The Best Herbs to Plant in an Oklahoma Garden

Oklahoma’s clay soil make is a little tricky to plant herbs, but don’t let that deter you from planting the herb garden of your dreams! With a little prep and planning, you can have a beautiful herb garden no matter if you have a big backyard or small apartment patio.

Culinary herbs like basil, thyme and rosemary are a great way to add fresh flavor to all your favorite recipes.

Getting Started

For a beginner gardener, it easier to start your garden from plants rather than seeds. When picking a location for your garden, pick a location with adequate, daily sun and is easy for you to water.

If creating a patio garden, chose containers that have holes in the bottom for water draining. You can choose from plastic, clay or terracotta pots for herb planting. If creating a garden in your yard, make sure your ground soil is prepared for planting. Break up old, hard soil with a gardening shovel and add healthy compost to provide nutrients. For potted plants, soil is equally important. Fill pots with well-draining, loose soil.

If your backyard soil is to clay-like, you may need to build garden boxes off the ground to fill with a healthy mixture of store-bought soil and compost.

How often you’re required to water will depend on the type of herbs you plant and how sunny the location they’re planted in is. As your garden grows, watering will become more intuitive.

Thyme

Grow thyme in a sunny, slightly dry corner of your garden or porch. It likes a well-draining soil and lots of sun. Be sure to trim it back when it starts to flower.

Flavor Pairings

Thyme has beautiful, light notes of pine, pepper and lemon. It’s perfect for fish, chicken, potatoes and lemon.

Rosemary

Rosemary is incredibly sturdy. It does best with good sunlight (about six to eight hours), sandy, well-draining soil and fresh air.

Flavor Pairings

Rosemary has a peppery, aromatic taste. It pairs well with roasted veggies like potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and garlic. It can also compliment citrus notes, cranberries, seafood, Italian dishes, meat and cheese.

Basil

Basil needs about six to eight hours of sunlight. You can tell it needs watering when its leaves begin to wilt. Be sure to trim it down as it flowers.

Flavor Pairings

Basil is an essential Italian flavor. Pair it with classics like tomato, olive oil, garlic and mozzarella. Grilled summer vegetables like zucchini and yellow squash will be taken up a notch with a few fresh ribbons of basil. Basil pesto anyone? In a food processor, chop together fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts or walnuts and olive oil for a rich, flavorful sauce.

Sage

Sage is a very forgiving plant to grow, but it does best in a sunny area. Like thyme, it prefers well-draining soil. It’s fairly drought resistant and needs to be watered once the soil is completely dry. Unlike other herbs, it doesn’t lose flavor intensity as it grows and doesn’t get bitter once it flowers. It grows well both in a pot or a ground garden.

Flavor Pairings

Warm and fragrant sage works wonderfully with meats like lamb and sausages. It pairs well with other spices like thyme, rosemary and oregano. Pair it with a butter garlic sauce or add it to flavor tomato sauces, risottos, pesto and beans.

Mint

While it doesn’t mind sunshine, mint needs some shade. Protect it from direct, harsh sunlight. Mint needs soil that is slightly moist but well-draining. If you have tomatoes in your garden, try to plant mint near it. Many pro gardeners consider mint to be tomatoes companion herb. Companion herbs can help ward off pest and encourage pollination.

Flavor Pairings

Mint is incredibly fresh. It loves citrus notes like orange and it goes great with summer berries like blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Chop some up to put in a fruit salad or add it to Mediterranean dishes like tabbouleh or lamb.

Want to freshen up all the water you’ll need to keep hydrated this summer? Try flavoring water with blackberry, lime and mint or even a combination of cantaloupe, honey and mint!

Parsley

Parsley is easy to grow in a home garden. It does well in full sun or partial shade. It prefers a moister soil than other herbs, just be careful not to over water it.

Flavor Pairings

Parsley is a wonder herb. It’s slightly sweet yet slightly bitter flavor and vibrant green color make it a grand finish for many dishes. Use a fresh bunch to make chimichurri sauce for grilled steaks or chop it finely and add to a pasta salad or tabbouleh. Sprinkle it on top of frittata, breakfast casserole or sautéed veggies for added flavor and color.

Oregano

Oregano likes full sun and well-draining soil. Like sage, do not water it until the soil is completely dry.

Flavor Pairings

Warm, savory tasting oregano is Mexican oregano, while Mediterranean oregano is slightly minty. Use both in marinades for chicken, or to flavor homemade dinner rolls and flatbreads.

Homeland Herbs

Don’t fret if your herb garden doesn’t go according to plan. Whether you have a green thumb or a knack for drying out your flowerbed, Homeland Stores have you covered with fresh herbs and every dry seasoning imaginable. Visit your local store to stock up on flavors for all your summer dishes!’

Celebrate National Strawberry Month with 3 Summertime Desserts

Each spring, the strawberries are among the first fruits to ripen. The fruit has been cultivated around the world for its flavor and aroma since the 17th century. Today, we use strawberries for everything from flavoring foods like preserves and milkshakes to using their pleasant smell in hand lotions and lip gloss.

