By Angie Sutton
If you’ve had a teenage boy growing up in your home, you’ll connect with what I’m about to say. They eat. They eat—a lot. They eat—non-stop.
My son participates in sports and likes to shoot hoops with friends on the weekend. No doubt he burns an immense amount of calories. He’s also grown a little over five inches taller in the past 12 months. So I find him foraging in the pantry and refrigerator fairly often and coming up with treats that are not as healthy as I’d like for him.
We’ve started having “appetizer weekends.” This is a win-win for everyone. Tummies get full whenever they need refueled without holding out for the next meal. Mommy is happy that healthy foods are quick for them to grab. Oh, and it might be because she gets a break from cooking traditional meals for a day or two.
Super Bowl weekend has a time-honored tradition of being the king of appetizer buffets and full-blown snack spreads. It’s fun to share the food and the preparation load by inviting others to join your party. There are healthy choices you can include like using carrots or celery as dipping sticks instead of potato chips.
The key for earning the Sutton Central stamp of approval is using quick and easy recipes with ingredients we can access at the local grocery. We check the grocery ads mid-week to see what items might be on special and lean toward recipes utilizing those. If we can use the slow cookers for two dishes that allows us to keep them warm throughout the afternoon. We shoot for two entrÃ©e-type items and a few finger-food or dip items. The fruit pizza is a hit because it provides just enough sweetness to offset the heavier meat-based noshes.
No matter which Super Bowl team you are cheering for the food always steals the show. A win for Mom!
Savory BBQ Slow Cooker Meatballs
2 pounds 95% lean ground beef
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium-sized bowl, combine ground beef, 1/3 cup catsup, bread crumbs, egg, onion flakes, garlic salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly, but lightly. Shape into 1-inch meatballs. Place meatballs in two (15- by 10 inch) jelly roll pans. Bake 18 minutes or until browned. Transfer hot meatballs to a slow cooker. Mix remaining 1 cup catsup, sugar, tomato paste, soy sauce, vinegar and hot pepper sauce in a bowl. Pour over meatballs. Cover and cook on low for four hours. You can serve with cocktail picks.
Super Pork Sliders
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
Preheat flat grill pan to medium-high heat or use an indoor griddle. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ground pork, chorizo, cheese, shallot, garlic and salt and pepper. Form the mixture into small equal-sized slider patties with an ice cream scoop. Cook the burgers for 4 minutes on each side. Serve on a split rolls and top with bacon, lettuce, tomato and flavored mayonnaise. This recipe makes about 18 sliders. I make my own slider-sides rolls.
Note: You can purchase flavored mayonnaise but if you want to make your own simply combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon hot sauce and mix well. Do this the day before so the flavors can meld.
Cheese Oven-Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip
3 tablespoons butter
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium high add spinach, stirring until wilted. Remove spinach from the skillet and put it in a small strainer. Squeeze the excess juice back into the skillet. Set the spinach aside. Dump in drained artichokes and cook over medium high heat for 4 minutes. Remove artichokes. Melt 3 additional tablespoons of butter in skillet and whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour until it makes a rue. Cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes and add milk. Stir and cook until slightly thickened. Add cream cheese, feta, Parmesan, pepper jack, and cayenne and stir until cheeses are melted and a smooth consistency. Chop artichokes and spinach and add to the cheese mixture stirring to combine. Pour into buttered casserole dish. Top with extra grated pepper jack and bake at 375 F for 15 minutes.
1 package (20 oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
Pat cookie dough into an ungreased 14-inch pizza pan. Bake at 375 F oven for 10 minutes or until browned; cool. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over crust. Arrange fruit on top. In a saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice, water, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt to a boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until thickened. Once mixture is cool, use a pastry brush to lightly spread over fruit. Chill for at least 2 hours. Cut into pizza slices.