December 8, 2013

Sunday Sides & Suppers: Holiday Entertaining Edition

I asked whether you would rather see main dishes or party food in last week's episode. No one answered, so I decided to compromise by demonstrating a party dish, a main dish, and one dish that can be used for either.

If you can't see the video, click here.

First up is Black Bean Salsa. Long time readers will recognize this one since I posted the slow cooker version when I first started the series in print. I shot the salsa segment on a Monday night after coming home late from work because of running errands on the way, so I did a quick variation utilizing all fresh or canned vegetables.

Black Bean Salsa
(Fast Version)

1 Large Onion (Roughly Diced)
2 Large Bell Peppers (Roughly Diced)
3 Cans Black Beans
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes with Chilies
1 Can Whole Kernel Corn
2 Tbsp. Pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1/2 - 1 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Pour olive oil into a large skillet and heat on medium high. When the oil begins to ripple, add onion, bell peppers, salt, pepper, garlic, chili powder, and cayenne. Sauté over medium heat just until the vegetables are tender. Add beans, tomatoes, and corn. Toss together and heat over medium heat for about seven to ten minutes.

Serve as the filling in burritos or over tortilla chips with a dab of sour cream or shredded cheese for amazing nachos.  Best when hot.

If you watched my Sweater Weather Tag video, you know Granny D's Chicken and Dressing is my favorite holiday food. It's something we've always had at the dinner table for every holiday meal as long as I can remember. The original recipe can be found on page 24 of "Surviving Murphy," but here is my gluten free variation. Most of the changes with spices are meant to compensate for the sweet taste in cornmeals not cut with wheat flour, and after eating the dressing made in the video above for a few days this past week, I have to say it worked.

Granny D's Dressing
(Gluten Free Version)

1 Large Onion (Minced)
4-6 Ribs of Celery (Minced)
2 Cups Shredded Chicken
2 Cups Cornmeal (Any will work so long as it is only corn.)
1 1/2 - 2 Cups Milk
1 Large Egg
3-4 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Rubbed Sage
1 Tbsp. Parsley
1 ½ Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 ½ Tbsp. Lawry’s Seasoning Salt 

1 ½ Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper

In a large bowl, beat the egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, rubbed sage, olive oil, and Lawry's Seasoning Salt. Add cornmeal, baking powder, and milk and blend well. Pour into a greased cast iron skillet and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until the top is golden. Allow to cool throughly.

In a huge bowl, shred chicken. Crumble all the cornbread into the bowl. Make sure to include the crust. Pour chicken broth over the mixture about a cup at a time and stir well. You will need at least three cups of broth if not a bit more. The mixture will look far too soupy, but this will cook down. Too little broth will result in dry or sticky dressing.

Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes or until the edges and top are browned.

Chicken dip is one of those dishes created by a desperate tossing together of random items in your pantry the night before the grocery run. This one turned out to be a good one though. It cooks up in five to ten minutes prep to finish. It's delicious. It reheats well, and it's actually filling. So it goes a long way. 

Chicken Dip

2 Cups Shredded Chicken
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes with Chilies (Drained)
1 Small Can Sliced Black Olives (Drained)
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1 ½ Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 ½ Tbsp. Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
1 Tbsp. Parsley
½-1 ½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper

In a large bowl, shred chicken. Add garlic, Lawry's Seasoning Salt, garlic, onion powder, parsley, cayenne, cream cheese, and tomatoes. Microwave on high for about three minutes. Stir well. Add shredded cheese and stir again. Microwave for 1-2 minutes on high. Stir well. Add olives and stir again. Serve hot.

That is it for this week's edition of Sunday Sides and Suppers. Make sure to join me next week  for the third and final installment of this holiday series, when I show you three holiday desserts ranging from quick and simple to versatile and impressive.

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