Category Archives: Beef

State Fair

 

Photo Sep 08, 1 10 35 AM (1) INTRO -FINAL

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well.

I have been faced with a challenge. I have a dear friend who is visiting from out of state and I invited her to lunch. She is bringing along her 4-year old grandson who she said is “very fidgety”. OK, here is the challenge, how do you entertain a 4-year old through lunch?

 I had to seriously give this some thought because I didn’t want him to just play a video game all alone, but instead be involved at the table so I can have the pleasure of his company. I love his age, they are cute and funny and simply a joy. 

Over and over in my head I kept thinking “fun and games”. I didn’t want to do a craft and keep in mind, it has been 27 years since I had a little one.

Originally, I planned lunch outside, but here in the northeast the weather has been a little crazy, either very hot and humid or raining, so this will have to be indoors.

 I thought of using the beach ball dishes and beach toys on the table from a previous tablescape.

Click link to see entire Beach Ball post.

https://dishingwithdiane.com/2015/06/20/beach-ball/

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Then I thought a basket of food would be better for a 4 – year old than a ceramic dish, so I started thinking of what would go in a basket for a child. The usual hot dogs and hamburgers came to mind and then I had a thought… how about a corn dog? I am sure he doesn’t have that everyday and it might be fun to eat a hot dog on a stick.

That’s all it took and my mind started to go from there. I would make the tablescape as if he went to a State Fair. The New York State Fair is in full swing and short of taking a field trip to Syracuse, I had to start thinking.

I wrote down all the food and snacks I was thinking about to have them both Grandma and Mom approved. I didn’t want to go against any family food restrictions or allergies.

So once I got the green light on the food, I was ready to go.

This tablescape is my rendition of a State Fair. Hope you like it…

Here is the menu with snacks…

  • corn dogs
  • French fries
  • popcorn
  • peanuts
  • cracker jacks
  • cotton candy
  • kettle corn
  • cupcakes (ice cream would melt)
  • funnel cake
  • lemonade

First the tablecloth – I wanted something fun and one of my linen tablecloths wouldn’t work, so I bought a plastic “popcorn” themed tablecloth from the party store.

Photo Sep 02, 5 15 19 PM POPCORN TABLECLOTH

I had to buy some popcorn napkins to match.

Photo Sep 07, 5 50 46 PM POPCORN NAPKINS

No dishes, just red plastic food baskets lined with red & white check food grade tissue paper.

Photo Sep 07, 5 49 33 PM FOOD BASKET

Photo Sep 07, 5 56 02 PM PLACE SETTING

 Lunch will be a corn dog, French fries and a box of Cracker Jacks. 

(I still love Cracker Jacks. Much better prizes back in the day).

Photo Sep 07, 5 50 07 PM CRACKER JACKS

Photo Sep 07, 9 36 08 PM CORN DOG AND FRIES

I made the corn dogs but bought the French fries because I love the large crinkle cut fries from Nathans. 

(Recipe for homemade corn dogs at the end of the post).

No glasses, just cans of lemonade and bottles of water.

All served on a square wooden charger plate. It really comes in handy as a tray.

Photo Sep 02, 5 23 07 PM WOODEN TRAY

The first snack is cotton candy. I decided to serve this in sugar cones, since I couldn’t get the paper cones or sticks that the cotton candy usually comes on and I didn’t want to purchase a cotton candy machine.

Photo Sep 07, 5 54 30 PM COTTON CANDY CONES

Next up, roasted peanuts served in white ceramic berry baskets.

Photo Sep 07, 5 54 08 PM PEANUTS

Now, my absolute favorite food on the Midway- funnel cakes.

Homemade funnel cakes are easier than you think to put together and don’t forget to cover them in powdered sugar.

I served them on a white tray and added the cutest mini boxes of my favorite flavor jelly beans – Popcorn! 

Photo Sep 07, 7 15 02 PM JELLY BELLY

Funnel cakes.

Photo Sep 07, 9 35 23 PM FUNNEL CAKES 1

I need to work on my technique…Photo Sep 07, 8 31 16 PM FRYING FUNNEL CAKES

Photo Sep 07, 8 32 58 PM FUNNEL CAKE DRAINING

(Recipe for homemade funnel cakes at the end of the post). 

Of course we had to have popcorn with a popcorn themed tablecloth. So I filled plastic popcorn containers at each place setting.

Photo Sep 07, 5 55 12 PM POPCORN

I added a ceramic popcorn shaker to the table, that is supposed to be used for extra salt but I use it for finely grated cheese.

(Love popcorn and grated cheese and a touch of cayenne).

Photo Sep 07, 5 53 43 PM POPCORN SHAKER

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Well, the food is taken care of, so on to the tablescape.

I remembered all the stuffed animals that I brought home from fairs and carnivals that my son won from various Midway games, so I thought it would be fun to place some stuffed animal “prizes” with carnival tickets all around them as a table accent.

(I really missed Toys R Us not being in business anymore for this purchase).

