Foodball: Chicken Fried Bacon
Foodball: Chicken Fried Bacon

Chicken Fried Bacon – Two Ways

You can either make this recipe with slab bacon you slice yourself or regular thick cut bacon. Both have their merits. Fried slab bacon gives you a much more meaty bite, more bacon taste. Regular bacon is easier to find and is easier to dip in your sausage gravy and raspberry preserves. Why the raspberry preserves? The sweetness cuts through the fat nicely, sort of like you were having a Monte Cristo, possibly the only snack less healthy than this one.

Foodball: 12 Chili Recipes For Your Super Bowl Party
Foodball: 12 Chili Recipes For Your Super Bowl Party

12 Chili Recipes For Your Super Bowl Party

Foodball: Easy Pot Roast Sandwiches
Foodball: Easy Pot Roast Sandwiches

Easy Pot Roast Sandwiches

I’m not going to lie, this is the same way I’ve made my regular pot roast — save reserving the potatoes for last and the rolls —  for years. Adding a bit of cayenne and chili powder doesn’t make the meat spicy, but it does add a little depth to your meat and your overall flavor. Bay leaves, rosemary and thyme always go well with beef, as well as the extra tomato paste.

Foodball: Basic Queso Dip
Foodball: Basic Queso Dip

Basic Queso Dip

Did you make my Beer Cheese Soup last season? No? Well, if you haven’t, you should because it’s delicious and great in the cold weather. If you did make it, you’ve already got the basics down to make your own queso. A roux, some whole milk and some cheese. Boom. Installed.

 

Foodball: Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins
Foodball: Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins

Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins

So if two food items can be a trend, and I already posted a recipe for Poutine Potato Skins, then yes. Potato skins are something everyone loves for football watching. And as delicious as sour cream, cheese and bacon are in a twice-baked potato, they tend to feel heavy on your stomach pretty quickly. Surprisingly though, filling the potato with beef, vegetables and more whipped potatoes makes your potato skins more like a meal, and not as greasy and weighty.

Foodball: Toasted BLT Bread
Foodball: Toasted BLT Bread

Toasted BLT Bread

A few weeks ago I was in the mood for the BLT Bites I’ve made a hundred times for parties and football Sundays. And while I love them, they can feel like a lot of work even though they are not much of a bother at all and I was feeling like I wanted a heartier BLT for football that day. Since a local gourmet shop in my area serves their BLT with camembert cheese, I started to play around with making it much like I make Smoky Habanero Jalapeño Popper Bread.

 

Foodball Zesty Za’atar White Bean Dip
Foodball Zesty Za’atar White Bean Dip

Zesty Za’atar White Bean Dip

I’ve already sung the praises of za’atar earlier this season when I posted the recipe for Grilled Za’atar Chicken Pitas, and I wanted to give everyone a second recipe to use the beautifully earthy, smoky spice mixture in so you didn’t feel bought all this za’atar then didn’t know what else to do with it. I hate when a recipe calls for say, machalepi or fenugreek but then doesn’t suggest what else I could use those ingredients in. After I posted how to make Chicken Tikka Masala Wraps, I posted a recipe forGaram Masala Dip to inspire readers to find their own ways to use up the rest of their garam masala. So if you ever see me list an ingredient you don’t think you will use often, especially an unusual or expensive item, don’t hesitate to ask me what else you can put it in while creating in your own kitchen.

Foodball: Smoked Cheddar Jalapeño Crisps
Foodball: Smoked Cheddar Jalapeño Crisps

Smoked Cheddar Jalapeño Crisps

This is a combination of two previous recipes I’ve posted for the Football Foodie, Smoky Habanero Jalapeño Popper Bread and Parmesan Crisps. Smoked cheddar and jalapeños go together like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, the perfect match of heat and savory. Crisps are something you can prepare ahead of time and without much effort, like working on a game plan against the Texans. Similes are a writer’s lazy tool, like Albert Haynesworth.

Foodball: Thanksgiving Scotch Cider
Foodball: Thanksgiving Scotch Cider

Scotch Cider

In addition to the physical heat radiating off your cider, this drink has warmth from both the scotch and the spices. Peppercorns help pick up the scotch and a add nice spark. Raw sugar is just a little more earthy than white sugar thanks to the molasses, which in turn echoes the peat in the alcohol.  In this drink I prefer using a clementine instead of an orange as its smaller size helps you tame the citrus notes of a typical cider. It’s not as sharp, nor does it have so much juice as to overwhelm the apple notes or the scotch.

Foodball: Herbed Cranberry Brie Sandwiches
Foodball: Herbed Cranberry Brie Sandwiches

Herbed Cranberry Brie Sandwiches

What make this sandwich work is sautéing the herbs in wine and olive oil to make the dressing. It cuts right through the sweetness of the cranberry and the richness of the cheese so you have a perfect balance of flavors. Not too filling, but not so light that after you’ve had one or two slices you’re looking for chips in the cupboard.

Foodball: Sweet Ancho Chile Roasted Cashews
Foodball: Sweet Ancho Chile Roasted Cashews

Sweet Ancho Chile Roasted Cashews

Out of all the nut recipes I’ve posted over the years, this is one of my favorites. The smoked paprika giving extra depth to the mildly hot ancho chile, a little extra heat from the cayenne; big, fat crunchy raw sugar crystals on the crust; just the right amount of salt to the sweetness. You can also use this spice mixture on peanuts if you like, but the butteriness of the cashew really is the best play with the ancho and cayenne.

Foodball: Roasted Serrano Artichoke Ricotta Dip
Foodball: Roasted Serrano Artichoke Ricotta Dip

Roasted Serrano Artichoke Ricotta Dip

As the season goes on, it’s easy to get sick of the same old sour cream based dips, guacamole or hummus, and you don’t always want a heavy baked spinach and artichoke dip made with cream cheese. The next best option for creaminess and taste? Ricotta.

By roasting the garlic, artichokes and some of the serranos, it tones down their sharpness and tames the heat so the peppers won’t overpower your palate. Fresh scallions round out the dip, but if you want a little extra bite of salt or brininess, fold in a tablespoon of chopped capers or kalamata olives.

Foodball: Grilled Za’atar Chicken Pitas
Foodball: Grilled Za’atar Chicken Pitas

Grilled Za’atar Chicken Pitas

Za’atar is a mixture of sumac, dried thyme, salt, toasted sesame seeds and sometimes dried savory, marjoram or oregano. The dominate taste comes from the sumac though; a tart, earthy spice that goes well baked on a pita, on poultry or in dressings. By using non-fat — but still thick — Greek yogurt you keep down the level of fat in your marinade, (unlike what I call “special chicken” which calls for a fair amount of butter) while still adding a lot of tang and richness to meat. It also makes for a nice char when you put the skewers over the fire. Lemon zest and garlic make it a party.

Foodball Spicy Boozy Cafe Mocha For Tailgating (And Trick-Or-Treating*)
Foodball Spicy Boozy Cafe Mocha For Tailgating (And Trick-Or-Treating*)

Spicy Boozy Cafe Mocha For Tailgating (And Trick-Or-Treating*)

This drink was inspired by my buddy Josh in Albuquerque who one day last year talked about having a really good chile mocha on a cold morning. Of course you could booze that baby up for tailgating. Of course you want to. The heat from the chile reaches down into your bones while the cinnamon makes the chocolate feel fuller, warmer. The Kahlua brings an extra richness to the espresso while the tequila takes you full circle, bringing you right back to the chile and the cinnamo

Foodball: Pork Rillettes
Foodball: Pork Rillettes

Pork Rillettes

What’s great about a good pork rillette is that it’s an easy snack you can bring together on a Tuesday night and have ready for the weekend. It takes a minimal amount of effort with a maximum of reward, highlighting the real taste of the pork without losing its essence to rubs and sauces.

Foodball: Jalapeños Stuffed With Chorizo And Corn Bread
Foodball: Jalapeños Stuffed With Chorizo And Corn Bread

Jalapeños Stuffed With Chorizo And Corn Bread

But going the extra distance to make beautiful stuffed jalapeños filled with moist corn bread, melty cheese and spicy chorizo isn’t that difficult. Making a perfectly golden crust is even easier. Give the poppers a break and make the real thing.

Foodball: Smoked Salmon Fish Cakes
Foodball: Smoked Salmon Fish Cakes

Smoked Salmon Cakes

We haven’t featured much seafood on Foodball over the years. Lots of shrimp recipes, but not fish. Fish is a difficult main ingredient to make for a crowd without breaking your budget, unless you happen to be near water and you’re fishing your own trout for the grill. But mostly I avoid it because I hate the way it stinks up the place, even if you prepare it over a hot fire outside. And aside of fish tacos or nachos, I could never think of a good way to make fish seem like something that would natural pair with football.

Foodball: Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Soup
Foodball: Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Soup

Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Soup 

Tortilla soup is a natural fit for the spicy chicken treatment as you can incorporate the traditional sides of carrots and celery into the broth, adjust the amount of peppers and hot sauce to make the soup as mild or as spicy as you like it all while getting a nice “crispy” flavor of a wing by browning the chicken. Crumbles of mild cotija cheese help tame the heat while just a little bit of blue cheese and green onions on the top keeps the soup close to its barroom roots. The tomatoes and tortilla strips round out the bowl, providing both depth and heft to the soup.

 

Foodball: Poutine Mini Potatoes
Foodball: Poutine Mini Potatoes

Week Three. This is when we start to eat our feelings during football season.

Steelers and Browns. Buccaneers and Panthers. New York Large People and Washington Skincolors. Vikings. Don’t need to say it but worth including, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hell, even Philadelphia Eagles fans might need a few extra carbs today after last night’s interception-fumbles-missed kicks-failed two-point conversion-derp-fest against Kansas City.

And gravy. Lots and lots of gravy.

One of the interesting perks I’ve found since joining KSK last year is mining through the hundreds of tags used on the site since its inception. The majority of them only used once or twice, most funny, many disturbing, a few best left deep in the archives of 2007 (unte-Pay elated-ray). Since the above teams face a potential 0-3 start, it seemed worth it to drag up this goodie from Ufford’s past, drown your sorrows in gravy.

Foodball: Poutine Potato Skins
Foodball: Poutine Potato Skins

Week Three. This is when we start to eat our feelings during football season.

Steelers and Browns. Buccaneers and Panthers. New York Large People and Washington Skincolors. Vikings. Don’t need to say it but worth including, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hell, even Philadelphia Eagles fans might need a few extra carbs today after last night’s interception-fumbles-missed kicks-failed two-point conversion-derp-fest against Kansas City.

And gravy. Lots and lots of gravy.

One of the interesting perks I’ve found since joining KSK last year is mining through the hundreds of tags used on the site since its inception. The majority of them only used once or twice, most funny, many disturbing, a few best left deep in the archives of 2007 (unte-Pay elated-ray). Since the above teams face a potential 0-3 start, it seemed worth it to drag up this goodie from Ufford’s past, drown your sorrows in gravy.

Foodball: Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches
Foodball: Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches

Chicken Schnitzel Sandwiches

We don’t give the German’s enough credit when it comes to food creation. Take the schnitzel. It’s hearty, is a perfect counterbalance to drinking large amounts of beer, is easy to make and takes the less-desirable pieces of meat and makes them appetizing. Stadiums should sandwich beer stands between sausage and schnitzel stands, fans at home should be making them at home instead of their usual burgers. Juicy chicken drawing in the flavor of both the butter and the olive oil, a little extra crunch from crispier panko bread crumbs, just the right amount of tart from the lemon and the dressing.

(Cheering “Ziggy, zaggy, ziggy, zaggy! Oi! O! Oi!” however is best left to the Germans.)

This recipe also works for veal, another traditional schnitzel variant. Since veal gets pretty pricy when feeding a crowd and some people have ethical reasons for not eating veal, chicken works just fine for football.

Roasted Mezcal Bloody Marys
Roasted Mezcal Bloody Marys

Roasted Mezcal Bloody Marys

2013 Foodball Kickoff: Roasted Mezcal Bloody Marys

As I said last season when I wrote about Pizza Bloody Marys, there isn’t a better cocktail for tailgating or for morning brunch football on the west coast than a bloody mary. Still a little hungover from Saturday night? Need just a few vegetables to jump-start your metabolism with a touch of salt to balance out your dehydrated body and some booze to soothe your headache? Want to have enough energy to make it through the first game of the day? The bloody mary mini-meal in a glass is the perfect solution to all of your problems.

This bloody recipe calls for a smoky mezcal, rich and earthy as any scotch you will find. When paired with roasted tomatillos, meaty heirloom tomatoes, the heat of poblano peppers and the brightness of cilantro and lime, you get a refreshing, bracing bloody mary to jumpstart your day. Want a little extra heat and extra smoke? Add a chipotle pepper in adobe sauce to the blend, but honestly, I think the milder version pairs better with the mezcal. Poblanos have enough heat on their own to stand up to alcohol and tomatoes.

Sparking Blueberry Non-Alcoholic Mojito
Sparking Blueberry Non-Alcoholic Mojito

Designated Driver Sparking Blueberry Non-Alcoholic Mojito 

Be a good host and offer something more than soda or water for the designated drivers at your Super Bowl Party. It’s a nice way to show them you appreciate them driving your drunk-ass friends home at the end of the night so they don’t end up sleeping on your sofa or getting arrested somewhere near the intersection of Dogfish and Stone.

(Plus if you really want, you can use it as a mixer for your drinking friends.)

Deep Dish Skillet Pizza
Deep Dish Skillet Pizza

Deep Dish Skillet Pizza

This doesn’t have the word “Chicago” in the title for a reason, so don’t come at me with how this recipe isn’t like Pizzeria Uno Chicago-based friends. I typically use less cheese than a typical deep dish pie because they’re already heavy and filling enough, and also because I like to let the sausage and tomato sauce really shine through. And as friend of the Football Foodie Thomas Holzerman says, deep dish pizza is more like an Italian pot pie, not so much a pizza, so don’t feel bad about using less cheese if any here.

You will need:

Cajun Seasoned Sausage Rolls
Cajun Seasoned Sausage Rolls

Cajun Seasoned Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls are a very British snack that can be quite good, but are often missing the special extra something that would make them, well, not British. By making your own Cajun-style seasoning mix, you heat up (sorry, cannot say “jazz up” and not hate myself in the morning) these savory bites. Not are these incredibly easy to make on game day, but you can prep these ahead of time and freeze anytime between now and Sunday and not miss a beat. (Sorry.)

Blueberry Goat Cheese Dip: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!
Blueberry Goat Cheese Dip: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!

Blueberry Goat Cheese Dip

This dip isn’t for everyone, just us sexy people. It’s tart with just a hint of sweet and spice, best matched with fresh fruit and cookies, this fruit and cheese dip a great palate cleanser on a day full of heavy football foods.

 

Salsa Verde: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!
Salsa Verde: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!

Salsa Verde

Personally, I like a good salsa verde over the usual tomato, onion and jalapeño routine. Roasting tomatillos creates such a beautiful smell in the kitchen and it’s a nice treat if you’re used to just pulling out a jar of whatever salsa happened to be on sale that week at your tailgate.

Roasted Pepper Artichoke Dip: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!
Roasted Pepper Artichoke Dip: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!

A spin on the classic spinach and artichoke dip, roasted red peppers bring a fiery tang while fresh mozzarella makes this dip especially creamy and rich.

 

Garam Masala Dip: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!
Garam Masala Dip: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!

I came up with this dip early last summer when I was looking for a way to get the essence of a chicken tikki masala dip or wrap, but without all the mucking about cooking.  Not so surprisingly, you get a very bright, tart dip of tomatoes, yogurt, garam masala and warm ginger and cayenne. Just lovely with pita or naan chips.

You will need:

Spicy Avocado Hummus: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!
Spicy Avocado Hummus: SUPER BOWL RECIPE MONTH: DIP SPECTACULAR!

Spicy Avocado Hummus

Sometimes you want to mix it up from the usual guacamole, or maybe the avocados in your market are a little on the small side this time of year. This is a good way to stretch those green goddess globes and have a good dip. Spicy pepper and cool avocado always go well together.

