Christmas truly is my favorite holiday. It maybe used to be a favorite because of the presents but that's definitely not the case anymore. The times when all five of us (mom, dad, Jeremy, Josh and I) are all together at the same time are becoming few and far between. Life and miles have gotten in the way. Christmas has become one of the few times where we can all spend some good family time together. Every time we prepare for Christmas, my mom sends out the traditional "food" email. What snacks, drinks, meals, etc. does everyone want to request? It isn't a Purdy gathering without food.
Here we go with another non-traditional holiday dinner for the Purdy family. Growing up, I actually remember our Christmas Eve meal being pizza from Godfathers. This is what we did for years. One year, my oldest brother Jeremy complained that we weren't cooking together anymore so we started taking suggestions. This can be tough with my family because Josh is a really picky eater. (He's not so bad anymore but back then it was difficult to get him to try anything new. On an interesting note, he just texted me that he ate frog legs. I think hell froze over.) What does he suggest? BLOW-UPS! Our Christmases have never been the same.
I was really young when we started making blow-ups. I know that we first had them at a family friends' house in Knoxville, IA and they were such a huge hit that we started making them at home. Keep in mind that these take a lot of prep work and we actually only make them once a year...on Christmas Eve.
Blow-ups are eaten with any taco toppings that you like so feel free to include anything I don't put on here. I like mine kind of minimum but you could really include anything you want. I'm going to include the recipe for the cheese dip we make as a side as well as my dad's bean dip, famously known as "Randy's Poo." All you need to know about that nickname is that involves the Big 12 Basketball tournament in Kansas City, 4-6 college males and copious amounts of alcohol.
All right folks, here it is, creme de la creme...the famous Blow-Up!
2 loaves frozen bread dough
1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 package taco cheese
Make sure to put the frozen bread dough in the fridge to defrost about 12 hours before you're ready to start cooking. Keep the loaves in the plastic wrapping as well, otherwise the bread will dry out and get a crust on top and you won't be able to work with it. Also, do not let the bread rise all the way. It's better to work with when it is just defrosted and not risen.
Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning according to directions. Plug in deep fryer and heat to 400 degrees.
Butter your work space so the dough does not stick to the surface. Slice each loaf into 10 pieces.
Work each piece into a circle as shown below.
Next, spoon 1-2 tbsp of taco meat in the middle of each dough circle.
Press and seal in a pocket and close with two toothpicks.
Drop into hot oil. Do not put more than 4 or 5 blow-ups in the deep fryer at once. Watch closely and flip the blow-ups when the bottom side is a golden brown. When both sides are golden and crispy, remove and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
See why they're called blow-ups? :) Remove toothpicks and put your favorite taco toppings inside. Eat like a pita or taco. These are definitely a finger food.
Now on to the other two staples of Christmas Eve. You can't have a family gathering at the Purdy/Menefee house without having cheese dip and Randy's Poo. (Sorry, I have to call it that because "bean dip" doesn't do it justice.)
1 lb ground beef
1 large Velveeta (do NOT use cheddar cheese...gross)
2 cans Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
Brown hamburger and drain excess grease. Heat Velveeta and tomatoes and green chiles in a microwave safe bowl for about 5 minutes on 60% heat. Stir. Return to microwave and repeat. Stir in ground beef. Continue to heat and stir until the cheese is fully melted and very liquidy. It is a pet peeve of mine and my mother's when people add other things to this recipe. Why mess with a good thing?
1 can traditional bean dip out of a can
1 cup Pace, medium, original salsa with the yellow lid
1/4 cup chopped white or yellow onion
1/4 cup sour cream
Combine ingredients. This has always been a huge hit at tailgates and also at my housewarming party this fall. People who don't normally eat bean dip raved!
Grab a bag of tortilla chips and dig in to the cheese dip and Poo! Be brave and put them both right in your blow-up...who's going to stop you??
It almost pains me to post this because it's such a Purdy family classic but who am I to keep the deliciousness a secret? It is actually an honor to share this tradition and remember, it doesn't matter what you eat on Christmas Eve (it can even be Godfather's pizza, Jeremy). All that matters is that you are with the people you love celebrating the bond you all continue to share. Happy holidays!