Since May is National Strawberry Month, we’re sharing recipes for our favorite simple strawberry desserts to celebrate. We’ll let you celebrate with us – just pick one of these delightful dishes and start tantalizing the taste buds of your dinner guests.

Double Chocolate Strawberry Brownies

If you crave chocolate to go with your chocolate, this treat is for you. It doesn’t take many ingredients and it looks so pretty you can serve it for fancy occasions.

What you need:

  • One package of your favorite brownie mix (and all the ingredients)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, cut in half
  • 2 ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Bake your favorite brownie mix the way you always do. We suggest using parchment paper to line the pan and using an 8 x 8-inch dish. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan. Then, create a layer of strawberries across the top of the brownies, cut side down against the brownies.

Place all the chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. Heat the heavy cream on the stove in a small pan over medium heat. Once the cream begins to have bubbles breaking the surface around the edges, turn off the heat. Add the hot cream to the bowl with the chocolate chips and let sit for five minutes. Take a whisk and combine until smooth.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the strawberry layer and refrigerate for 15 minutes or so until the chocolate layer has set. Serve cold.

Simple Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream

You don’t need any special equipment to make this no-churn ice cream. A stand mixer helps, but isn’t required – you can use a hand mixer too.

What you need:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2+ cups strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped angel food cake

Use the whisk attachment on your mixer to beat the heavy cream in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold in the other ingredients. Transfer mixture into a loaf pan or shallow serving bowl. Top with some additional strawberries and any cake pieces leftover.

Freeze until firm, usually takes about five hours. Remove from freezer and serve in your choice of fancy dish, ice cream cone, or waffle bowl.

Strawberries S’mores Style

You’ve got the freedom to create your own perfect concoction with this recipe idea. If you want to add to it, the sky is the limit.

What you need:

  • 24 whole, fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 24 cinnamon cracker pieces
  • Kabob-style skewer

Use a small heat safe bowl to heat marshmallow fluff until melted, it only takes five to eight seconds. Use the skewer to pierce the strawberry and dip it in the fluff. Roast the marshmallow end over a flame (you can use a stove or a candle) until toasted. Place each strawberry on a cinnamon cracker and top with the toasted marshmallow fluff.

Add chocolate squares or drizzle chocolate syrup if you want it to taste more like a traditional s’more. Let your creativity take over and have fun.

Celebrate Strawberry Month

No matter if you choose to enjoy one of these desserts, a milkshake, or to simply add strawberries to your morning cereal, remember that you’re celebrating and add a smile to your meal. If you’re looking for an effortless way to get your groceries delivered for your celebration, look no farther than Instacart. You’ll have all you need to start the celebration in no time.

How to Easily Make Guacamole 5 Ways

If your taste buds are craving something new, it might be time to try a new twist on the classic guacamole recipe. While you’re swinging through your local Homeland Store, why not snag the basics and even a fun addition or two? You’ll be whipping up a treat your taste buds will enjoy in no time.

Making Guacamole

You can make stunning guacamole without standing over the stove roasting vegetables for hours. Guacamole can be made as a special treat or as a last-minute dish for a party or event. No matter why you’re making guacamole, the basic recipe below won’t let you down.

The Basic Recipe

No matter how fancy or relaxed your plans are for this avocado concoction, this guacamole won’t let you down.

  • 4 ripe avocados, halved and pits removed
  • 2 medium jalapenos, finely diced with seeds (to taste)
  • 1 small lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup of medium salsa
  • ¼ cup onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

After halving and removing the pits, remove the avocado from the peel and dice it into chunks. Place all the avocado in the bowl. Add the diced jalapenos to the avocado–with as many of the seeds for spice as you like. Toss in the salsa and the thinly-diced onions. Use the back of a fork to mash all the ingredients together. Add a ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, as well as salt and black pepper to taste.

Make Your Guacamole Fun

It’s possible that avocados and guacamole are currently more popular than ever before. Take advantage of the cultural enthusiasm and kick your guacamole up a notch. Below you’ll find four simple ideas, all intended to land your dish as the center of attention during any gathering.

Bacon-Ranch Guacamole

Bacon and ranch are popular additions to all kinds of foods, from pizza and quesadillas to macaroni and cheese and club sandwiches. Don’t leave your guacamole out!

Just add a 1/3 cup of real bacon bits (or two cooked and crumbled slices of bacon) and a 1/4 cup of your favorite ranch dressing. Stir everything together and serve as either a spread or a dip. Also, it never hurts to have additional bacon bits for presentation purposes.

Honey Roasted Corn

Add some color and flavor at the same time by adding a Honey Roasted Sweet Corn Green Giant Steamer to the mix. This microwaveable package of frozen veggies not only includes roasted corn, but also a few diced peppers–and it’s all been flavored with honey.

Simply microwave the package according to directions and then strain any additional liquid from the package. Add the contents of the package to your basic guacamole and your guests will think you spent hours cooking the fire roasted veggies.

Mango and Poblano

If you’re a lover of sweet mixed with spicy, this is a recipe you’ll love. Mouths will water at the mention of adding diced mangoes and poblano peppers.

