This has been an exciting season for Baltimore Ravens' fans, and I'm hoping that the excitement will carry right through to the Super Bowl. Even I have succumbed to wearing purple and black on game day, and I'll gladly wear it again on Sunday Feb. 3.
Meanwhile, let me share with you three very different recipes that might come in handy if you are hosting — or taking food to — a Super Bowl party. If not, these three recipes are still so good that you should consider working them into upcoming menus – but not on the same day.
We'll start off with an appetizer-type recipe that has been bouncing around among Internet bloggers and is usually titled "Neiman Marcus Dip." I've tried Googling to see if there really is any relationship between the famed department store chain and this cracker spread, but so far I haven't found a valid connection. Various bloggers suggest different ingredients – some like sour cream, some like mayonnaise – so I tested this using half sour cream and half mayonnaise. Use what sounds right for your taste. Some bloggers suggest almonds while others recommend chopped pecans. Again, the choice is up to you, but I do recommend lightly toasting either of the nuts to enhance their flavor. It's best to make this a day ahead so that the flavors have the chance to blend and mellow.
My main dish suggestion comes from the website, www.myrecipes.com. It is called Surprise Bean Soup, and when you read almost to the end of the recipe you'll see that the "surprise" ingredient is … peanut butter. If you are fortunate enough to own an Alaskan Ulu rocking knife your prep for this will be super quick and easy. Thank you George and Mary for that thoughtful gift from your visit to Alaska.
IF you happen to need a sweet treat, I think you'll really like these Peanut Butter M&M Brownies that were taste-tested recently by our grandson Matthew. He came down to meet his grandfather to play a round of golf before he returned for another semester at American University, and I knew that he'd go straight to "the cookie area" in our kitchen when he came into the house. He liked them so much that, of course, I sent most of them back home with him. This comes from www.bunsinmyoven.com.
To contact Judi Leaming, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Neiman Marcus Dip
5 or 6 green onions, finely chopped (3 should be enough)
1 (8-ounce) block of sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (room temperature)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
Page 2 of 2 - 1 (3-ounce) bag Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits
1/2 to 1 cup slivered almonds or chopped pecans, lightly toasted
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Place in a container and cover tightly. Refrigerate. About 15 minutes before serving, remove from refrigerator. Serve as a spread for Triscuit-type crackers.
Surprise Bean Soup
1 (16-ounce) package bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
2 (15-ounce) cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon pieces until crisp; drain. Return drained bacon pieces to skillet; stir in onion, carrot and celery, cooking until onion is translucent. (Do not overcook. You will want the carrots and celery to be a little bit crunchy for added texture.) In a larger stockpot over medium heat, stir together bacon mixture, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth and beans until hot and bubbly. Stir in peanut butter and ground pepper until well combined. Serves 4 to 6.
Peanut Butter M&M Brownies
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon instant dried coffee granules
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups peanut-flavored M&Ms (18.4-ounce bag)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-x13-inch baking pan. In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely. Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow sugar mixture to boil. Pour butter mixture into a large bowl of a stand mixer. Beat in eggs, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, instant coffee granules and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined. Stir in the flour and M&Ms until well combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes until a tester comes out mostly clean. The edges should be set and the center should still look slightly moist but not uncooked. Cool pan completely on wire rack before cutting into squares. Makes at least 24 brownies.