We’re hosting the second annual Grice Game Night New Year’s Party tomorrow night, and I couldn’t be more excited. Fifteen people, cocktails and forty-plus board games to choose from sounds like an amazing way to ring in 2014 to me.
Last year, I made the mistake of serving steak and pasta. While delicious, nothing that I served, save for the snack mix, lent itself well to being eaten during game time. It meant that games were slow to get off the ground, and that nobody was really going back for seconds.
So this year, I’m serving all hors d’oeuvres, appetizers and snacks. Everything can be eaten in a few bites or by the handful, so the food is more conducive to gaming. I was a bit worried that people wouldn’t find it to be filling enough to count as dinner, but I’m pretty sure I’m making more than enough food to leave everyone satisfied. Our menu is:
Ranch chicken sliders on pretzel rolls (see below).
Mini buffalo-blue potato skins from Healthy Delicious.
Savory pumpkin dip from Gimme Some Oven.
Cheeseball (my gramma’s recipe) with crackers.
Puff pastry cups with mascarpone, pear and balsamic drizzle.
Jalapeno popper pinwheels from A Few Short Cuts.
Baked arancini from Oh My Veggies.
Mini baked egg rolls from Vegetarian Times.
Homemade snack mix from Chex.
Chai puppy chow from A Spicy Perspective.
Salted caramel brownies from Smitten Kitchen.
White chocolate lemon truffles from How Sweet It Is.
Now that I look at the list, I realize that nearly all of my recipes come from some of my favorite food bloggers, so this should be fun!
How are you celebrating the new year?
Since the chicken takes all day to make, and the sliders are best when the meat is cold, I recommend slow cooking the chicken the day before if you can. Feel free to use more or less ranch and sriracha to taste.
- 5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2-1 cup ranch dressing
- 2-4 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- A few handfuls of arugula
- 1 batch pretzel rolls (see below)
- Lay the chicken breasts in a slow cooker. Pour the stock, salt and pepper over the chicken, and cook over LOW for 8 hours. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with two forks. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Measure out the chilled shredded chicken. For each cup of chicken, stir in 2 tablespoons of ranch dressing and 8 drops of sriracha sauce. So for 5 cups of chicken, you would add 10 tablespoons ranch and 40 drops of sriracha sauce. Taste the chicken, and add more ranch or sriracha as desired.
- Slice the pretzel rolls in half horizontally. Fill each roll with some ranch chicken and a few pieces of arugula.
These pretzel rolls are the perfect size for sliders. For full-size sandwich rolls, separate the dough into 8 even pieces, instead of 12, and add a minute or two to the baking time.
Adapted from my homemade soft pretzels.
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (just over 1 packet)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing and the pan
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- Coarse sea salt
- Combine the 1 1/2 cups of water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Once the yeast is foamy (approximately 3-5 minutes), add the flour, 2 teaspoons of salt and olive oil. Using the dough hook attachment, knead 5-6 minutes, or until the dough forms a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (If you don't have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand on a floured surface.)
- Transfer the dough to a well-greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
- In a large stockpot, bring the rest of the water and baking soda to a boil.
- Meanwhile, divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, pinching the ends together at the bottom so that the top and sides are smooth.
- Boil each pretzel roll in the water and baking soda for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spatula to transfer the roll to the greased cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Slash an X or two small slices in the top of the roll. Repeat with the remaining pretzels.
- Bake at 425F for 15-18 minutes, or until the surface is browned and starts to crackle. Immediately transfer to a cooling rack, and allow to cool at least partially before serving.
Make Ahead and Storage
These rolls are best when eaten fresh, but can be toasted and enjoyed for up to 3 days after baking. Or, use these instructions to freeze the leftover baked rolls.