 

Super Bowl Recipe Month: Shrimp Rolls at KSK
Super Bowl Recipe Month: Shrimp Rolls at KSK

Even though I’m not a huge lobster fan, but I do enjoy a nice lobster roll with a beer and a game and lobster rolls have been on the master list of Football Foodie posting ideas for at least two or three years now. The problem with lobster rolls is even if you love your snacks and you love your friends, unless you live in Maine or Alaska it’s pretty expensive to procure quality lobster for a few pals, much less a dozen hungry football fans. (Maybe if the Patriots were still in the Super Bowl and you and your friends are from New England and really wanted to splurge on lobster rolls so it felt authentic you could justify the cost BUT THEY’RE NOT SO HA HA HA HA YOU CAN HAVE PLEBEIAN SNACKS WITH THE REST OF US.)

Shrimp rolls on the other hand are a great snack that don’t take a lot of effort to make, nor will they break your tailgating budget. Lemon and herbs bring out the best in shrimp (as they do lobster), a bit of crunch from the celery, touch of heat from the cayenne, peppery arugula and buttery bread.

 

 

Super Bowl Recipe Month: Beer Cheese Soup
Super Bowl Recipe Month: Beer Cheese Soup

Beer Cheese Soup

To say this soup was hit around here is an understatement. I had been experimenting with my beer cheese soup earlier in the year, trying to get a really nice herbal taste using one of my favorite cheeses, derby sage. (In general I love sage, especially with cheddar and mozzarella.) I couldn’t get the taste just right though, and eventually I came to my senses and just added a bunch of sage and thyme to my soup. The results couldn’t have been better, especially when the herbs blend so well with slight heat of the cayenne. This recipe should serve 6-8 people a 2 cup serving. Don’t be surprised if four people eat it all before the end of the first quarter.

Super Bowl Recipe Month: Arayes, Quesadilla’s Delicious Middle Eastern Cousin
Super Bowl Recipe Month: Arayes, Quesadilla’s Delicious Middle Eastern Cousin

You watch enough football, you go to enough bars, at this point you’ve probably had your fill of quesadillas. Too much meat and too much cheese or not enough meat and not enough cheese. Greasy and fried in butter or dry as a bone. We like to think the quesadilla is a pretty safe menu options when we head out with friends to watch the game, more often than not they fall short. You can make quesadillas at home, but they take a fair amount of work and need some serious attention while grilling — is cheese melting, have I burned the tortilla — which isn’t the best combination when dealing with tight windows of time during the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

What if I told you there was a quesadilla-like snack that’s easier to make? Full of beef and lamb, onions and tomatoes, warm spices like cinnamon, sweet paprika and allspice, with hints of cumin, nutmeg and coriander? That you could grill, bake or fry? That you could even prep ahead of time and cook when ready?

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite new football snacks of the 2012-2013 season, arayes.

You’ve probably seen arayes on the menu of your local shawarma and falafel joint, but probably never bothered to order them, too distracted by the giant spits of lamb and beef marinating and the dozens of whole roasted chickens take up entire ovens. You’re missing out, they’re possibly one of the greatest snack foods around.

Super Bowl Recipe Month - Oven Roasted Gnocchi With Rosemary
Super Bowl Recipe Month - Oven Roasted Gnocchi With Rosemary

Oven Roasted Gnocchi With Rosemary

In the back of one of the fashion magazines I get they had one of those silly, “Let’s ask a bunch of different celebrities a dumb question so they can answer and we can make a montage of answers because we need something for the back page.” (Or maybe they’re all outtakes from interviews. I have no idea how magazine creation works.) Anyway, in this particular magazine they asked everyone’s favorite English chef (behind Gordan Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, Two Fat Ladies and that other guy) Nigella Lawson what her favorite snack was. She replied pan fried gnocchi, which was just gnocchi cooked in a small amount of olive oil until firm when I looked up her recipe online. Nothing else. Bland. City. (Again, English.)

Ficelle - Super Bowl Recipe Month
Ficelle - Super Bowl Recipe Month

Ficelle

Ficelle is a type of thin sandwich named for a thin baguette-style bread of the same name. (Ficelle means “string” in French if your guests ask.) If you can think of the combination, you can put on a ficelle, but the key to a good ficelle is not going overboard on sandwich filling since the bread is thinner. You want to pick just a few things and use the ingredients sparingly.

What’s great about these sandwiches is that you can mix and match a bunch of different types and then slice them in to smaller portions, giving everyone a chance to sample a variety a different flavors.

Super Bowl Recipe Month: Pizza Gougeres
Super Bowl Recipe Month: Pizza Gougeres

Pizza Gougeres

Don’t let this recipe intimidate you. French choux paste — the basis for eclairs, cheese puffs, cream puffs –  is shockingly easy to make at home. By adding herbs, cheese and sun dried tomatoes, you’ve just made one of the fanciest pizzas rolls around.

Super Bowl Recipe Month: Throwback Week - Stuffed Baguette
Super Bowl Recipe Month: Throwback Week - Stuffed Baguette

Stuffed Baguette

You can almost hear the old Steelers-Cowboys rivalry fire back up with these stuffed baguette slices. Meat, cream cheese (a popular ’70s theme) stuffed into bread was a must at luncheons and parties thirty years ago.

Now, you’ll notice I added sun dried tomatoes to this recipe, the most ’80s of ’80s ingredients. They’re optional, but they really do add a nice bit of flavor to the mix.

Super Bowl Recipe Month: Throwback Week - Deli Roll Ups
Super Bowl Recipe Month: Throwback Week - Deli Roll Ups

Deli Roll Ups

It doesn’t get much more ’70s than a deli roll up. Meat, seasoned cheese, pickles, we’ve all seen our parents and grandparents make these over the years for parties.

Why I like them for football gatherings is that they’re easy to do the night before game day and because they’re a satisfying snack and a small platter of these will go a long way to feed a large crowd.

Super Bowl Recipe Month: Throwback Week - Classic Macaroni Salad
Super Bowl Recipe Month: Throwback Week - Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

If you’re making barbecue, grilling or smoking anything for a Super Bowl or a playoff spread, few things compliment meats made over a fire like an old fashioned macaroni salad.  The mustard picks up the smoke, you get a nice bite of crunch from the celery, and the scallions and peppers help cut the creaminess of the pasta salad.

Most macaroni salads call for much more mayonnaise, but I have found a single cup is the right amount to soak into the macaroni noodle without everything turning to an overwhelming gooey mess. If you happen to keep celery seeds around for Bloody Marys, be sure to include them in your dressing. Brightens the whole salad.

White Chicken Chili
White Chicken Chili

What sets this white chicken chili recipe apart from other chili recipes is taking the extra few minutes to saute and brown the meat and then cooking the onions and jalapenos in the browned chicken bits and fat. You get an added layer of smokiness and flavor which makes for a more flavorful chili than just tossing chicken in the pot to stew with the rest of the ingredients.

Deli Chopped Salad On Croutons
Deli Chopped Salad On Croutons

Today’s Super Bowl Recipe Month special post includes a salad recipe I especially like for large gatherings, because it’s salad without having to mess with bowls and forks. Full of meat and cheese? Or course, but it’s still salad and on a day of eating chili, grilled brats, dips and chips, a salad is a welcome sight in any form.

 

Giant Cherry Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
Giant Cherry Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

During the regular season, I rarely make desserts or sweets for football. Even after nearly ten hours of games, it never seems like dessert time out here in Pacific Time. But during the Super Bowl when you have a few hours extra of just hanging around and socializing, you’re going to want a dessert.

By using dried cherries which typically are very tart in this recipe helps cut through the sweetness of the dough and the chocolate chips. You can use either light brown sugar or dark brown sugar depending on how rich you like your cookies. Feel free to reduce the amount of chocolate chips because I used a heavy-hand with the chocolate when developing this recipe since people tend to like more chocolate than less chocolate, but not everyone likes a lot of chocolate in their cookies. (Weirdos and Seahawks fans would be my guess.)

Salt & Pepper Biscuit Bites
Salt & Pepper Biscuit Bites

This is an update on a recipe I posted a couple of years ago, Rosemary, Chive and Cheese Biscuit Bites, which is one of my dream items snack items served for free like beer nuts if I were to ever have own sports bar. Over the summer when I was in New York City, I stopped at a bakery that served pepper and Manchego biscotti. I loved the combination and realized this would be a perfect change to the small biscuits I already loved. The result is an addicting snack item which are better for settling a stomach full of beer and soda than chips.

You may be worried that the small dough ball won’t make that many biscuit bites, but this recipe yields about five dozen of these savory little treats. If you’re having a large party, the recipe is easily doubled or even tripled.

Skirt Steak Sandwiches With Caramelized Onions And Gorgonzola Sauce
Skirt Steak Sandwiches With Caramelized Onions And Gorgonzola Sauce

I love this sandwich. It’s that simple. Meaty skirt steak, rich caramelized onions, salty gorgonzola sauce and peppery arugula on a chewy roll. It’s sandwich made watching football and yelling at the Texans to stop BLOWING WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THEIRS UGH WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU HOUSTON DID YOU NOT GET ENOUGH HUGS IN DECEMBER I DON’T WANT TO CHEER FOR THE COLTS IF YOU LOSE.

You will need:

Warm Lentil Crostini: Football Foodie Coasts Into The Playoffs
Warm Lentil Crostini: Football Foodie Coasts Into The Playoffs

Personally, I’m looking forward to an easy weekend of football. We’ve been traveling for nearly two weeks now; cross-country flights, 12 hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in a snow storm, going to the symphony, tailgating with my fantasy league and a hockey blogger in a Santa beard, cooking for my family, cooking for my in-laws, multiple bar outings with friends which — even as I type this post — have left my stomach and my head spinning. (It’s tough keeping up with Ape’s drinking, but I guess that shouldn’t be surprising. Apes are known for having quality livers.) I had planned on making one last spread of the season, but instead I think I’m to make something easy this Sunday to snack on. Crostini it is.

Tart Cranberry Deviled Eggs: Football Foodie Holiday Snacks at KSK
Tart Cranberry Deviled Eggs: Football Foodie Holiday Snacks at KSK

I can’t put my finger on the exact date, but sometime during the Great Craft Cocktails and Brown Liquor Resurgence of the past five or six — maybe even seven, we’ve all been drinking so much it’s difficult to remember — years hard-boiled eggs and deviled eggs made a comeback, especially at bars that served craft cocktails and brown liquor. Not deviled eggs like your grandmother serves at Easter under a layer of paprika, but rather wasabi deviled goose eggs, Sriracha-blue cheese deviled eggs, truffle and chive deviled eggs, and petite smoked salmon deviled quail eggs.

Kung Pao Chicken Egg Rolls: Football Foodie Hearty Snacks
Kung Pao Chicken Egg Rolls: Football Foodie Hearty Snacks

About this time of year, among all the holiday baking, I start to think about what sort of food I want to have during the playoffs and for the bigger bowl games. (Sorry Music City Bowl, you’re not on the list of snack-worthy events.) Hearty snacks that are easy to make and can be made ahead of time if needed. People love Kung Pao chicken and they love egg rolls, and few things are better on game days than a finger food made for some serious munching. (As I have said many times before, I am a nervous eater so crunchy things like egg rolls are perfect for the playoffs.) The heat from the peppers goes with great with beer while the meatiness of the peanuts help round out the egg rolls.

Scacciata – Stromboli’s and Calzone’s Sicilian Cousin: A Football Foodie Full Game Day
Scacciata – Stromboli’s and Calzone’s Sicilian Cousin: A Football Foodie Full Game Day

Even the most adamant Team Pizza fans needs a break from heavy sauce, meat and cheese during the season, but there is nothing quite like tearing into warm dough with a cold beer while watching football. Enter the scacciata, a Sicilian variation of a calzone. Heavy on the vegetables and lighter on the cheese and meat, the layers of favor in a scacciata offer a more complex bite than just your ordinary pizza. Potatoes add heft, shaved onions and fennel play off each other in a sweet and savory delight, spinach and broccoli add brightness, spicy sausage adds heat and depth, while the provolone and a touch of olive oil meld everything together.You can add whatever vegetables you like to a scacciata; peppers, eggplant, but if they are rather watery be sure to cook them down a bit before baking. Want olives? Add olives. Want your scacciata to be even spicier? Sprinkle on red pepper flakes along with the salt and pepper. Second sausage? Sure, but don’t add more than two or it gets too oily during baking. A little sauce? Yes, fine. Just a few dabs here or there. Add too much and you may as well make a calzone.

Tapatio Lemon Chips, Thanksgiving Leftovers and Pimento Cheese: Football Foodie Shortcuts
Tapatio Lemon Chips, Thanksgiving Leftovers and Pimento Cheese: Football Foodie Shortcuts
If it’s Friday and this post is going up, it’s safe to assume neither me nor my husband killed anyone during the Thanksgiving feast — thank you Patriots blowout for being there during a stone cold thirty minute silence between us and a family member we’re not talking to! — and we’re ready to be lazy the rest of the holiday weekend, just as soon as we clean out grandma’s garage, battle traffic past the outlets in Camarillo on our way home to Los Angeles, and do all the chores we swore we’d do this weekend since we supposedly have all this extra time on our hands.

It’s enough to make one look forward to Rams-Cardinals.

Savory Mushroom Pithiviers: Football Foodie Thanksgiving
Savory Mushroom Pithiviers: Football Foodie Thanksgiving

Two sorts of Thanksgiving diners, ones who believe in eating early and having leftovers again later in the day and those who don’t have their celebration until late afternoon or evening. The former means getting up at 5 am to start roasting a turkey, the latter means torturing yourself with cups of nuts as not to spoil the feast. It also means considering going through the early game of Houston-Detroit — and perhaps even Washington-Dallas, depending on your time zone — without having a snack.

Nonsense. You’re going to need game time snacks that can feed a crowd and also not spoil your appetite, and perhaps one that is relatively healthy. Ones that compliment the autumn table. Earthy tastes of mushrooms, herbs and wine, warm butternut squash and sage spiced with cayenne and chili.

Roasted Butternut Squash Sage Dip
Roasted Butternut Squash Sage Dip

Butternut squash sage dip is a healthy choice on a day that is already filled with calories. Interceptions are especially fatty, so you might want give this recipe test run when Tony Romo (13 INT) faces Brandon Weeden (12 INT) this Sunday.

Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins: Football Foodie Fall Heat
Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins: Football Foodie Fall Heat

Like most people, I’m a sucker for a good twice-baked potato or potato skins with bacon, chives and cheese, but sometimes they’re lacking the depth needed for a satisfying snack. Enter the sweet potato, the better-for-you version of a starchy vegetable. While chorizo is not any healthier for you than bacon, it does offer a smoky spiciness missing from most cured pork belly. By mixing the sweet potato with the chorizo before baking, you eliminate the need for cheese as a binding agent, saving just a few more calories so you don’t have to feel bad about taking a third or even fifth piece. (And if you want to be even healthier, soy chorizo is a good option for this snack.)

 Kolokythokeftedes with Lemon Dill Greek Yogurt Dip: Football Foodie Fritters Away
Kolokythokeftedes with Lemon Dill Greek Yogurt Dip: Football Foodie Fritters Away

Over the last couple of seasons I’ve been making Seared Queso Blanco at home in place of mozzarella sticks, but this year has been all about the Greek kolokythokeftedes. Bright zucchini, salty feta, fresh bits of dill, parsley and mint come together and offer the right balance of crunch and soft chewy texture we crave in our football snacks. You can pair kolokythokeftedes with a tzatziki sauce if you like, but I prefer this pared down version of a lemon dill dip, the extra kick from the lemon zest pulling all the flavors together in sharp relief.

Slow Cooked Turkey Sandwiches with Spicy Remoulade Sauce: Football Foodie Sandwiches
Slow Cooked Turkey Sandwiches with Spicy Remoulade Sauce: Football Foodie Sandwiches

One way to make a great turkey breast for sandwiches is by salting the meat like you would cure pork for bacon. The so-called “dry-brining” technique of prepping poultry is one of the easiest and most effective ways of making sure your turkey or chicken comes out succulent and moist. A method first popularized by Judy Rodgers at her Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, her salt rub style was featured in Cook’s Illustrated in the mid-aughts and it revolutionized the way home cooks prepared their holiday turkeys. No longer did people have to wrestle with giant pots of salted water taking up their entire refrigerators, the salt alone could redistribute the bird’s own natural juices while slightly changing the structural make-up of the meat so it would retain even more valuable water during cooking. (For the record, I was never a wet-brine fan. I would always make turkey with pounds of butter to keep it moist. With this method I don’t bother adding much fat, even when roasting a whole bird in the oven.)

