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.

Snickers® Seven Ways

Calling all candy bar fiends! Has your sweet tooth been anticipating October’s candy-filled festivities? We wanted to pay homage to a favorite candy bowl staple–the delicious, nutty Snickers® chocolate bar.

As far as candy bars go, Snickers® is the complete package. The tender nougat base is topped with creamy caramel and crunchy peanut, and then the entire thing is covered in heavenly milk chocolate. It’s little wonder why Snickers® is a favorite Halloween treat.

We’re celebrating the sugary season by seeing how many ways we can eat Snickers®! From truffles to brownies, our sweet smorgasbord covers it all.

Snickers® Truffles

Ingredients

  • 15-ouncepackage of Oreo® cookies
  • 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 8 fun-sized Snickers® bars (chopped)
  • 16-ounce semi-sweet baking chocolate (melted)
  • *1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Place Oreo® cookies in a large food processer. Pulse until the cookies turn into fine crumbs. Reserve about ¼ cup for sprinkling on top of the truffles later. If you don’t have a food processer, you can crush the cookies in a large mixing bowl with a pastry cutter. You can also crush the cookies in a large, sealed gallon-sized bag with a can or rolling pin.
  2. Mix in the cream cheese with cookie crumbs until well combined. Stir in finely chopped Snickers®. Reserve about two tablespoons of Snickers® for sprinkling.
  3. Roll the mixture into one-inch sized balls. Place onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Once the balls are rolled, place them in the fridge for one hour or until the balls are firm enough to dip.
  4. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. If needed, you can add about half a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the chocolate, just be careful not to add too much. Have truffle balls lined up and ready to dip before you melt the chocolate. Use oven mitts to safely remove the bowl from the microwave.
  5. Dip the truffles into the chocolate (you can also use a spoon to help cover the truffles). Place back on the lined cookies sheet. Sprinkle with Oreo® cookie and Snickers® crumbs. Place in fridge to set. Chill and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Easy Snickers® Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 package Betty Crocker® Super Moist Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 1 cups water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 24 fun-sized Snickers® bars

Snickers® Frosting

  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3 fun-sized Snickers® bars (chopped)

Instructions

  1. Prepare cupcake batter according to the package’s instructions.
  2. Once your cupcakes have been poured into two 12-cup cupcake pans, unwrap the fun-sized Snickers® candy bars. Place one candy bar into each cupcake. Use a spoon or small spatula to make sure the candy bar is completely covered by batter, just be sure not to push the candy bar too far down in the cup.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or as instructed on package. Once finished baking, allow cupcakes to fully cool before frosting.
  4. To create frosting, combine butter and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl or standing mixer. Once the mixture is just combined, slowly add in the powdered sugar. The mixture will become thick. As it thickens, mix in the milk about one tablespoon at a time. Continue until the sugar is combined and the frosting has a workable texture. Gently fold in the chopped Snickers® bars. Frost cupcakes with a piping bag.

Snickers® Obsessed Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 package Betty Crocker® Fudge Brownie Mix
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 regular Snickers® bars (chopped)
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Prepare brownie mix according to the package’s instructions.
  2. Add Snickers® and chocolate chips to the mixing bowl.
  3. Pour into a parchment-lined 9×13″ baking pan.
  4. Bake according to brownie package directions. Allow to cool, then slice. Drizzle with melted peanut or caramel sauce if desired.

Snickers® Surprise Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 premade chocolate cookie piecrust
  • 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 8-ounce container of Cool Whip®
  • 3 regular Snickers® bars (chopped)

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, Cool Whip®, and chopped Snickers® (save ½ cup of Snickers® for the pie topping).
  2. Pour the mixture into the chocolate cookie piecrust. Sprinkle the rest of the Snickers® on top of the pie.
  3. Place the pie into the refrigerator and chill the pie for at least two hours or overnight.

Shaken Snickers®

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 1 regular Snickers® bar (chopped)
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • ¼ cup peanuts for topping (chopped)
  • Chocolate sauce for topping

Directions

  1. Combine vanilla ice cream, milk, and chopped Snickers® in a blender until mixture is smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into two chilled glasses. Top with whipped cream, peanuts, and chocolate sauce. Serve immediately.

Salty and Sweet Snickers® Dip

Ingredients

  • 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 8-ounce container of Cool Whip®
  • 10 fun-sized Snickers® bars (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Optional ¼ cup peanuts for garnish (chopped)
  • 1 package twisted pretzels for serving

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and Cool Whip® until combined. Add in chopped snickers and mix.
  2. Place into serving bowl. Top with a sprinkling of sea salt and chopped peanuts. Serve with pretzels.

