Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

       It's already Halloween again! Can you believe it? Soon we'll be stuffing our faces and emptying our wallets 'cause the Holiday season is basically underway. =) The spooktacular treat I chose to make for All Hallow's Eve this year is something I haven't eaten in years. Popcorn balls! I think they're so fun looking and even more fun to eat. In the past I've always had Caramel Popcorn Balls, but I had a couple bags of marshmallows on hand so I made Marshmallow Popcorn Balls instead . . . I do love marshmallows. Anyway, with the help of a Whirley Pop and some colorful M&M's I had two batches of these guys up and ready within the hour. Unfortunately I can't hand any out to the trick-or-treaters today because their Mommas will be paranoid that I'm an evil sadistic terrorist who stuck razorblades in the centers of each ball, so I took them to school instead. Starving college students don't worry about razorblades in free food. (To be clear I understand the fear, but sometimes I think it's unwarrented.)
       Like many other treats, these can be customized for any holiday or occassion and that makes them even greater. I chose just a normal bag of M&M's for these (though I tried taking pictures of the sides that looked most Halloween-like) but you can buy any holiday color M&M bag, like red and green for Christmas. Or if you don't want M&M's, how about peanuts? You could even make a Trail Mix Popcorn Ball and mix in M&M's, peanuts, and pretzels! Really, the possiblities are endless. In the future, I plan on melting some peanut butter with the marshmallows to make Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls--YUM.

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes about 12 smaller balls, 9 large balls, or 6 really big balls.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-10 ounce bag marshmallows (preferably mini)
  • Appoximately 3 quarts popped popcorn (I popped 1/2 cup's worth of kernels)
  • 1 cup M&M's
  • room temperature butter for rolling balls

--Pop the popcorn and place in a large bowl, big enough for extra stirring room without the popcorn spilling over.

--In a large pot over low heat, melt the butter; then add the brown sugar and salt. Stir until evenly blended, then add the marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted.

--Pour the marshmallow goo over the popcorn, stirring until the popcorn is completely coated. It's just like making rice krispie bars.

--Once you got the popcorn covered as best you can, add the M&M's and stir them in. When adding, try to sprinkle them all over so you don't have to stir as much. The more stirring, the more  melting and breaking of the M&M's.

--Using buttered hands, squeeze the popcorn into 2 or so inch balls (you can make them as large as you like) and place them on a wax paper lined pan.

--Serve as soon as you like; wrap them in cling wrap for storage.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pizza Bites

Who's ready for some football!?!?!
Me not so much, but my husband is and that's reason enough to get fired up a little. Plus I'm always down to cook up some game day food in support of his team. It's my little contribution to his all out love affair with the season. Some of the food that is associated with watching the big game can be pretty calorie heavy and really pack on the pounds, but they are go-to's for a reason. They taste delicious. Obviously I couldn't deny my better half, so I adapted a few of the basics and made them without fake ingredients or funny names. Pizza bites are easy, real, and delicious. Not to mention they are a cinch to whip up and take about 20 minutes start to finish! What's not to like?!

Pizza Bites
Created by: me

1 loaf French bread or baguette
1 bunch of spinach
1 ball fresh monzarella, sliced
1 package of dried salami, proscuitto, or other cured italian meat
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 capful of Mrs. Dash italian seasoning
Real parmasean cheese, grated
Cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the tomato paste and Mrs. Dash with enough water to make a pizza sauce consistency.  I like mine a little thicker than typical pizza sauce to give the toppings something to grab onto.

Cut the bread on an angle about a 1/2 in thick and arrange on a cookie sheet. I use my pizza stone to make these most of the time but they are equally good on a cookie sheet. The stone just makes the bottoms crispier than the pan does. Spread a tablespoon or so of the sauce on each slice of bread. Then layer the spinach, meat, and mozerella onto each bread slice and top with freshly grated parmasean cheese. Crack some fresh pepper over the entire pan and pop it in the oven for 10-15 mintues. 

Once they are melty and toasted to perfection, pull them out and serve to your adoring fans!

Life is better homemade-