Simply buy a four-pack of single-serving diced mangoes in water and a poblano pepper. Pour the liquid off the mango chunks and dice them up smaller before adding them to the basic guacamole. Thinly dice the poblano pepper and add it as well.

For a deeper level of flavor, rub the poblano with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet in the oven at 425 degrees for 30-45 minutes. After steaming it and removing the blackened skin, you can chop it up and add it to the guacamole.

Pineapple and Roasted Bell Peppers

The fourth idea for dazzling your diners is a sweet and savory guacamole. All you’ll need is a 20-ounce can of diced pineapple and a jar of deli-sliced, roasted bell peppers.

Use about ⅔ of the can of pineapple but chop the chunks into smaller pieces. Then add ¼ cup of the roasted peppers, also diced, into the guacamole. Add in additional peppers, pineapple, and onion until you have the flavor just right.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

Sometimes nature doesn’t make guacamole preparation easy, and if you’re feeling like making guacamole is more trouble than it’s worth, maybe these tips and tricks will help.

Ripen Hard Avocados

If your avocados were a little too green to make guacamole, you’ll want to ripen them quickly. First, place three avocados in a brown paper bag and close it up. If you have a day or two before making your dip, this will be enough.

For a shorter period of time, add a banana, apple, or tomato to the brown paper bag. The paper sack will trap the naturally occurring hormone called ethylene that causes fruit to ripen.

Slicing and Peeling Avocados

Once you’ve removed the meat of the avocado from the peel, slicing and chopping the squishy fruit is sometimes problematic. To make it easier, halve them and remove the pit first. Then softly cut the slices with the peel still on. Use a spoon and gently slide between the peel and the fruit to separate them.

Keeping Guacamole Green

Once you’ve put your guacamole together, keeping it green and fresh in appearance can be difficult. There are three methods you can use to aid in this endeavor.

  • Seal the dish with the guacamole in plastic wrap to keep air out
  • Add extra lime juice on top
  • Use both plastic wrap and additional lime juice, but also insert the pit into the center of the guacamole before wrapping in plastic

Don’t Forget Instacart!

Sometimes getting to the grocery store can create a hiccup in an otherwise smooth schedule. Don’t worry–that’s why there’s Instacart. Set aside a few minutes to go online and order exactly what you need for your favorite dishes and a courier will deliver them directly to your door.

Five Ways to Sneak Ginger into Your Menu

If you’re looking to spice up your meal planning, look no further than ginger root. You might be familiar with it as a popular flavor in South and East Asian cuisines, but ginger has an incredibly versatile flavor profile.

Its flavor is bright, zesty and warm. Though it packs a punch on the palate, many people love it for its supposed health benefits. Ginger is a common home remedy for soothing nausea, settling upset stomachs and clearing out sinuses. Whether for flavor or health, if you’re looking for a way to add ginger to your diet, we’ve got you covered with tips and a little inspiration.

Fresh Vs. Ground

There is a big difference between using fresh and ground ginger root. Depending on which you use, the flavor intensity may be impacted. Ground ginger has more concentrated flavor, so you can use less of it when subbing for freshly grated ginger root. If subbing fresh ginger for ground ginger in a recipe, use more.

Don’t fear buying an entire ginger root. You can store fresh ginger in your freezer and grate it as needed for recipes. Conveniently, Homeland Stores regularly carry both fresh ginger root and ground ginger. Pick up both to decide which you prefer using!

Morning Smoothies

Ginger is a surprisingly great way to freshen up your daily smoothie. It’s a great addition to green-based smoothies featuring a base of spinach or kale. Don’t believe us? Try adding 1 tablespoon of fresh-ground ginger with 2 cups kale or spinach, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup ice, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 cups water or almond milk. The vitamin-packed smoothie will help you start your day on the right foot. The zesty taste of ginger and sweet fruit mask the more bitter-tasting, but good for you, greens.

Teas

Ginger tea is believed to have soothing benefits. If you’re looking for something that may help ease nausea or settle an upset stomach, a cup of ginger tea may help alleviate symptoms. Homeland has a wide selection of tea blends, including ginger. Check out brands like Yogi, Twinings and Tazo. Remember to always consult with your doctor before using ginger or any other natural supplement to treat an underlying condition.

Soups, Curries and Stews

If you’re looking for a way to brighten up a bland soup, ginger is a wonderful addition to meat or vegetable broth-based soups. If you’re congested from a stubborn cold, look up recipes for ginger chicken soup. The spice of the ginger may help temporarily alleviate congestion.

If you want to try your hand at international cuisines, try making a spicy green curry at home or vegetable fried rice with fresh grated ginger.

Rubs and Marinades

Throw together a quick marinade perfect for salmon or chicken with 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, 4 cups olive oil, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Want to showcase ginger more predominately? A simple lemon and ginger marinade will bring roasted chicken to life.

If you want to experiment with dry rubs, work ground ginger into a blend with other spices like coriander, cumin, garlic powder and paprika. The flavor can complement steak, pork, chicken and even vegetables.

Sweet Treats

Gingersnaps, anyone? Or maybe it’s gingerbread you’re craving. Ginger is a classic dessert flavor perfect for spicing cakes, pies, cookies and more. Pair ginger with molasses to create crunchy or chewy spice cookies or add a dash to your next pumpkin pie or peach crumble for a zesty element.