And rather than worrying about constantly checking on a turkey in the oven on game day, why not just put everything in a slow cooker which is not only easier, it also ensures an extra juicy turkey. By going the extra yard of using a slow cooker which keeps all of the liquids in the pot instead cooking in a drying oven — good for crispy skin, bad for poultry — you get a firm, tender turkey without the typical dryness or mealiness.

Pizza Bloody Mary: Football Foodie Brunch
Pizza Bloody Mary: Football Foodie Brunch

We’ve reached that awful point of the NFL season where there is an incredible imbalance on the Sunday schedule, a bunch of early games and then only two or three games with a 4 ET/1 PT kickoffs. This inequity drags on until after Thanksgiving, giving us plenty of weeks like this week where we only get Jets-Pats and Jaguars-Raiders with the late start, which means you need to be ready for brunch drinking to handle the massive onslaught of early games. (And by onslaught, I mean the Texans-Ravens matchup gets my vote for Sunday morning, but I wouldn’t object to watching Washington-Giants or Browns-Colts.)

Earlier this season I had a chance to talk with Holly Anderson over at SI’s Campus Union about tailgating and she asked what were my favorite football snack and drink to have during a game. My answer was that they’re the same thing, a Bloody Mary. I’ve written many times about how I love watching football on the West Coast because you wake up and it’s game time and brunch time, which makes the Bloody Mary a perfect match for the early games. It’s restorative and energizing, the perfect mix of booze and savory juice to perk you up. Add a large enough garnish and you’ve pretty much got a meal in a glass. What could make your liquid meal even better? Have it be inspired by one of the greatest football snacks of all time, pizza.

 Hot Bean and Chimichurri Dip, South American Choripans: Football Foodie Sauced
Hot Bean and Chimichurri Dip, South American Choripans: Football Foodie Sauced

But what about that leftover chimichurri sauce? Well, it’s an excuse to make one of the greatest of South American sandwiches, a choripan.

 Hot Bean and Chimichurri Dip, South American Choripans: Football Foodie Sauced
Hot Bean and Chimichurri Dip, South American Choripans: Football Foodie Sauced

A long day of football often calls for a hearty dip, especially if you don’t feel like mucking over a grill or with a fryer on a particular game day. This is an easy, filling baked bean dip that doesn’t require a lot of hands on time in the kitchen, leaving you plenty of time to wish you hadn’t benched that no-good crumb-bum Kenny Britt on your fantasy team. Adding chimichurri sauce to the beans not only brings a lot of extra flavor to the little legumes, it also works to thin out the mixture to make for easier chip scooping.

Lemon-Chili Corn: Football Foodie Fall
Lemon-Chili Corn: Football Foodie Fall

If you grew up in a Midwest/Mid-Atlantic household like mine, the only way had corn on the cob growing up was husked, boiled in water in the kitchen while everything else was on the grill and then served with about three pounds of butter and salt. (We had one neighbor who put out a separate stick of butter on the table for people to spin their cobs in at the table.) It’s nonsense, corn on the cob shouldn’t be about laboriously husking cold ears, scrubbing with a brush and then using up six gallons of water when there is a perfectly good fire going outside. Corn on the cob is easy, tasty and doesn’t need a lot of fat to make it taste delicious.

Roasted Garlic Cheese Spread: Fancy Football Foodie
Roasted Garlic Cheese Spread: Fancy Football Foodie

Over the years I’ve found sometimes it’s good to have a snack that it a little more substantial than chips and dip between a big football brunch and the late-afternoon or evening football meal. Items that satiate small nagging hunger without spoiling your appetite later. Luxurious creamy French cheese infused with the flavors of roasted garlic, herbs and crisp white wine spread over crostini or crackers fit the bill perfectly, and if you’re watching the game with your in-laws, makes your game day feel a little classier than the usual canned-salsa-in-Velveeta routine.

Pasta Chips: Football Foodie Snacks
Pasta Chips: Football Foodie Snacks

Sports can make you a nervous eater. Salt is good. Crunch is even better.

Unfortunately plain chips –  while delicious — don’t quite give the full emotional satisfaction of a hard crunch and aren’t filling enough to signal any sort of “stop you’ve had enough!” reaction until you’ve consumed the whole bag watching Peyton Manning being sacked for about the twentieth time. Season corned chips are better this way, but are covered with so much salt you don’t taste anything after about fifteen minutes and you may as well just go eat the rock salt in the garage. (Not that I’ve ever done that, but let me say that if you do try it, make sure it’s the plain rock salt and not the kind that has chemicals added to it for easier ice melting. Not that I’ve ever done that.)

This is why pasta chips are great for stressed sports eaters like myself.  They have a thick, hard crunch with heat from the red pepper flakes, depth from the thyme and rosemary, brightness from basil and just enough salt to balance out your drink.

 Bacon Chile Cheese Spinach Scrambled Eggs on Avocado and English Muffin Breakfast Sandwiches: Football Foodie Brunch
Bacon Chile Cheese Spinach Scrambled Eggs on Avocado and English Muffin Breakfast Sandwiches: Football Foodie Brunch

A good, hearty breakfast sandwich serves two purposes, it gives you a good base of carbs and protein to start your day of yelling and screaming and it also helps eliminate any hangover you might have from either Friday or Saturday night to make sure you can actually spend a day yelling and screaming.

Creamy eggs, chewy English muffins, the mellow heat from the hatch chiles cooled by the creamy avocado, the hint of salty bacon and cheese with fresh spinach, these sandwiches are easily made for morning games at home or if you like, you can make the egg patties the night before and reheat in the morning in the oven or the microwave. And while I’ve never tried it, Dan over at The Sporkful told me he makes his egg patties the night before and heats them up on the grill for bagel sandwiches at Giants tailgates, so I’m sure his method works fine.

Candied Corned Beef Sandwiches
Candied Corned Beef Sandwiches

Few things can match a nice, thick cut corned beef sandwich while having a beer and watching, well, anything. I’ve made this for just sitting around watching movies and it made the whole experience better. Baffled by the end of PROMETHEUS? The extra kick of pepper in this sandwich will forgive the awkward triple-ending. Vikings-Colts? Nothing but a little tender meat candied in molasses, mustard, brown sugar and ginger can’t fix, and hey, Andrew Luck pretty okay when not being let down by his offensive line. Dolphins-Raiders? Lord Hard Knocks help you, you’re definitely going to need this sandwich on Sunday (and probably a Mason jar full of Everclear).

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad: Football Foodie Kickoff
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad: Football Foodie Kickoff

Every year I think to myself, “Self, how many different iterations of Buffalo chicken-X can there be? Surely you and the rest of the world of run out of ways to make Buffalo chicken? There are dips, there are wontons, there are pierogies, there are wraps. Sure, you have at least a dozen other hot-sauce-chicken-and-blue-cheese combinations still on the idea list, but do people still really want new ways to enjoy spicy chicken during football?”

Then I have to say back to myself, “Self, of course people still want other ways to make spicy chicken and cool dressing together! Buffalo chicken and football go together like Captain and Tennille, baseball and PEDs, Tony Romo and interceptions and Kevin Olgetree. The combination is timeless! Now why not post a recipe that combines buffalo chicken and a pasta salad so fans can have their favorite football food as a hearty pasta salad. Something with the spicy goodness, the pasta helping spread the blue cheese across the palate, the crunch of the celery and carrots rounding out the dish. Something you can make ahead of time and not worry about wing bones falling under your sofa.”

Haverly's Frijoles Borrachos (Drunken Beans): Football Foodie BEANS!
Haverly's Frijoles Borrachos (Drunken Beans): Football Foodie BEANS!

The first in our 2012 BEANS! feature is this wonderfully thick, bean-forward recipe for Frijoles Borrachos (Drunken Beans) from Haverly. With pinto beans, garlic, onions, salt, bacon, tomato, beer and a little time, you get a hearty side that compliments grilled and barbecued items perfectly. Set these beans out with warm tortillas, sauteed vegetables, seasoned rice, pico de gallo, and some guacamole and you’ve got yourself a burrito bar. Like most bean recipes, this dish reheats beautifully so if you want to make them the night before a tailgate you can, just be sure to put the pot on the side of the grill with low heat and not the side of the grill you’ve got set to MEGA FLAMES for hot dogs in twenty seconds or less.

Cointreau Grilled Pound Cake with Strawberry Sauce: Football Foodie Kickoff
Cointreau Grilled Pound Cake with Strawberry Sauce: Football Foodie Kickoff

There have only been a couple of desserts ever posted on the Football Foodie, Maker’s Mark Manhattan Mini Cupcakes and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies, not because we don’t like sweets (we do!), but because we so very rarely make them for football. However, after a week of grilling recipes, we’d be remiss not to include one of our favorite, easiest, fastest desserts you can toss over the fire, pound cake brushed with liqueur and topped with a fruit-liqueur sauce. Even if you’re tailgating, this is an easy dessert you can do before the game, just make the strawberry sauce the night before and chill before heading out.

Roasted Jalapeno Avocado Dip: Football Foodie Kickoff
Roasted Jalapeno Avocado Dip: Football Foodie Kickoff

College football kicks off tonight, which means our crazier friends are crazier than usual getting ready for the start of their football season. While there is a lot of overlap between college and pro fans, they are on the whole, different breeds of fanatics. Of course they are of the same football code and one group is not any better or worse than the other, but mannerisms — the shibboleth — are what make the two groups different, although I would like to think we’re the same on situational bourbon.

Special Chicken Skewers: Football Foodie Kickoff
Special Chicken Skewers: Football Foodie Kickoff

Long time Football Foodie readers know I’m a big proponent of recipes that can be prepped ahead of time for game day. Game days mean worrying about fantasy football settings, yelling at pregame shows, setting up tailgates and maybe watching a little Premier League if you’re feeling cosmopolitan. An easy but complex tasting marinade that can readied the night or the morning before football? These Special Chicken Skewers fit the bill perfectly.

Tangerine Tequlia Punch: Football Foodie Kickoff!
Tangerine Tequlia Punch: Football Foodie Kickoff!

Obviously, this is a very strong drink. Wait until after you’ve made your fantasy moves for the week to have a glass of this punch or you might attempt to start Deion Sanders at place kicker, get upset that Yahoo(!) won’t let you start Deion Sanders at place kicker, yell at your monitor for a few minutes, passive-aggressively sub-Tweet at both Yahoo(!) and your league commissioner that it’s complete garbage you cannot start Deion Sanders at place kicker and why did you play $50 to play in a league run by fascists, try to pull the tiny Deion Sanders DirecTV spokesperson-fairy out of your television and after that fails, start Billy Cundiff.

At wide receiver.

Grilled Brussel Sprout Kabobs with Bacon Lardons: Football Foodie Kickoff!
Grilled Brussel Sprout Kabobs with Bacon Lardons: Football Foodie Kickoff!

Last week, friend of the program Rob Iracane requested we start off the season with some recipes for the grill, so we’re going with what has become one of my favorite sides, grilled brussel sprout kabobs with bacon lardons. Brussel sprouts are no stranger to the Football Foodie menu, and these charred little cabbage-like buds take on a wonderful nutty favor over the flame which is accented further by the rich lardons marinating beside them on the sticks.

And as always, at least you can say you had a vegetable at some point during your football watching day.

Lentil Beer Chili: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Lentil Beer Chili: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

Consider blasphemy if you like, but for the most part I prefer lentil and bean chili over beef chili. Beef chili weighs you down, sitting in your stomach as if you had swallowed a bowling ball whole. Lentils and beans are filling without being heavy, spicy chipotle provides the heat and beer gives the chili a rich, smoky taste.

This chili can be made in either the Crock-Pot or in a heavy kettle on the stove, depending on your kitchen needs on game day. I made this batch on a day when I was using the oven and the stove for other things, so the slow cooker it was.

My guests? Yeah, they’re lentil and bean chili converts too, even though they’re all heavy meat eaters.

Artichoke and Leek Goat Cheese Spread: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Artichoke and Leek Goat Cheese Spread: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

Tender artichoke hearts are given a boost by bright lemon juice, herbs and meaty olives while tender leeks give a nice sweetness and tang without the overpowering taste of onion in this great cheese blend. Make a day or two ahead of time to save time and sanity on game day!

Chicken Tikka Masala Wraps: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Chicken Tikka Masala Wraps: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

There are few things my husband likes more than chicken tikka masala, so when the first weekend without Steeler football came around this postseason, I knew I needed to make something a little special to cheer him up for watching a black and gold-less football game. When we had visited Harrod’s in London last fall, I had seen some beautiful chicken tikka masala wrapped in kubus bread in their great hall of food and knew immediately I wanted to try to make them some point this season for the living room-gating. Kubus bread is a sort of pita flat bread from the Middle East, but I found that using lavish, pita and naan are good substitutes. With this batch, I did a mix of lavish wraps (easier to serve and handle at a party) and chicken tikka masala served with naan for people to scoop and wrap as they please.

The chicken tikka itself is delicious, so if you want to skip the whole hullabaloo of making masala sauce and wraps, just make chicken tikka kebabs instead. There is nothing quite like the mix of spices that flavor tikka and masala, so don’t worry if it’s the first time you’ve ever bought garam masala to make a dish. After you figure out how easy and great it is to cook with the spice mixture, you’re going to go through the whole bottle in no time.

High Shirley: The trashiest yet most delicious beer cocktail you will ever make for the Pro Bowl
High Shirley: The trashiest yet most delicious beer cocktail you will ever make for the Pro Bowl

This drink shouldn’t work. It has no business tasting as good as it does. The sparkly High Life makes the grenadine pop, while cutting through the sweetness all at the same time. Bry kept stealing sips from my glass, asking over and over, “How can it taste this good?”

Store Bought Guacamole? Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
Store Bought Guacamole? Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

I was staring glassy-eyed at a package of “spicy” guacamole at the store when Bry reminded me, “Hey, doesn’t Trader Joe’s sell little kits to make guacamole with? Why not make that?”

Hope! yes! Guacamole in a package, but you still have to assemble it! Maybe this won’t be so bad! Plus, for $3.99 you’re getting much more than the 6-8 ounces of guacamole in all of the pre-packaged deals! Let’s try that!

Spicy Spinach Pancetta Balls: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Spicy Spinach Pancetta Balls: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

Spinach balls have been a cocktail party staple for decades, but I’m a firm believer that the old classic is begging to be spiced up with some hot pepper and some meaty pancetta.  I’ve never made these and not have them disappear within in minutes. Plus, these little bites can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, saving you a lot of time on game day.

Just flash freeze the spinach balls on a baking sheet for 30 minutes and then put in a freezer safe container. Add 5-10 minutes to baking time when ready to serve.

Holly Anderson's IRON FIST of Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
Holly Anderson's IRON FIST of Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

Today’s recipe comes from my pal, Holly Anderson. Holly was the one who asked me to be a part of the original Ladies(…) after bonding in the Deadspin/Defamer super collider and we’ve been friends ever since. These days you can find Holly running the big show over at SI’s The Campus Union where you can find her covering college football in a smart, funny and irreverent way that only she brings to the conversation (because college football needs more drama club stories).

It came to no surprise to me that Holly’s guacamole would be the recipe submitted that was closest to my own. We share similar tastes in men, Pro Bowls, music and movies; of course our guacamole would be spiritual avocado cousins. What makes Holly’s guacamole special is the extra kick of lime zest, an addition that’s going to find a permanent home in my own guacamole from now on. The avocado comes alive in this recipe and isn’t buried behind heat. A purist’s delight.

Blueberry Margaritas: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Blueberry Margaritas: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

Even though lemon is the natural accompaniment to blueberries, lime works just as well in this drink. Also, I really wanted to get a stronger blueberry taste, so I increased the amount of blueberries while doubling the total amount of simple syrup being made so we’d have enough for the entire divisional weekend games.

The sweet blueberry and lime are a great match for the tequila. Garnishing the glass with a lime gives your guests a little control to increase the tartness of their drink if they so desire.

Becky’s Mango and Chipotle “The Velvet Glove” Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
Becky’s Mango and Chipotle “The Velvet Glove” Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

Today’s recipe comes from Becky, who I know from what back in the days when people commented on a Will Leitch run Deadspin. She’s funny, smart and like myself, very superstitious about her lucky game time snacks. 

