I'll take Colbert's lead anytime, so here are my suggestions for snacks to enjoy during The Big Game on this coming Sunday.
The easiest snacks are store bought. No one has to stay in the kitchen to serve the pizza, dips and chips, beer and sodas. But fast food doesn't make you feel good. There are easy ways to make food for friends that only require a bit of time in the kitchen and here are some suggestions.
All these dishes can be made the day ahead, so on Sunday, you can spend the morning lounging in front of the TV watching the pundits analyze the upcoming game.
Roasted Beet Salad
Requiring little to no effort, the beets do all the work.
2 large beets, washed
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 scallion (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a Silpat sheet.
Leaving the skins on the beets allows them to cook in their sweet juices. No need to wrap them in aluminum foil and definitely don't peel them. Place them on the lined baking sheet, Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place in the oven.
Depending on the size of the beets, the cooking time is anywhere from 30-90 minutes. For even cooking, turn the beets every half hour. Use a pairing knife to test for doneness. Don't let them overly cook. They are best cooked al dente, so there is a firmness.
In a small saucepan, reduce the balsamic vinegar over a low flame until the 1 tablespoon is reduced on 1 teaspoon. Set aside.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the beets to cool.
For the salad, the beets should be peeled, the top and root end removed. To avoid staining your hands, use plastic gloves. The skin should come off easily. Don't cut away any of the flesh.
Cut the beets into any shape you like--wedge, diced, sliced or julienned. Season with the olive oil, reduced balsamic vinegar, sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Optionally, finish the beets with a finely sliced scallion. Also, optional, dust with cayenne to add a bit of heat.
Serves 6-8 (makes 1 quart)
Use cilantro instead of Italian parsley
1 whole chicken, washed, pat dried
1/4 cup whole, raw almonds
2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup mango chutney (amount depends on taste), finely chop the fruit
1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise (preferably Heilman's or Best Foods)
1 cup Italian parsley, washed, leaves only, finely chopped
1 scallion, washed, pat dried, root end trimmed, green and white parts finely chopped (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Sea salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 F. Place whole chicken breast side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a Silpat sheet. Season with sea salt and black pepper. After 30 minutes, remove and turn over the chicken.
Season the breast side with sea salt and black pepper. Return to the oven. After 30 minutes, check for doneness by moving one of the legs. The chicken is fully cooked once the leg moves easily. Continue cooking until done. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Because it is criminal to waste food, make stock with the skin and bones by covering them with water in a large pot. Simmer 60 minutes, strain, remove the bones and skin, reserving any bits of meat for soup. Refrigerate the stock, skim and discard the fat. The stock can be refrigerated for 2-3 days or kept frozen for several months.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and mango chutney. Shred the chicken into bite sized pieces. Place the cut up chicken, parsley, scallion (optional), cayenne into the bowl with the dressing. Toss well. At this point the chicken salad can be refrigerated in an air-tight container.
Toaste the whole almonds in a toaster oven heated to 300 F for 5 minutes. Turn the almonds and continue toasting for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Roughly chop and reserve.
To keep the almonds crisp, sprinkle them on the chicken salad just before serving.
Substitute cilantro for Italian parsley.
Add 1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped.
Substitute finely chopped yellow onion for the scallion (optional).
Sauté 1/4 teaspoon cumin and turmeric in 1 teaspoon olive oil until nut brown. Add to the mayonnaise-mango chutney dressing.