Filo Fun

We emptied a freezer the other day so we could give it a good swabbing out.  Found some filo sheets.  These have pork, onions, and cheese for savory egg roll-looking treats.  I used up half of the filo.  I’m thinking a reprise with broccoli, cheese, and pork for tonight’s dinner.These are more delicate than relatively rugged wonton wrappers but using them has a nice reward in the flakey crusts.  These spent just short of 15 minutes at 400 in the toaster oven.  I served them with BBQ sauce in a dipping bowl.

Holiday Gift Ideas: Flavored Popcorn

I’m repeating the holiday gift series this week. We’ll start with flavored popcorn:

One of my favorite things is the mixed can of flavored popcorn.   Unfortunately they can vary in quality and price.  And if you’re paying a premium, well let’s face it, it all hype, because popcorn is cheap, as are most of the ingredients that go in flavored popcorn.  So  I thought I’d pull a few recipes together this week so you could make your own variety tin of flavored popcorn.  I actually have a tower of gift boxes that I’m thinking of filling with different flavors.  You can use decorative plastic and ribbon, or holiday tins, or zip-lock bags placed in pretty gift bags.

For the first recipes, I thought something cheesy.

White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

  • 8 cups popped corn
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • dash of cayenne
  • salt to taste

It might be easiest to do this in two batches.  In a large bag, toss popcorn thoroughly with butter to coat completely.  Mix together cheese and spices, toss with popcorn in the bag until everything is well coated.   Spread out on to baking sheet for 30 to 60 minutes before packaging (this keeps it from becoming soggy).

Chili-Cheese Popcorn

  • 8 cups popped corn
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • dash of garlic
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan (I’d use the Kraft style for ease)
  • salt to taste (the Parmesan may make it salty enough)

Again, you may want to make this in batches.  Mix together butter and spices and toss with popcorn in a large bag.  Add cheese and toss again until well coated.  Spread out on to baking sheet for 30 to 60 minutes before packaging.

Additional flavor ideas:

White cheddar cheese powder and taco seasoning.   Parmesan and dry packaged  buttermilk ranch dressing seasoning.


Originally posted Dec 2011

Thanksgiving Files: Sweet Potatoes

I have a confession. I hate traditional Thanksgiving  candied sweet potatoes. I can’t pass them fast enough away from me at the holiday table. I thought I hated sweet potatoes because I assumed that they always tasted that sweet and gooey. Then I stumbled across a few savory sweet potato recipes that really let the flavor of the potato shine and my opinion quickly changed.

So in honor of the poor sweet potato covered in marshmallow goo (and I mean no offense anyone who looks forward to candied sweet potatoes every year!) I offer two savory recipes and one semi-sweet recipe. In case you want to try something a little different this Thanksgiving.

Each serves 4, but you can easily multiple the ingredients for your crowd.

African Sweet Potato Salad

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes – precooked*
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped

Large glass or plastic bowl

Slip skins off potatoes and cube. In bowl mix oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper, add potatoes, onion, celery and toss. Refrigerate until serving.

You’ll want to steam these, you can halve them and leave the skins on, they’ll slip off when cooled. You don’t want to boil sweet potatoes, it leaves them watery and they lose their creamy texture.

Cajun Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter,  melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

Covered casserole dish, well-greased

Steamer and saucepan

In saucepan, add water, steamer and sweet potatoes. Steam until you can easily stick a fork in them. They don’t need to be completely soft. About 10-15 minutes. Add sweet potatoes to casserole dish. Combine oil, butter and spices. Pour evenly over potatoes. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. You can adjust cooking time if you prefer your firmer or softer potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes w/Apples

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 apples, cored & sliced
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple (including liquid)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

2 qt casserole dish, greased

Add ingredients to casserole dish. Stir gently and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until apples and potatoes are very soft. Cover if it begins to brown too much.