Easy Snickers® Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients

  • =14-ounce can of condensed milk
  • 2 ½ cups chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 regular Snickers® bars (chopped)

Directions

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl. Add condensed milk and mix with the chocolate chips.
  2. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each time until mixture is smooth and glossy. Use an oven mitt to remove the bowl from the microwave.
  3. While the mixture is still warm, stir in peanut butter.
  4. Pour mixture into a foil lined 9×9” pan. Sprinkle the chopped Snickers® on top of the fudge. Lightly press some of the pieces into the mixture with a spatula if desired. Place the pan into the refrigerator until the mixture is set and ready to serve.

Have a recipe of your own or another candy you’d love to showcase this Halloween? Share it with us!

Want even more spooky treats this Halloween? Check out our ghostly cookie sandwiches how-to or visit our bakery for some party-pleasing treats! Don’t forget to grab a bag of candy for the trick-or-treaters who will be stopping by your door!

7 Tips to Host a Successful Cowboy or Sooner Tailgate

No matter if you bleed orange or red, we can all agree tailgate season is a revered time in an Okie’s life. While there are many differences between the Cowboys and Sooners, there are also many similarities, one of them being their love for tailgating. Super fans from both teams love their school, talking football, enjoying each other’s company, and most importantly, the delicious food.

Tailgate Guidelines

If you’re completely new to tailgating, we recommend to research campus tailgating policies before you plan a tailgate. Making sure you set up tent in a prime, open location will be an important part to getting your tailgate off the ground.

Are you a Cowboy?

Click here for OSU campus tailgating policies.

The popular Orange Power chant is shouted proudly at every game, thanks to Mr. Orange Power, Lee Redick, who revived the chant. “We were on the last row of the upper deck, so I asked all the alumni in our two sections if they’d like to do ORANGE POWER.  They said yes and it took right off,” Redick said. “I directed it with my hands for four days while we played Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas and then Kansas as a fifth seed!”

Are you a Sooner?

See here for OU campus tailgating policies.

If you’re new to town, don’t be alarmed by the shouts echoing around Norman during football season. It just wouldn’t be right to walk around the stadium without hearing the Boomer Sooner chant. Just remember, if you here a loud “BOOMER”, you’d best yell “SOONER!”

If you’re a tailgating newbie or leading a tailgate of your own this year, you should tuck these tips in your back pocket before embarking on the ultimate tailgate.

  1. Create a Community

Many fans enjoy tailgating, because it’s a time to bond with others who have similar passions. They have a love for the game, the players, and the town.

“Tailgating is a great way to hang with new friends and, for me, to catch up with old college friends,” Jordan Cole, OU tailgate host, said. “I love that you never know who will show up.”

Lauren Neundorf, an OSU fan, loves the community feel on game days. “There are no strangers, whether you’re in orange and black or the opposing school’s team colors, there’s always a cold beer or extra bratwurst for you!”

“My favorite tailgating tradition is walking through the rows upon rows of tailgates – it’s a great way to smell what everyone else is cooking and check in on different games on their TVs,” John Jennings, OU fan and blogger at Bennie and Buds, said.

  1. Have Something Unique You’re Known For

OSU’s Orange Power (OP) tailgate is known for their “Gone Wild” tradition. Many of the tailgate hosts are hunters, so late in October or November, they have a tailgate with wild game like elk, moose, and deer.

At OU, there are many chili cookoffs among the tailgating tents before kickoff. “My favorite tradition is the chili cook-off,” John Politte, OU fan and tailgate host, said. “For the last home game of the year, a bunch of different families make their own chili to contribute to the cook-off. We usually have up to ten different kinds, and it is always great to eat all the different takes on chili.”

While chili is always a hit, others favor sweeter traditions.

“Our tailgate always has festive OSU cookies,” Neundorf said. “People love the sweets to end the meal and never turn one down!”

  1. Assign Duties and Roles for Tailgate Hosts

While one host family might try to do it all, it’s hard to handle alone. It’s a good idea to have a few families involved and assign different roles so that it remains fun for everyone involved, and never a cause for stress.

Redick is one of the many forces behind the OP tailgate. He is the social director, and others handle DJing, operations, or other duties. “Dave and Storm are our grill masters,” Redick said.

  1. Entertain and Welcome Every Football Fan

Tailgating is not the time to be bashful. Get ready to meet your new family. While we don’t recommend crashing a private tent without an invitation – we do encourage you to smile, meet your tailgate neighbors, and be ready to share a burger or brew with a new friend.

