Cheers for Beer

Chili Garlic Popcorn

Spicy seasoning adds a kick to the classic snack, perfect for game time munching.

1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
canola or vegetable oil
popcorn kernels
1 – 2 tablespoons melted butter

1. Mix chili powder, garlic powder, sugar,  cayenne and salt together so they’re well blended.
2. In a large pot over medium or medium-high heat, pour enough oil to cover the bottom. Add enough kernels to mostly cover the bottom of the pot.
3. Cover pot with lid and allow kernels to begin popping. Watch popcorn closely so it doesn’t burn. If needed, shake the pot around to keep the kernels at the bottom from burning and to allow the un-popped kernels to make their way down to the bottom. Once popping has slowed, remove from heat.
4. Pour popcorn into a large bowl. Toss spice mix onto the popcorn so it coats it as desired. 
5. Melt butter and pour on top of popcorn. Toss to mix and serve immediately. Serves about 6. 

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Beer Cheese Dip

This hot, creamy, cheesy dip is spiked with IPA and packs a savory punch.

2 (8-ounce) blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 ounce smoked Gouda cheese, grated
3/4 cup IPA beer of choice
1 tablespoon fresh chopped baby spinach
1/2 medium-sized red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
bread bowl, crostini, toast points, tortilla chips or sliced veggies

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine first 8 ingredients thoroughly in a bread bowl or casserole dish.
3. Bake 35 – 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Serve warm with crostini, toast points, tortilla chips or sliced veggies. Serves 8 – 10.

Beer-Brined Wings

Hot wings are a classic combination with an ice-cold beer. This twist on the traditional is extra flavorful.

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer
2 pounds chicken wings (about a dozen or so)
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup red pepper sauce

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, salt and beer with whisk.
3. Add chicken wings; toss gently to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to brine.
4. In a large zip-top bag, mix onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.
5. Drain chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Discard brine. Add chicken to bag with spices, and toss until evenly coated. Place chicken on cookie sheet.
6. In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter. Stir in pepper sauce. Heat to a simmer.
7. Pour mixture over wings. Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut to bone (internal temperature should be 165 degrees). If desired, shake extra pepper sauce over wings after baking. Serve warm. Serves 6 – 12. 

Ranch Oyster Crackers

Always a guaranteed crowd pleaser, these easy, tasty tidbits are terrific for toting along for tailgating and any other autumn football occasions.

2 tablespoons ranch dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed 
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper, optional
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
5 cups oyster crackers

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine the dressing mix, dill weed, vegetable oil, lemon pepper and garlic powder.
3. Add oyster crackers, and toss to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring gently after 10 minutes.
5. Remove from oven, and allow to cool before serving. Makes 5 cups.

Cheddar Cornbread Jalapeño Poppers

A perfect pairing for a frosty pint — spicy-hot poppers.

12 medium to large fresh jalapeño peppers
1 (15-ounce) box of cornbread mix
1 cup fresh corn kernels (May substitute canned, drained.)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar, divided (1 cup for the batter and 1/2 cup for sprinkling)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice each jalapeño down the center and carefully remove all the seeds and pith. Set aside. (It’s best to use gloves when handling peppers.)
3. In a medium bowl, prepare the cornbread batter according to the box instructions. Add in the corn and 1 cup of the cheese.
4. Fill each jalapeño halfway with some batter. (Be careful not to overfill.)
5. Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with the remaining cheese.
6. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until the poppers are puffed and the cornbread is firm and cooked through. Let cool slightly before serving.
Serves 6 – 12. 

Christie’s Pecan Pie Tassies

Here’s a nifty pick-up version of the beloved Southern staple, pecan pie. Ashley got this favorite recipe from her dear friend, Christie Thames.

1 (14-ounce) package refrigerated piecrust dough
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
48 pecan halves,  optional for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Roll out dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out 48 circles in the dough.
3. Press the circles into mini cupcake or tart pans.
4. Bake until slightly browned. Allow to cool completely.
5. Blend together the eggs, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt.
6. Spoon or pipe the mixture into pie shells and sprinkle pecans over top.
7. Bake until browned but slightly soft in the center, about 20 minutes. If desired, add 1 pecan half to the top of each pie for decoration while pies are still cooling. Makes 48. 

text by Sallye Irvine • photos by Nicole Quinn

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