Hormel Extended Family Food Blogger

As some of you may have noticed (though most probably read these posts through some sort of Reader), I’ve added another badge to the lefthand side of the good ‘ole blog. Based on the title of the post, you can probably guess it’s the Hormel Extended Family Food Blogger badge! About a month ago I was contacted and asked if I would like to join in the fun, and I couldn’t refuse! I’ve had quite a few Hormel giveaways on the blog before, and they’ve always been so good to me, I just had to see what else they had to offer. Look what the sent just to get me started!

This month’s challenge was to make a meal using three Hormel ingredients, called Grocery Shopping 101 – Weekend BBQ Challenge. Only after perusing their website did I realize just how much I had to chose from! After some pondering, and assessing what I already had on hand and what was given to me in my “welcome kit,” I came up with the perfect Holiday weekend BBQ menu with some inspiration from a great bbq restaurant.

To start, I made some homemade tortillas using Chi-Chi’s burrito sized tortillas (same recipe found here), and had some Chi-Chi’s salsa and also some pico de guaco. I found pico de guaco in the produce section of the grocery store, and it’s exactly what it sounds like; pico de gallo on top of guacamole. It was like killing two birds with one stone, so I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. After enjoying the chips and dip, we moved on to the main course.

I decided to keep it simple and have some Jennie-O turkey burgers, topped with some pepper jack cheese, and of course more pico de guaco. One the side, I decided to make a potato skins potato salad

. My fiancé loathes mayo, so I’m always hard pressed to find a potato salad recipe that doesn’t have that as a main ingredient. I started thinking about potato skins (you know, the ones you get at a bar and grill), and figured I’d try and turn that into a potato salad, since it doesn’t include mayo. It does have bacon in it, and I know how most people feel about that. Well, sweet success! It doesn’t look like much, but oh did it taste delicious.

Of course we had to have some veggies as well, so I marinated some portabello mushrooms and zucchini in balsamic vinegar and grilled those along with the burgers. Unfortunately, there was a serious thunderstorm going on for most of the afternoon, so we wound up doing our grilling inside on the George Forman. I didn’t mind too much, until I heard that our local fireworks were postponed until Friday due to the weather. Thankfully, we got to check out a different town’s fireworks, which was the perfect end to a delicious day!

Potato Skins Salad
– serves 6 –

3 red skinned potatoes, roughly diced
1 Idaho potato, roughly diced
3 Tbsp red onion, diced
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded cheese
6 slices of bacon (I used Hormel ready-cooked)
1 tsp olive oil
tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine  diced potatoes with olive oil, chili powder, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Using a large spoon, make sure each piece of potato is coated with the seasoning. Place on a greased baking sheet. 
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, using a spatula to shake up the  potatoes and move them around at about the 10 minute mark.
4. Once the potatoes are cooked, add them back to the original bowl, and mix in the rest of the ingredients, starting with the onions, followed by the bacon, sour cream and then the cheese. Again make sure everything is well coated.

*Disclaimer: I was provided a welcome kit to be a part of the program, and for this month’s challenge I received a $50 gift card to help cover the cost of food in order to complete the three ingredient challenge. Thanks again, Hormel!

Running for food

Since a solid 75% of what I think about is food related, it’s no surprise that food consumes my thoughts while I run. Ususally during long runs I dream about smoothies, milkshakes, or iced coffee, while on shorter runs during the week I think about my upcoming dinner. Take Thursday night, Cinco de Mayo, for example. In addition to thinking about the nachos I was planning to make all day, those thoughts followed me throughout my run. There were even points where I thought about picking up the pace just so I could finish and get dinner sooner. Totally normal, right?

When I realized it was already May and that Cinco de Mayo was rapidly approaching, I wanted to make something that had a little Mexican flavor, but wasn’t totally typical. I know, nachos are probably in the top 5 of things that come to mind when you hear Mexican food. But I decided to do things a little differently to give them my own twist. For starters, I took some Chi-Chi’s tortillas that had been sent to me with the mole sauce, and used those as my “chips.” I also used crumbled Chiptole Gardenburger instead of your typical chili or ground beef. Aside from that the toppings were typical; refried beans (with chipotles!), diced red onion, diced tomato, shredded lettuce, jalapeno, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

When I received my fun little Cinco de Mayo package of mole sauce and tortillas, I also received some La Victoria salsa. I saved it until Thursday and finally got to give it a try. I also received a few Tostito’s dip packets from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, and got to put one of the guacamole mix packets to good use. I’m always wary about seasoning packets that claim to bring about authentic guacamole flavors, just because it’s hard to replace the fresh onion, lime juice, ciliantro, etc., but Tostitos does a pretty good job! This is a perfect mix to have on hand just in case you don’t have the other ingredients available to make completely fresh guacamole.

This meal really hit the spot. Of course, it would be great at a party or get together as well. YUM.

Veggie Nachos 

 Baked tortillas (see recipe below)
1 Chipotle Gardenburger, crumbled
1 cup refried beans 
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, diced
1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup guacamole 
1/4 cup sour cream / Greek yogurt 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Layer baked tortilla chips in a lightly greased 9-inch pie  dish
3. Add refried beans, followed by onion, jalapeno, tomato, and cilantro topping off with cheese 
4. Bake for 10 minutes, serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream

Baked Tortillas

5 burrito sized tortillas
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Cut tortillas in half, and in half again, and again to make 8 triangles 
3. Layer on a sprayed baking sheet, and lightly top with olive oil and salt
4. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden and crispy 

*Of course you know the opinions stated here on my blog are completely my own. While I received some products (tortillas, salsa, and mole) from Hormel and the seasoning packets from Foodbuzz’s Tastemaker program, I was not required to write a positive review about them – they were good (in my opinion) and deserved a shout-out!