Happy Super Bowl Sunday for any of you who enjoy football! I am not the biggest football fan (give me baseball, give me hockey, give me anything that moves quicker than a snail) but I do enjoy a.) food, b.) friends, and c.) commercials (okay, not all the time). We have standing Super Bowl plans every year with some friends and we all tends to be ‘in charge’ of a specific piece of the food array. Before Derek and I were together I believe he was in charge of ice and chips (and candy) but since I arrived on the scene I’ve been slowly infiltrating the plan (and it seems to be well received)! I enjoy having an opportunity to try out fun snack foods and of course, desserts. It can be a little challenging to feed the masses things that everyone will enjoy so, I tend to keep my audience in mind (nothing too spicy, no mustard, and we have a peanut allergy in the mix) and hope for the best.
This year I’m bringing one tried and true dip, one snack that everyone has been raving about online, and a dessert that I’ve been wanting to make for forever.
This Unexpected Cheddar Cheese Dip combines so many of my favorite things. If you’ve never had Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar Cheese I highly encourage you run to the closest store and buy two blocks-one for yourself and a finder’s fee for me. This cheese is often ranked in TJ’s most coveted sold items and it’s my go-to cheese when I shop there. Trader Joe’s is spot on in their explanation, “WhyUnexpected? Well, it looks like an aged Cheddar. At first bite, it tastes like an aged Cheddar. And then something unexpected happens. The smooth creaminess of the Cheddar gives way to a tangy flavor and slightly crumbly texture, a subtle hint of salt crystallization is discovered, and it begins to taste like an aged Parmesan. Surprising, astonishing, and unanticipated. Unexpected indeed!”
A couple things that I do differently: I don’t make it into a ball (it’s just in a bowl), I don’t add pecans (we have some folks who aren’t a fan), and while I use the other Trader Joe’s ingredients that it calls for, I just use my own cream cheese and lemon juice.
Pointed out I think this comes to about 2 smartpoints per tablespoon (but really I should measure it by the cup).
Next up are Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls! I get so many recipes from SkinnyTaste and she does not disappoint. I have been using her recipes well before WW and her cookbooks are my go-to’s. I kicked back a little of the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and added a stalk of celery for added crunch. I don’t have an air fryer like the recipe suggests so into the oven they’ll go! A lot of people are making these today so let’s hope they’re delicious! (2 of these are 4 smartpoints.)
And my piece de resistance? A cheesecake! Not a no bake one, either! I have wanted to try my hands at a cheesecake for a while now and this seemed like a great opportunity. One of my favorite ways to please a crowd is to make a solid ‘base’ food and allow an ‘accessory package’ for folks to choose from (like what I did with that car analogy there?). We have our vanilla bean cheesecake (God bless vanilla bean paste) and will have three toppings to choose from: salted caramel, cherries, and a homemade chocolate sauce!
One of the trickiest parts of baking a cheesecake is getting it to cool without cracking. Seriously, you know you’re a bona fide cheesecake maker if you can get this perfectly smooth top. Well, I gave it my honest shot. I tried the trick of letting it cool for an hour in the oven without opening the door and then allowing it to cool further with the door cracked (there’s a million variations to this, I know) and still, I have a few fault lines. When I told my best friend about this (she’s pretty good at baking these things) she just told me to cover the cracks with cherries and I called her the Bob Ross of cheesecake making (“see that crack? We’re just going to put a little cherry there and now it’s a cherry pocket!”).
I’ll report back on how it is but I do know that the batter was pretty tasty J I have not pointed this out yet.
I also decided to make my own chocolate sauce rather than buy some because I had all the ingredients. You have to stir for quite a bit but it is worth the effort. I am so excited for this! (also haven’t pointed this but if you look at the recipe you can tell it’s not going to be light.)
I have also decided to take a firm stance against the robbery that was committed against The New Orleans Saints and wear Gold and Black in solitary of my new favorite city. Again, I know nothing about football but I do know I love an underdog! The Saints bring with them that same story of resilience that NOLA stands for and I am a fan in spirit because of that. If you’re bored, do a quick Google of all the things going on in New Orleans today in response to their loss a couple weeks ago.
Go food bowl!