“Our tailgate is very welcoming to our visitors. We have people call us from West Virginia asking if we are still in same spot and come back each year,” Redick said. “Just about everyone knows our tailgate, and we like to socialize with our opponents. It’s fun.”

“It’s a bunch of friends at the core of it. We love OSU, socializing, and providing a place for others to have a good time too,” Ruth Inman, OSU regular tailgate host, said. “The three main dads love entertaining and providing fun for other people.”

While others might not personally choose to set up their own tailgate, they are open to people using their space to host a great tailgate. “My roommate and I let a group of tailgaters set up in our lawn during gamedays,” said Jake Kallsen, an OU grad. “If there was an early game time, they’d make a full-on brunch. Breakfast tacos, cinnamon rolls, breakfast casserole…it was awesome.”

  1. Change Up Your Tailgate Food and Drink Menu

Many tailgating traditions that remain the most popular revolve around the tailgate food. While it’s great to have a tried-and-true menu, the routine can get boring, so it is nice to change it on occasion while keeping the crowd pleasers.

The Inmans and Baumgardners take it to another level and change their menu each week with a full theme. “Food is a big focus of what we do,” Inman said. “We have a different theme and menu every single week. In winter, we do a shrimp boil or gumbo and things that aren’t as traditional.”

  1. Go Big or Go Home

Having a noteworthy tailgate takes a lot of effort and commitment. Neundorf shares how her mom is sure to bring table cloths, matching plates, cutlery, and napkins to every tailgate. “You can find almost anything practical in orange, which is slightly impractical,” she said.

Other tailgates go above and beyond when it comes to entertainment. “We hire a band every week,” Inman said. “We tell people to listen for the music and you’ll find us.”

If a band isn’t in the budget, themed décor, a themed playlist, and simply cheering loudly can get you far in the tailgate game without much spending.

  1. Remember the Reason Behind the Fun

Redick may bleed orange, but that doesn’t keep him from recognizing the hard work of the team. While he lives for a solid win, he cares more about supporting the players.

“We are there to support our team. I like to remind people these are 18- and 19-year-old kids. Win or lose, we are just there to support them. We want to win but want to do everything we can to help them out.”

Put on a game day shirt and a good attitude – remember to support your team, win or lose. At the end of the day you still get to tailgate.

Why We Tailgate

People tailgate each year for a host of reasons. It might be for their love of the game, to enjoy other’s company, or to entertain.

When asked why they host tailgates, Mr. Orange Power says it’s the camaraderie. He explains how they enjoy reuniting each year. “It’s been since December that we’ve seen each other last,” he said.

For the Inmans, their tailgate is extra special because of the large part it has played in the history of their relationship: meeting at a tailgate and getting engaged at one. “It’s a big tradition in our family and we build our fall schedule around it,” Inman said.

Not a Tailgater?

That’s okay – sometimes it’s easier (but still fun) to walk around campus and explore!

Game Day Spots for the Non-Tailgaters: Stillwater

The Strip, the intersection of Duck and Elm, and surrounding areas are full of wonderful game day gathering places. Whether you are feeling some cheese fries, a beef dog, or some chips and queso, all your football foodie dreams can come true in Stillwater.

Eskimo Joe’s

Coney Island

Curty Shack

Fuzzys

Game Day Spots for the Non-Tailgaters: Norman

For those non-tailgaters, no need to fret. Campus Corner is loaded with gameday vibes and delicious food without the effort tailgating entails. The environment is equally as fun inside many restaurants.

The Mont

O’Connells

Louie’s

Diamond Dogs

Recipe Ideas for Your Next Tailgate

If your stomach isn’t growling after all this talk of chili-cook offs, burgers, chips and queso, and more, something must be wrong! We are so ready for the season and all the delicious treats that come with it.

Homeland has all the essentials you need for your tailgate. We have the chips, baked goods, fresh meats, and more. Looking for some inspiration? Check out these recipes we created for tailgating season.

Oklahoma Onion Burger Tips from the Pros

Tucker’s Onion Burgers is a favorite among Oklahoma onion burger fans.

What’s the quintessential Oklahoma dish? Some would argue chicken fried steak or homemade pecan pie, but nothing beats the famous Oklahoma onion burger with its massive following of die-hard fans.

You can find onion burgers across the state. Ask any Oklahoman and they’ll let you know where to find the best. During grilling season, you might be tempted to flip your own at home.