Homeland’s Wide Selection of Specialty Spices

Employee-owned and operated, Homeland is here for all your cooking and meal planning needs. We have a wide selection of spices and extracts perfect for flavoring any meal. Need something specific? We’d love to help you find it. Call your local Homeland store to see what is readily available or ask your local Homeland about submitting a special item request!

Seven Surprises You’ll Find in the Frozen Food Section

You may not know this, but March is frozen food month. How long has is it been since you strolled through the frozen food section?

If it has been a while, it’s time to schedule your next visit to the grocery store. You’ll be surprised–you might even gasp–at the increased variety of frozen food options for sale.

While we don’t want to spoil your adventure through the icy aisles, here are a few suggestions for how to use the frozen food section at your local Homeland store.

Fast, Nutritious Breakfasts

Do you have time to bust out the cookware every morning and make a nutritionally balanced breakfast? If your answer is yes, we applaud you. However, if you’re like most of us and your answer is no, there’s help for you in the freezers.

You want something hearty to keep your stomach from rumbling during that 11 a.m. meeting. Try the Jimmy Dean Delight breakfast bowls! With turkey sausage, egg whites, diced potatoes and cheddar cheese, all you’ll need is a piece of fruit and you’ve got breakfast on the go.

Staying full while keeping your midsection trim is a delicate balancing act. The Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwich–with bacon, egg and cheese–is only 200 calories.

Fruits for Your Smoothie

It’s never easy to cram all the recommended servings of vegetables and fruits into your day. Smoothies help slip in more servings, while hiding some of the less exciting flavors.

An entire cup of frozen strawberries adds 60 calories to your smoothie. They also hide some of that spinach flavor in that recipe you found on Pinterest.

How much do you know about blackberries? Did you know they’re higher in antioxidants than blueberries? They’re lower in sugar than blueberries and higher in fiber, too. Adding frozen blackberries to your smoothie not only adds nutritional value, but they’ll make it a pretty color.

Dinners for the Whole Crew

Slapping dinner together during the week after sports practices and dance classes is a chore none of us want. The frozen food section has what it takes to feed the whole family in a delicious way.

You might be familiar with Stouffer’s family sized meals–like the five-cheese lasagna. However, have you seen the stuffed peppers? All you do is pop the tray in the oven and cook for about an hour.

Another option for a quick and delicious dinner for the whole family is Bird’s Eye Voila Family Skillets. The sweet and sour meal has white rice, chicken, carrots, red and green bell peppers, pineapple and diced onion drizzled with sweet and sour sauce. The fajita skillet has seasoned chicken and rice with onions and bell peppers with a special fajita sauce.

International Dinners for Two

Are you looking for a date night dinner for two? The frozen food section will help your taste buds travel the world without ever leaving the house.

When you stop by the freezers on your next trip to the grocery store, you can bring home P.F. Chang’s beef and broccoli or shrimp lo mein. You’ll be ready to clean out those Chinese take-out menus stuffed in the junk drawer after one bite.

Bertolli chicken parmigiana and penne will bring a taste of Italy to your table in 15 minutes or less. You’ll not only be able to share a tasty meal, but you’ll be bingeing your favorite Netflix selection in no time.

Diet Friendly Versions of Your Guilty Pleasures

Special diet plans require you to stop sneaking guilty pleasures into your grocery cart. Have you tried substituting your favorite items with something from the freezer?

We don’t blame you for being a tater tot junky. However, if you’re trying to cut carbs, those taters aren’t always your friend. Try substituting veggie tots when you stop by the frozen food section. They have options of frozen tots made with broccoli and cauliflower.

If your lifestyle includes gluten-free foods, pizza is often hard to find. At Homeland, you can find several brand options for gluten-free frozen pizzas such as California Kitchen, Freschetta, Udi’s and Glutino.

Desserts

While the modern day frozen food section has fresh fish to thank for its existence, we believe the freezers are so big because of the desserts. Ice cream sandwiches, popsicles and pre-filled ice cream cones are available in various shapes and sizes.

From tubs of Hiland Neoplitan ice cream to pints of Halo Top, no matter what type of ice cream you’re looking for, you’ll find it in the dessert aisle. Don’t forget to snag some cones for a special treat.

Your pie-loving friends will rejoice when you serve Edwards Cream Pies from the freezer section. Triple coconut crème, Georgia-style pecan pie or lemon meringue–just remove your choice from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator before you start making dinner. When it’s time for dessert, you’ll be a hero.

Game Day Snacks

Are you planning to spend hours watching the college basketball playoffs during March? Remember to stock the freezer with plenty of game day snacks. Rivalries between friends are less intense while sharing a plate of mozzarella sticks.

Meatballs, taquitos, tamales and tiny pizzas atop bagels are all waiting for you in the frozen food aisle. They say variety is the spice of life, but we don’t know if that’s true. What we do know is whether you win or lose, basketball is more fun with snacks.

What’s on Your Grocery List?

