FUN GATHERINGS FOR FALL FOOTBALL GAMES
Football season is in full swing for this year. The next few weeks will reveal what all our favorite teams are made of. Everyone is watching and waiting to see what unknown facts will come to the surface and change the line up for the end of the season. I love years when people can’t really predict what will happen with certainty.
Are you enjoying the games?
I’m still suffering from that epic moment last year when Clemson defeated Alabama 35 – 31 in those last few seconds of the game. Let’s not let that type of ending happen again!
Honestly; I tend to enjoy the social aspects of our gatherings more than the games; but that one game really DID break my heart. Have there been epic moments at your house in the last few years that are still being recalled every time you get together? Though I’m more about the fun and activities of our gatherings than the football; I find myself surrounded by VERY serious fans these days and the only way to tackle that situation is to provide some VERY serious food when they all gather around our screen to take it all in. You might say I have been “drafted” into becoming a football fan simply because I have cooking skills. Go figure!
I guess stranger things have happened; like when Alabama’s Bear Bryant coached and won the 1979 Sugar Bowl; his 5th National Championship, making him one of the best college football coaches of all time; or when Johnny Rodgers made that 72-yard punt return for a touchdown back in 1971 when Nebraska beat Oklahoma; or that year when the Mountaineers pulled off an unexpected victory by blocking Michigan’s field goal during the last six seconds of the game in 2007; yes; I guess stranger things have happened than me becoming involved in watching college football; and I have even learned a few things and picked up a few memories along the way!
Still can’t tell you too much about most of the games; but we DO eat well during the football season at our house.
Are you looking for some good game-time recipes to feed your hungry crowd? Why not try a few of these; they have worked very well at my house in the past.
THE PRE-GAME SHOW:
I think we will start out with a few things to nibble on during the pre-game program. Nothing beats this Queso Dip and chips.
THE GREATEST QUESO THAT EVER LIVED
1 block (32 ounce) Velveeta Cheese
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel
1 small can cream of mushroom soup
1 pound ground beef
(Add your favorite chips and crackers for dipping with this)
Brown the meat. Set aside. Cut up Velveeta and cream cheese into cubes and place into a crock pot. Pour in the Rotel and the Cream of Mushroom soup and stir together. Place the crock pot on low setting for an hour, letting the ingredients melt together. After 30 minutes add the brown meat and continue to let cook stirring when needed.
Just add your favorite kind of dipping chips and you are ready to go!
FIRST QUARTER OF PLAY
Why not be healthy and handy at the same time and serve the salad in the form of kabobs? These are so much easier to eat while you are watching the action.
ANTIPESTO SALAD KABOBS
(2) 7-ounce containers fresh mozzarella balls
(2) 4-ounce packages prosciutto
½ lb. Genoa-salami, sliced thin
(1) 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers
(1) 6-ounce can black olives, or use the fresh cured olives from the olive bar at the store
(1) bag of leaf lettuce, (any kind you like.)
Lay out all your ingredients on a cutting board. Alternate the ingredients onto skewers in any pattern you like, adding lettuce leaves after every second ingredient. Place finished skewers in an appropriate serving tray. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette or serve a bowl of dressing for dipping on the side. I like to use the six inch skewers instead of the 12 inch.
THE BIG PLAY
I think, for the main dish; it might be good to serve up some game-winning chili. Have you ever met a sports fan who did not like chili? Nor have I; and this special blend of flavors is really tasty!
You can’t go wrong with this GAME CHANGING CHILI. It is guaranteed to please everyone in the house. Just serve up with chips and dips and some crackers and you are all set with a full-course meal.
I think this recipe will be very safe to serve for our main play:
GAME CHANGING CHILI
1 pound ground beef (fried and drained)
¼ cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 small cans tomato paste
3 twelve ounce cans diced tomatoes
4 tablespoons minced garlic
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cans whole kernel corn (drained)
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can chickpeas
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Sea salt to taste
In a large skillet on the stove-top brown the ground beef, drain and set aside in a large Dutch oven.
Use the same skillet you emptied the beef from to brown the onions and saute the chopped red peppers and the minced garlic along with some olive oil, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. After 3 minutes of cooking; mix in the rest of the olive oil, the tomato paste, the chili powder, the chipotle powder, the coriander, the cumin, the cinnamon, and the cayenne. Let cook for 3 minutes and add the mix into the Dutch oven with the ground beef and stir together well. Add in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, all beans and corn. Stir and add the Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon of sea salt. Stir again.
Bring everything to a simmer, then top the Dutch oven and continue to simmer slowly for one hour longer. Be sure to stir occasionally.
This chili is great served hot with cheese, sour cream and bacon bits on top.
FINAL WINNING TOUCHDOWN:
I hope your team has the winning victory; but you always win by default when this decadent desert shows up at the end of the game.
AFTER THE GAME MISSISSIPPI MUD CAKE
For the Topping:
1 cup of pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Cake:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cups granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon of kosher salt
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 (10.5 ounce) bag of mini marshmallows
For the Frosting:
6 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (1 pound) box powdered sugar, sifted.
Toss the pecans with the melted butter and roast in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 12 – 15 minutes or until fragrant. Remove and sprinkle with salt, transfer to a plate to cool. Once cooled, coarsely chop.
For the Cake: Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13” pan, and set aside. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and cocoa. Add the eggs, vanilla and cooked, melted butter and mix until blended. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the marshmallows all over the top of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Once the marshmallows begin to melt, use a spatula to carefully spread out some, but leave a few bumps in the marshmallows.
For the Frosting: Melt together the last stick of butter with the milk until hot. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and vanilla. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla and quickly beat with a wooden spoon until smooth, returning to a low burner if mixture thickens too quickly. Immediately pour the frosting evenly all over the marshmallow layer. Immediately scatter the toasted pecans over the top, set the entire pan aside on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely before cutting into small squares.
DON’T FORGET IT IS ALL IN FUN
Notice that I did not even mention half-time? Do you think that rather strange? Well; it just so happens that I’m old enough to remember the days when a football game was just that; a football game!
The only part of the world that ever changed from viewing the game was the football player’s trophies. No raunchy half-time entertainment scenes; no political messages; just plain old football in the purest form. It was wonderful and I say let’s bring it all back by ignoring half-time for a while.
That will not be too hard to do if you have all of this good food on hand and a few of your friend’s favorite beverages. If you need to; make your own music. The half-time show at your place will be filled with fun, laughter and good conversations.
Yep; those epic moments and those favorite team and player memories are bound to come up.
Enjoy the game and may the best team win!