Of course my friend’s grandson can help himself to whatever he wants.

Photo Sep 07, 5 47 31 PM TOYS AND TICKETS

And now the centerpiece.

I have, believe it or not, a white metal & galvanized Ferris wheel that hold cupcakes.

Photo Sep 07, 5 48 51 PM FERRIS WHEEL

I bought this last year at Pier 1 and it was just too cute to pass up. It was one of those purchases that I brought home and Bob said, “Do you think you’ll really use that”?

I am happy to say that I have used it on numerous occasions as part of a dessert table at an outdoor barbecue – good conversation starter.

I cheated and bought frosted cupcakes and topped them with kettle corn (another State Fair treat) and added them to the Ferris wheel.

Photo Sep 07, 7 52 33 PM CUPCAKE

(I just didn’t have the time to bake and frost cupcakes).

Photo Sep 07, 7 56 25 PM FERRIS WHEL WITH CUPCAKES

I think it looks really cute and what child wouldn’t want to pick a cupcake off of that Ferris wheel?

Okay, so I have the food, table accents and a centerpiece, but I wanted to do a little more and send him home with a party favor. 

This took me a while to think about and then I had the best idea.

What is the ultimate take away prize from the Midway that “everyone” has taken home at one time or another? Give up? A goldfish in a bag.

Of course I wasn’t going out to get real goldfish, but I could make a goldfish in a bag soap. So that is what I did (with my craft assistant Bob to help me).

Sometimes it pays off to be Cub Scouts den mother, class mother and PTA President. You remember some crafts from the past. (And I mean 27 yrs ago in the past).

I’ll have to make one for my son for his Christmas stocking and see if he remembers this from grade school.

Some melted clear suspension soap, a vinyl goldfish, clear cello bags, some twine and we are in business. Fragrance can be added to this DIY project. I didn’t want to attempt that because I was afraid that the fragrance would change the color of the soap and make it cloudy. 

Once completed, I placed a goldfish soap bag at each place setting.

Photo Sep 08, 12 23 29 AM GOLD FISH FAVOR AT TABLE

Now my little guest has something else to take home along with the stuffed animal plush toys.

Photo Sep 08, 12 20 52 AM GOLD FISH FAVOR 2

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NOTE:

I was not given permission from the author of this DIY project, to post her project instructions on my blog due to copyright laws. Sorry.

If you are interested in making this craft, there are so many tutorials for this project on Google.

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 I am done with this tablescape and now I just had to wait for their arrival.

I hope they like it…

PS- If all else fails and he doesn’t like anything and is bored, my backup is a sand art kit to keep him busy.

Either way, something else for him to take home.

Photo Sep 08, 1 15 50 AM SAND ART

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I hope all of you enjoyed my rendition of a State Fair tablescape and it gave you some ideas that you can use in your home.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog and please spread the word and ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments, I LOVE hearing from you.

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RECIPES

Homemade Funnel Cake

(recipe was given to me many years ago- author unknown)

1 – 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 large egg 
2/3 cup milk
2 TBSP sugar 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt,
1 tsp vanilla 

Mix all ingredients well and add more milk if too thick.

Instead of a funnel, use an old plastic squeeze ketchup bottle…EASIER!!

 Heat a small amount of canola (or vegetable) oil in my small cast iron skillet.

 Then, ……I random squirt and swirl batter in oil.

 Flip when it starts bubbling and turning brown (like you do when making pancakes.)

Serve with confectioners sugar

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Before I continue, these are the best bamboo skewers I found for corn dogs or candy apples, perfect size –available on Amazon – (6 1/2 inches, 100 pieces for $8.90).

Photo Sep 07, 5 46 05 PM BAMBOO SKEWERS

Homemade Corn Dogs

 PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES… COOK TIME: 3 MINUTES… TOTAL TIME: 13 MINS are a classic fair treat, and now you can make them at home!  – adapted from Cooks County Recipes.

Mix together a quick cornmeal, dip the hot dogs, and fry!

Ingredients:

 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

 3/4 cup buttermilk

 2 eggs

4 hot dogs

 all-purpose flour, for rolling

vegetable or peanut oil, for frying

Directions:

Preheat the fryer to 350 degrees F.

To make the batter, whisk to combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and nutmeg.

In another small bowl, whisk to combine the buttermilk and eggs, and mix this into the dry ingredients until there are no more streaks of flour, but be sure to leave lumps in the batter (do not stir those out, as you may over-mix). Transfer the batter to a tall glass.

Skewer the hot dogs onto wooden sticks and roll the hot dogs in enough flour to coat, then shake the excess off.

Dip the floured hot dogs into the tall cup of batter and put them straight into the fryer for about 3 minutes, but be sure not to overcrowd your fryer. Depending on size, you might need to make two or three batches.

The corn dogs are ready when the exterior is golden brown.

Serve the corn dogs with ketchup and mustard if desired, and enjoy!