The pros at Tucker’s Onion Burgers shared a few tips for creating the ultimate patty right in your own kitchen.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Onion Burger

The onion burger patty should be thin. A thin patty allows for a generous pile of cooked onions to be piled on top. Tucker’s secret? “You’re going to want to slice the onions as thin as you can get them,” Tucker’s Onion Burgers area director Randy Newberry says.

Temperature also affects the onions. If you cook the onions on low heat, they’ll take on a sweet flavor. Higher heat will bring sharp, more intense flavor.

The base of the burger should also be considered. Use a bun won’t get too soggy. Our bakery has a few options that can handle the juiciness of the burger and onions. We recommend toasting your hamburger buns slightly on a skillet or in the oven with a little butter before assembling.

Now to the real drama – should you add extras like jalapenos, pickles, or condiments, or let the onions shine solo? Cheese and pickles are common (and delicious) additions. At the end of the day, it’s your burger – choose as you please.

Photographed by Aly Clark of A Good Egg Dining Group

The onion burger pros at Tucker’s weigh beef to form patties.

How to Craft an Oklahoma Style Onion Burger

All good craftsmen need good tools. When making an onion burger at home, bring out the sturdy gear.

“Use a heavy cast iron skillet,” Newberry recommends. “That is going to get you nice sear on your patty.”

Overall, it’s a simple process about showcasing the onion’s flavor. Follow our recipe and give this classic a try.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 1 package hamburger buns
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Pickle slices

Directions

  • Form the ground beef into 2 ½ ounce balls. Lightly press the loose edges of each ball with your thumb as you shape them. Season each ball lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Slice the onion into very thin strips. Season with a pinch of salt. We recommend drying the excess moisture with a paper towel.
  • In a large cast iron skillet, evenly spread vegetable or canola oil. Add more as necessary to cover the skillet. Warm the oil over high heat until the oil begins to lightly smoke. Be careful during to monitor smoke during the entire process– you don’t want to set off your smoke alarm.
  • Once the oil is ready, place the ball of meat into the heated skillets, and flatten the meat patties down with a firm spatula. Then place onion slices evenly on top of each patty. Cook patties for three to five minutes. Add time for more well-done burgers.
  • With your spatula, flip the burger patties onion side down on to the skillet. Allow the onions to cook for another three to four minutes. Once the onions are cooked, place a cheese slice on each patty. Allow cheese to melt over the patties.
  • Transfer you patties from the skillet over to lightly toasted hamburger buns and build your burger. Pickles are a highly recommended addition. Serve immediately.

From bun to patty, Homeland has everything you need to make the perfect burger right at home! Be sure to grab fries from the frozen section and coleslaw from the deli to complete your meal.

How to Make an Empanada in 10 Easy Steps

Want to impress and intrigue your dinner guests? Empanadas are sure to do the trick. They may sound fancy, but these treats contain the two things we enjoy most in life: carbs and a delicious filling, and they’re sure to satisfy any hungry friend.

Empanadas aren’t a common dish in the United States but are very popular in Latin American countries. They can be served as the main dish, an appetizer, or a dessert and are the perfect unexpected party guest. Empanadas are also very portable and easy to enjoy as an appetizer while making the rounds, or to take on the go. You won’t mind having any leftovers.

Dinner Table with EmpanadasEmpanadaHistory of Empanadas

The name came from the Spanish verb – “empanar,” which means to wrap or coat in bread. Empanadas originated in Spain and Portugal, but their popularity didn’t stop there. They were quickly seen in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Philippines with different variations for the filling.

Since then, the empanadas’ popularity continued to thrive and can be enjoyed throughout the world today.

Empanadas

Types of Empanadas

Empanadas are a stuffed pastry or bread. They commonly have meat inside and are referred to as meat pies in some parts of the world. However, you can also make them with veggies, eggs, or anything your heart desires.

The biggest decision you have to make when it comes to empanadas is what you want it to be served as at your dinner. Do you want to offer it as a savory appetizer, the main dish, or as the delightful sweet treat to end the meal?

Empanadas with SauceIt’s also customary to have a dipping sauce to pour over the empanadas. Consider which sauce you’d like to offer your guests. If you’re having a savory Argentinian empanada, you may enjoy a chimichurri sauce, but if you’re having a sweeter Caribbean empanada, a mango salsa may be a better option. You also must decide if you’re going the healthier route, or going all in. Empanadas taste delicious baked or fried.

Now it’s time for you to make your very own empanada. Follow the recipe to the T, or make it your own by changing up the vegetables insides it. That’s the fun part about empanadas: there isn’t a wrong way to fill them!

