adjust, but I decided to change up the spices a bit. You can find the original post at https://iwashyoudry.com/cheesy-pepperoni-pizza-sticks/.

Cheesy Pizza Sticks
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Cheesy Pizza Sticks

Cheesy pizza sticks are great for a quick snack an especially good recipe for beginning cooks to try their hand in the kitchen.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Keyword cheese, kid-friendly, pepperoni, pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 40 slices pepperoni I used turkey pepperoni
  • 10 mozzarella cheese sticks
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with tinfoil and spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Unroll the pizza dough onto the baking sheet (don’t worry about trying to roll it out thinner at this point, just get it flat).
  • Cut the dough into 10 equal rectangles.
  • Place four pepperoni slices and one cheese stick on each rectangle, and then pinch the dough to seal it around the cheese and meat.
  • Lay the pizza sticks, seam side down, about an inch apart on the baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and the oregano, basil, parsley and garlic powder.
  • Brush it onto each pizza stick. (I used a spoon to get the remaining goodies out of the bottom of the bowl and spread them out, too.)
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the dough is golden brown on top.
  • Let the pizza sticks rest for at least 10 minutes before digging in.

I didn’t have a kiddo to share these with, but the adults who sampled them deemed them a success. They’d be great with some marinara dipping sauce, too.

They did have quite a bit of cheese spill out of them, which was OK in my book, since I love some slightly browned, melted cheese, but that also made me very glad I used aluminum foil to make clean up a breeze.

As summer is approaching and some of you are looking for good recipes to try out with the kids in your lives, I’d recommend this one.

And if you need a good lead on a kid-sized apron, let me know. I’ve got you covered.

This piece first appeared in print on April 11, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Appetizer Main Dish Side Dish Snack

You can’t just wing crispy chicken

Cooking nice, crispy chicken wings in the oven takes some time but is well worth the wait.

Although we had big crowds of folks in our house for the NFL playoff games this season, Super Bowl Sunday was a calm evening without company—something Joey and I were both very much in the mood for after a few busy weeks in a row.

Despite the lack of a table full of food, I still decided to make a traditional football snack for the big game: buffalo wings.

Buffalo wings are one of Joey’s favorite foods, and we’ve spent a lot of time over the years trying to figure out how to make some at home that are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and aren’t the product of lots of deep frying.

In all our attempts, we generally only attained one or two of those criteria, but I finally figured it out this past weekend, thanks to a blog post by “The Cookful.” You can find it at https://thecookful.com/bake-chicken-wings-crispy/. I will warn you that it takes a good amount of time in the oven to accomplish this, but it is mostly hands-off time, and it’s well worth the wait.

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Crispy Chicken Wings

Cooking nice, crispy chicken wings in the oven takes some time but is well worth the wait.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snacks
Keyword chicken wings

Ingredients

  • 20 wing pieces
  • 1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • sauce or dry rub

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  • Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and place a rack onto the sheet (I just used my cooling racks).
  • Place the wing pieces into a bowl and dump in the baking powder and salt. Mix them with your hands to distribute the powder and salt. (Don’t expect them to look like they’ve been dipped in flour; you won’t be able to see the coating on the wings when you’re done.)
  • Place the wing pieces in a single layer on the rack, spacing them just slightly. Cook them for 30 minutes.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees, and cook for another 45 to 50 minutes or until the wings are brown and crispy.
  • Let them rest for a couple minutes, and then toss them in your favorite wing sauce or dry rub and serve immediately.

My favorite way to coat wings is to put them in a bowl with a lid along with the sauce and then just shake them until they’re coated. I’m not coordinated enough to do it without a lid—unless I want to clean sauce off every inch of my kitchen.

These wings were awesome—exactly what we’d been looking for. It was also nice that any fat dripped down onto the foil, and the wings weren’t swimming in it while they cooked.

I’m not sure what the secret of the baking powder is that makes the wings cook so well, but it was just what I was missing in previous attempts.

They also received the Joey stamp of approval, which is a pretty big deal. He has pretty high standards for what makes for a good wing.

Our Super Bowl snack was awesome. The game, on the other hand, well…maybe it could have used some baking powder.

This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 7, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert Snack

Don’t be a goober; make candied peanuts

Candied peanuts are a bit addictive, make the kitchen smell heavenly and are quick to make.

We have a tradition of hosting a number of our friends on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs. We yell at the TV together, share snacks and always have a great time.

This past weekend was especially fun as we watched the Chiefs advance to the next round, and we’re planning on repeating the festivities this weekend for their next game.

No one in our friend group knows how to skimp on the snack table, and I have to admit that I’m as guilty as everyone else of bringing way too much food.