I’ve named Becky’s guacamole “The Velvet Glove” because unlike Alyse’s Mango Serrano Guacamole last week where the sweet hit your palate before the heat, the heat of the chipotle smacks you right in the mouth before kissing you with refreshing mango.

Take it away, Becky!

 

Ancho and Guajillo Chile Chicken Enchilada Dip: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Ancho and Guajillo Chile Chicken Enchilada Dip: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

Tacos and burritos are always a hit at any Super Bowl party, but for me? I love, love, love, love enchiladas. Unfortunately making our usual breakfast enchiladas doesn’t really lend itself to a night game and big platters of enchiladas can be hard to serve at a party, not to mention time consuming to wrap all the enchiladas.

Which is why a enchilada dip made from scratch is the way to go. You get the rich taste of the ancho chiles, the heat from the guajillos chiles, rich cheese, smoky cumin all over a nice base of tomato. It’s filling, tasty, and feeds a crowd. This particular batch? Was perfect New Year’s Day drinking and watching football food.

If you like, you can make the enchilada sauce a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate for when you are ready to make your dip. Want to make it vegetarian? Use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock and substitute out chicken with a few cans of rinsed pinto or black beans

Pineapple and Cucumber Guacamole (Guacamole con Piña y Pepino) via Ally Garner: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
Pineapple and Cucumber Guacamole (Guacamole con Piña y Pepino) via Ally Garner: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

Today’s recipe was sent in from Ally Garner, hostess of Copacetic in Carolina and Southern Fried Football. Ally’s a UGA Bulldog by education and a ‘Bama fan by marriage, so if there is anything Ally knows, it’s tailgating. When she told me how much success she’d had this season with a pineapple and cucumber guacamole she had found via the Fearless Homemaker, I knew it I had to try it despite the unconventional ingredients.

Pineapple and Cucumber Guacamole (Guacamole con Piña y Pepino) comes to us from chef Roberto Santibanez’s Truly Mexican: Essential Recipe and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking, a book worth checking out for the mole recipes alone and a sharp looking apple tequila guacamole.

Pineapple and cucumber add a nice crunch to the creamy avocado, onion and cilantro make a nice ying and yang of floral and tang, while the heat of a little extra jalapeno matches brings it all together nicely. To say it was a hit on Championship Sunday would be an understatement, people just couldn’t get enough of this wonderfully tart, sweet and hot guacamole.

Sweet Potato Pie Bites with Toasted Marshmallow Creme: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Sweet Potato Pie Bites with Toasted Marshmallow Creme: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

You’re going to need a dessert for your Super Bowl party, but one that is not so sickly sweet it doesn’t go with beer, cocktails and soda. Sweet potato pie with a touch of toasted marshmallow creme make a great addition to the buffet without a lot of work, and can even be made a day or two ahead of time and refrigerated for game time.

This makes a good 50-60 bite sized pies which sounds like a lot of pie, but the first tray of these disappeared before we even got the brisket off the grill on Sunday, so don’t worry about having leftovers. Or worry about having leftovers and hide a few for yourself to have for breakfast the next day, which is what I wish I would have done.

Dan Rubenstein's Tomatillo Salsa & Hot Sauce Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
Dan Rubenstein's Tomatillo Salsa & Hot Sauce Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

Today’s guacamole comes to us from Dan Rubenstein, co-host of the popular college football podcast, The Solid Verbal (which can also be found on the Grantland Network) and is one of young guns the Bleacher Report brought in as a featured columnist. If you’ve ever caught The Solid Verbal, you’ll know food comes up from time to time on the show, so the fact that Dan makes a mean guacamole shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Tomatillo salsa gives the guacamole a bright taste and really brings out the natural green color in avocado while the hot sauce provides a smooth heat across the palate with each bite.

Homemade Beer Nuts: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Homemade Beer Nuts: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

Not that it matters to anyone else other than me, but I’m 7-8 in playoffs picks (the one loss, obviously being the Steelers Wild Card Weekend).

Baltimore Ravens – New England Patriots

I’ve seen some late-week picks going for the Ravens after early predictions had the Pats heavy favorites, despite Ed Reed calling out his quarterback Joe “Ed Hardy of Unibrows” Flacco for being scared against the Texans. Sure, New England has a pretty weak defense compared to Baltimore, but all four of the Ravens 2011 losses came on the road, including giving up games to the listless Jaguars and San Diego Chargers. Picking the Patriots over Baltimore 31-17, but really rooting for a meteor/bird flu outbreak in Foxboro on Sunday. (I guess the Patriots are a lesser evil. YOU MEMBER I SAID SOMETHING NICE ABOUT YOU NEXT SEASON PATS FANS.)

Josh Rivera’s Jalapeno Tomatillo Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
Josh Rivera’s Jalapeno Tomatillo Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

As a native of Albuquerque, Josh has pretty strong opinions on tacos, salsas and of course, guacamole. If you’re not familiar with the taste of raw tomatillo, it’s a tart — almost sour, crunchy fruit. Once you remove the outer husk and clean off any remaining waxy residue, you’ll find a bright green firm berry. While I am a huge fan of roasted green tomatillo salsas and cut up in vegetable soup, I wasn’t sure how I’d like in my guacamole. I worried the tart would be too much and would overwhelm the delicate avocado. Fortunately my fears were completely unfounded, as the crunch of the tomatillo played nicely with the chopped onion and the sour flavor perfectly counterbalanced the sweet acidity of the tomato. Leaving the seeds in the jalapeno created the perfect amount of heat and just a light dusting of garlic powder made sure the avocado was never overpowered by the seasoning as can happen with too much minced raw garlic.

Armando’s Roasted Garlic and Habanero Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
Armando’s Roasted Garlic and Habanero Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

And now? I know that he makes one of the best guacamoles I’ve ever tried. Smoky roasted garlic permeates the creamy avocado while the roasted habanero is the strong — but never overpowering –  baseline in this guacamole.

Mini Twice Baked Potato Bites: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Mini Twice Baked Potato Bites: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

Between Sirius/XM, ESPN, Twitter and my friends’ Facebook updates, I’ve been reminded that today marks the 10th anniversary of the Tuck Rule game. Earlier today I was just thinking how great it would be to have the complete NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB archives available to rewatch games on some sort of streaming service (stuck a pin in the topic for a post at a later time), and one of first games that came to mind that I’d watch to rewatch at least once a year was the Tuck Rule game even though I remember everything about watching the game and the game itself like it was yesterday.

Mostly because I blame that game for crushing the Steelers 2002 Super Bowl run when they were expecting the Raiders the following week.

David Roy’s Serrano and Olive Oil Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
David Roy’s Serrano and Olive Oil Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

I have to admit, I had never heard of putting olive oil in guacamole until David’s recipe landed in my inbox. Then Alyse’s Mango Serrano Guacamole also called for olive oil. It’s been a revelation to this guacamole eater, as olive oil smooths out the balance between the heat of the peppers and tang of the tomatoes.

Momofuku Style Pork Belly Tacos: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Momofuku Style Pork Belly Tacos: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

My only warning for making these pork belly tacos is when you and your guests get to the last one on the platter. You will fight over the last taco as if the Joker has just handed you and your friends a broken pool cue and the last one standing gets to eat. Like you’re Ray Lewis at the bottom of the pile. Or Darren Sharper. Like the forward pass hasn’t been invented and President Teddy Roosevelt is about to ban the sport.

Bet Teddy would fight like hell for a pork belly taco.

Alyse’s Mango Serrano Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
Alyse’s Mango Serrano Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

The creaminess of the avocado hits you first, then the sweet mango, onion and garlic and then there it is. The heat of the serrano pepper, which has you reaching for another chip immediately.

Plus, since it has fruit in it you can say you’ve had a healthy Super Bowl treat (thus offsetting the extra grilled sausage you just ate).

Vegetable Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Garlic Soy Sauce: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Vegetable Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Garlic Soy Sauce: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

They’re like little bright salads on your buffet, giving you (and probably more than a few thankful guests on a New Years diet) a happy respite from the heavy pizza sitting next to it on the table.

Margery Miller Shanoff’s Cilantro & Citrus Free Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza
Margery Miller Shanoff’s Cilantro & Citrus Free Guacamole: Super Bowl Guacamole Extravaganza

Don’t let the simple ingredients of this guacamole recipe fool you. At the first taste of Margery’s guacamole, my eyes lit up and I said to Bry, “This is the guacamole you want on a burger. It’s perfect.” Avocados are at the forefront where they belong, the garlic opens up nicely during the resting period and by using garlic salt instead of normal kosher salt, you don’t over do the seasoning. It’s thick, rich and incredibly fresh tasting without being tart, a problem that often arises when people put about twenty limes in their guacamole because they’re so afraid of it turning brown. Plus, this recipe requires you to make the guacamole a few ahead of time, which means you’re not racing around the kitchen fifteen minutes ahead of kickoff for your dip.

Mini Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese Sandwiches: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Mini Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese Sandwiches: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

I love croque monsieur ham and cheese sandwiches. The nuttiness of Gruyere cheese, the hint of salt from the Parmesan, creamy bechamel, tang of Dijon mustard and meaty ham make for an adult grilled cheese treat. Unfortunately, they’re a little too messy to make and serve en masse for a party. Enter these little slider-sized versions of the classic French treat which are not only easier to hold during the game, but the smaller serving size assures you’ll also have room to indulge in the rest of your game day spread.

This recipe yields a lot of cheese sauce and if you really wanted to, you could use the same amount of the sauce with double the amount of ham and rolls.

(I just happen to like my sandwiches very cheesy.)

Spicy Pickle Dip: The 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Spicy Pickle Dip: The 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

It’s true, pickle dip is generally considered one of the more Canadian-centric snacks of North America, like poutine and, um, poutine, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t one the most perfect chip dips for football. Canadians and the CFL get many things right — overtime rules, letting teams with better records in one division bump out weaker teams from another division in the playoffs, one year split of paternity and maternity leave for new parents — so we shouldn’t be so quick to judge this potato adornment from the north.

Arugula, Carrot, Olive and Herbed Cheese Provencal Wraps: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Arugula, Carrot, Olive and Herbed Cheese Provencal Wraps: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

In my years of entertaining and eating, I’ve found small vegetable wraps offer nice reprieve on the buffet. Easier to serve than a green salad at a party, more filling due to the lavish or tortilla wrapping, and frankly, they’re just tasty. The bite of the arugula, the sweetness of the carrot, salt of the olives with the creaminess of the cheese all come together in perfect harmony with this handy little wraps.

Htipiti – Greek feta and roasted red pepper delight: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Htipiti – Greek feta and roasted red pepper delight: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

One of he nicer things about serving htipiti as a football snack is that it never feels too heavy. The lemon and the heat of the peppers give a freshness to the feta that almost makes the dip feel refreshing. A palate cleanser almost between more substantial snacks, if you will.

Roasted Rosemary Almonds
Roasted Rosemary Almonds

A few seeds and nuts go along way to filling out any Super Bowl spread, and these savory rosemary almonds are incredibly addicting. Not a fan of almonds? Many people use this same blend and method on cashews.

A few seeds and nuts go along way to filling out any Super Bowl spread, and these savory rosemary almonds are incredibly addicting. Not a fan of almonds? Many people use this same blend and method on cashews.

Pierogi Lasagna: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Pierogi Lasagna: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

Longtime Football Foodie readers know we’re no strangers to matching pierogies with football around these parts. Making traditional homemade pierogies is easy enough and we’re still making special blue cheese pierogies in Buffalo sauce when the craving hits around game time.

But the only problem with making pierogies from scratch is that it’s quite a time commitment. What if you want the taste of pierogies, but don’t want to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen? Easy. You make a pierogi lasagna. All the cheese, onions and potatoes you could ever need layered between lasagna noodles gives you the same taste without all the work.

Strike that. This version has way more delicious, creamy cheese melted between fluffy potatoes with the soft bite of onion and garlic.

Smoky Habanero Jalapeno Popper Bread: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes Kickoff
Smoky Habanero Jalapeno Popper Bread: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes Kickoff

One of my favorite local wine bars (Shut it!) here in Los Angeles shares an open kitchen with their sister restaurant next door. One night over a bottle of pinot, I watched the chef make this enormous jalapeno popper panini with about two pounds of white cheddar and a dozen jalapenos for the grilled cheese night they were hosting. Watching her slice jalapeno after jalapeno, I couldn’t wait try to make a similar cheesy bread at home.

New Year’s Day Lucky Black-Eyed Peas Dip with Chorizo
New Year’s Day Lucky Black-Eyed Peas Dip with Chorizo

It’s about the time of the year when fellow football fans start asking if I have any good black-eyed peas recipe for New Year’s Day. (For those of you who do not know the history of black-eyed peas, in many cultures around the world, from the Middle East to the American South, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity in the New Year.) Since Smoky Cowboy Caviar is only recipe I have ever posted involving the storied pea, I thought it was high-time to add another one to the catalog, especially with so many crucial Week 17 games heading our way on New Year’s Day. If I was a Raiders/Chargers/Eagles/Giants/Cowboys/Jets/Bengals fan, I’d plan on eating a tray or two of this dip on January 1, 2012.

Breakfast Puff Pastry Braid with Eggs, Sausage and Cheese
Breakfast Puff Pastry Braid with Eggs, Sausage and Cheese

Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day are the last two big NFL brunch days here on the West Coast. Throw in a few random early bowl games on January 2 plus the extra relatives you’ve got hanging around the next couple of weeks and you’re going to need an fast and easy — not to mention hangover approved — breakfast.

Steak and Ale Pie
Steak and Ale Pie

As we head into December, game days start to get colder and we want for something warmer, heartier to go with our football, and one of my favorite dishes for this time of year is the classic British pub food, steak and ale pie.

Veggie Sloppy Joes
Veggie Sloppy Joes

I’m not a fan of sloppy joes with ground meat, as they tend to be rubbery and spongy. I’m also not a fan of sloppy joes made with tofu or seitan. However, I am a huge fan of sloppy joes made with veggies, beans and mushrooms. By mincing the all the ingredients, you get a nice texture that is reminiscent of ground beef, but with a more toothsome feel from the beans, some crunch from the celery and a meaty taste from the mushrooms at the finish of cooking. The spice from the chili powder pared with just enough heat from the the cayanne pepper with the sweetness of the brown sugar make a nice substitute for the barbecue sauce you see in many sloppy joe recipes.

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Pimento Cheese
Smoky Chipotle Bacon Pimento Cheese

Smoky Bacon Chipotle Pimento Cheese will probably go down as the easiest and yet most satisfying of all the Football Foodie recipes all season. The smoky cheddar comes alive in the cream cheese and mayonnaise, the heat of the chipotle tempered by the sweet and salty bacon. Delight in a dish.

Italian Sausage Parmesan on Garlic Toasted Rolls, Two Ways
Italian Sausage Parmesan on Garlic Toasted Rolls, Two Ways

There are two ways I like to make this sandwich. The first easy way takes only about 30-40 minutes, and the second method takes just a little longer while adding some vegetables for taste and crunch. It’s also an easy way to stretch five sausages into six or seven sandwiches.

Italian Sausage Parmesan on Garlic Toasted Rolls, Two Ways
Italian Sausage Parmesan on Garlic Toasted Rolls, Two Ways

Thursday night football also means a few extra challenges for the fans. There will be fantasy football blunders in almost every league and selections missed in pick’em pools. And since it’s a weeknight, game time snacks need to easy and fast.

Fresh Pumpkin Quesadillas
Fresh Pumpkin Quesadillas

It didn’t feel heavy or greasy like a typical cheese-and-meat quesadilla, but you also didn’t feel like you were being cheated into eating something lighter. I can see this snack going into heavy rotation as we head into the holidays, especially as we start getting even more weeknight college football games and Thursday night football returns to the NFL.

Seared Queso Blanco
Seared Queso Blanco

Mozzarella sticks are problematic.

While great in a bar, mozzarella sticks are a ton more work when you’re at home. First, you have to make sure you get a good mozzarella that will hold up to frying. Then you have to bread them. Then fry them with a ton of oil, or worse, try to bake them in the oven where they inevitably melt into goo. Then they pretty much only taste like whatever marinara or ranch you pair them with for snacking. A lot of work for very little reward. Which is why my favorite fried cheesy snack to make at home is queso blanco.