Empanada Ingredients

Empanada Dough

¼ C Vegetable Shortening

3 C Flour

1 C Hot Water

Empanada Filling

1 ½ Pounds Ground Beef

1 Red Onion

2 Cloves Garlic

1 Green Pepper

1 Red Pepper

1 Jalapeño

3 TBSP Tomato Paste

½ TSP Salt

½ TSP Pepper

2 TBSP Olive Oil

2 TSP Cumin

¼ TSP Cayenne

½ TSP Red Chili Pepper

¾ C Water

8 Oz Cheese (Your Choice)

Instructions

  1. Let’s get started and make the dough. Stir the flour, water, and vegetable shortening together and make a ball of dough. Refrigerate for one hour.
  2. Time to make the filling. Heat the oil in a pan. Then, brown the ground beef. Add the onions and garlic into the mix until they are translucent.
  3. Next, add the peppers and jalapeño to the mix for a few minutes, or until they are cooked.
  4. Pour the water into the mixture and add the tomato paste. The filling should thicken in this stage.
  5. Take the filling off heat and let it cool completely.
  6. Heat oven to 400 degrees to begin preheating.
  7. Time to take your dough out. Roll out the dough into a 1/8 inch circular layer. You can use a circle cookie cutter to create the outside. Dependent on the size, you can either make about 15 small ones, or 7 larger ones.
  8. Once you have the outside ready, spoon the insides into the middle of each circular layer. Sprinkle filling with cheese, making sure there is enough bread on the outsides to seal it shut.
  9. Fold the empanada in half and crimp edges with a fork. Careful not to let the filling come out.
  10. It’s time to get those empanadas into the oven. Brush the empanadas with oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Is your mouth watering yet? Head to your nearest Homeland to pick up all the ingredients you’ll need!

The Anatomy of a Perfect Picnic Basket

In Oklahoma, you never know when perfect picnic weather will hit. There’s no easier way to enjoy a weekend afternoon with the family than with a picnic, so it’s always a good idea to keep these picnic essentials on hand.

Depending on which part of our beautiful state your family is located, there are many options. Some of our favorite spots around the state to plop down on a checkered quilt and enjoy delicious foods include Lake Hefner, Shannon Springs Parks, Perry Lake Park, and Wacker Park.

While your ideal picnic items may differ, we believe there are some key essentials that every basket needs.

Main Course

Hot Dogs

Nothing says picnic season like a hot dog. You can either cook the franks before you go, or if you are picnicking somewhere with a grill, make them fresh and eat them while they’re hot. We love Schwab’s Original Hotlinks and Old School Franks.

Sandwiches

Turkey sandwiches are another fan favorite. A deli sandwich with some spicy mustard is a picnic classic. Or, for a picky child, a PB&J never disappoints. We love both Griffin’s grape jelly and Suan’s jam.

Chicken

Juicy fried chicken is so simple, yet so delicious. This is a great main course if you are planning to bring some sides too.

Sides

Let’s be honest: the main course never truly satisfies. We live for the sides. Consider adding some crunch to your picnic with chips or corn. Or, add unexpected flavor with a zesty coleslaw.

Sweet Treat

A picnic isn’t complete without a sweet treat. If that’s not a rule, it should be. Our favorites include gooey chocolate brownies or the classic Field’s pecan pie. These are crowd-pleasers every picnic-goer will savor.

“The pecan pie is our number one seller,” says Chris Field, president of Field’s Pies. “The pie comes fully cooked so that it’s convenient for a picnic.”

Beverages

Your basket will need some water to quench your thirst. But you should also have something a little more exciting to guzzle. Bring some fizzy sodas or juice!

Snacks

It’s always wise to bring some snacks in your picnic basket, because long-lasting picnics are the best.

“Our bologna is the perfect picnic snack,” says Scott Schwab, president of the Schwab Meat Co. “Pair it with some good crackers and cheese and you have an easy snack with lots of flavor.”

Favorite Complete Picnic Basket Combinations

Homeland is a big supporter of Oklahoma agriculture. Here are some picnic essentials that are (mostly) Made in Oklahoma to inspire a delicious picnic.

We’ve made it simple for you to get all of your picnic essentials at Homeland. Stop by one of our locations to fill your basket before heading to enjoy the great outdoors.

Nutella Four Ways

Few things in this world are better than Nutella. The chocolaty, sweet hazelnut spread is a beloved European import and has swept the hearts of millions stateside. What doesn’t it go with?! We’d gladly have a spoonful for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

February 5 marks World Nutella Day and February 14 rings in yet another Valentine’s Day, aka the biggest day of the year for chocolate.

