Posted on: 17 July 2015
Sometimes, you need a break from the bar scene, and a few nights at home on the couch is the perfect antidote to social burnout. But what if you're still craving beer, wings, and fried mozzarella – just without the pressure to socialize or the bar tab to pay at the end of the evening? There's a solution: just replicate your favorite bar foods at home. It's easier than you think to make delicious snacks and treats that you're used to enjoying at your favorite bar and grill in the comfort of your own kitchen. Check out a few of the best bar foods to make for yourself the next time you need a night in.
Fried Mozzarella Sticks
Believe it or not, you can make fried mozzarella sticks at home even if you don't have a deep fryer to cook with. Oven baked mozzarella sticks taste great, and as a bonus, they're a bit less fattening because they haven't been submerged in hot grease before serving.
To create great fried cheese sticks, start by cutting a dozen sticks of mozzarella in half, and putting the halves into the freezer until they're solid. While they're freezing, you can prep by beating an egg in a small bowl, combining flour and parmesan cheese in a second bowl, and spraying a baking pan with cooking spray. When the mozzarella sticks are frozen, dip them first into the egg, then into the flour mixture, then set them on the baking pan. If you like a lot of breading, you may want to double dip your sticks – after you coat them in egg and flour, put them back into the egg and then back into the flour again. Then bake them in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about four minutes. The breading should be crispy and the cheese should be hot but not entirely melted.
Nachos seem like something that should be easy to make at home. Open up a bag of chips, melt a little cheese, and throw on your preferred toppings. Easy, right? Unfortunately, not always. It may be that the whole reason you order them in the bar is because they come out soggy or crumbly when you make them at home. That doesn't mean you should give up, though. Here are the nacho secrets you've been missing out on.
- Avoid thin chips. Thin chips may be pleasingly crisp on their own, but when you load them with toppings, they fall apart under the weight. They also absorb moisture faster than a heavy chip. Choose hearty, heavy chips instead.
- Don't buy shredded cheese. Buy blocks instead, and grate them yourself. Shredded cheeses contain stabilizers to keep the shreds from sticking together, and this impedes their ability to melt properly. Don't buy expensive, crumbly cheeses for nachos, either. Store brand Monterey Jacks and sharp cheddars are perfect for homemade nachos.
- Learn to layer. A double layer is perfect for a tray of nachos. Less than that isn't enough, and more is too heavy. Spread a layer of chips evenly over the bottom of your tray, top with hot toppings like chili, beans, and cheese, then follow that with another layer of chips and another layer of chili and beans, with the cheese on the top. The top layer of cheese keeps everything else moist in the oven.
- Save cold toppings for last. Keep your sour cream, guacamole, and fresh salsa in the fridge until everything is ready to serve. Serve the cold toppings on the side, or throw them on top at the last minute.
If you don't have wings, you really don't have bar food. There are a million recipes for wings, and it may be tempting to just pick up a to-go box of your favorites from your preferred bar and grill, rather than trying to perfect your own wing recipe. But it's really worth putting in the effort to make your own.
Wings are easier than you think. They can be grilled, dropped in a deep fryer, or baked in an oven, and they'll taste delicious in any of these forms. The real trick is the sauce. A basic Buffalo wing sauce includes hot chili pepper sauce, butter, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt. From there, you're on your own. Add honey for a sticky sweet and spicy flavor. Throw in habanero sauce to make five-alarm, extra spicy wings. Add in some teriyaki sauce for an Asian fusion flavor, or a little bit of barbecue and liquid smoke for spicy BBQ wings. Be creative, but pay attention to what you're doing – when you hit on the perfect flavor combination, you're going to want to write it down so that you can reproduce it next time.
Of course, just because you can make your own bar food doesn't mean you'll always want to. Sometimes the food just tastes better when someone else makes it – and when you don't have to clean up afterward. Those are the nights to go out to a bar and grill, such as Mugshots Burger N' Brew. But on the nights when you just want to stay home in front of the television, you can still enjoy your favorite bar foods at home.Share