I had some friends over this weekend for an AGGIE football watching party. I also invited a few non-Aggie friends (hiss) and they were respectfully dressed in "neutral" colored clothing (i.e. no burnt orange). Except one was wearing red, which happened to be the color of the Aggie opponent. Whatever! This is a blog about food and not football rivalries.
Since the game was at 11, I wanted to have not only dips (2 store bought - HEB's That Green Sauce and sour cream and onion dip) as well as queso (with some left over fajita meat) but also something hearty for lunch. I chose Oven Baked Frito Pie. Growing up my parents would make REAL Frito pie (fake Frito pie being Fritos covered in chili) and they would layer wolf brand chili, Fritos, onions and cheese into a casserole dish and bake until hot and bubbly. It was gooey and crunchy and delicious. It was also incredibly fattening because cans of chili are somehow super injected with fat and calories.
The recipe I chose had homemade chili which is much healthier than wolf brand and it has diced tomatoes and tomato sauce for a nice vegetable component. I left out the beans because I have never preferred chili with beans. Otherwise, I only added some chili powder as I found the packet of taco seasonings did a good job making the beef taste like chili.
The other change to the recipe I made was to leave out the sour cream. I really did not see the point of it and again, I was trying to make this somewhat easy on the waistline. No one seemed to notice anything missing and everyone wanted the recipe. I cooked the chili the night before, to allow more time for flavors to blend, and then I put the pie together and baked it right before lunch. Some people added more cheese (in the form of queso) or Fritos. This was very good and a keeper for a big group.
I cannot have a gathering without having something sweet! I have been craving peanut butter lately and this recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars looked decadent and easy! The peanut butter layer is a doctored yellow cake mix, the chocolate layer is essentially chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk and it comes together in minutes. It can sit on the counter for days to be nibbled on. A kid at the party said these were FABULOUS and I have enjoyed them at breakfast, and as mid morning and late night snacks. I finally took the few remaining to work today as I cannot be trusted with these bars. YUM. Like a Reece's peanut butter cup in a bar form. The chocolate layer is almost fudge like and the peanut butter layer is pretty mild because it is mixed with the cake mix. These cut easily and come out clean for easy staking.