All the signs are there – February is the month to go nutty for Nutella.

Make these decadent treats for friends and family or show your Valentine how much you care with Nutella!

Double Nutella Trufflestruffles

These truffles are so good; you may not want to give them out as gifts. Go for it   – keep them all to yourself!

Ingredients

  • 24 Oreo cookies
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • ½ cup of Nutella (plus 1 tbsp. for coating)
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Directions

  • Place Oreos into a plastic gallon bag. Press out air and seal the bag. With a rolling pin, crush the cookies into extremely fine crumbs. Don’t be afraid to use your muscles!
  • In a large mixing bowl, place cream cheese and allow it to soften slightly. Then add ½ cup of Nutella. Combine with a hand mixer until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add cookie crumbs to the Nutella and cream cheese mixture. Blend with hand mixer until completely combined.
  • With your hands, roll the mixture into one inch balls to form truffles. If the mixture is too messy to roll, place it in a refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes before rolling. Place onto to a tray lined with parchment paper. After the truffles are rolled, place the tray in the freezer and chill for 15 minutes.
  • Before the truffles are almost done freezing, start prepping the chocolate chips for coating. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, remaining Nutella, and vegetable oil. Place the bowl into the microwave for 30 seconds. Take the bowl out of the microwave using an oven mitt and stir the mixture with a spatula. Use caution as the bowl may be hot. Continue this process until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Be careful not to overcook the chocolate.
  • Take the truffles out of the freezer and dip into the melted chocolate to coat. Use a spoon to help coat the truffle entirely. Once covered, place the truffle onto the parchment paper lined tray. Continue until each truffle is covered. Before the chocolate coating starts to set, decorate with festive sprinkles.
  • Place the tray of truffles back into the fridge or freezer to set chocolate. Serve once set or chill overnight.

Nutty Nutella Granolagranola

Granola is healthy, right? Then you shouldn’t feel too bad about snacking on this sweet mix!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup, almonds chopped
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 275 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and chopped almonds.
  • In another microwave safe bowl, combine Nutella, oil, and honey. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir the mixture until smooth. Add mixture to oats and stir to combine.
  • Pour mixture onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, making sure to stir halfway through the cooking time.
  • After baking, place granola tray in an area to cool for 20 minutes. Don’t touch the granola until it’s done cooling. Once cooled, add chocolate chips and raisins to the mix. Store in an air-tight container.

Nutella Hot Chocolate for Twohotchoc

Get cozy with your Valentine over mugs of this incredibly rich and easy Nutella drink!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 tbsp. Nutella
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Directions

  • Combine milk and Nutella in a saucepan.
  • Simmer over medium heat while whisking the mixture smooth.
  • Once heated and smooth pour evenly into two mugs. Top with whipped cream.

Nutella Stuffed Crescent Rollscrescentrolls

These Pinterest all-stars are addictive and reminiscent of Nutella-filled French croissants. You’ll be grabbing for these one right after another.

Ingredients

  • 1 package crescent rolls
  • 1 jar Nutella
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds (optional)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Open package of crescent rolls over a cutting board workstation and separate the pre-cut triangles of dough.
  • Place about a 1/2 tbsp. of Nutella on the wide end of each dough triangle. If you’d like to add almonds, sprinkle a pinch on top of the Nutella.
  • Roll each triangle into a role starting with the wide, Nutella-covered end. Roll slowly from the wide end to the small end. Make sure the Nutella mixture doesn’t run out of the sides.
  • Place the rolls onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.
  • Allow crescent rolls to cool and then top with powdered sugar.

Craving more? Snack on other recipes from our blog! If Nutella isn’t your thing, you’ll be sure to find something that satisfies your palate. Our bakery offers ready-made cookies, cakes, pies and more!

Give Your Football Watch Party an Oklahoma Twist

February 5 is drawing near. It’s the biggest night in football, commercials and snacking. As the pros run drills, you’re prepping big time for the ultimate championship watch party. Leave the sweat to the competing teams. We’ve got your menu planned.

These recipes back flavor. Represented are smoky, Atlanta BBQ and classic Beantown favorites. While Oklahoma doesn’t have a representing pro football team, these recipes include all-star Oklahoma products.

Before you get into cooking mode, draw out your game plan. Make sure the basics are covered and stop by Homeland to pick up deli trays full of your favorite fruits, veggies, cheese and cold cuts. Make it a perfect touchdown and grab pies, cakes and cookies from the bakery.

No matter the outcome of the game, you’ll be the winner of the watch party with these recipes. MVP status? We’d say so.