One snack that I tried recently that goes over well is also super easy to accomplish, which is nice for a quick treat.

The recipe author calls these toffee peanuts, but I decided to just refer to them as candied peanuts, since we all agreed that the flavor profile didn’t seem to be what we’d expect in something with “toffee” in the title.

I found this on the blog “Genius Kitchen.” You can find the post at https://www.geniuskitchen.com/amp/recipe/toffee-coated-peanuts-269296. I doubled the spices in my version.

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Candied Peanuts

Candied peanuts are a bit addictive, make the kitchen smell heavenly and are quick to make.
Course Dessert, Snacks
Keyword peanuts, toffee

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup I used dark
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  • Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  • In a bowl, stir together all the ingredients except the peanuts. Add the peanuts and toss to coat.
  • Dump the mixture out onto the baking sheet and spread it into a single layer as much as possible.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once the peanuts are golden brown and the mixture is bubbling, remove them from the oven.
  • Allow the peanuts to cool completely and then transfer them to an airtight container, breaking the larger clumps into smaller pieces if you desire.

After these were finished, Joey and I both taste tested them and declared them a moderate success. But then we kept going back to the container over and over.

I suddenly realized I should probably upgrade their success level, and they didn’t last very long after several of us got our hands on them.

I have another jar of peanuts sitting in my pantry right now, and I’m thinking they may need to get a nice coating of sugar and spices before Sunday’s game.

There’s no guarantee the game will be a good one, but I know for certain the snack table will be on point.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 17, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Cookies Dessert Snack

Make cookies almost too cute to bear

Bear paw cookies are cute but also have a rich flavor with a touch of coffee paired with chocolate.

It might be a side effect of becoming an aunt, but my eyes seem to be drawn to all kinds of cute things lately.

The cookie recipe I’m sharing with you this week was one of those cute items I found online and just had to try. I then immediately messaged my sister with a photo, noting that they’d be good child’s birthday party fare.

Considering my niece is only five months old, I might be jumping the gun a bit, but luckily, my sister never stifles my unbridled, “I’m going to spoil the stuffing out of you” attitude.

Of course, aside from being cute, these cookies were also super delicious, so even though I still have over six months to wait for my niece’s first birthday party, they were still worth making in the meantime.

This comes from the blog “Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons.” You can find the original at https://kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/bear-paw-cookies/. I didn’t change the amounts on the ingredients, although I do think I ended up with a bit more than a teaspoon of instant coffee in mine.

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Bear Paw Cookies

Bear paw cookies are cute but also have a rich flavor with a touch of coffee paired with chocolate.
Course Dessert
Keyword bear paws, chocolate, coffee, cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee I used a single serving of Via from Starbucks
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 bag dark chocolate melting wafers
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cream the butter, brown sugar and sugar for a couple minutes until smooth and creamy.
  • Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
  • Beat in the instant coffee, baking soda, cornstarch, salt and flour.
  • Scoop the dough by about a teaspoon-size onto the prepared cookie sheets, placing them about an inch apart (I started with much larger scoops—probably about tablespoon size—but my cookies spread quite a bit and were a lot larger than I wanted. You might need to experiment.).
  • Bake each batch for about 10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned.
  • After pulling the cookies from the oven, lightly press a melting wafer in the middle of each and then place three chocolate chips in a semi-circle along to the top of the wafer to create “claws.”
  • Let the cookies cool completely (the chocolate will need to set back up) before placing them into an airtight container.

If you’re not into coffee flavor, it does come through a decent amount in the finished cookies, so this may not be the recipe for you. But this same technique should work with any cookie dough that you wouldn’t mind having chocolate chips added into, so you’re not completely out of luck.

I’ve also seen white melting wafers, so if you would rather make polar bear paw prints instead, it would be easy to substitute in some white chocolate, too.

To be fair, I’m not sure if my little niece will be into bears at any point in her childhood, but since she’s related to me, I can guarantee she’ll be into cookies, so I think I’ll probably be able to talk her into eating a few either way. Of course, first I’ll have to wait on that set of teeth to come in.

This piece first appeared in print on April 12, 2018.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Appetizer Snack

Garlic cheese bombs explode with flavor

An easy snack for the Super Bowl or any get together is garlic cheese bombs.

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, I decided I better try out a new snack recipe. That’s especially since I’m likely to be craving something to eat while I grumpily watch the Patriots try to win yet another trophy.

I was really hoping to see two teams who’d never won the big game make it into the Super Bowl this year, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

I don’t like it, but I guess I’m an Eagles fan for the end of this year’s NFL season. The Chiefs have to not disappoint me one of these years, right? Right?

Well, the good news is I found a super easy recipe to try out on Super Bowl Sunday, so at least the food will be worth cheering for.

