Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Entertaining: Chicken Wings

Last time I wrote about saving money on holiday entertaining and today I have some recipes for chicken wings or drumsticks you can make yourself. They are very expensive when buying from restaurants or the deli.

You can take off the pointy part of the wing at the joint with a very sharp knife before cooking or leave it as is. Either way is fine, and depends on your preference.

Grilled Chicken Wings

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. spicy mustard
2 Tbsp. lite or regular soy sauce
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb. chicken wings
3/4 cup BBQ Sauce (no for marinade)

Combine the first four ingredients; pour over the chicken in a shallow dish. Turn the chicken over a couple of times to evenly coat both sides of the wing. Refrigerate the wings for at least 30 minutes to marinate. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken for 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Brush lightly with the barbecue sauce. Grill 5 minutes longer or until chicken is done, turning and brushing frequently with remaining sauce.

Slow Roasted Chicken Wings

5 pounds frozen chicken wings
10 oz. soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. ground ginger

In a blender, combine soy sauce, sugar, honey, cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger. In a 9x13 baking pan lined with foil, pour the blended mixture over the chicken wings. Place on center oven rack and bake at 250°F for 2 1/2 hours, turning and basting every 30 minutes. Bake until chicken is tender.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings

16 chicken wings or legs
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper

6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons orange juice, any type
1 cup white sugar
1 cup white vinegar

Season the flour with salt and pepper. (for an extra spicy chicken, add cayenne pepper). Dip the chicken in egg, then the flour. Fry the chicken in a large skillet using oil, until crispy, about 15 minutes. Drain and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, water, sugar and vinegar. Mix together and pour over the fried chicken. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through and juices run clear.

Spicy Wings and Drumsticks

1/2 cup Mexican-style hot sauce (such as Valentina)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar, or more to taste
4 chicken thighs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a small baking dish. Mix the hot sauce, paprika, ground cayenne pepper, and brown sugar in a bowl, and stir until the mixture is well combined. Place the chicken thighs in the baking dish, and coat them with a layer of sauce. Cover the dish with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake until the chicken has cooked through, and the sauce has thickened and started to brown, about 20 more minutes.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Entertaining: Saving Money on Food

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

I've been chatting with several people, like myself, that are on a tight budget for Christmas this year. I was looking over a couple of the inserts in our Sunday paper from local grocery stores with the expensive "holiday food" available. I truly do understand wanting to buy special food items for the holidays, but when you think about cutting corners, it's a good place to start. Presentation of your food can make it special, even if it's not the most expensive.

1. Boneless Beef Tenderloin: this can be $12.99 a pound or more. Why not substitute a pork loin which can be as low at $2.00 a pound. It can be served with the same sides, and spices or rubs, and roasted in the same way.

2. Seafood: Jumbo scallops or shrimp are easily $10.00 a pound. For half the price you can buy the medium size, and use them in the same way. The taste is the same, and the only difference would be in the length of time you cook them.

3. Spiral or Honey type hams: These type of hams can run $4.00 a pound and up. Watch sales for a "butt" cut of ham. They are very lean, and meaty, but sometimes they can be as low as .99 cents a pound. Glaze it yourself if you wish, or roast it plain, but I've used this cut of ham for years and it's delicious.

4. Wings: Buffalo, Asian, BBQ etc. are around $4.99 a pound. Make them yourself and a fraction of the cost. I'll share some recipes this week or next week.

5. Pre-made Cheese balls: Run $5.00 a ball and up. Cheese balls are SO easy to make. We have a lot of dips and spread recipes on OFL that are inexpensive and just as tasty. Anything that is premade is more costly, so consider making your own.

6. Breads: All types of quick breads, muffins and cupcakes are available in the stores, but for a fraction of the cost you can make your own. Below is the recipe I'm using to make breads for my husband to take to work, and as gifts for friends and teachers.

Poppyseed Bread

1 box cake mix *see below
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup poppy seeds
Optional: 1 tsp. juice or extract *see below

Basic instructions:
Beat together all the ingredients in a large bowl on slow to start, then on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Pour into 2 regular size bread pans that have been sprayed with pan spray, or you can coat in a very light coating of margarine or butter. Bake for 50 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven .

Notes: I am using several cakes flavors this Christmas. Banana, pineapple, orange, and lemon cake mixes. You can add a tsp. of lemon, orange or pineapple juice if you wish or a tsp. of an extract like vanilla for extra flavor.

Presentation: I use Christmas themed trays, and cut the bread ahead of time. (I don't include the ends of the bread because the kids and I eat them to taste test.). I place a row of one flavor, then a row of another, etc. on the tray. When it's filled (don't squash the pieces together) I cover with foil or plastic wrap. I also send a knife and butter with the tray.

As gifts: To give as a gift, I wrap the bread in colored plastic wrap, and tie a bow with a name tag around the bread. Another nice presentation is to place the wrapped bread in a gift bag, then add a box of holiday tea to the bag as well.

I wrote an article for OFL last month sharing ideas for making your own party platters.
Click here for the article: Do-it-Yourself Holiday Entertaining