Cancha – Andean non-popped popcorn
Cancha – Andean non-popped popcorn

The problem with most popcorn is that it doesn’t taste like anything other than what you put on it, which means it usually tastes like a salted turnpike doused in Paula Deen’s tears. Long time readers of the Football Foodie know I love salt and butter as much as the next person, but sometimes you want to a crunchy snack to actually taste like what it is made of; in this case, something that tastes like toasted corn.

The Groundskeeper: Football Foodie Beta Testing Failures in Cocktails
The Groundskeeper: Football Foodie Beta Testing Failures in Cocktails

Sometimes in the name of research you make terrible mistakes.

Terrible, terrible mistakes.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Wraps
Shredded Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Why I love these wraps that you get a great taste of everything in each bite, which is why the word “shredded” is so important, I’ve put it in the title. Shredding the celery and the carrots gives you a crunchy sweet foil to the spicy chicken and the tangy blue cheese. They are much easier to eat during a game and definitely easier on your halftime schedule since you make these ahead of time, no need to worry about heating up oil for frying while the game is going.

Maple Sage Sweet Potato Chips
Maple Sage Sweet Potato Chips

Before I start into this Friday’s Football Foodie, I’d like to take a second an express a little sympathy for our basketball loving friends who experienced a pretty tough blow this week when NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the NBA season due to lockout. Fans will lose 100 hundred games and seasonal employees will probably go without work the nights games were scheduled as it is unlikely building management will be able to arrange for a Disney on Ice or concert to fill those dates on such short notice.

Italian Pressed Sandwiches
Italian Pressed Sandwiches

This is one of the easiest game time and pregame tailgate items around as well as being one of the tastiest. Creamy fresh mozzarella cheese, spicy meats, smokey peppers, brightness of pesto on chewy bread. As long as you give your sandwich at least six hours to meld together — although it’s much better if you make it the day before — you will be rewarded with a sandwich worth waiting for.

Don’t want to use meat? Substitute roasted eggplant or artichoke hearts for cold cuts.

The Odd Chips of Europe: Football Foodie Abroad
The Odd Chips of Europe: Football Foodie Abroad

Somewhere early in our trip to Europe I got this idea in my head that I wanted to know what sort of snacks I’d be munching on if I were an American ex-pat during football season.

Note that I said “American ex-pat” and not a “European NFL fan” because from what I saw during two game days in London and one in Prague, the only people who care about the NFL in Europe are ex-pats, despite what Roger Goodell tries to tell us in his push for a second game a season in London, even though this season’s game still isn’t sold out. Of course my experience is only anecdotal at best, but when we went to what was supposedly one of the biggest NFL bars London, it was only the Americans watching the NFL. Everyone else was busy with the Premier League, Italian soccer, Spanish soccer and yes, German Bundesliga. (Which is just a fun word to say. BUNDESLIGA! Those kids were really upset over Brennen losing.)

Grilled Coconut Chili Shrimp with Pineapple
Grilled Coconut Chili Shrimp with Pineapple

To say I’m behind on football is an understatement.

Even with all the apps, blogs, newspapers, newsletters, carrier pigeons and smoke signals giving me NFL updates while we were abroad, nothing compares to watching Real. Live. Games. I have no idea how the Eagles are 1-3 while the Bills are 3-1. The injury reports read like a mystery novel. And I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been so out of it my brain is telling me Max Starks is back with the Steelers. That can’t possibly be true, brain!

Chipotle Grilled Corn Salad
Chipotle Grilled Corn Salad

When tailgating and bringing food to parties, the refrigeration and cooling situation is always a bit dicey. At some point, you’ll need more room in the cooler for beer and as much as I love potato salads and macaroni salads, the last thing I want to leave out in the sun during a pre-game round of cornhole or pin-the-tail-on-Rex-Ryan is any sort of mayonnaise or cheese dressed food.

Baked Pizza Falafel Bites
Baked Pizza Falafel Bites

If you watch enough football and snack enough while watching football, you start to run out of ways to have variation of pizza. Pizza loaf, pizza dip, pizza galettes, sfincione, pizzettes

Homemade Roasted Salsas
Homemade Roasted Salsas

Once I started messing around with Josh’s basic salsa recipe, I found my own way to make both a hot and mild salsa perfect for game day. It’s easy to make ahead of time and yields far more salsa for your dollar than anything in a jar.

(Although a great salsa recipe didn’t prevent Josh from drafting both CJ Spiller and Braylon Edwards.)

Bacon Cheddar Doughnut Holes
Bacon Cheddar Doughnut Holes

So when I had the Bacon Cheese Doughnut Holes at The Den at happy hour, I knew this could be a football brunch treat for all the times I didn’t feel like making something beforehand. From the time you cook the bacon to the time you serve the doughnuts, you’re looking at only about 30 minutes in the kitchen, tops.

Pulled Pork and Pierogies on a Pretzel Bun
Pulled Pork and Pierogies on a Pretzel Bun

When I was back in Pittsburgh last month, I couldn’t wait to try the pulled pork and pierogies on a pretzel bun offered at PNC Park this season.

Greek Nachos
Greek Nachos

Over the summer I was one involved in a pretty serious debate about what was the perfect bar food for watching sports. The usual suspects had their supporters; wings, mozzarella sticks, personal pizza (awful, never in my life have I had good bar pizza) and rather vocal contingent for fried pickles that oddly enough, was not headed-up by me.

Me? Nachos. Nachos go with sports like all the cliched pairings you can think of to list here. Hearty, cheesy, salty, doesn’t need silverware, some vegetables; plus they’re cheap and easy to make. Sometimes though, you don’t want something as heavy as typical bean and cheese styled nachos.

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream with Chocolate Bourbon Swirl
Chocolate Stout Ice Cream with Chocolate Bourbon Swirl

Of course, beer and bourbon make even ice cream tougher and more rugged sounding. When put together, chocolate stout and bourbon sounds like an ice cream that even James Harrison would eat, after he forced you back ten yards, of course.

Sriracha Crackers
Sriracha Crackers

When players and pontificators talk about football, “pain” is usually one of the words most often used to describe the game. The pain of training, the pain of playing, the pain of recovery. Under normal circumstances, pain is the body’s warning system telling the brain that something is wrong. Don’t touch a hot stove, don’t kick your toe against a chair, don’t eat too many jelly doughnuts, don’t drink nine Mai Tais.  The resulting pain reminds the brain not to do those things again. But in football, pain is fetishized and celebrated to an almost unconscionable degree. Pushing through pain to in the pursuit of victory is what builds heroes on the playing field.

The same can be said for Sriracha sauce.

Jalapeno Cilantro Beer Margaritas
Jalapeno Cilantro Beer Margaritas

Beer margaritas are a fairly commonplace tailgate drink because they’re easy, tasty, scalable and contain a serious amount of alcohol. Generally made with cheap beer, a can of sickly sweet frozen limeade and tequila, traditional beer margaritas tend to taste like they belong in a Slurpee machine and not your cup.

Derby Disasters: Kentucky Beer Cheese
Derby Disasters: Kentucky Beer Cheese

You may find yourself face to face this Derby weekend with one of the worst of sports snacks of all time. One that should be avoided at all costs whether it be homemade or store bought. Traditional recipe? Modern (read: fancy) recipe? Served with pretzels, crudites or chips, nothing is going to save this food.

Kentucky Beer Cheese, also known as Kentucky Ale Cheese.

On paper, this should be one of my favorite snacks of all time. It’s made with cheese blended in cheese with even more cheese whipped in with beer and spices. But it’s not. It’s awful.

Football Off-Season Diet Food: Stuffed Zucchini “Pizza”
Football Off-Season Diet Food: Stuffed Zucchini “Pizza”

After a huge brunch this afternoon of hangover eggs, toast and hash browns, I wanted to make something lighter and remotely healthy for dinner tonight. Also because all of yesterday’s calories were spent on a yogurt, brown rice, a Mallow Cup and Jameson. (Mostly Jameson.)

Favorite Burgers: Pineapple, cole slaw, teriyaki and blue cheese on English muffins
Favorite Burgers: Pineapple, cole slaw, teriyaki and blue cheese on English muffins

Continuing my lackadaisical Football Foodie off-season, a quick post about one of my favorite “NEED MEAT NOW, IRON LEVELS FALLING” meals; pineapple, cole slaw, teriyaki and blue cheese on an English muffin burger. The sweetness of the pineapple and the teriyaki, the bite of the blue cheese and the crunch of the cole slaw all hold up nicely to beef while the English muffin grabs every last drop of succulent juices from the meat, fruit and slaw.

Tomato-Cannellini Dip
Tomato-Cannellini Dip

In the four-plus years of doing the Football Foodie, I’ve tried to make a point out of not relying on a lot of kitchen appliances in the recipes I post. Stove, oven; heavy pan for frying instead of a deep fryer, knife or pastry blender instead of a food processor. I haven’t always succeeded. The mini-chopper is used quite often, as is the stick blender and the mixer, and yes, a traditional blender. My thinking has always been that most of my readers are young, may not have a huge kitchen (I certainly don’t), and might be single sports fans with just a knife and a can opener.

Why the explanation? Because it’s the second post in a row using my new food processor and I’m feeling guilty for getting away from one of my own personal guidelines. Just know that a good pastry blender or potato masher can work just as well as a food processor/blender/stick blender/mini-chopper with this recipe.

Toasted Sesame Edamame Dip With Wonton Chips
Toasted Sesame Edamame Dip With Wonton Chips

We’ve been experiencing a bit of radio silence over here in Football Foodie land after the Super Bowl, and for that I apologize. I’ve been trying to wrap up a few other projects this month that sadly don’t involve cooking and posting recipes, but now that it’s Bracket Season* we all have an excuse for a little extra snacking to go along with our sports.

Guest post over at SB Nation today! My experience at the Taste of the NFL party Super Bowl Eve!
Guest post over at SB Nation today! My experience at the Taste of the NFL party Super Bowl Eve!

My write up of the Taste of the NFL is up over on SB Nation. Trust me when I say you want to click on over and see the pictures.

There is still time to make a chèvre cheese plate
There is still time to make a chèvre cheese plate

Maybe you’re like me and completely worn out. Maybe you haven’t even started getting your Super Bowl snacks together. Maybe you have got your snacks together, but you feel your table needs just a little something more. Maybe you already ate the snacks you made.

You still have time to make a chèvre cheese plate. Creamy goat cheese cut in to rounds and rolled in herbs and pepper, topped with olives or preserves, plain or with honey.

Guest post over on SB Nation today! Steelers and Packers Jelly Jello Shots and Texas Rose Punch for the Super Bowl
Guest post over on SB Nation today! Steelers and Packers Jelly Jello Shots and Texas Rose Punch for the Super Bowl

Still looking for Super Bowl themed cocktails for tomorrow? Over at SB Nation I’ve got you covered for Steelers and Packers Jelly Jello shots and Texas Rose Punch.

Coffee & Pepper Glazed Chicken Drumsticks
Coffee & Pepper Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

The original recipe calls for using drumettes and thickening the sauce into a heavy glaze, but I’ve found it does much better with drumsticks and as a light sauce. A little extra garlic and ginger and the addition of green onions are pretty much my only other tweaks I’ve made to the recipe. It reminds me somewhat of Chicharrones de Pollo, another rum-and-chicken Football Foodie dish, but this one is a little easier to make and there’s no messing around with hot oil for frying

Sriracha Fried Pickles
Sriracha Fried Pickles

Possibly one of the all-time greatest bar foods is fried pickles, a snack I hold above mozzarella sticks and fried zucchini.

So when The Gurgling Cod told me about how they preferred making pimento cheese with Rick’s Picks products a few months ago, I scouted their online store for local distributors to make sure I bought the proper prescribed pepper. Imagine my amazement when I saw they sold sriracha pickles. Could it be? A way to improve my beloved fried pickle? I could barely contain my excitement as I bought a jar at my local cheese shop. Spicy, cut thick enough to endure frying, locally sourced pickles? Okay, so I bought more than just one jar.

Guest post over on SB Nation today. Talking Super Bowl Burritos!
Guest post over on SB Nation today. Talking Super Bowl Burritos!

Hey, look who’s over on SB Nation today talking about making burritos for the Super Bowl!

Go like and SB Nation the heck out of my first post for them, because you know, we are all very passionate about burritos.

Blue Cheese Pierogies with Buffalo Sauce
Blue Cheese Pierogies with Buffalo Sauce

Over the summer, Bryan and I had a chance to take a couple of weeks off to take a road trip across the country. See some friends and family, go to a ballgame, stop by Steelers training camp in Latrobe, have some sweet tea in Tennessee. Obviously having a lot of time in the car, I started to toss around ideas for the 2010-2011 season of the Football Foodie series with both Bryan and with my readers on Twitter. I don’t quite remember how it came up, but somehow we got stuck on Buffalo-style pierogies and how could you do them aside of the usual way of just putting hot sauce on a box of Mrs. T’s. Someone suggested chicken, which I rejected even though I know a few cooks make pierogies with poultry in them. Beef or pork is a common filling in Eastern European pierogies, but chicken? I wasn’t convinced.

Baked Artichoke Bites
Baked Artichoke Bites

Right now, we’re in the middle 42-7 Pro Bowl blowout which surprisingly enough, makes today’s NHL All-Star defense-free 11-10 final seem competitive in retrospect.

Busy week this coming up for football and food planning. I’ll be posting recipes both here and over at SB Nation for all of your Super Bowl party needs, so keep an eye out for upcoming posts covering Blue Cheese Pierogies with Buffalo Sauce, Sriracha Fried Pickles, Oven-Baked Mini-Burritos, Coffee Glazed Chicken Legs, cocktails and more. So let’s get to it, we only have one week left to get our Super Bowl menu ready!

Grilled Fruit Kabobs
Grilled Fruit Kabobs

Quick intro because, well, mostly because it’s Saturday and on the weekends we should all try to take as much as of a break from information age as possible, and secondly because I’m working on getting the rest of the week’s posts ready ASAP so I can give everyone a comprehensive Super Bowl planning guide on Monday or Tuesday.

Also, we all need to save all of our energy for tomorrow’s ProBowl and NHL All-Star Game. Back-to-back games like that are sure to be exhausting.

What Happens When A Yankee Makes Pimento Cheese
What Happens When A Yankee Makes Pimento Cheese

When football and foodie raconteur The Gurgling Cod declared November Pimento Cheese Awareness Month, I was intrigued. All I knew about pimento cheese was that it was the stuff sold in small jars next to the Velveeta and that you’d see it in Southern cookbooks, often served on crustless white bread. I figured it was something reserved for ladies who lunch and The Masters. Turns out, people take pimento cheese very seriously.

Rosemary, Chive and Cheese Biscuit Bites
Rosemary, Chive and Cheese Biscuit Bites

I can’t lie, I’ve long imagined that if I were to ever open a local watering hole, these biscuit bites would be our bar nibbles instead of peanuts or pretzels because they go so well with beer and cocktails.

You may be worried that the small dough ball won’t make that many biscuit bites, but this recipe yields about five dozen of these savory little treats. If you’re having a large party, the recipe is easily doubled or even tripled. And if you are not a fan of cheddar, these are very similar to the Parmesan Crisps I posted a couple of years ago, but with sour cream instead of egg.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies

Just because it’s the Super Bowl doesn’t mean it should be all chips, wings and pizza. You’re going to need something sweet to counterbalance the savory.

Fortunately the salt from the pretzels prevents these cookies from being overly sugary tasting and they keep their crunch nicely in during baking, matching well with the softness of the dough.

Orzo Pasta Salad
Orzo Pasta Salad

I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve brought this salad to a tailgate, football party, or picnic in the eight years since one of my mother’s Orange County cousins shared with me the general recipe for this dish. I’ve tweaked it some since then, added more olives, and incorporated in some balsamic vinegar, garlic, cucumber and parsley. I can tell you it vanishes at ever party I’ve ever brought it to.

Choricitos al Vino (Chorizo in Red Wine or “Fancy Cocktail Wieners”)
Choricitos al Vino (Chorizo in Red Wine or “Fancy Cocktail Wieners”)

It’s 2011. If you haven’t upgraded your palate from your aunt’s famous “cocktail wieners in barbecue sauce with beans” by now, there really isn’t much more I can do for you other than to make a plea you try this Spanish tapas dish instead of the same old, same old.