Bacon_Wrapped_Sausage_100-460-400Bacon Wrapped Sausage Bites

This tasty sausage bite recipe comes from our friends at the Made in Oklahoma Coalition. MIO is an Oklahoma based group that promotes brand awareness and consumer loyalty for Oklahoma food products. This recipe showcases Okie brands at their absolute tastiest.

Ingredients

Directions

  • Set oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut sausage into fourths and cut bacon slices in half. Wrap each piece of sausage with a bacon half. Secure with tooth pick.
  • Sprinkle Head Country Seasoning on top of sausages.
  • Cover a baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper. Place sausages on sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool slightly and arrange on serving tray. Pour syrup, mustard and BBQ sauce into separate bowls for dipping.

Oklahoma Muffin-Top Sliders with Cola pulled pork

Each bite is sweet and savory when you bake a Shawnee Mills Mexican Corn Muffin and top it with cola pulled pork. Simply pick up the mix, add milk and an egg before baking and you’ll have the perfect kickoff to a game day treat.

Serve the pulled pork on top of the cornbread muffins to have an Oklahoma twist on an Atlanta-style barbecue favorite the Atlanta Falcons would be proud of. Garnish the top with some ready-made coleslaw to deepen the southern tradition.

Ingredients

  • Pork roast (4-5 pound shoulder or butt)
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced, dehydrated
  • 2 tsp. onions, minced, dehydrated
  • 14 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 14 tsp. cayenne pepper, ground
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 liter Coca-Cola
  • 1 20 ounce bottle Head Country BBQ Sauce 

Directions

  • Bake Shawnee Mill Mexican Corn Muffins according to package instructions. Set muffins aside.
  • Place pork in a slow-cooker. Season with garlic, onion, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add liquid smoke and pour in Coca-Cola until it reaches the top of the roast.
  • Set slow cooker on low heat and cook for eight hours.
  • When ready to serve, remove roast from slow-cooker to a platter. Remove any bones and trim all fat. With a fork, begin “pulling” pork apart into thin shreds. Add barbecue sauce and fold into meat. Finish by spooning meat on top of cornbread muffins. Serve with coleslaw side or topping.

Boston Bake Beans Okie Style

Beans, beans, the magical and beloved fruit. Take a hint from the New England Patriots and serve Boston baked beans to your guests, albeit with a little more Oklahoma flair. Siekle’s Oklahoma Gold Old Style Mustard will give the beans a bright, tangy flavor while Bar-S Thin Sliced Bacon adds smoky goodness.

Ingredients

Directions

  • Soak navy beans overnight in a large pot or bowl with enough water to cover the beans entirely. Drain beans in the morning.
  • In a bowl, combine brown sugar, molasses and Dijon mustard with hot water.
  • Slice bacon into one inch pieces. Place half of the bacon into the bottom of a slow-cooker. Then lay half of the beans over the bacon and add chopped onion. Repeat layer by topping with the remaining bacon and beans.
  • Pour in the, mustard and water mixture, molasses and brown sugar over all the ingredients.
  • Set slow cooker on low for seven to eight hours. Allow guests to serve themselves buffet style.

SpicyOklahomaCaviar-460-400Spicy Oklahoma Caviar

Get fresh and fancy by serving ‘Okie’ caviar. This dish is yet another one of MIO’s great Oklahoma-centric recipes! Check out their entire recipe catalogue if you’re hungry for more state-made products.

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup Head Country Garden Rich Salsa
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover with lid or foil and chill overnight or for several hours.
  • Serve to guest with corn chips or tortilla chip! It’s also great as a side.

Want more recipes for game day? Check out our cheese and veggie platter how-to articles!

Spooky Halloween Cookies to Make at Home

Halloween brings scores of goodies: caramel apples, pumpkin bread, and enough candy to satisfy a sweet tooth for months (or at least until Christmas). If candy alone doesn’t crunch your monstrous craving for tempting treats this Halloween, we’ve got you covered.

Cast a spell over friends with these easy-to-make peanut butter sandwich ghost cookies. Our recipe makes for a fun family activity and a fitting treat for all your monster mashes.