Are you feeling inspired yet? We hope so. The frozen food section is crammed with options, no matter what’s on your list. Don’t forget to see what’s on sale, there’s plenty of frozen foods on the list in celebration of Frozen Food Month.

If you’re feeling pressed for time, why not try Instacart? Jump online and share your list with us, someone will do all your shopping for you and even deliver the items directly to your front door. What more could you expect from an employee-owned company, built in the heart of the USA?

 

Use Venison to Create a Little Creature Comfort

This time of year, many Oklahomans dig through their freezers and pull out venison from their hunting exploits. While venison is often leaner than beef, preparation is similar–with a few tweaks.

If you’re unfamiliar with preparing venison, or if you’re looking to branch out from the same old recipes, we’ve got some ideas for you. The unique and hearty flavors of venison will fill you up and inspire your dinner guests’ taste buds to have a dance party.

Chicken Fried Steak Style Venison

A southern tradition and favorite comfort food, chicken fried steak is an Oklahoma staple.

What You’ll Need:
4 six-ounce venison steaks
2 cups Shawnee Best all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 ½ cups milk
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Directions:
Place each steak between two layers of wax paper and pound with meat mallet until each one is ¼-inch thick.

Create an assembly line of dishes to bread the venison steaks. Mix flour, salt and black pepper on a plate and place it to the left. Mix egg and milk in a deep-sided dish and place it to the right of the flour mixture. Place a clean plate all the way to the left. Take each venison steak and coat it in flour mixture, then dip it in the egg mixture. Next, put the steak back in the flour mixture and coat it. Finally, place the steak on a clean plate. Repeat until all steaks are coated.

Heat large skillet with ½-inch of olive oil and butter over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place one breaded venison steak in the oil. Cook for two to three minutes (or until edges begin to turn golden brown). Turn steak over and cook for another two to three minutes. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate, then cook remaining steaks one at a time.

Venison Stew

Venison stew warms your stomach and your heart with its hearty thickness.

What You’ll Need:
1 two-pound venison roast (cut into one-inch pieces)
6 medium potatoes (peeled and chopped)
1 medium yellow onion (peeled and chopped)
1-pound bag of baby carrots (washed_
4 cups of beef stock
15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Olive oil
2 bay leaves

Directions:
Heat large skillet with ½-inch of olive oil in the bottom over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the cubed venison roast. Cook the meat until all sides begin to brown.

Place a five-quart pot on the stove and add meat from skillet. Top with four cups of beef stock. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, onions and tomatoes to the pot. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Add bay leaves. Bring back to a boil for two minutes before lowering heat back to a simmer. Continue to simmer until vegetables are softened to taste.

Don’t Have any Venison in the Freezer?

You know that Homeland has all the high-quality produce and pantry staples to make gourmet meals. Did you know that they also sell bison meat? If you’re without venison, you can replace the venison in these recipes with the appropriate cut of bison. Don’t let anything stop you from trying these Oklahoma comfort-food staples.

Snacks for Your 2018 Football Watch Party

2018’s professional football championship showcases two Northeast  powerhouse teams. While they battle it out in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Oklahoma fans can get in on the action by serving up serious flavors inspired by the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.

Snacks for the Philadelphia Eagles Underdog

Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

A Philadelphia-inspired spread wouldn’t be complete without cheesesteak.

Ingredients:

  • 12 King’s Hawaiian Rolls or similar rolls
  • 3 pounds of ribeye, sliced thin (choose Red River Ranch while it’s on sale!)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 8-ounce package of Boar’s Head Provolone cheese, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Mayonnaise

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté sliced peppers and onions until peppers are tender and onions are translucent, about eight to nine minutes. Remove vegetables from skillet. Keep warm on a foil covered plate.
  3. Add the steak slices to the skillet and cook five to seven minutes or until the strips are cooked through. Add the peppers and onions back to the skillet and mix with the steak slices. Remove skillet from heat.
  4. Slice the King’s Hawaiian Rolls in half. Place the bottom half of the rolls in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on top on the halved rolls. Evenly distribute the steak, onions and peppers across the rolls. Then, layer cheese on top of meat and vegetables evenly.
  5. Place the top halves of the rolls over the steak and vegetables. Brush with melted butter. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. If you prefer a more toasted bun, remove foil after five minutes. Let cool and serve.

Philly “Eagle” Wing Dip

Try a fun spin on a Buffalo chicken dip. Add as much or as little heat to the mixture and see who can handle it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds of cooked, shredded chicken
  • 13-ounce bottle of Wing Time Super-Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce or other favorite hot sauce.
  • 2 eight-ounce packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 16-ounce bottle of ranch or bleu cheese salad dressing (You can use a combination of the two.)
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cream cheese and dressing in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir until smooth. Add hot sauce (An entire bottle will make it hot, add sauce to your preferred heat level.)
  3. In another bowl, combine shredded chicken and cheese. Pour cream cheese mixture over chicken mixture and combine.
  4. Pour the mixture into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and bake uncovered until bubbly, about 40 minutes. Don’t allow the mixture to burn
  5. Serve with sliced veggies, pita bread or chips. Dip can be served hot or cool.