Savory Palmiers
Savory Palmiers

Listen, you may think this doesn’t look like a football snack food. That craving for bread your guests get after about their third beer? Yeah. These disappear in a heartbeat.

Slow-Cooker Short Ribs
Slow-Cooker Short Ribs

The forecasts for tomorrow’s NFC and AFC Championships games both call for sub-freezing temperatures, not just at the stadium, but pretty much for the entire country except for Hawaii, South Florida and here in SoCal. (Liberally applies sunscreen and heads to the beach for pregame.)

So how to have the classic football food, barbecue? Your slow-cooker. (Or if you are brave, in a large, heavy stockpot on the stove over, low, low heat.) Why do I use a slow-cooker for ribs even though it’s warm here? It’s a super easy way to make ribs without it taking up a lot of time so I can concentrate on my other dishes and the actual game.

Baba Ghanoush
Baba Ghanoush

Lots of recipes that involve eggplant list all the ways you can help keep your eggplant from turning bitter. Resting them in salt, water, then salt again, waving a candle over the vegetable and saying a prayer, what have you. To be honest, I’ve never encountered a bitter eggplant so I don’t worry about all those steps, but you can go through the anti-bitter rituals if you like.

Also, some baba ghanoushes are fluffy white, some are nutty brown. They both taste the same, so don’t worry too much about the color here.

You will need…

Poblano Veggie White Bean Chili
Poblano Veggie White Bean Chili

It’s always important to have just as many meat-free options at a party as it meat options, or one that can easily accommodate vegans if you set aside a portion of the finished dish before adding any cheese. Take away the tortillas and you’ve just helped out someone with a gluten allergy.

And just because it’s meat-free, doesn’t mean this chili is lacking in testosterone for a football party. Poblanos are tricky peppers. Most of the time they can be somewhat mild, but sometimes, BAM! Right in the kisser. This chili had everyone reaching for extra sour cream to take the edge off of heat.

Stuffed Peppadews
Stuffed Peppadews

This past weekend, fellow Steelers THUNDERDOME fantasy football league member Joshua Rivera was in town with his buddy for a Laker game and a long weekend visit, which means we got to play host for Saturday’s Steelers-Ravens rematch. Since I wanted to make sure they got the full LA experience and didn’t get stuck inside our place while the weather was so nice, we headed out to Big Wangs to meet up with some fellow black and gold fans. (Don’t worry, I cooked and had people over for Sunday’s games and the Golden Globes so they could get a feel for what our usual football party is like.) Great game, great people and way too many shots from Big Wang’s resident mayor, Smokey.

Roasted Dill Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Dill Brussel Sprouts

Well, my long winded intro for this post was spun-off into its own entry, Yes, you should have an opinion on the upcoming lockout, so go read that post then come back here for a surprisingly healthy Football Foodie post about brussel sprouts.

So assuming you went back and read that particular post, understand that being an informed consumer is just like having healthy snacks. It’s not that hard and frankly, you’re going to enjoy it more than you think you’re going to.

The Suffering Bastard
The Suffering Bastard

The Suffering Bastard is a classic old British Empire recipes with many variations. You can use ginger beer for ginger ale (like you would for a traditional Dark and Stormy), Rose’s lime juice for fresh lime, and can be served with or without bitters. Some people prefer to make the cocktail with bourbon, although the earliest recipes for the Suffering Bastard called for brandy. Both ways are excellent. Always made with gin.

These went over very well at the end of the Pats-Jets game yesterday with our guests, but that could have been because we were already through more craft beer than you could shake Portland hipster at.  Well, except for me. I was having IC Light, which prompted the following:

Quesadilla with Chicken, Gouda and Sauteed Onions
Quesadilla with Chicken, Gouda and Sauteed Onions

Kick-off. Less. Than. 12. Hours. Away. Can. Barely. Wait. No. Patience. To. Write. Intro.

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Quesadillas with Chicken, Gouda and Sauteed Onions

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from traditional Cheddar/Monterrey Jack quesadillas. Thyme, sauteed onions and Gouda cheese are a nutty with just a hint of sweetness change of pace.

Hot Olive Bites
Hot Olive Bites

I used up all my energy earlier with Scientists Claim NFL Did Not Take Into Account Earth’s Wobble in Realignment, so this post is nothing but the recipe!

Potato Rosemary Pizzettes
Potato Rosemary Pizzettes

So in the spirit of hoping the Jets and the Patriots completely beat the crap out of each other on Sunday, I’ve come up a list of Henny Youngman-style insults in case either team (read:Patriots) needs some inspiration while improving their own trash talk.

Spicy Peanut Butter Honey Chicken Tenders
Spicy Peanut Butter Honey Chicken Tenders

Wednesday is the worst day of any playoff week. Pure excitement propels you through Monday. Tuesday, you settle down a bit and read every article about each team on the internet, including Prodigy and iVillage, but not the Buenes Aires Times because for some reason their American sports articles are behind a pay wall. Thursday means the weekend is almost here and odds are some second year lineman has said something foolish by now for entertainment. You float through Friday knowing each minute brings you closer to kickoff. Plans are finalized, beer and soda is procured, lucky socks cleaned. (Unless part of their luck is always being dirty, in which case you fumigate your lucky socks.)

Cheddar Herb Potato Chips
Cheddar Herb Potato Chips

If there is already one story line I’m already sick of in the 2010-2011 season playoffs, it’s that the 7-9 regular season record — yet NFC West champs — Seattle Seahawks don’t deserve to be in the postseason, much less upsetting the Saints in the Wild Card. It has been suggested in many quarters that perhaps the NFL should look to Canadian Football League playoffs and their system of “crossing-over” teams with winning records from the East to the West divisions for a balanced and fair postseason, or more accurately, usually a team from the West ends up in the East. Or perhaps the teams should be re-seeded in the postseason.

Doug Farrar for Yahoo! Sports:

Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms
Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms

Steelers fan paranoia week is finally here. Thank goodness it’s a short week with the AFC North rematch scheduled for Saturday, because frankly I don’t think I could keep it together until Sunday. As I said yesterday, you just knew it was coming. It could be a Tuesday in July and everyone would want Steelers-Ravens.

So while we impatiently wait for the next round, there is a whole work week to slog through, Pens-Bruins (twice, with one of those match-ups also on Saturday), a BCS championship game that the NCAA will probably disavow and vacate at some point, and probably a good $2-$3 million dollars worth of ad buys for Vince Vaughn’s THE DILEMMA. What a horrible rivalry week.

Creamy Hot Hoagie Dip
Creamy Hot Hoagie Dip

Yes, hoagie dip recipes are not new. What bothers me about all the hoagie dip recipes out there is that they are cold. Cold cuts, cold dressing — some creamy, some oil based, and tossed like an antipasta.

Cold is not a hoagie. Cold is a sandwich.

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Dip
Spicy Roasted Vegetable Dip

So, it’s the first weekend of the playoffs and you’re trying to stick with some sort of New Year’s resolution to lose a few pounds, or at the very least, not gain any new pounds. Maybe you have already pinned your swimsuit to the wall as a reminder that summer will be here sooner rather than later, living your life like a “thin-perational” ad for either Special K or Yoplait. And here at TSW HQ (am I still allowed to stay that?) I don’t judge. Or at least, I try not to. It’s hard to not roll one’s eyes at hamburger stuffed with bacon, wrapped in bacon served on a bacon donut bun or conversely, 54 calorie grungy tap water beer.

Sicilian Christmas Pizza, Sfincione
Sicilian Christmas Pizza, Sfincione

While the sting over yesterday’s loss to Jets should have been softened by the Steelers being only the second team to be ensured a playoff spot, (the first team being the New England Patriots, who received quite a scare from the Rodger-less Packers last night), all it did was remind me how little football is left and how precious our remaining time with the NFL is right now. The last two weeks of the regular season — which between a Thursday night game against the Panthers, the holidays, the Winter Classic and finishing on the road in Cleveland — will fly by in flash, and then it’s the playoffs.  So depending on when the next loss happens, we as fans may not be cheering for months, or even years depending on how the 2011 lockout shakes out. Enjoy every win like it’s the last you’re going to see for a long, long while. (Now the official motto of the NFC West.)

College Bowls of Nuts: Cocoa Bourbon Pecans and Spiced Cocoa Almonds
College Bowls of Nuts: Cocoa Bourbon Pecans and Spiced Cocoa Almonds

Originally this week I had planned on doing a snack guide for the entire college football bowl season, but when I realized I could only make so many BYU/Utah Jello jokes I decided to fall back on lazy jabs about college football fans being nuts. (Which as we will see later in this post, they are.)

Considering there are approximately 273 bowl games, you’re going to need a snack that you can make in large batches and will keep for days. Some people are big fans of heavy holiday noshing – the carb-and-salt-loaded Chex Mix and sugary “white trash” come to mind, but I prefer items that are both filling but not too heavy this time in small doses this time of year. A small handful of nuts not only go well with beer, they are also substantial enough to make a football watching food. (A good trade off since you’re not going to spend a lot of time planning football entertainment around Christmas and New Year’s aside of the bowl games, and if you’re anything like me, going to be sick of being in the kitchen after all the holiday cookie baking.)

Thursday Football Dessert, Vanilla Ice Cream, Single Malt Scotch and Ground Pepper
Thursday Football Dessert, Vanilla Ice Cream, Single Malt Scotch and Ground Pepper

Just a quick Thursday Night Football dessert suggestion if you are looking for something sweet to finish off the Colts season tonight’s Indianapolis-Tennessee game. Good vanilla ice cream, about an ounce of single malt scotch (it doesn’t have to be the good stuff), and a few turns of the pepper grinder yields a sweet treat which surprisingly tastes of caramel with a slight bite of ground pepper. Delicious.

Maker’s Mark Manhattan Mini Cupcakes
Maker’s Mark Manhattan Mini Cupcakes

December is also when football watching all weekend, every weekend starts to become an iffy proposition because of all the aforementioned holiday parties, cookie exchanges and treats for the office you’re baking for. Which is why I start looking for treats in December that can pull double duty between bringing to a football event (boozy) and something that seems festive and colorful for the holidays (mini cupcakes). Recipes that can be easily doubled, satisfy a large group of people, and are relatively easy to make.

Arrogant Bastard Beer Battered Mashed Potato Balls
Arrogant Bastard Beer Battered Mashed Potato Balls

This week’s Football Foodie recipe was inspired by Stone Brewery Bistro’s Spud Buds, their interpretation of classic mashed potato balls which are usually given a bread crumb coating and baked. I first tried these treats on a tour of their brewery a couple of summers ago and have been in love with them ever since.  The strong — but not overpowering –  hoppy, malty taste of Arrogant Bastard stands up really well in cooking and provides much more punch than you’re typical beer batter made with lighter brews.

Since mashed potatoes are usually one of the items every makes way too much of at Thanksgiving, this is an easy way to use them up for a football watching snack without feeling like you’re eating the same leftovers for three days in a row.

Kielbasa Beer (Tomato-less) Sloppy Joes
Kielbasa Beer (Tomato-less) Sloppy Joes

For the first time in Friday Football Foodie history, we go into the weekend without Jeff Reed kicking for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After last weekend’s Sunday night loss to the Patriots, I was ready to stop defending Reed, but I don’t know if I was ready to see him go just yet. He wasn’t on the field when Ben threw a pick-six, he wasn’t behind the defensive scheme that never seemed to pressure Brady, nor was he the one who took out our entire offensive line.

Brunch Bread Bowls with Egg, Ham and Cheese
Brunch Bread Bowls with Egg, Ham and Cheese

Long time Friday Football Foodie readers know that as a West Coaster, where football starts prompt at 9am on Saturdays and 10am on Sundays, I absolutely love the Football Brunch.  You get to miss the three to four hours of meaningless pregame analysis, you can start drinking earlier if you want, and you are approximately 87% less likely to see Frank Caliendo doing his Madden impression. All wins.

Potato Leek and Tomato Cheese Rustic Tarts
Potato Leek and Tomato Cheese Rustic Tarts

Unlike a lot of people, I like Thursday Night Football. Sure, it stinks if you’re on the East Coast or live somewhere in the middle of the country and football goes up against your favorite shows, (we’ll leave the ‘Community’ vs ‘Big Bang Theory’ debate for another day), or if you’re on the West Coast and football starts at 5:20pm while you’re still at the office. The trade off is that if your team plays on Thursday, you’re under a lot less pressure to watch football on Sunday and this is the time of year when Sundays start to become very, very valuable.

Shredded Chicken Mole Chili Frito Pie
Shredded Chicken Mole Chili Frito Pie

Listen, so the Steelers lost last weekend to the Saints and there are about a dozen things to be upset about in the loss, but there are about a million more reasons why not to be too upset. The week before, I even stated that if the Browns upset the Saints — which they did — it was very bad news for Pittsburgh.

To be honest, after most regular season losses I can recall very little of the actual game after a couple of days. Glimpse here, moment there, bad call, bad break, feelings of dread, which players struggled, who on the opposing team was suddenly a superstar, but mostly nothingness. I don’t think I could count the number games I’ve been to, watched on television, or listened to on the radio over the years. At home. At parties. At the office. Tailgating. On the road. High school. College. Pro. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Regular season Steeler losses somehow all blur together over the past [redacted for age] years as a thin, black thread of empty memories.

Let’s face it, we’re all eating candy this weekend.
Let’s face it, we’re all eating candy this weekend.

But let’s face it, we’re all just eating candy this weekend.

Okay, that’s not true. I have a brand new recipe I’m trying out this weekend for the Steelers-Saints game that I’m hoping is a smash hit with the crowd. And since I am cooking for the night game, I have all day work in the kitchen and get everything just right before kickoff. No rushing about at 9:50 am making sure the coffee is done, setting out napkins while finalizing my fantasy line-ups. Because I’m not making this recipe until Sunday, it’s impossible for me to post about it today unless I was one of those food/mommy bloggers who makes two batches of everything they cook because one batch is just for styling and pictures while the second batch is for eating. No thanks.

Homemade Pumpkin Sage Crackers & The Existential Crisis
Homemade Pumpkin Sage Crackers & The Existential Crisis

I don’t want anyone to get hurt, but truth of the matter is the only way to avoid destruction is not to play the game.

Now to crackers.

Usually, I post a whole string of photos on how to make these recipes, fill it with some half-funny jokes and vague references to fat players.

Considering the long walk I took above, well.  Just look at the photo set here and read the below directions. You’ll figure it out. These are really awesome crackers and I’d be lying to say I haven’t eaten an entire other batch of them while typing this post.

Roasted Garlic Hummus
Roasted Garlic Hummus

If you are buying pre-made hummus, you are overpaying for your football snack.

$4.99-$8.99 for a paltry 7 ounce container of hummus is Al Davis paying for JaMarcus Russell or Gibril Wilson. Shameful.

Beans or chickpeas? Cheap. Lemon juice? Cheap. Garlic? Cheap. Salt and pepper? Cheap. Paprika, cumin and dried herbs for your pita chips? (Do not waste money on store bought baked pita chips!) Very cheap, and even cheaper if you keep away from the spices in fancy glass jars and buy the brands that come in little bags. Salt and pepper? Practically free. Tahini? Okay, tahini isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, but you’ll get a lot use out of it. If you want to go even cheaper, you can toast your own sesame seeds and then blend them together with olive oil to make your own. But still? Cheap-ish.

Chipotle Black Bean Hummus
Chipotle Black Bean Hummus

Making your own hummus is like getting LaMarr Woodley for half a million.

First up, a spin on traditional hummus, Chipotle Black Bean Hummus. As far as I can tell, as long as you include tahini, you can call it all hummus. Tahini in your morning coffee? It’s hummus.

Hot Pastrami Reuben Dip
Hot Pastrami Reuben Dip

I love this recipe. I spent my whole childhood hating the Reuben casserole my mom would make (mostly because it had corned beef, Swiss and way too much sauerkraut, things I don’t particularly like), but in this incarnation I love Reubens.

