Monday, September 20, 2010

So saucy.

I’ll admit, sometimes my family has weird taste.  Tonight was mom’s choice and what did she desire above all else?  McDonald’s chicken nuggets.  Yes, that’s right.  Had it been anyone else, I would have said absolutely not - because what’s the point of a food fest if I’m not even making the main course?  But you know as well as I do that you don’t mess with mom.  So when she requested that I make a bunch of sauces and a yummy drink to accompany the restaurant purchased chicken, I simply said “sure.”  I also threw together a salad and dessert (of course.  What would Monday be without dessert???  Not fun, that’s what.)
I based my salad on this one found on  I will not give you the recipe.  I will not speak further of the salad.  It was not good.  (my fault, not the original recipe writer’s fault) I shouldn't have changed it.  Enough said.
I found tonight’s dessert over on Inside BruCrew Life.  Forewarning you now, her’s look way better than mine.  But mine tasted good, and that’s all that matters.
The sauces I chose to make were: Creamy Ranch Dip, Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno Dip, Easy BBQ, Sweet and Sour, (all via and Cilantro Ranch (which you may remember from this post as the absolute best dressing on the face of the planet.) (via Favorite Family Recipes).
Here are the sauce recipes with my edits:
Creamy Ranch Dip
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 TBLSP milk
1 tsp garlic salt
Put it all in the blender and pulse, multiple times.  Done!
This one turned out better than I thought it would.  I was anticipating something kind of boring, just ranch dressing, you know?  But it was nice and thick and creamy.
Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno Dip
1.5 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese
1/3 cup apple jelly
3 TBLSP lime juice
1/2 jar of your favorite salsa
2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 jalapenos, minced, seeds included
a dash of hot sauce (of your choice)
Soften the cream cheese.  Beat it until creamy.  Mix in the apple jelly and the lime until blended.  Add the salsa and blend.  Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper, jalapenos, and hot sauce and stir well.
I was expecting this to be much spicier than it turned out.  I made it for mr because of his love for all things ridiculously burn your mouth off spicy, and it did NOT fit that bill.  It was tasty, but not what I expected.
Easy BBQ
1/2 cup ketchup
2 TBLSP vinegar
2 TBLSP apple cider vinegar
2 tsp hot sauce
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 TBLSP water
3 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
Stir it all together.
I know, right?  Easiest BBQ recipe ever.  I have never made a BBQ sauce that I didn’t have to cook.  At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not, but after I actually gave it a try, I was surprised by how good it was for the scant amount of effort it took.
Sweet and Sour
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup vinegar
1 TBLSP soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 TBLSP cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Whisk the pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and ketchup in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring it to a slow simmer.  Combine the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Add this to the saucepan and whisk well.  Stir constantly until it thickens.
I was surprised by the ease of this recipe as well.  Other sweet and sour sauces I’ve made have not been quite so easy.  It was just a tad on the sweet side, but I altered the recipe to compensate.  Above is what I will make next time I need sweet and sour sauce.
For the cilantro ranch, I followed this recipe exactly.  You’ll have to check it out over there.  It’s a DON’T MISS.  Seriously.
And here’s the scoop.  First of all, through a series of unfortunate events, my mom was unable to pick up the nuggets of choice from McD’s.  Sad, I know.  She went instead to the grocery store and got some there.  Not nearly as tasty, of course, but better for us, so it’s a toss up.  
I put all the sauces in little bowls and arranged them on a lazy susan so we could all just dip our chicken right in and wouldn’t have to keep passing the sauces around.  And now the question on everyone’s mind: “Did you double dip?”  I’ll let you wonder.
I found it really difficult to pick a favorite sauce.  They were all yummy in there own way.  As soon as I thought I’d narrowed it down, so I could tell you all which one to make, I’d change my mind.  So I polled the family.  And the votes are in.  mr voted for the BBQ and the Creamy Ranch.  mom voted for the Cilantro Ranch and the Sweet and Sour.  dad voted for the Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno.  So, the result of the poll is, they are all good and you’ll have to pick based on your own taste.  Sorry.  OR you could do a “sauce bar” like we did and make them all.
For the “yummy drink” as my mom requested, I remembered a conversation I had with mr about how much he liked green apple suckers, drinks and such.  I set out to make a yummy non-alcoholic green apple cocktail - a la “appletini, virgin style”.  I thought it was mostly successful, but there are a few changes I’ll make when I do this for mr again.
Appletini, virgin style
5-7 oz apple cider
5 (ish) oz Rose’s green apple flavoring for appletini’s
dash of lime
tray of ice
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 TBLSP sugar
sierra mist
Mix all but the sierra mist in a blender until the ice is broken into small chunks.  Pour it equally into 4 glasses.  Add not quite the same amount of sierra mist to the glass.  Enjoy.
OK, now "what I will do differently".  First, less apple cider to begin with.  It added a great undertone to the drink, so you don’t have to use as much flavoring, but if you use too much cider, that’s all you taste.  I will use just a touch of sweetened condensed milk instead of heavy cream and sugar.  I will use less lime.  I felt like the lime was important to “sour” it up a little, but my dash was more like a pour and you could tell.  So, easy on the lime.  I will probably try this with club soda instead of sierra mist next time and see how that goes.  To get the amount of fizz I wanted, I had to add so much sierra mist it almost counteracted the green apple.  I think club soda is the perfect solution - all fizz, no overpowering taste.  And there you have it.  How to make a non alcoholic appletini.  Well, I think that’s how you would do it.  Having never tried an alcoholic one, I guess I don’t really know.
The milky way cupcakes from Inside BruCrew Life were delicious.  I used the recipe exactly as is, minus the instant coffee, since no one in my family drinks coffee.  It was super delicious without it, so that’s good to note.  They were kind of like little mini chocolate lava cakes with a yummy milky way frosting on top.  Just telling you about them makes me want to go upstairs and get one of the leftovers.  Mmmmmm....
And unfortunately, we didn’t get an actual shot of the sauces with the nuggets, but you can see them in the background here.  I’ll let you guess which is which.

mom says I should sell my sauces to McD’s.  Hm.  Maybe an entrepreneurial opportunity? 


Sarah said...

They all looked good, but I expecially liked the sweet and spicy jalepeno dip! Thanks for the great ideas.

alicia said...

The fact that you can whip up those dips like that-- that's impressive. And milky way cupcakes?? YUM. Thanks for sharing.

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