Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tailgate Tuesday: Beer Cheese Dip

(note: Tailgate Tuesday posts are special features written for the SideLion Report from us gals of The Thrifty Table. Check in every Tuesday for a new recipe perfect for that week's tailgate party!)Here is a dip this week that is sure to please a Packers or Lions fan. I made this a couple weeks ago when our friend from Wisconsin, Alec, was in town. I figured he should try this dip out being from the land of beer and cheese. I think it was a hit and would be a hit at your next tailgate too.

Beer Cheese Dip


1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) packages shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup beer
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard (optional, if you want an extra kick)


1. Place cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, garlic powder and beer in a food processor. Blend until smooth. You can also just use and electric mixer for this.
2. Spoon the dip into a bowl and serve with pretzels, veggies, bread, or crackers.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tailgate Tuesday: Swedish Meatballs

(note: Tailgate Tuesday posts are special features written for the SideLion Report from us gals of The Thrifty Table. Check in every Tuesday for a new recipe perfect for that week's tailgate party!)

For Tailgate Tuesday this week we thought an appropriate dish would be Swedish Meatballs in honor of the Lions playing the Minnesota Vikings. It is also a great dish because I am a Swede who loves Swedish Meatballs. I always look forward to taking a trip to Ikea and getting some of their delicious meatballs and lingonberry juice. It seemed about time I tried my own.

I found that one of the be
st rated recipes out there was by Alton Brown on the Food Network website so I used his recipe as a base and altered it a bit to my liking. The result was delicious. I served the meatballs over noodles but this would be a great dish to throw in a crock pot and eat with toothpicks at a tailgate. I hope you try this recipe out and enjoy it as much as we did!

Notice the lingonberry juice as our beverage of choice.

Swedish Meatballs


  • 2 slices fresh white bread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound ground chuck
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.

In a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.

Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds.

Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat, or in an electric skillet set to 250 degrees F. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.

Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tailgate Tuesday: Miniature Cheesecakes

(note: Tailgate Tuesday posts are special features written for the SideLion Report from us gals of The Thrifty Table. Check in every Tuesday for a new recipe perfect for that week's tailgate party!)

We are girls, so we have to include cheesecake somewhere in this football season. What could be better than eating a scrumptious Philadelphia cream cheese desert while the Lions play the Eagles? (Well, a win maybe). These miniature cheesecakes are easy to make, and you can add whatever topping you like. We guarantee that they will be gone before the first touchdown!

Miniature Cheesecakes (adapted from a recipe on allrecipes.com)


  • 1 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (Philadelphia brand!)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • fresh strawberries, pie filling, or other topping
  • whipped cream (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins paper liners.
  2. Place one vanilla wafer into each paper cup.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Fill each miniature muffin liner with this mixture, almost to the top.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool. Top with a teaspoonful of topping and whipped cream.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tailgate Tuesday: Italian Beef Sandwiches

(note: Tailgate Tuesday posts are special features written for the SideLion Report from us gals of The Thrifty Table. Check in every Tuesday for a new recipe perfect for that week's tailgate party!)
When it comes to Chicago food, Italian Beef sandwiches are a favorite. In honor of the Lions playing the Chicago Bears this week, we decided to make this Chicago staple. These sandwiches remind me of when my RA staff at Calvin College had Italian Beef sandwiches from Portillo's. Amazing!

I found several recipes online using a slow cooker and chuck roast to replicate these juicy sandwiches. A little bit of planning ahead in the morning results in an easy meal at dinner (or tailgate!). Served on toasted hoagie buns with melted provolone cheese and sauteed green peppers, these sandwiches are a perfect fit for some hungry football fans.

Italian Beef Sandwiches
1 3 lb. chuck roast
3 C water
2 t beef base
1 t ground black pepper
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
1 t dried parsley
1/2 t crushed red pepper
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 green pepper
sliced provolone cheese
hoagie buns

In the morning, trim the fat off the meat and place in a slow cooker. Combine the other ingredients (except the green pepper and cheese) in a liquid measuring cup and microwave until warm. Add to the roast and cook on low for 10 hours. After 8 hours, remove the bay leaf and shred the beef and place it back in the liquid and let cook for another 2 hours.

Cut the peppers into small strips and cook in a pan with some olive oil. Heat over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, until they are soft and begin to brown. Set aside.

When the meat is done, serve on toasted hoagie buns with a lot of extra juice and the green peppers. If you really want to make them tasty, place them under the broiler with provolone or pepper jack cheese!

*Adapted from http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/italian_beef.html Check it out for some history behind the Italian Beef Sandwich! The slow cooker version is adapted from http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/slow-cooker-italian-beef-for-sandwiches/Detail.aspx

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Smore Bars

I tried s'more bars for the first time while at Ramona's Table for dinner with Jenn. We split one and agreed that it was amazing. Ever since I had it I have been looking for a recipe for s'more bars but all of them just did not seem to be like the one we had at Ramona's Table. Finally when reading a food blog a couple of weeks ago I found this recipe and it did not disappoint. If I were to do it over again I would have added a bit of caramel like the one I had from Ramona's Table. This would be a great dessert to bring to a Labor Day cookout!

S’More Bars (adapted from a recipe on The Hungry Mouse)

1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs or approximately 14 crushed up graham crackers
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6-8 milk or dark chocolate bars (I used both milk and dark chocolate Hershey’s bars)
3 cups marshmallow fluff

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9X13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. Break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff.
Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (the easiest way to do this is by flattening the dough into small pieces and laying them together).

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

My mom has always grown a lot of rhubarb in her garden so I grew up with all sorts of foods with rhubarb, rhubarb cake, rhubarb bread, rhubarb pie, but none of them compare to this rhubarb upside down cake. Now that I have a house of my own, I also am growing rhubarb and made my cakes with half my rhubarb and half my mom's. Give it a try!

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Crumb topping:
4 tblsp. Unsalted butter, melted
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
Coarse salt

For the cake:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for buttering pan
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut on a very sharp diagonal, about ½ inch thick
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Course salt
½ tsp. finely grated orange zest plus 1 tblsp. Fresh orange juice
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the topping:
Stir together butter, flour, sugar and ¼ tsp. salt, until moist and crumbly.

Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (I used an iron skillet). Dot with 4 tblsp. Butter, cut into
Pieces. Toss rhubarb with ¾ (or more) cup sugar; let stand for 2 minutes. Toss again, and spread in pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and 1 ½ tsp. salt. Beat remaining stick butter and cup sugar with mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in zest and juice. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, until smooth. Spread evenly over rhubarb. Crumble topping evenly over batter.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and top springs back when touched, about 1 hour. Let cool for 10n minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.