Unfortunately, I now have to temporarily hate Hot Pastrami Reuben Dip because it’s what I made on Sunday when the Steelers lost to the Ravens in a most spectacular implosion of mismanagement and undisciplined play in the final couple of minutes of the game. (Even worse, now my new Steelers headband has unfortunately moved to 3-1 this season.) To some football fans, complaining about 3-1 may sound spoiled or insincere. It’s not. Not when you had a chance to defeat your fiercest division rival — sorry Browns — who were an early pick to go to the Super Bowl. The Steeler fan’s chip-on-the-shoulder-why-does-no-one-respect-our-team never really ever goes away, and in my case, this grudge is going to be taken out on a dip.

Buffalo Chicken Wontons and Cream Cheese Wontons
Buffalo Chicken Wontons and Cream Cheese Wontons

So on that note, WONTONS! I love fried wontons for Living Room-Gating — yes I am going to keep using those words all season until it catches on — with a bunch of people. Easy, quick, and they feed a ton of people. It took five big eaters to go through a tray this size during the All-Star Game this past summer.

Steak Fingers
Steak Fingers

I’ve been to Texas, oh, I’d say about a dozen times in my life. Maybe more. And I’ve been to Idaho, you know, for about 10 minutes that one time my dad accidentally drove the wrong way out of Yellowstone Park. But until this summer, I had never heard of their common cuisine. What do those two states have in common, aside them both of being home to college football powerhouses that like to complain about not getting enough respect?

Steak fingers. Or in Idaho-speak, finger steaks. (I’m going with “steak fingers” instead of “finger steaks” because the latter sounds like a George Romero recipe.)

Mint Julep Jelly Shots
Mint Julep Jelly Shots

While most people think of beer when they think of football and tailgating, I love bourbon-based drinks and football.

It wasn’t always this way. I spent my 21st birthday at Lafayette for the Leigh-Lafayette Rivalry weekend, and when I arrived at my friend’s dorm he handed me a handle of Jim Beam with the direction, “This is your weekend.” Obviously “your weekend” meant drinking so much I passed out on top of a Suburban before the game, getting a firm handshake from a high school crush/boy-I-occasionally-fooled-around-and-I-always-wanted-it-to-be-more-but-it wasn’t-who-happened-to-attend-Lafayette when I happened to pass by him at some party, and sleeping in the spare bed of a guy with the appropriately occupational name, Stoner.

It was years before I could even stand the smell of bourbon again, but once we became friends again, I realized why it made for such a good football drink. Sweet and warm, it’s an autumn afternoon in a bottle. Mint juleps, long the standard for hot summer days in the South, really are not made for tailgating, what with all the shaved ice and fancy silver cups and such. But a “jelly” — we’re avoiding the brand name here — shot was made to take to parties and tailgates.

Grilled Tri-Tip with Chocolate Balsamic Sauce
Grilled Tri-Tip with Chocolate Balsamic Sauce

Now I know how Dennis Dixon felt going through training camp and probably feels now that Leftwich is on the mend. You think you’re fine, then it turns out you’re not, so you have to waste time with something else that doesn’t quite work, and then by some fluke and hard work you end up right back where you were before with a job that should have been yours all along, still looking over your shoulder in case it’s taken away from you again.

Okay, maybe they are not quite the same thing.

Today’s video was shot over Labor Day weekend during a break in some college football watching. As you can tell, as a group of Pomona, Ohio University and Pitzer College — Pitzer? The guy wearing the Pitzer hoodie went to U of Ohio for undergrad and I forget where for law school — among others, we’re not the biggest college fans. Doesn’t mean we cannot use it as an excuse to get together and barbecue by the pool. (Thanks KP!)

Beer popcicles
Beer popcicles

Beer pops are one of those things that have been around forever, but every once in awhile everyone gets all excited for them all again after they show up in hip restaurants like Diablo Royale Este in New York City.

They’re super easy to make (as long as you have the freezer space), and are a fun novelty to bring to a September tailgate while the weather is still warm. (Or if you live in SEC or AFC/NFC South country, still 100º-Timothy-Olyphant-hot outside.)

Homemade Bacon Bourbon Popcorn
Homemade Bacon Bourbon Popcorn

Oh sure, you can spend  $32 on prepared popcorn. I’ve tried it and it’s plenty good, but still. $32 for two pounds. (My local gourmet market sells 4 ounces of it for $9!)

You know what else costs a lot of money this time of year? Re-upping your College Gameday and NFL Sunday Ticket subscriptions. So just because you’ve blown your allowance or rent on premium sports packages, doesn’t mean you have to suffer through sub-par snacking on game day. For less than $10, you can have enough bacon bourbon popcorn for your whole crew.

Preseason munchies
Preseason munchies

Stadium Nacho Doritos: Tastes like if you made-out with the two-pack- of-Marlboros-a-day season ticket holder in section 239 after he ate some nachos. Pass.

The Complete Football Foodie World Cup Voting Guide
The Complete Football Foodie World Cup Voting Guide

Finally, time to get this party started!

Below you will find all the pictures, polls and links back to each group’s preview post (just in case you need to be reminded what sirovi štruklji and gyōza are) all in one handy place.

Red, White and Blue Shots
Red, White and Blue Shots

Not sure how to celebrate Team USA’s gold medal run while incorporating your love of the SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS meme?   Nationalistic alcohol, that’s how!

Mudslides
Mudslides

On a lark, Josh (aka Punte) from With Leather held a pool for the 18 countries who only had one athlete participating in the 2010 Winter Olympics for which country would have the highest overall finish.

My draw was Dow Travers (official Olympic page, Twitter), from the Cayman Islands who participated in the Men’s Giant Slalom.  Skier from the Caymans?  Improbable you say?  Maybe, but so is the fact that the Cayman Islands are home to the original frozen mudslide.  No really!  The Wreck Bar on Rum Point — odd since there isn’t any rum in a mudslide — is where the drink first appeared

You WILL Have Enough Ice
You WILL Have Enough Ice

Why?  Because a good drink starts with a good foundation.  Not enough ice in the beer cooler? Warm beer.  Not enough ice in the ice bucket?  Warm cocktails and even worse if you’re the designated driver, warm soda.  Nothing is sadder than the poor designated driver at the end of the evening, just staring at a half-empty, flat 2-liter of Coke, (most of which had been used as a rum mixer), on the table next to a sorry bowl with just a little bit of water at the bottom. Even scarier is the idea that you might have to make a drink using the slimy, greasy ice — what little of it is left — from the bottom if the beer cooler and hope it doesn’t taste like disintegrated Bud Lite labels.

Supposedly the rule of thumb is two pounds of ice per person.  LIES!  Three to four pounds a person should be mandatory for all gatherings.  If you were having a Super Bowl party with all these fine sports writers who contributed to this predictions post over at the Gally Blog, you would need at least 60-80 pounds of ice for it to be a successful event.

Add a little Old Bay
Add a little Old Bay

In my circle of friends, everyone has stories about a guy named Britt and his obsession with Old Bay.  You’ll be at a party and if there are some plain chips out, suddenly Britt’s there flavoring them with Old Bay.  Not at his own house mind you, but in your living room with Old Bay.  Summer BBQ and you’re standing near the grill?  “You should put some Old Bay on that.”  At our friend Jason’s bachelor party,  he gave the groom a can of Old Bay on which he had written on the bottom of the can, “Put it on… everything.”

And he’s right.  Old Bay is perfect and you need something fast for the game.  On kettle-fried chips (although try to use it on unsalted chips or lightly salted chips), popcorn, the chicken or veggies you just grabbed at the market twenty minutes before kickoff, it will be your savior.

New Orleans Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya vs Indianapolis Sugar Cream Pie
New Orleans Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya vs Indianapolis Sugar Cream Pie

For Indianapolis, I’ve made the regional favorite, sugar cream pie.  At first glance, the recipe made me break out in hives.  Out the hundreds of sugar cream pie recipes I looked at, all of them called for a pre-made frozen pie shell.  Sacre bleu!  The filling is made out of heavy whipping creme, sugar, flour, whole (!!!) milk, butter and a touch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon.  Only a few of the recipes I saw even called for the very racy ingredient of vanilla.

Chicharrones de Pollo
Chicharrones de Pollo

Back on Day 1 of the 14 Days of Super Bowl Recipes, we said this year’s Football Foodie theme was going to be smaller, easier dishes to round out your Super Bowl table.  Side items to supplement the giant smoked briskets, 6-foot sandwiches, and 25-layer dips you’ve already planned on serving this Sunday.  Main courses are great, but we all know it is the sides that complete the feast.  And just because it is a side dish, doesn’t mean it has to be wimpy and light.

On Sunday, while every newly-minted New Orleans Saints fan will be gorging on Reggie Bush, some of us will be filling our plates with a monster helping of Pierre Thomas.  Cheering for Peyton Manning?  Awesome, but I think I’ll take a big old heaping of Gary Brackett racing towards Drew Brees instead.  For every sexy, boldfaced name’ like Dallas Clark there is a surfeit of talented Austin Collies and Pierre Garcons to load your plate up with during the Super Bowl.

Mixed Fruit and Blueberry Salsas
Mixed Fruit and Blueberry Salsas

I’m planning on enjoying these last few days of the Steelers championship.  All of my complaints about what went wrong with the 2009 squad are going to be tempered by the joy that last year’s Super Bowl win gave me for just a little bit longer.  I’m going to make annoying comments about how great the Steelers are around other websites, on Twitter (annoying rival fans along the way), wear my Steelers purse around town, dress my Spaniel in her little Steelers collar, and listen to “Steeler Ladies” as if it won the Grammy for song of the year instead of Beyonce’s version.  And it is my hope that all of my other Steeler-loving friends do the same.

Because in less than a week, it will be someone else’s turn to crow.

Pro Bowl Pretzel Bread
Pro Bowl Pretzel Bread

Hooray!  I’m watching a substandard Pro Bowl — which by pro-football standards is already a very, very low standard — with third-choice players, a rainy field and tens of thousands of other football fans who all agree; even bad football is better than the best the Grammys have to offer.  (By the way, how is it that even with moving the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl, it manages to be the same weekend as the Grammys again?)

The good news is we’ve decided to stay in for this years Pro Bowl.  The last time Holly and I blogged the game from Big Wangs, we had to ask the waitress to switch from “Napa Wine Today” for the game.  This also means we have an excuse to revisit one the best recipes from this year’s Friday Football Foodie series, Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites with Beer Floats! Do you remember how awesome they were?

Wasabi Peas
Wasabi Peas

The quiet before the storm.  Less then eight days left to come up with a plan for the Super Bowl.

If you are a Saints fan, you’re checking room rates, ticket brokers and staring at maps looking for ways to shave time off the 13 hour drive from New Orleans to Miami.

If you are a Colts fan, you’re debating purchasing the game day package from Costco that includes game tickets, plane tickets, hotel room, and a pre-game bar.

Everyone else?  Well, we’re still figuring out what type of food to serve next Sunday.

New Orleans Style Pimm’s Cups & Cucumber Tapas
New Orleans Style Pimm’s Cups & Cucumber Tapas

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of flipping on Kurt Warner’s press conference to announce his retirement.

Forty minutes later and I cannot put together a single cohesive thought to save my life.  I cannot think of any other profession where one person’s decision to leave a job — other than late night talk show hosts, and we can all admit that is a relatively rare occurrence  — receives as much press coverage as when an athlete retires.  Football fans love to trot out the overused canard “football is a team sport” and “play as a team, win as a team”, but deep down we know it is not true.  One player or one coach can change an entire team.  The foundation of talenljwrjklasdijpxamxsa’MKNFLDSndjkla HOW CAN PEOPLE WRITE THIS WAY?!?@!?@1

See up there? 20 seconds ago? Where I said “cannot put together a single cohesive thought to save my life” before the rambling started? Watching forty minutes of a football retirement speech has reduced me to nothing but a pile of cliches.  No wonder “your local sportswriter sucks” was such a hit a few years ago.  Where is the research on the damage caused by attending x-amount of pressers over the years?

Smoky Cowboy Caviar
Smoky Cowboy Caviar

Just solid, rugged, football talk.

Which segues right into today’s theme:

14 Days of Super Bowl Recipes: Smoky Cowboy Caviar

Citrus Marinated Warm Olives
Citrus Marinated Warm Olives

Sure, I am undercutting my entire argument because I am writing my opinion about Super Bowl coverage in a post about recipes you can use for a Super Bowl party (two things that certainly have no effect on the outcome of the actual game), but I would like to think that in my own little corner of the sports blogging world, it is more about having fun and being an engaged fan in a way that plays to my strengths.  If I wrote about all the dishes I had to do after each game, no one would ever read my site.  By telling your readers the story is boring before you get to the meat of the topic, what chance do you have of anyone reading through to the end?

Anything — sports, sex, music, cooking, writing, flying a kite, rambling on and on –  is immediately less interesting when you make it sound like a grind.  Maybe as writers and readers, we wouldn’t be so bored if the stories weren’t already framed in such a negative light.

You know what are not negative?  Olives!  Beautiful, glorious olives!

Fried Chickpeas (Ceci Fritos)
Fried Chickpeas (Ceci Fritos)

When you first throw your chickpeas in the oil, you will think the world is ending.  Move quickly and cover.  A few chickpeas will pop and go flying.  Neither you, the oil, or the chickpea have done anything wrong.  These things happen.

Salted Honey Roasted Pecans
Salted Honey Roasted Pecans

WELL SUCK IT UP NANCY BECAUSE THIS IS THE LAST TIME YOU CAN EAT LIKE A PIG UNTIL NEXT SEPTEMBER.  You either start planning and cooking now or you will be stuck fighting some I-don’t-care-football-but-maybe-I-will-get-laid-if-I-get-out-of-the-house douchecake in an American Apparel hoodie over the last bag of Cool Ranch Doritos at the Silver Lake Vons next Saturday.

Mac & Cheese Bites with Sage and Scallions
Mac & Cheese Bites with Sage and Scallions

Internet, you have failed me.  Searches for “melted cheese head”, “melting Packer cheesehead”, or “melting morons wearing foam food for a hat” came up with bupkus.  I refuse to believe that no one has ever melted a cheesehead.

Let’s take a step back here.

Am I really talking about melting a Packer cheese head? After five losses in a row, am I really that confident?  Am I predicting a win over the Packers?  Does this mean I am hopeful the Steelers can turn their season around and finish above .500?  Do I believe they can finish 9-7?  Yes, I am and yes, I do.

Mini Burgers with Multiple Aiolis
Mini Burgers with Multiple Aiolis

And then my first batch of aioli failed.  I’ve made aioli before, but for some reason it wouldn’t emulsify.   I thought about how the Steelers had lost their past four games, but here against the Browns they were going to try again and I changed my theme and attempted the aioli again.

I wanted to talk about failure and picking yourself back up and trying again.  And again.  And again.  And again.  And even though it didn’t work the first few times, you try again.  Four stabs at the aioli and it still was not coming together.  Tried again with a different whisk, an immersion blender and a food processor.  None worked. Was this my losing streak to match the Steelers four-game slide?

Aioli wasn’t going to defeat me this week.  I got a fresh carton of eggs and tried again.

This batch of aioli? Perfection.  You keep going and eventually just like magic you can combine oil, garlic and egg.

Pear and Blue Cheese Squares
Pear and Blue Cheese Squares

YES, IT IS YOU PANSY.  The players haven’t stopped playing, so where the cuss do you think you get off!   Three seasons of the Football Foodie, so these recipes better be second nature to you now, especially this week’s two easy snacks.

Caramelized Onion with Apple Tart
Caramelized Onion with Apple Tart

Likewise, it is one of the toughest months to cook for football games.  Between the parties, cookies at the office, and eggnog it is a month of pure fat, something you had reserved for your one “free day” of Sunday.  (Or Saturday, depending on your football orthodoxy.)  Calories aside, if you’re already interested in cooking for football, you’re probably the person making cookies, helping the hosts with canapes and bringing the extra bottle of gloog to your office party.  Is it too much to rest when you watch football now?

BLT Bites
BLT Bites

How many things we didn’t get to eat at our own wedding, including these very football-friendly BLT bites appetizers.

Homemade Pierogies
Homemade Pierogies

The Steelers having this week’s Monday Night Football stage gave me all day to make the most powerful lucky dish known to Western Pennsylvania (outside of Dan Bylsma’s lucky burrito); pierogies.  Pierogies may be one of the few dishes to be featured on both bar and church fundraiser menus alike around Pittsburgh.  There are dozens of filling options.  Different secrets on how to make the pasta part just right. Some people fry them.  Some people boil them.  Some boil and then sauté their pierogies.  (My preferred method making pierogies.) Served with sour cream or farmer’s cheese.  There are few things more Pittsburgh than pierogies.  Did I have a Polish or Russian Nana? No.  Did I still have pierogies for dinner at least every other week growing up?  Absolutely.

