Bang Bang Chicken Nuggets

bangbangAs the football season approaches we love easy grazing meals where we can pick up a plate and fill it with finger foods munching on and off throughout the day.

One of the best is of course some form of chicken nuggets, made from either breast meat or thigh.

This one fits the bill with a great little sauce for dipping that really works nicely.

I’ve significantly altered the cooking process, since I am not a big fan of big wet sloppy coatings that tend to fall off in one piece with the first bite.



  • 1 pound or more of chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1-2 tbsp hot sauce (sriracha or your favorite)
  • vegetable oil of your choice for deep frying


  • 1/3 c mayo
  • 1/8 c sweet Asian chile sauce
  • 3 tbsp sriacha sauce or other hot sauce


  1. Dry the chicken pieces.
  2. Whisk the flour and cornstarch together.
  3. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour
  4. Whisk the eggs and then add the buttermilk and hot sauce and stir until mixed.
  5. Dip the floured chicken pieces in the egg mixture and then dredge again in the flour
  6. Drop immediately into hot oil heated to about 350-375° until golden brown and done.
  7. Place on a rack to drain away any excess oil.
  8. Mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce.


NOTES: The original uses a wet batter that I find utterly messy and that forms a coat that once you bite into the chicken comes off in one mass of boring breaded yuck. I prefer the method above which makes for a lighter but still crunchy coating which sticks to the chicken better. I also heated up the sauce and reduced the excessive sweetness. You can of course alter this as you wish.

SOURCE: Adapted from Damn Delicious


Jalapeno Popper Wontons

JalapenopopperOh these are so good.

Wonderful appetizers.

Think football games and grazing meals.

These can be cooked, then frozen, then reheated easily.

Make a bunch.

Make ‘em often.

Get to it.



  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, brought to room temperature.
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed (or any other chile you wish)
  • 1 green onion, finely minced.
  • 1/2 c good quality Parmesan cheese
  • 18 or so wonton wrappers


  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and whirr up until smooth
  2. Place a teaspoon full into each wrapper and seal edges with water. Make sure the seal is secure.
  3. Drop 4 or so at a time into vegetable oil heated to 350°.
  4. Cook until they rise and are lightly browned.
  5. Lay on a cooling rack lined with paper toweling to absorb excess oil.


NOTES: You can bake these or alternatively cook in a skillet with just enough oil to keep them from burning on the bottom, turn once if doing either of these. I would bake at 400° for about 20 minutes, or 10 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to burn.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Taquitos Supreme

toquitosOh Taquitos. Tired of the usual wings and nachos? Well, this is a great finger food or main dish depending on how you structure it. But it is perfect for grazing during football season.

You can make these so many ways that I’ll just give you the basics. They all work.

So avoid those frozen things and make your own. It takes little time, and the taste will convince you that they should be a staple in your snack or dinner repertoire.


  • A couple of dozen corn tortillas, 6″ ones are best.
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Hatch or Anaheim or Poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño or Serrano minced
  • 1 tbsp chile powder (heat up to you)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano (Mexican if you can get it)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 -2 c shredded cheese of your choice, Cotija, Monterey Jack, Cheddar or a mix)
  • oil for frying


  1. Saute the ground beef in a saute pan with the onions, roasted and other chiles, and seasonings, until meat is done.
  2. Stack the tortillas and cover with a damp cloth and place in microwave for 30 seconds to warm up and make pliable.
  3. Heat oil (1 cup or more) in a separate skillet to 350°.
  4. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture across the tortilla, a bit off center, add a bit of cheese and roll as tightly as you can, securing with a toothpick.
  5. Place in the heated oil for about 3 minutes a side until crispy.
  6. Drain on rack lined with paper toweling.


NOTES: You can do just about anything with these. Substitute shredded cooked chicken or pork, or shredded beef as the meat, or use shrimp or fish. Make vegetarian ones made with beans.  Use any cheese you prefer. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, pico de gallo, or my Chile Tomato sauce (last post before this one) for dipping. Serve as finger food or by a plate with 3-4 taquitos apiece napped with sauce and additional cheese with sides of rice and beans.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Roasted Tomato Chile Sauce

garlicchili485-2This is a great sauce and works well with enchiladas or taquitos or anything similar.

Another benefit is that you can pretty much make this as hot as you wish or as tame as you need to.

Since here, we don’t usually use tomatoes in our enchilada sauce, it is quite a change of pace and for some a bit less piquant than traditional sauces.

You could easily use this on pasta as well for something like a “Mexican spaghetti”  or on a stiffer polenta as a bed for pork or chicken cutlets.

It has a lot of uses, so consider it as a condiment to other dishes.


