The times they are changing!
It used to be this time of year we were all scrambling to pick up school supplies and preparing for weekends of tailgating, sports and fall fun. Scheduling rides and activities was top on our list.
This year, things are different. We’re scheduling meetings and school from home, facing a season with no tailgate parties at the games and getting into a routine that is challenging and changing every week.
Whether there’s one of you, two of you or more of you, you can enjoy some quick and tasty recipes that will fit the bill for dinners, snacks and desserts.
Using a mix of West Virginia-made products from WV Marketplace and fresh foods from The Purple Onion and other Capitol Market vendors, families can have some fun in the kitchen making dishes that are a little different and easy.
I’ll be doing my tailgating — with kids — in our family cave. I’d like to call it a man cave, but that would be a fantasy, like fall sports season!
Two recipes that we’ll try this fall are a Giardiniera Dip and Poor Man’s Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce.
Oliverio’s sauces are quality products with a homemade taste that makes them a favorite for many of our customers. You might know them as great on pastas and pizzas, but take a minute to try them to make quick work of Chicken Cacciatore and meatloaf and you’ll be sold on their versatility.
The dip features Oliverio’s Giardiniera in a quick blender recipe that is great on crackers, with an Italian antipasti tray or slathered on just about anything you can put between two slices of bread. If we need a quick dinner later in the day, it might be Beef, Macaroni and Pepper Skillet Dish with Oliverio’s Peppers in Sauce. This is another recipe that the company shares on its web site and we are including here. You could certainly switch out the ground beef for ground chicken, turkey or pork if you prefer.
The shrimp cocktail recipe, originally named because it uses no shrimp, is also a great option if you have family and friends who are shell-fish intolerant. Cauliflower substitutes for the shellfish and the sauce is a tangy rendition using Copperhead Bloody Mary Mix. And for another quick tailgate or dinner with friends, you can use the same mix in a tasty and quick Gazpacho.
Copperhead/Appalachian Mountain Specialties is produced by Vandalia. Copperhead has a little more bite than other mixes. It’s a blend of tomato and lime juices, red wine vinegar, with a secret spice blend with an added kick of horseradish to give it a “bite” that you will love. If you’re thinking that soup or stew that’s been simmering for a while could use a little something-something, try adding a glug or two of this to the pot!
Serving veggies at your home tailgate or chicken nuggets to the family at lunch or dinner? Dress both dishes up with the Hawaiian Honey Dip recipe from ThistleDew Farms. Offering fine honey products using wildflower honeys, this West Virginia-based company offers flavored honeys, mustards and vinegars in its food lines.
And when the day calls for a sweet treat, it only takes a couple of ingredients to make the homey honey fruit dessert that is featured on the company’s web site. It’s a little warm fruit, some honey and vanilla ice cream. Who wouldn’t be happy to see a bowl of that?
Sometimes, all a recipe needs is a little spice magic. Spice blends can be ethnic, like Italian, Creole or Mediterranean; they can be gourmet like lemon pepper and za’atar; they can be sweet like pumpkin pie or cinnamon sugar.
One of the lines that we carry is Smoke Camp Crafts. This Weston-based company offers spice mixes and dried herbs. The Salt-Free Creole Seasoning is great in many recipes. We like the idea of trying it with Red Beans and Rice for a comforting dinner. And, if you are looking for a quick veggie dish for dinner some night, here’s a corn recipe that’s not only quick, it’s easy for beginning chefs to try their hands at. One warning here: If you’re using fresh corn, you might want to cut it from the cob before you have little hands mix the ingredients together.