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Archive for January 30, 2013

RECIPE: Make Mini Corn Dogs In A Muffin Pan

Mini corn dogs are a comfort food treat.
Photo and recipe courtesy
PamperedChef.com.

 

We know otherwise sophisticated gastronomes who go out of their way to visit hot dog joints that sell corn dogs. A corn dog is a hot dog coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter, deep fried and served on a stick.

While it’s not fried food on a stick, we were attracted to this mini corn dog recipe from PamperedChef.com. It’s good Super Bowl finger food.

All you need is a box of corn muffin mix, hot dogs and a mini muffin pan.

MINI CORN DOGS RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 8.5–ounce box corn muffin mix or your own recipe (we use our own recipe, and leave out the sugar)
  • 5 hot dogs (you can substitute gourmet sausages in your favorite flavors, such as apple or spinach)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the corn muffin batter according to package/recipe directions.

    2. PREHEST the oven to 375°F.

    3. SPRAY mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.

    4. SLICE hot dogs into 1–inch pieces. Place one piece in each muffin cup.

    5. BAKE 10–12 minutes or until wooden pick in centers comes out clean. When cool enough to touch, remove corn dogs to serving plate. Serve with mustard or dip (we mix Dijon mustard with Greek yogurt).
     
    You can buy the pan at PamperedChef.com.

    CORN DOG HISTORY

    Like the hot dog (sausage) in a bun, the corn dog is an American invention, enjoyed plain or with hog dog condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and relish.

    Food historians note that corn dogs on sticks were around in the 1920s; patents were filed for cooking apparatuses to make them.

    Various people claim to have invented the corn dog way after then, as popularity grew in the 1930s and 1940s and corn dogs became street fare and county fair fare. But in those regionalized, pre-Internet days, research wasn’t easy, so local entrepreneurs can be forgiven for not knowing that others had been selling corn dogs for years.

    The best corn dogs are fried just before serving to get that crispy crust. Heat-and-eat frozen versions are available in supermarkets—and we’d opine that Disneyland uses frozen corn dogs (they were bland and uninteresting). Some corn dog purveyors sell these premade frozen corn dogs which have been thawed and then fried again or browned in an oven. If you care, ask before you buy from a vendor (and hope for an honest answer).

      

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    RECIPE: Nonfat Cucumber Yogurt Dip

    A few hours ago, we were discouraged to hear one of the anchor team members on our favorite morning show opine that Super Bowl foods “should be the foods we love to eat, not vegetables.” She was referring to the fatty, high-calorie usual suspects.

    Fortunately, another team member jumped in in support of the veggies.

    We admire people who watch what they eat, and we always have a crudités (raw vegetables) platter and a fruit platter or fruit salad as part of any party buffet. We’re also personally grateful to have something better to nibble on than cholesterol.

    The morning show discord inspired us to publish this recipe for a tasty, nontfat cucumber dip, adapted from a recipe provided by the Australian Institute Of Sport.

    TIP: Make this dip at least two hours before serving to allow the flavors to develop. It can be made a day in advance.

     

    Nonfat cucumber dip: Serve it with crudites or as a sauce. Photo courtesy Australian Institute Of Sport.

     

    CUCUMBER YOGURT DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 seedless cucumbers
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • Optional: salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional heat: chili flakes or a dash of hot sauce
  •  
    PREPARATION

    1. PEEL cucumbers and cut in half lengthways. If not a seedless variety, use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds.

    2. GRATE the flesh, and place in a bowl with dill, garlic, yogurt and mint. Stir to combine and serve chilled. Season with freshly ground black pepper and garnish with fresh dill, if desired.

    Makes about 1½ cups.

    MORE USES FOR CUCUMBER DIP

  • Dip: For pretzels, potato chips, pita chips and other snacks
  • Layered or Mezze: In a layered dip or on a mezze plate with babaganoush,hummus, tabbouleh and other ingredients (see layered dip recipe)
  • Garnish: On baked potatoes, rice and other grains, cooked vegetables
  • Sauce: On grilled or poached fish or seafood, including shrimp cocktail
  •  
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE DIP RECIPES.
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Baked French Fries Alternative

    Baked, not fried: potato wedges are better-
    for-you than fries. Photo courtesy
    PotatoGoodness.com.

     

    French fries hot from the deep fat fryer: so delicious, so clogged with oil, so coated with HFCS-laden ketchup, so not good for you.

    We learned to love nonfat Greek yogurt, which we happily substitute for the copious amounts of not-good-for-you sour cream of earlier days. We learned to love nonfat milk instead of whole milk, with the happy side result that whole milk now tastes like half-and-half.

    So, we wondered, could we learn to love some version of baked French fries?

    We found that baking potato wedges in the oven with olive oil and Italian herb seasoning made us happy and feeling better about eating “fries.” We found a ketchup based on low-glycemic agave instead of high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar.

    We also found that we enjoy dipping or covering the baked wedges with salsa (but check the label and be sure the salsa isn’t sweetened with sugar—an ingredient that only belongs in fruit salsa).

     
    Finally, we really prefer oven baking to the hot spattering mess of deep fat frying. That’s why baked “fries” is the Tip Of The Day.

    You can substitute sweet potatoes for the russets. (Do you know the different types of potatoes? Check out our Potato Glossary.)

    RECIPE: BAKED FRENCH FRIES ALTERNATIVE

    Ingredients

  • 3 medium russet potatoes, uniform in size (5 to 6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil (we used good olive oil for its flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning (store bought or made from the recipe below)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Salsa or agave-based ketchup
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 450°F.

    2. SLICE potatoes lengthwise 3/4 inch thick, then cut each slice into ¾-inch long pieces. Place in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with herb seasoning and salt; toss to coat evenly.

    3. ARRANGE potato pieces in a single layer on nonstick baking sheet or a baking sheet coated with vegetable cooking spray. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until potatoes are golden brown, turning once after 15 minutes. Serve immediately, with optional salsa for dipping.

    Yield: 4 servings.

    ITALIAN HERB SEASONING RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Optional heat: 1 or 2 dried chiles, crushed, seeds removed
  •  
    Preparation

    Blend all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

    Use on other vegetables or rice, in green salad, meat balls, meat loaf, pasta sauce and other Italian recipes.

      

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