Football, Friends and Food

The big game is coming up! If you’ve been missing the camaraderie of fall tailgating, here is your opportunity to do it again. You may not be at the game or even outside for that matter, but you can create the same exciting atmosphere right there at home. Although, I’m all about food, it’s the people that really make a party fun.

Having a game day party can be as easy as inviting a bunch of folks over and asking them to bring a dish share or as complicated as preparing all of the food yourself and decorating to the hilt. If you’re a tailgater, you obviously don’t begrudge the work!  Whatever you plan to do, the food must be plentiful. After all, this big game day is the second biggest eating day of the year following Thanksgiving.

Sakes Alive Bars
“Sakes Alive” Chocolate Fudge Bars

A good party consists of both savory and sweet food items.  If you’re the hostess or bringing something sweet to a friend’s, chocolate is a safe bet. Sakes Alive Chocolate Fudge Bars are easy to make and baked in a 9×13-inch pan, makes plenty for a crowd. My personal go-to recipe is Double Chocolate Saucepan Brownies. Double the recipe and bake the brownies in a 9×13-inch pan, for a bunch of hungry fans.

What’s your go-to game day snack?

Lunch Box Fun and Treats

It’s hard to believe summer is over and the kids are back to school. These days, kids seem to be ready to head back to school and look forward to seeing their friends. Although the kids seem excited, there still may be a few jitters, so add some fun and treats to their lunch box to help ease the jitters.

  • Create a laminated lunchbox sticker calendar or book to help countdown the school year.Include a sticker each day. If using a plastic/hard lunchbox, include a sticker each day to decorate the lunchbox.
  • Attach a sticky note to a toothpick. Stick in sandwich or soft treat. 
    • “Have a great day!”
    • “Love you to the moon and back”
  • Include a ‘good behavior’ reward coupon
    • “We love you. Here’s a coupon for one trip to get ice cream”
    • “Thanks for cleaning up your toys. Here’s a coupon for 30 extra TV minutes”
    • “Thanks for helping in the kitchen. We’ll make brownies this afternoon.”
  • Include photos of fun memories with a note.
    • “Remember when we went to the beach?
    • “Your birthday party so was much fun. Can’t wait for your next big day”
    • “You were such a cute baby”

Kids also love treats, so including a special treat is always a welcome lunchbox surprise! My favorite brownie recipe, Double Saucepan Brownies, is quick and easy to make from scratch.Start by melting the butter and chocolate in a saucepan. Then stir in the remaining ingredients.Even if the kids don’t do anything but stir, it will be fun!

Brownies, Blondies and Scotchies

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a cookie bar fan and not afraid to admit it. I like the convenience of baking an entire batch at once. The all-time classic is probably brownies. Rich and buttery – studded with or without nuts. You can’t go wrong with brownies if you’re looking to make everyone happy.  However, blondies and scotchies run a close 2nd and 3rd.  Each resemble brownies in texture, but blondies get their distinguishing taste from brown sugar, creating a caramel-like flavor.

All varieties are easy to make and freeze well. It can be tricky to remove from the pan seamlessly, so I have a few tips. Line your pan with foil, leaving the edges sticking up and apply cooking spray. Once they are done, cool and chill. Then, lift the whole panful out at once, place on a cutting board to separate. Once cut, let it return to room temperature and voila!

One more tip from me to you – The key to a moist finished product is to not overbake. Take the pan out when the center is still a slightly soft. The bars may fall a little, but this will produce a more dense and delicious outcome.

Here are some of my favorite Martha White® brownie, blondie and scotchie recipes.  What are yours?

Double Chocolate Saucepan Brownies
Double Chocolate Saucepan Brownies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Chocolate Chip Blondies
Easy Chocolate Chip Blondies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous Scotchies
Fabulous Scotchies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Go To” Brownies

Do you have favorite recipes that you “go to” over and over again? Long before I started working here, I had a little leaflet from the Martha White® Test Kitchen that contained a recipe for saucepan brownies. That recipe saved me many times when I needed a last minute dessert because I usually had all the ingredients right in the kitchen. And you can almost never go wrong with brownies.

A couple of years ago, I was thinking about how good and easy this recipe is, but thought it might be ready for a little update. With our increased passion for more intense chocolate tastes, I thought it might be time for a double chocolate version.

Double Chocolate Saucepan Brownies use both unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate for a more complex and fuller chocolate flavor. The recipe is a breeze to make because the butter and chocolate are melted in a saucepan and all the remaining ingredients are added and stirred up right in the same pan. Then just turn the batter into a pan and bake.

For easier cutting, line the pan with foil as described in the recipe. Bake, cool and chill. Use the foil to remove the whole slab and cut on a board. On the other hand, you might just want to scoop them out of the pan while they’re still warm! These brownies always get rave reviews.

Tell me about your favorite “go to” recipes.