1 pound Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
2 to 4 serrano or jalapeño peppers, sliced lengthwise
(*I roast extra peppers, but add them one at a time while blending, in case they are too spicy)
1 small white onion, sliced into thick rings or into quarters
1 bulb of garlic
Olive oil
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons masa harina
1/2 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil paper. Add all the tomatoes, peppers and onion, cut-side up. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Remove all the cloves from the bulb of garlic (leave the skins on) and nest it in a foil packet, adding a little oil before closing. Transfer to baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour, rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. When tomato mixture has cooled, unwrap the garlic and squeeze out all the roasted garlic into the blender. Peel the skins off tomatoes and add to blender along with chiles, onions and all the juices from the pan. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside.

3. Preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the sauce from the blender, along with spices, vinegar and 2 cups of chicken broth. Whisk the masa harina with 1/2 cup of water until smooth. Once sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat and whisk in the masa harina slurry. Continue cooking on low for 20 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.

SERVES:  2 cups

NOTES: The chiles above are suggestions. Tame it down with Poblanos or Anaheim, being mindful that each chile can vary, but classes are generally hotter or milder.

SOURCE: Hispanic Kitchen

Crunchy Curtido (Mexican Cabbage Slaw)

curtidoColeslaw. Everybody has it. Americans are mostly familiar with the mayo based variety.

In Mexico and in other South American countries as well as Portugal and Spain, a different type is normal.

Of course, like most “peasant” food, there are a million variations, and it’s a family recipe for most.

This is my version of Curtido and I hope you enjoy it.


  • 1/2 of a medium cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • 3 scallions, chopped, including green parts, or red onion sliced thin
  • 1/4 c cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • one jalapeño minced, or 1 tsp hot pepper flakes, or other hot chile
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Place the vegetables in a bowl.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl, whisk and then dump into the slaw.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Chill, or eat at room temperature.


NOTES: You can also add other things like jicama, sweet pepper, celery if you wish.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Cream Cheese Appetizer Spread

cream cheesedipThis is truly a good old standby. I like to make this and spread it on bagels or any sort of cracker as well as raw veggies. It’s a light snack yet full of flavor.

There are tons of variations to this recipe and the basics are cream cheese, carrots, scallions, and red bell pepper, but there are lots of other things you can add to make it both your own, and vary it from time to time to suit your taste at the moment.

This is my version.


  • 1 8 oz brick of cream cheese
  • 1/4 c each of carrot, celery, red pepper, red onion, and patted-dry roasted pepper
  • 1/2 of a roasted poblano or Hatch chile
  • 2 scallions, including green parts
  • 1 jalapeño or Serrano chile, seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp of chopped chives (fresh)
  • 1 tsp chopped dried dill or 1 tbsp fresh
  • 1 clove garlic
  • about 1/3 of a cup of green olives
  • 1 tsp of olive juice


  1. Chop all veggies into a fairly small dice
  2. Place all in a food processor and whir until it is one lovely homogenous paste.
  3. Serve with crackers, bread or raw veggies.

SERVES: 1 generous cup

NOTES: Play with the ingredients as you like. Black olives, hotter chiles, other herbs, perhaps some sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. It all works.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton


Braised Beef Tips with Spring Onions

Beer-Braised-Beef-1-575x262This sauce is everything in this dish.

But the meat is succulent, and it all plays well with either mashed potatoes or noodles.

The original dish had dumplings which I found a bit too heavy and not so complimentary to the wonderful sauce, so I omitted them, but of course you can add them back in and omit the potato/noodle option.



  • 6 or so spring onions (any will do, but these can be halved and hold up nicely. cut off the green stems and save for a soup)
  • 2 pound chuck roast cut up into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons softened butter divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound whole baby bella or button mushrooms
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 quarts beef stock
  • ½ cup port wine
  • Small bunch of thyme tied together with twine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon gravy flavoring such as Kitchen Bouquet
  • Additional 1 teaspoon salt, as needed
  • Additional ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons flour



  • In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat, place two tablespoons of butter with the two tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot and starting to get frothy, add half of the beef (do not crowd meat) and sear on all sides. Once browned on all sides (8-10 minutes per batch), repeat for second half of beef. Set all of the seared beef aside.
  • Reduce to medium and add one more tablespoons of butter and then add onions. Sauté three minutes. Add whole mushrooms and sauté for three more minutes. Add white wine and sugar. Cook for two minutes scraping up and bits from the bottom.
  • To the liquid left in the pot, add reserved beef and any liquid from the beef, beef stock, port wine, thyme bundle, bay leaves and kitchen bouquet. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover. Cook on simmer for two hours and up to four.
  • After two hours, remove cover and taste. If needed, add additional salt and pepper.
  • Mix last two tablespoons of softened butter with two tablespoons of flour to form a paste and add to hot stock and beef. Stir to combine and add in reserved onions and mushrooms along with any liquid in the bowl. Bring back to hot.


NOTES: I served this with broccoli, but green beans would be great too. You could also add carrots and I would add them with the onions at the beginning and sear them and cook them about half way, and then remove until about the last 30 minutes of simmer. Nice rolls would be good to sop up every bit of the juice. You can substitute sherry for the port.

SOURCE: Adapted from Family Feast