Why are pierogies a great football food?  Hearty and carb-y enough to soak up extra beer in your stomach.  If they’re fried they are just as good – if not better -  than any other bar food, i.e. a snack you can grab and stuff in your mouth without having to look away from the television.  They even look like little footballs if you squint hard enough.

Homemade French Onion Dip
Homemade French Onion Dip

This week’s Friday Football Foodie is French Onion Dip.  Oh sure, you can just take the packet of Lipton’s French Onion Soup, stir it into a 16 oz container of sour cream and call it a day. It’s not a bad dip, but it sure as hell is not a good one either.  (Also, because the Lipton dip is rather salty, you keep kind of going back for more and more and more and more and more AND OH MY GOD SARAH WILL STEP AWAY FROM THE DIP ALREADY!  THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE AT THIS HALLOWEEN PARTY.)

Making French Onion Dip from scratch allows the natural sweetness of the onion to come through, and pairs much better with vegetables.  This is also another one you want to make at least a day ahead of time to give all the flavors a chance to open up and develop.

Phillips Head Screwdrivers
Phillips Head Screwdrivers

Okay, so it is just a screwdriver. But if you make it with pineapple vodka, call it phillips head screwdriver. Still much tastier than plain old vodka and OJ.

Cherry-Streusel Coffee Cake
Cherry-Streusel Coffee Cake

Long time Friday Football Foodie readers know that I love the football brunch. NFL games start at 10 am!  College games at 9 am!  Premier League starts at… Eff it! You’re probably still drunk from the night before for a 5:45 am start.  And full of In-N-Out!  Or House of Pies!  Or Fred 62!  Or Cafe 101!  Or Del Taco! Better yet, let’s go to a taco truck!  WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

So like any good brunch, pre-game planning is the key.  In the past I’ve made Friday Football Foodie quiches, stratas, baked French toast and pear tarts.  What do they have in common with Breakfast Enchiladas and Cherry-Streusel Coffee Cake?  You have to make them the night before.  Sunday morning before a 10 am game, you want to wake up at 9 am at the earliest.  Maybe 9:30 if you need a shower. 9:50 if you still need to make fantasy football moves.  8 am? Forget it.  Did I not mention the 2 am taco truck visit?  The cake can be baked the night before, and the enchiladas need to rest before baking morning of the game.

Black Russians
Black Russians

The one downside to cheese is sometimes your stomach does not feel so hot later on.  Or maybe you did drink too much Icehouse.  Or maybe you’re just getting old.   But you do not want to stop drinking, or you just want a nightcap, or maybe you’re just out of Tums.

This is where classic cocktails known as digestives are small miracles in a glass.  They will work through the cheese and they do offset the beer bloat. I don’t know how the magic of digestives work (someone from a cow college – the major, not the coeds – like Iowa might)  A traditional Black Russian is an amazing drink that can cure whatever is bothering your stomach.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

SPENCER HALL DOES NOT LIKE CHEESE. HE TOLD ME SO.  IT IS COMPLETELY VETTED.

Now, this makes sense for a college football fan.  College football involves a lot of tailgating, drinking cheap beer and teenage boys, none of which are conducive to cheese.  You’re not going to serve a nice juicy, well-grilled burger with Cotswold with one hand and pump Natty Light out of a keg with the other hand, surrounded by kids who haven’t showered since Thursday before their Business Ethics 301 class.  At the TKE house, do you think they care about watching the game and serving a nice Mexican Fondue, a Hot Pizza Dip,  or a Four Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Quiche? No, they heat up a can of Trader Joe’s Chili and dump leftover Chili Cheese (which do not in anyway taste cheesy) Fritos into a bowl, then serve it with Popov that may or may not have a cigarette butt floating in it from the night before.  No, no I do not believe Auburn fans would enjoy crostini with their football.

But everyone grows up sometime, Mr. Hall.  Palates change and mature, allowing us to enjoy all that is wonderful with cheese. Growing up and watching the NFL also allows us to watch football without having to get into discussions about scholarships and boosters, from hanging with kids who do not know how to drink without ralphing on their shoes, (another reason to stay away from cheese at a college football game I guess), and knowing I can enjoy watching a team be a team without worring about what the next recruiting class looks like. I want to just watch football and eat.  It does not get more sublime for a football fan than that.

Blood Orange Bourbon
Blood Orange Bourbon

The original recipe for this cocktail calls for plain blood orange juice.  Since that is often difficult to find, we went for the sparkling blood orange juice they carry at my local market.

French Dip with Stout
French Dip with Stout

What’s my point and what the hell does this have to do with the Friday Football Foodie?

Both Battista and Schefter are complete dips.  Having worked with large staffs – both union and non-union -  for more than a decade in a few different fields, I can say with great certainty that many people have no idea what the terms of their employment are.  Does not matter if it is the janitor, the kid in the mailroom, a senior manager, or even a Vice President of Titles That Have No Weight, people do not know when their next payday is, how their extended benefits function, if they get Columbus Day off (and they will ask that question every year, even after being with a company for twelve years), how accrued time off works, how to approach their boss for a raise, and even what their current salary is.  Really.

Beer Floats
Beer Floats

Over the summer, we went to the LA Beer Float Showdown at the Blue Palms down the hill from us.  (Rumor has it that the Blue Palms turns into a Steelers bar on Sundays, but since we already spend about $2300 on the NFL Sunday Ticket, I tend to prefer staying at home to watch the games.)

Since it was 92 degrees in Hollywood last weekend, I figured a beer float showdown of our own was in order.  One of my favorite floats from showdown was the St. Bernardus Abt 12 with a toffee ice cream.  I wondered how a chocolate toffee would taste with dark beers, so I set out to make my own mix of ice cream for one of the selections the night before.  (Since apparently chocolate toffee ice cream only exists in my imagination.)

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

Our football-loving friend and house guest Jeremy was on the phone with our non-football loving friend Damon when the Bengals intercepted Roethlisberger and returned the ball for a touchdown.   Second strike, since Damon has been known to jinx sporting events before.   Third strike?  Just as the final seconds of the game ticked down and the Bengals were looking like they were not going to make the end zone – PLEASE HOLD ON FOR THE WIN! – Damon walked in our front door, sending my dog into a frenzy (Missy and Damon do not get along), and next thing I know I go to pull her away and WHAT??!? Wait?  Touchdown Cincinnati?!?  I DIDN’T EVEN SEE IT I WAS DISTRACTED BY DAMON, THE DOG AND MY CHI WAS ELSEWHERE WHAT HAVE WE DONE.  DISTRACTED AND DAMON?!?!? THAT’S LIKE SEVEN STRIKES AGAINST MY TEAM.

Balaliaka!
Balaliaka!

Equal parts vodka, Cointreau, and lemon juice.  Serve over crushed ice.  Pray for the end of 100 degree days, if only because hockey is already in the preseason.

Sage, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto Crostini
Sage, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto Crostini

Some people love prosciutto wrapped around cantaloupe.  Now I love cured meats and I love cantaloupe, but football foodie rules clearly state all melons served in conjunction with football watching  must be properly soaked with Popov first.  Hopefully you are not combining a handle of anything with your food that costs less than the prosciutto.

Five Points
Five Points

At Essex’s sister outpost, Boho, they make the same cocktail substituting gin for the bourbon called the Bee’s Knees.  While summer heat still has not given way to the cool evenings of fall, it makes for great afternoon refresher while tailgating.

Mexican Fondue
Mexican Fondue

Mexican Fondue, a nice variation of spinach artichoke dip. Consider it the wildcat formation of hot dips. Seen here with its buddy guacamole, aka Shotgun Dip.

Ham & Cheese Muffins
Ham & Cheese Muffins

It’s hard to believe, but this is the last weekend that you can have a NFL brunch this season.  Next weekend, even if you live on the West Coast, 12pm is too late for brunch.  You’ll need something heavier,  greasier, and… Well.  Lunch-ier.

Maple Bacon Biscuits
Maple Bacon Biscuits

I love the Sunday football brunch and I am sad to see it leave us until next September.  Name another sport that allows you to wake up and start drinking and eating at 10AM? (Premiere League does not count, because who the heck is going to wake up and cook at 4am for a 6am game. Exactly.  Footie is for going out and drinking at 6am and letting someone else put beans on toast and spots on dicks.)

Hot Pizza Dip
Hot Pizza Dip

And naturally, what do you do? How do you hide the nagging voice in your head telling you Bruce Arians has no idea what he’s doing with an offense? Well, you can bang your head on the wall continuously (as my boyfriend does), or you lose yourself in the food (like I do). Drown in the comfort of warm, cheese-infused, dip-friendly goodness. Ah. That’s more like it. What’s that you say? Nine sacks, intentional grounding, four QB runs? It’s all good when you’ve got a friend like hot pizza dip.

 

Blue Cheese Potatoes
Blue Cheese Potatoes

For some reason people want to see Jessica Simpson in the stands cheering on Tony Romo. Others want as many shots as possible of Brady Quinn sitting on the bench.  (By my count, the networks have only cut to him once or twice all season.)  And some sick puppies don’t believe they rerun the footage of Joe Theisman breaking his leg enough.

Fans of the Friday Football Foodie apparently want more cheese. Both of these recipes are so easy that if you need second batches during your party, you will have more than enough time at the half to get these going and check your fantasy score

Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Crisps

Start making second batch right away because this plate will last six people about ten minutes.

Chicken Yakitori
Chicken Yakitori

Serve with the reserved marinade. The heat of the Tabasco really comes out in the dip as it develops on the palate and it is almost unexpected by the time you taste it.  Unexpectedly strong.  Unexpectedly Michael Turner.

Mint Juleps
Mint Juleps

For the same reasons Mint Juleps are the perfect Derby refreshment, they make a great football beverage. A drink you sip slowly, letting the ice slowly melt and stretch your cocktail even further.  (It also provides a nice lasting buzz that will continue past the Sunday Night Game with Olbermann and Patrick and right into Entourage.)  Everyone has a mint julep recipe they prefer, but I like this one since it cuts down on the little leaves that might get stuck in your teeth.

Tostada Cups
Tostada Cups

Pretty much whatever you have handy that you would love to have on a tostada.  It’s still early in the season so you have plenty of time for experimenting with new formations.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip
Spinach-Artichoke Dip

This recipe was given to me from a friend – who can be seen in the background of the homemade corn dog FFF – who got it from Cooking Light magazine. It is possibly the best spinach dip recipe I’ve ever come across and works just as well if you make it their “light” way or if you go ahead and use full fat cheese and sour cream. Which I do. And I use way more spinach than they call for.

Lite Veggie Dip, Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Lite Veggie Dip, Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Put that together with a few parties each week – anything from your friends tree decorating gathering complete with egg nog to the work parties that by 2am you’re splitting the last bottle of Patron with the blonde in from Annex while gobbling up the last of the Coconut Shrimp – and you’re looking at packing on 5-8 pounds before Nate Washington has dropped his first ball of the game.

Precious Roy Presents Gumbo
Precious Roy Presents Gumbo

I was told this should take “enough time to drink two beers.” I can’t imagine the wuss who came up with this. I usually put down at least three and often four doing the roux. It’s about half an hour, if it takes more (up to 45 minutes), don’t worry.You really need to error on the side of caution here because if black burned flecks appear in the roux, you’ve fucked up and burnt it. You have to start over. Seriously. It’s ruined. So stir constantly and be patient.

Pear Tart
Pear Tart

I actually served it with a savory bacon, cheese, and caramelized onion tart. You can find the recipe for that – and the same step-by-step directions I usually provide – here at The Amateur Gourmet.

Breakfast Strata
Breakfast Strata

Really, you can used whatever you want for the filling. Cooked sausage, bacon, just cheese and veggies (as long as they are not watery), you name it. You can also make this sweet strata by using cream cheese and raisins or other dried fruits. It is a good, “whatever the hell we have on hand” type of dish.

Cuban Sandwiches
Cuban Sandwiches

That is right. More ham. Or as my friend V loves to say, “PORK! WRAPPED IN MORE PORK!” This is funny only because it is after he has yelled this about 15 times does he ask, “WHY DOES THIS NOT HAVE BACON ON IT TOO??!?!?”

Dave’s Hot Beef Dip
Dave’s Hot Beef Dip

Dave first posted the recipe for the Hot Beef Dip back for Super Bowl XL – predicting a Steelers’ win, naturally – but this recipe is really too good to wait for a special event game, especially as we head into fall and heartier football snacking.

Overnight French Toast
Overnight French Toast

Part of the beauty of this dish is all the work – what little work there is – is done the evening before brunch, leaving you to sleep in until past 9am on game day for a change. (And I bet Paula Deen would cry less than Leinart over sharing the creation of this breakfast.)

Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary

Oh sure, you can just buy some Bloody Mary mix at the store, stick a stalk a celery in it and call it day, much like the Bucs field a team, hand it a ball, and call it “football”. You are better than that, and yes, I am talking right to you Gruden.

Four Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Quiche
Four Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Quiche

One of the greatest thing about living on the West Coast is the football brunch. Wake up, walk out to couch, turn on TV, football is there.

9-Layer Ranchero Dip Kickoff Special
9-Layer Ranchero Dip Kickoff Special

Mix together mayo, sour cream, and taco seasoning in a bowl. Remember how I said I usually double this mix? Much like coach Belichick and the injury report, I lied. I always double the amount of sour cream and mayo, and then usually use about a packet and a half of taco seasoning. (Really to taste, but remember the longer this sits, the more the spices will open up on the cream so do not over do it. ) You can also make your own taco seasoning by mixing together paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder if you happen to have all the above on hand.

Mary Pickfords
Mary Pickfords

This is one of those great fate ideas. I already knew I wanted to do all vegetarian friendly items for this FFF, but didn’t have any thoughts on a drink. Still too hot for beer in my mind. Didn’t feel like going to BevMo for anything I was out of at the bar. (Which really, is just gin at the moment.) I knew I had a lot of rum to get rid of, and some pineapple juice… Ah ha! Mary Pickfords!

But how do I relate her to sports? Or this theme? Help me, mighty Google Borg… Yes! Mary Pickford was a vegetarian!

Mexican Pinwheels
Mexican Pinwheels

Refrigerate for at least one hour. The longer they chill, the easier the next step will be. If you plan on leaving them overnight, (which you totally can do), wrap the pinwheels in plastic so they don’t become as dry as the Raiders’ playoff hopes. Much like how Al Davis sleeps. In plastic. Or something funnier.

Rusty Nail
Rusty Nail

This evening on “Masterpiece Cocktail,” we’ll be discussing a drink of fine stature that should be enjoyed in only the most civilized of occasions and company. And while its name is somewhat deceiving, it’s a rather rich and complex drink with many layers that is best sipped by an expert tongue.

Homemade Corn Dogs
Homemade Corn Dogs

(Again, don’t use your deep fryer drunk.) (Which we would never do.) (No, really.) (Santa Monica is still standing, right?)

Stoli Blueberri Fizz
Stoli Blueberri Fizz

Garnish with more blueberries, to give yourself the appearance of getting in a full serving of fruit.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Buffalo Chicken Dip

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling at the edges, and then add your cheese on top. If you add it any sooner, it will form a hard crust on top, and no one needs to have to struggle with a dip when it is already a struggle to watch Nate Washington drop the ball. Again.

Watermelon-Vodka Slushees
Watermelon-Vodka Slushees

Anyone who knows me, knows I love slushees, Slurpees, and dream of someday having the water-only Slurpee; The Turpee.

Pizza Loaf
Pizza Loaf

The first Football Foodie post from back in the day on Ladies(…), all because Burnsy wanted to know how to make a pizza loaf.

One Response to The Complete Collection of Football Foodie Recipes

  1. [...] As we noted up top, you can cook just fine. But feeding a living room full of tipsy sports fans three meals without letting the atmosphere slide is an exercise in production management. For the perfect home viewing experience, we rely upon former colleague and friend of the blog, today’s second guest lecturer, Sarah Sprague, creator of the Football Foodie recipe series. [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>