 

Snacks for the New England Patriots Fanatic

Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake

Patriots fans should celebrate with a wicked good Boston cream pie-inspired poke cake.

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (We used Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix.)
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Custard

  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs yolks

For the Topping

  • 1 container chocolate frosting (We used Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Chocolate Frosting.)

 Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine yellow cake mix, water, vegetable oil, vanilla and three eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Pour mixture into a greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Set cake aside and allow it to completely cool.
  3. To prepare the custard filling, combine milk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Place the mixture over medium heat while whisking constantly. Allow the milk to scald, which is heating it very hot without bringing it to boil. Add in egg yolks slowly while continuing to whisk. Continue whisking for two to four minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
  4. Once the mixture thickens, remove the saucepan from heat and mix in the vanilla extract. Pour the custard into a container and place it in the refrigerator to cool about 30 minutes. Once the cake is cooled, poke holes evenly throughout the cake with a wooden, cylinder rod or the round end handle of a wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. Pour the custard filling evenly over the entire cake, allowing the custard to fill the poked holes. Once the entire cake is covered, place it back into the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. For the chocolate topping, spoon frosting from its container into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the frosting in 30 second intervals until it’s a drizzly, smooth consistency. Be careful not to overheat it and to use an oven mitt to remove the bowl from the microwave.
  7. Remove your cake from the fridge and spread the frosting evenly on the top using a spatula or spoon. Allow to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

New England Lobster Roll Crostini Bites

Lobster rolls are synonymous with New England. Try this easy-to-share take on the classic.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked lobster meat
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • Fresh ground pepper for seasoning
  • Salt for seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • Thinly sliced baguette or several hard rolls sliced thin

 

Directions

  • Gently combine lobster meat, mayonnaise, diced celery, green onion and lemon juice in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add pepper and salt to taste.
  • To make crostinis, place the sliced baguette or hard roll pieces on a large baking sheet. Brush both side of each piece with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
  • To serve, either top each crostino with about a tablespoon of the lobster roll mixture and place on a serving platter, or set the lobster roll mixture into a serving bowl with a spoon and allow guest to top their own crostini bites.

All Your Game Day Needs Are At Homeland

Check out Homeland’s Game Day Greats for your watch party needs! From Red River Ranch ribeye steaks to chips and soda, we have great deals to support your game-day game plan this weekend!* If you’re hankering for more football inspired recipes check out our tailgate guide or see how we add an Oklahoma twist to gameday favorites.

Need a little party help from our deli department? Pick up a fresh fruit, vegetable or deli tray that will sustain football fans for Sunday night’s championship.

*Prices effective Wednesday, January 31 through Tuesday, February 6, 2018

New Year’s Eve Party Guide with Tips from OKC Event Planners

Hosting Recommendations from OKC Event Planners

Planning the perfect event always sounds like a wonderful idea but often turns out to be harder than expected. There always seems to be something forgotten or not considered. New Year’s Eve adds even more pressure to hosting a wonderful party because expectations for the month are already high.

Blair Sims, planner from Blair Sims Events said, “Problems will occur. Stay calm, think through the problem, solve it and your guests will never know!”

Below are some tips from local party planners who have seen it all and know the good, the bad and the ugly. If budget allows, consider hiring a planner to help you host your New Year’s Eve party – you’ll be glad when you can mingle, enjoy your guests’ company and leave the details to a professional.

Organization and Planning

A recurring message from professional planners is to stay organized and to plan in advance. Racing around the event space in the eleventh hour won’t make for a fun, relaxed host. You should be ready to entertain and enjoy your own party!

“Make sure you have planned well enough to keep yourself out of the kitchen or somewhere other than where your guests are, so you can be part of the party,” Gail Rocquemore, planner from A.D. Parties & Events, said.

Judy Lehmbeck, planner from Judy Lehmbeck Bridal and Party, recommends making lists of everything that you will need far in advance. “Make lists for drinks, food and decorations, and don’t forget the ice or garnishes,” Lehmbeck said. “Set everything out early so you will not be searching for containers the day of the party.”

Creating the Right Party Atmosphere

Ambiance is crucial and first impressions count. “Have great music playing (not too loudly) when guests arrive to set the mood. Have some ice breakers planned to help get guests interacting right off the bat, and don’t forget great lighting,” said Rocquemore.

Sims says to make every guest immediately feel welcome. Consider your guest list and be sure to introduce people who don’t know everyone earlier in the evening.

Having relaxed guests is key, but so is the atmosphere! Don’t just think about good food and drinks; consider every aspect to touch all the senses. “They should see beautiful decor, taste great food, smell wonderful aromas, hear great music, touch lovely elements throughout the party with different textures,” Rocquemore said.

When it comes to the party aesthetic, do something simple, yet elegant and festive. Sims recommends a sequin tablecloth because it’s easy and festive. Plus, you won’t have to worry about confetti clean up.

Roquemore enjoys finding creative ways to make your decorations perform double duties. For example, she suggests using fruit or candy as part of your centerpiece that can be eaten as well, or having a beautiful food station that can serve as décor.