No need to fear these adorable ghosts. The most frightening thing about them is how fast they’ll disappear.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Ghost Cookies

Your shopping list

  • One 16 oz. package of Nabisco Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
  • Two 4 oz. packages of Baker’s White Chocolate Baking Squares
  • One package of regular-sized chocolate chips
  • One package mini-sized chocolate chip
  • ¼ tbsp. vegetable oil
  • One roll of parchment or wax paper

Utensils

  • Oven mitt
  • Small spatula
  • Once large cookie sheet
  • Tongs (optional)

Recipe

  1. Begin by opening the Nutter Butters and chocolate chips and placing them into organized containers or bowls. Arrange the bowls in an assembly-style workspace. This will make the decoration process run smoothly.
  2. Prep the cookie sheet by lining it with either parchment or wax paper. Place the cookie sheet with your other prepped ingredients
  3. Break apart the white chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. On a low setting, melt the chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval. Continuing warming and stirring until completely smooth.

Caution: Your bowl may be hot. Use a mitt to remove it from the microwave, and keep children away until it cools.

  1. You may add a small amount — no more than a ¼ tablespoon — of vegetable oil to the chocolate to keep its consistency as you work. Be careful not to add too much oil to the chocolate, as it may affect its ability to set. Add the bowl of chocolate to your workstation.
  2. With tongs or your hand, take a Nutter Butter and dip one half of it into the melted chocolate. Your cookie should look like it’s wearing a white sheet. After you dip it, place the cookie on the lined sheet.

Continue dipping the cookies in the chocolate, making sure you space them apart far enough apart so they don’t touch each other on the sheet. You may use another lined cookie sheet if needed to space and fit cookies properly.

  1. Once your cookies are dipped, take two mini chocolate chips and create a pair of eyes on the upper part of each cookie’s dipped side. Once your ghosts have eyes, give them a mouth by placing one regular sized chocolate chip a little below the eyes.
  2. Now that your ghosts have faces, take the cookie sheet and place it on a refrigerator shelf. Allow the chocolate to set for at least 30 minutes. Once set, take your cookies out and serve the ghoulish treats, or package them in seasonal Halloween packaging to pass out to friends.

Not feeling crafty? We understand. Check out your Homeland bakery’s hauntingly decorated baked goods! Stop by or order an assortment of cookies or cakes that will delight all the little witches, monsters, and goblins in your life. Don’t forget to pick some fun-size candy while you’re there!

Happy Halloween from Homeland!

Shopping for Student Lunches

At most schools, students have many food options when they hit the lunchroom — main dish items, sandwiches, and salad bars. Improved federal standards mean vending machines don’t offer as much junk food, and fast food kiosks have mostly disappeared. Many kids opt to bring their own lunch, and that starts with families grocery shopping effectively.

Students are able to take on the day better if they have the nutrition they need, but that doesn’t always happen. In fact, about 1 in 12 Oklahoma high school students report never eating vegetables. About 1 in 14 report never eating fruit or drinking 100 percent fruit juice, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both these rates are higher than the national averages.

One thing to consider when packing lunches is the season. Fresh produce is cheaper and tastes better when it’s at its peak. As we go into the fall, consider these fresh fruits and vegetables as easy lunchtime additions:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Mushrooms
  • Pears
  • Pineapple

Whether they’re in kindergarten or high school, most students have about half an hour (or less) to eat lunch. Prepare produce ahead of time so it’s easy and quick to eat. If it’s too challenging or time-consuming, it will likely end up in the garbage.

Lunch ideas to keep your kids interested

School’s in session for about nine months a year, and that’s a lot of lunches to plan. Here are some ideas for your lunch planning:

  • Trade sandwich bread for different options, like tortillas or lettuce. Pita bread is another favorite.
  • Swap toppings every now and then. Is your kid tired of peanut butter and jelly? Swap the jelly for bananas. Try a unique cheese or specialty deli meat to put a twist on your child’s favorite sandwich. If she loves plain turkey and cheese, why not try Sun Dried Tomato Turkey Breast and Baby Swiss?
  • Go beyond the basics for dessert. Trade cookies for dried fruit mix or a slice of sweet bread, like pumpkin or gingerbread.
  • Switch your sides. Instead of chips, include snap peas and hummus. Or add a yogurt, some popcorn or mixed nuts.
  • If your child’s school allows it, encourage him or her to carry a water bottle.
  • As the weather cools, consider warm lunches packed in a thermos. Soup or chili leftovers can stay warm until lunchtime when packed in a good container.
  • Most schools provide plastic utensils, but pack them yourself if you have any handy. You don’t want your child to be stranded with soup and no way to eat it.
  • Experiment with salads together. Your child likely already has favorite veggies. Build a salad around those preferences. No favorites just yet? Try some seasonal options and see what stands out. Offer a food several times before you give up.

Don’t forget to join the Homeland Mobile Club. You never know what deals will pop up and what ideas you’ll get.

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