More Record-Eagle fun, for the record.
Foodie with Family
If it comes on a stick, it has to be good
When I heard shushed giggling after sending the kids up to get in their jammies last night, my suspicious nature assumed the worst.
When I snuck to the top of the stairs and saw my 4-year-old with pants on his head rather than his lower extremities and his 6-year-old brother laughing next to him, my concerns heightened. I pulled the 6-year-old into my room for a private confab.
“What were you guys doing in there? ” I asked.
“Just playin’, Mom,” Aidan replied.
“Why were his pants on his head?” I asked.
“I dunno,” he replied.
“What were you doing in there?” I repeated slowly for emphasis.
“Just balancing a hackey sack on his head,” was the final reply.
I gave the canned “Please don’t balance a hackey sack on your brother’s head while he’s not wearing pants” speech and ushered the big guy out of the room and the little guy, Ty, into to the room to continue the interrogation.
“What were you guys doing in there?”
“We were being bad,” was the whispered response.
“What kind of bad?” (YIKES! Was my thought…)
“We were saying bad words…” (Phew…)
“What kind of bad words?”
“My brother said … grimbly.”
“Umm …” (holding back laughter) “Grimbly is not a bad word. What did YOU say?”
“I said stooopid.”
“OK, that is a bad word. Please don’t say that again. Did you say anything else?”
“My brother said crunchy.”
“That’s really not a bad word either and you know that. What did YOU say?”
“I said shut up.”
“Yep, that’s a bad one, too. You know better. I don’t want you to say that again.”
He paused and looked thoughtful and as he was leaving the room said, “OK. Mommy, can I some food on a stick tomorrow since I told the truth?”
I’m not sure why or how he made the leap from wearing pants and hackey sacks on his head while saying verboten words to skewered vittles, but I figured his honesty at least warranted a corn dog. If it’s on a stick, it’s popular in our home. Here are a couple of our standards that are prized for their ease of preparation, thriftiness and ability to be customized in order to please everyone. Oh … and because they’re on sticks.
Homemade Quick Corn Dogs
- 1 11-oz. can refrigerated cornbread twists
- 1 package of eight all-beef hot dogs
- 8 Popsicle sticks, skewers or wooden chopsticks
Preheat oven to 375°. Open the package of cornbread twists and unroll it. Separate into 16 strips. Push the Popsicle sticks about halfway into the hot dogs. Take one strip of cornbread dough and begin wrapping at the base of one end of the hot dog, continuing until strip runs out. If necessary, press another strip to the end and continue wrapping to the end of the hot dog. Pinch off the excess to use on another hotdog. It is not necessary or desirable to completely cover each hot dog with dough. The main goal is to get a nice spiral of cornbread from top to bottom of each frank.
When all the skewered dogs are wrapped, space them evenly on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown and sizzling hot. Serve with mustard, ketchup, hot sauce or other dip of your choice.
Note: For a meatless alternative, use vegetarian dogs, increase oven temperature to 400° and lower baking time to 10 minutes.
Oh the fun of this next recipe. Embellish the dipped brownies with whatever suits your fancy. I like toffee baking bits or chopped peanuts. My kids like rainbow sprinkles. You can substitute any flavor baking chips for the chocolate chips. Use your imagination and go wild.
- 1 package family size brownie mix, batter prepared according to the cake-style instructions
- 1 c. chocolate chips
- 1 T. vegetable shortening
- Assorted chopped nuts, sprinkles, candies, etc…
- Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil that extends over the edges of the pan. This makes extraction of the baked brownies in one piece a snap. Spray the foil or parchment paper lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and bake according to package instructions. Allow brownies to cool completely in the pan. When brownies are room temperature, place pan into the freezer for 30 minutes. Extract brownies from pan by lifting parchment paper or foil away from edges and out of the pan.
Lay brownies with the paper facing up on a cutting board. Remove paper and cut brownies into 24 equal sized rectangles (four rows width-wise and six rows lengthwise). Gently insert Popsicle sticks halfway into the end of each brownie bar and place on a wax paper-lined tray. Put tray back in freezer while preparing the chocolate topping.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and shortening. Microwave on high one minute and stir. Return bowl to microwave and heat in 15-second increments until the mixture is completely smooth when stirred. Working with one at a time, grip the stick and dunk the top half of the chilled brownie bar into the chocolate mixture. Allow the excess to drip off, place back on tray and sprinkle with the toppings you prefer. Place tray in fridge until chocolate topping has hardened. Leftovers can be kept tightly wrapped in fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
While on the subject of brownies and my 4-year-old, the other day he came walking into the room performing a maneuver that I can only describe as scrubbing his tongue with a sweat sock. When I asked him why he had a sock in his mouth, he responded disdainfully, “To get da dirt out of my mouf.”
It was obvious that he was neither joking nor lying when I peered in his mouth and saw terra firma packed in his rear molars. I asked why he had dirt in his mouth. He looked at me and said in a tone that made clear he was explaining what should have been obvious, “Muh-ommm, I fought it was a piece of brownie dat fell on da floor and dried. You know I wuv brownies.”
Because the dry brownie mixes in the store go on sale nearly weekly, we have brownies frequently. There is an almost infinite number of ways to customize a brownie mix using some common but delicious add-ins and some easy methods. You can make them as fancy or as simple as your taste dictates. Here is one of our all-time favorites. It can either be prepared in the pan or in individual dessert cups for a mouth-watering showstopper of a dessert.
Mocha Toffee Cloud Nine Brownies
- 1 3-oz package instant chocolate pudding
- 1 3-oz package instant vanilla pudding
- 1&1/3 c. cold milk
- 4 t. instant coffee dissolved in 1 T. hot tap water
- 2 c. frozen whipped topping, thawed (or 2 c. whipped cream)
- 1 c. chocolate-covered toffee bits (or 6-8 Heath Bars, smashed)
- 1 family-size brownie mix, prepared cake-style (with extra egg) in a 9-by-13-inch pan and completely cooled.
In a bowl, mix the first four ingredients with a whisk until smooth. Using a spatula, fold in the whipped topping until thoroughly combined. Spread the pudding mixture over the cool brownies. Sprinkle the toffee bits evenly over the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Keep leftovers tightly wrapped in fridge.