I found this recipe on the blog “Crunchy Creamy Sweet.” You can see the original at http://www.crunchycreamysweet.com/2015/12/11/easy-garlic-cheese-bombs-recipe/2/. I decreased the amount of butter a decent amount in my version and adjusted the amounts of some of the other ingredients, too.

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Garlic Cheese Bombs

An easy snack for the Super Bowl or any get together is garlic cheese bombs.
Course Appetizer, Snacks
Keyword canned biscuits, cheese, football snack, garlic, snack table

Ingredients

  • 1 tube eight biscuits
  • 8 ounce block mozzarella cheese
  • 5 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons dry ranch seasoning mix
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic or 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easier cleanup.
  • Cut each of the biscuits in half, and cut the block of cheese into 16 equal pieces.
  • Stir the ranch mix and garlic into the melted butter.
  • Flatten each biscuit half out with your palm and wrap each around a block of cheese, being careful to really seal off the seams as much as possible.
  • Place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet a couple inches apart.
  • Brush the butter mixture onto each (use a spoon to get some minced garlic on top of each, if your brush isn’t picking it up), and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the dough is browned on top.
  • Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

These were good on their own but would also be great with marinara sauce on the side. Mine did explode quite a bit in the oven, but I’m also a big fan of toasty cheese, so I was not disappointed.

I suspect they didn’t hold together either because I didn’t seal my seams as well as I should have or I left them in a bit long (I used the whole 15 minutes), so if you really don’t want them to make a mess, I’d recommend really watching them around the 12-minute mark, and you might just decrease the amount of cheese you put in each one so you can seal them even more securely.

Hopefully this year’s Super Bowl will still be an entertaining game, but even if it isn’t, we’ll have plenty of snacks to drown our sorrows before we work on getting our hopes up for next year.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 25, 2018.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Breakfast Dessert Snack

You ‘donut’ want to miss out on this recipe

Baked sugar donuts are a simple recipe with uncomplicated flavors. They pair well with a good cup of coffee or tea for breakfast.

I’m forever looking online for new recipes to try, and it seems like there aren’t a lot of foods I haven’t given a go over the years of writing this column.

I keep a spreadsheet of the recipes that have appeared in this space to keep track of what I’ve done and also when they came out, since I sometimes receive e-mails asking me for recipes that appeared pretty far back.

I started my 2018 spreadsheet and decided to do some counting. This column is my 288th recipe. I don’t even want to consider how many tablespoons of butter that probably represents.

That being said, I’m constantly amazed by the types of foods I haven’t tried making yet, and this week is another one to mark in the books as a new experience: donuts.

Years ago, I wrote about making fried donuts from biscuits—a childhood favorite—but until this week, I haven’t tried baking them.

I received a donut pan for Christmas, so I decided on New Year’s Eve that it was time to try out a baked donut recipe.

I started very simply with just a sugar donut recipe, and they were a great treat to accompany our game night with friends.

The recipe I used came from the blog “Brooklyn Farm Girl.” You can read it at http://brooklynfarmgirl.com/2017/02/06/homemade-baked-sugar-donuts/. I doubled the vanilla in my version.

If you don’t own a donut pan, by the way, you can make these as muffins or create your own donut pan out of a muffin tin with aluminum foil. I found a good tutorial to do that at http://tiphero.com/diy-doughnut-pan-and-recipe/.

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Baked Sugar Donuts

Baked sugar donuts are a simple recipe with uncomplicated flavors. They pair well with a good cup of coffee or tea for breakfast.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword baked, donuts, sugar

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil I used canola
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk I used skim milk with a touch of vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar plus more for coating the donuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray your donut pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • With a fork, beat the eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar, salt, baking powder and vanilla together.
  • Mix in the flour.
  • Pour the batter into the donut pan, filling each well about 3/4 of the way up.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the donuts comes out clean.
  • Remove and let cool for a few minutes before removing the donuts from the pan.
  • Put a scoop of sugar into a Ziploc bag or a bowl and coat your warm donuts in sugar on all sides one at a time.
  • Store in an airtight container.

I actually halved this recipe, since my donut pan only makes six donuts at a time, and there were only four of us playing games, and it was super easy to do.

These aren’t fancy by any means, but I really liked how simple the flavors were. You could also coat these in a cinnamon-sugar mixture if you wanted to add a little more zip to them.

It was also such a quick recipe that I already had my pan filled with batter before my oven was finished preheating.

And now I can cross baked donuts off the list of foods I haven’t tried making yet. Who knows what culinary roads 2018 will lead me down? I’m excited to see (and so are my taste buds). I’m glad you’ll be joining me for the journey.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 4, 2018.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.