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StateFairGrunge_forWebLight STATE FAIR

Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting

2015-12-09 20.29.57- meatloaf cupcakes CLOSE UP

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe that this year is coming to an end so quickly and I am not ready for the holidays yet. I think I need another week to get ready.

I am sure many of you are in the same boat. I just ordered my Christmas cards (I have never ordered them this late). I hope I get them in time. At this rate, I might be sending out Happy New Year cards instead. I still have gift wrapping to do and I need to finish decorating, both inside and out. Plus, I have to write a holiday food shopping list and call in my fish order for Christmas Eve.

And last but not least, bring up my Christmas dishes from the basement so I can SET THE TABLE for the holiday.

Yup, I need another week.

On Wednesday I spent the entire day making 100 cookies for cookie exchange parties; and I had to have a quick dinner. I didn’t want to order out so I made “Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting” and a quick and easy vegetable side dish.

I had some leftover mashed potatoes in the refrigerator so this dinner would be quick.

While preparing dinner, I thought this would be a good recipe to share for anyone else who is looking for something different to serve for dinner as it gets closer to Christmas and time is limited.

I wish I could say that I thought of this idea myself, but that wasn’t the case. It is a combination of two recipes I found online, one from “Key Ingredient” website and one from “Recipe Tin Eats” website. Both are very similar so I combined them to make it more to my liking.

 It is a really cute presentation and doesn’t take that long to prepare. And if you happen to have leftover mashed potatoes, you are already half way done.

I don’t make the meatloaf cupcakes the same way I make regular meatloaf. This recipe calls for grated zucchini and ketchup; two ingredients I normally don’t use in my meatloaf.

The good thing about the meatloaf cupcakes is that they cook in 20 minutes as opposed to the hour for a regular meatloaf. The same 20 minutes needed to prepare the mashed potatoes.

I always have ground beef in the house and I just happened to have zucchini as well, so this was coming together nicely. Since I didn’t use all the zucchini for the cupcakes, I sauteed the remaining zucchini with grape tomatoes, basil and lots of garlic for a side dish.

Give this recipe a try...I think you will really enjoy it.

Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Meatloaf Cupcakes

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey

1 small yellow onion, grated (if you cry grating an onion, finely mince the onion instead)

1 cup grated zucchini, all moisture squeezed dry with a paper towel

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmesan or Locatelli – your choice)

1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (panko is fine too)

1/4 cup ketchup or tomato sauce

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

Pepper to taste

This recipe also calls for 1 tsp. dried thyme and 1 tsp. dried oregano, but I choose not to use either spice. Feel free to include them.

For the Mashed Potatoes

(The ingredients listed will only make enough potatoes to cover the top of the cupcakes. You might want to double the recipe, if you want some leftover mashed potatoes)

2 large or 3 medium potatoes ( I use Yukon gold) – peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

1- 2 tbsp. butter

1/2 – 1 cup milk or heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. sour cream (optional)

Fresh chives (optional)

Gravy (optional)

Directions:

Meatloaf Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line a muffin tin with foil cupcake papers or spray with cooking spray (this recipe usually makes 8 cupcakes).

COOKS NOTE* – For this recipe I use Reynolds jumbo foil baking cups in my muffin tin. In a real pinch, if you don’t have a muffin tin, you can place these baking cups directly on a cookie sheet and bake.

2015-12-11 04.35.18 - BAKING CUPS

In a large bowl mix the drained zucchini and grated onion.

Add the remaining meatloaf ingredients and mix well (using your hands is the best method)

Press meatloaf mixture (approx. 1/2 cup) into muffin tin filling them to the top, making sure the surface is flat

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until brown on top and cooked through. After 20-25 minutes, remove from the oven.

While the meatloaf cupcakes are baking, make your mashed potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Put the potatoes and garlic in a large pot with salt and enough COLD water to cover; bring to a boil

Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender

Drain and return potatoes and garlic to the pot

Add butter, milk, salt, pepper and sour cream, if using

Mash with a potato masher or stick blender until smooth- not too much or they will get gummy. The potatoes need to be creamy but still able to hold it’s shape when either piped or piled on the meatloaf cupcakes with a spoon.

Top with gravy and fresh chives.

Add extra butter and heavy cream if needed to make the potatoes smooth to your liking.

Piping the mashed potatoes on the meatloaf cupcakes looks fantastic if you are serving guests, but I usually just add a dollop of potatoes with a spoon on top of the meatloaf cupcakes when it is just me and Bob and then garnish with gravy and chives.

Cooks Note* – if you want a crunchy surface to the potatoes either return cupcakes to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or place it under the broiler for a few minutes

  • These cupcakes freeze well...let the cupcakes cool until a fine skin forms on the potatoes so the cling wrap won’t stick to it. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the freezer
  • To reheat, thaw and then reheat in the oven or microwave

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to follow DishingwithDiane.com either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page. 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

And please continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

2015-12-09 20.30.08 MEATLOAF CUPCAKES