New Year’s Eve Food and Drinks

Make it clear to your guests prior to your event what kind of food they can expect. You don’t want your guests coming on empty stomachs if you are only preparing small finger foods.

“I would serve heavy foods like Mac and cheese, sliders, what we might call “soaker food,” said Lehmbeck. “As far as drink is concerned, I would let each guest select what they would like to drink.”

When it comes to drinks, every New Year’s Eve Party should have champagne available for a toast at midnight. However, be aware of how much people are drinking and offer water, coffee, and other non-alcoholic beverages to your guests.

“Serving a sugary drink might not be a good idea,” Lehmbeck said. “Sometimes if alcohol is added to these drinks, they go down too easily.”

Recipes Perfect for Your New Year’s Party

 

Grown-Up Mac and Cheese Cups

What You’ll Need

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup bread or panko crumbs,
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1 cup swiss cheese
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Pepper (for topping)
  • Chopped parsley (for topping)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prep a muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions. Drain the pasta. Then set aside.
  3. Dust your muffin tin with about ¼ cup of the panko or breadcrumbs.
  4. In a medium or large saucepan, melt butter. Once melted, stir in flour, garlic powder and salt until the mixture is smooth. Slowly whisk milk and Tabasco sauce until well combined.
  5. Bring the mixture to medium boil while whisking constantly. Continue for one to two minutes. The mixture should begin to thicken.
  6. Stir in swiss and gruyere cheese. Whisk until the cheese completely melts into the mixture.
  7. Remove the saucepan from heat. Mix in pasta, breadcrumbs and beaten egg until well combined.
  8. Spoon mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Top with chopped parsley and freshly ground pepper if desired.

Easy Sweet BBQ Meatballs

What You’ll Need

  • 1 package frozen meatballs
  • 1 18-ounce bottle BBQ sauce of your choice
  • 1 jar grape jelly

Instructions

  1. In a slow cooker, combine BBQ sauce (we used Head and Country) and grape jelly.
  2. Add frozen meatballs to mixture.
  3. Cook on high for two hours or until the meatballs are completely heated through.
  4. Allow guests to serve themselves from the warmed slow cooker or place meatball in a hot dish with toothpicks for serving.

Cheers to The New Year Poinsettia Mocktail

What You’ll Need

  • 1 bottle sparkling cider or champagne
  • 1 bottle cranberry juice cocktail
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Instructions

  • In sugar-rimmed champagne flutes, pour chilled sparkling cider (or champagne for the adults) to fill half of the glass.
  • Pour cranberry cocktail juice to fill the remainder. Be careful not to overfill.
  • Place one mint leaf on each glass for a festive feel.
  • Serve to guests as the ball drops down!

Keeping Safety in Mind

While you want everyone to enjoy the party, the most important part is to make sure everyone has a safe ride home if they have been drinking. “Do not let anyone leave your party and drive if they’ve had too much to drink,” Lehmbeck said. “Call Uber or a cab, have someone take them home or even offer for them to spend the night at your home.”

Are you hosting this year or attending a party? Stop by your nearest Homeland to get all the treats, party trays, and ingredients you need to host your New Year’s Eve party.

Easy to Make Recipe Book – A Perfect Sentimental Gift

Need the perfect gift for the cooks in your family? We’ve got an idea that’s easy to put together and heartfelt. You can create a curated recipe book that’s full of family favorites and nostalgic memories. You don’t need a bookbinder or publisher – just a trip to your favorite craft store.

This gift is a wonderful way to share your favorite recipes with someone you love. It’s perfect for a pair of newlyweds, a college graduate or passing down recipes to a new generation of cooks. No matter if you have recipes handwritten on cards, clippings from magazines or printouts from your favorite recipe blog, you can include them in the book!

What You Need

  • One three-ring binder
  • One to two packages of three-holed protector sheets (This will depend on the number of recipes included.)
  • One eight count package of binder divider tabs
  • Printed or photocopied recipes, recipe cards or magazine recipe clippings

Instructions

  • Start by gathering the recipes you want to include. You can hand copy recipes onto note cards, cut out pages from a magazine or find the printer-friendly versions of your favorite food blogger’s recipes. No matter where the recipe comes from, make sure the paper it’s written or printed on fits within the sheet protectors.
  • Next, divide the recipes into categories like desserts, entrées or poultry. Whatever makes the most sense to you will work perfectly.
  • Take time to go through each recipe and make notes on your favorites. Write a message to the recipient about what occasions you make the dish for or share memories from making it the first time. The more personal, the better!

  • Once you’ve written your notes, place each recipe in its own protector sheet. For note cards, make sure to place them in the bottom of the sheet so that they don’t move out of place.
  • Place the filled protector sheet within the three-ringed binder. Make sure the recipes are placed together with their categories.

  • Place the divider tabs to separate and label each section according to its category.
  • Now, label the front of your binder with your desired title. You can personalize it as much as you like!

Other Gift Ideas for Cooking Lovers

Foodies will love a gift card to their favorite grocery store. They’ll have fun browsing organic products in-store or selecting new varieties to try at the cheese counter.

If your favorite cook loves spicy flavors, put together a basket of different spice blends or local barbeque sauces.

Young chefs need the right tools. If you know an aspiring chef or baker, a basic set of spatulas, measuring tools or mixing bowls make a wonderfully practical gift.

What’s the best gift of all? You can pick all these items up at your neighborhood Homeland. It’s as simple as that. From last-minute groceries to perfect party trays, we’ve got you covered this holiday season.

3 Homemade Treats for Gifting on a Budget

Don’t tarnish precious holiday moments by worrying about money. Forego the shops and overpriced items, and enjoy time in the kitchen concocting delicious treats for those you love. Everyone appreciates homemade treats!

For an even more festive soirée, invite friends over for a gift-making extravaganza. Decide together which treats you’ll make and split the costs of the ingredients. Spend the day listening to holiday music and making gifts together.

Below are some delicious, easy homemade treats that won’t wreak havoc on your budget.

For the Chocolate Aficionado – Holiday Chocolates

For the friend who always has an emergency stash of chocolate at their house, or inside their purse, this will be the perfect treat to gift. These holiday chocolates are both scrumptious and beautiful!

Consider your friend’s preferences to select the best fruit, chocolate, and nuts. When selecting fruit, opt for dried varieties to extend shelf life.

There is no need to spend money on a mold when there are plenty of items around the house that work perfectly. You can easily use an egg carton or an ice cube tray.

What You’ll Need:

Chocolate (dark, milk, white)

Nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, seeds)

Fruit (dried)

Garnish (coconut flakes, cinnamon, etc.)

 

Instructions:

  1. Chop the chocolate into thin, small pieces and microwave in 30-second increments to melt evenly without burning.
  2. Next, pour the melted chocolate into the mold and immediately add your toppings and garnishes of choice.
  3. Let the chocolates harden for the next few hours. If you must speed up the process, you can stick them in the fridge.
  4. Store the chocolates in an airtight container until ready to gift. Use holiday plastic wrap, or a themed container. Finish with a festive holiday bow!

For the Health Nut – Reindeer Feed

A healthier trail mix, Reindeer Feed is the perfect treat for your health-conscious friends. This guilt-free treat is a wonderful balance of carbs, protein, and fat!

If you are low on time, this is the easiest option to make quickly. Reindeer Feed is a customizable treat you can make based on each friend’s preference.

What You’ll Need:

Whole Wheat Chex® cereal

Pretzels

Chopped nuts of choice: almonds, pecans, walnuts

Cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips

Cinnamon to sprinkle

 

Instructions:

  1. Mix together all the ingredients based on any ratio you prefer.
  2. Store in a holiday container.

For the Sweet and Salty Friend – Festive Snow Balls

These Festive Snow Balls are made with popcorn, which is the perfect touch of saltiness to a sweet treat. The snowballs are super easy to make and are fun for the little ones to help put together. Everyone can join in on the fun!

What You’ll Need: (yields 10-12 popcorn balls)

1 Bag of popcorn

3 Tablespoons peanut butter

4 Ounces dates

Water (to thin paste)

2 Ounces white chocolate

Dried fruit (amount to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Place dates in food processor and process until a thick paste forms.
  2. Add in the peanut butter and continue to process together.
  3. Pour water in to thin out the mixture until a paste-like consistency is achieved.
  4. Microwave the popcorn bag according to directions and pour into a bowl.
  5. Stir the paste into the bowl with popcorn and coat it evenly.
  6. Soak your hands with cooking oil so popcorn won’t stick.
  7. Form popcorn into “snow balls” using your hands and place in fridge for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Melt the white chocolate and add food coloring (if desired). Consider making red and green chocolate to drizzle in addition to plain white.
  9. Drizzle melted chocolate over the snowballs.
  10. Add toppings, like chopped cranberries, on top of the melting chocolate before it dries to add some color (if desired).

Looking for more homemade treat ideas?

Check out these other treats we love for the holiday season!

Peppermint Bark Popcorn

There is nothing like the chocolate and peppermint taste combination. Beware though: don’t start eating this while you are making it or you might not have any left to give away!

White Chocolate Pretzel Sandwich

Sometimes you need a quick fix of sweetness, but don’t want something overly sweet. These almond bites are perfect and super cute to throw in a plastic baggy with a bow. For a more festive feel, sprinkle crushed peppermint pieces over the white chocolate before you put these in the fridge.

 

Mexican-Chocolate Almond and Cherry Cookies

A bit of spice during the holiday season is necessary. These chocolate cookies are the perfect mixture of sweet and spicy!

Other Tips to Keep Holiday Grocery Costs Down

Gifting homemade treats can be a wonderful way to keep costs down. However, if you aren’t careful and purposeful in what you select, you could end up spending more money than planned.

Purchasing ingredients in bulk can cut costs. Be sure you are making enough of the treats that you don’t waste any ingredients and can stretch your ingredients as much as possible.

Look at the recipe and see where you can improvise or if any items aren’t necessary. Many recipes add extra expenses that might not really be needed.

Head to a dollar store, to pick up your holiday bows and boxes. They have a wide selection and won’t hurt your budget.

And don’t forget: visit your nearest Homeland to pick up the ingredients for your treats!