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Posts tagged ‘football’

labeled platter

Once a year the families on my block host a progressive dinner party, which is when you have at least 3 courses and each course is served at a different person’s house. It’s a lot of fun because we all travel as a group up and down the block and get to hang out with our neighbors for an evening. Each year we do this there’s a theme. We’ve done Italian, Mexican… we even did a Super Bowl theme last year. This year’s theme was barbecue and I was the appetizer.

I was at a loss. What kind of appetizer can you make that’s barbecued? I couldn’t think of anything. So, I did what I always do when I need food inspiration. I scoured the internet. Then, thanks to Home Made Interest, I found the perfect barbecue appetizer. It’s called a Barbecue Sausage and Cheese Plate. It’s kind of like a crudité plate but instead of veggies and dip, it’s covered in barbecued meats and cheeses. It’s delicious and perfect for the Super Bowl this weekend.

platter close up

Whether you’re hosting a party or attending one, this little platter is guaranteed to be a hit. Sure, you could still make chicken wings or a 7-layer dip, but those take some effort and planning. This platter is super easy, takes literally no time and can be as homemade or as store-bought as you like. It’s made up of all things perfect for a football party: cheese, pickles, pepperoncinis, grilled sausages and of course barbecue sauce. While I made the pickles and barbecue sauce from scratch, you don’t have to. You can buy everything and simply slice and grill. It’s seriously that easy.

What makes this platter stand out from other appetizers and game food is the barbecued sausages. You can take any pre-cooked smoked sausage or kielbasa and grill it up on your favorite grill. And because these sausages are already fully cooked, all you need to do is heat the sausage through while slathering on your favorite barbecue sauce. Just make sure it caramelizes and gets a nice, healthy char on it. Then slice it up, pile it high on a platter along with the cheese cubes and pickles, add a bowl of that tangy barbecue sauce and watch as the masses line up for a taste. Of course if you’re anything like me, that line’s gonna have to start behind you.

over head shot

Barbecue Sausage and Cheese Platter


  • 1 pound of smoked sausage or kielbasa
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces jack cheese, cubed
  • 1 jar dill pickle spears
  • 1 jar pepperoncinis


  1. Preheat your grill to 350°F.
  2. Place the sausage on the grill and baste it with 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, flip and baste the other side, continuing to cook until heated through, about 5 more minutes. The sausage is done when the skin is ready to split or actually splits. Remove from the grill and slice into 1/2-inch slices.
  3. Place the sausage slices on a platter with the pepperoncinis, cheese, pickles, and remaining barbecue sauce for dipping. Serve immediately.

labeled chili

I know a big bowl of chili seems like an odd choice when it’s 200° outside, but there are two events happening this week that are chili worthy: Labor Day is today and football season officially starts.

Now, I know there are plenty of people out there who have already been watching football games and wondering how your team is stacking up for the season. But I haven’t. I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe in the preseason. To me, the preseason doesn’t count. It’s just practice. It’s not going to get you to the playoffs or the Superbowl so it doesn’t mean anything. Yes, it’s good to have practice games so you know where your strengths and weaknesses are, but it doesn’t count toward the bigger picture. This week however, this is the week that matters. This is the week when the wins and losses actually mean something. This is the week where we know where we’re headed for the rest of the season and who we really have to watch out for.

3 chilis

Since it’s opening weekend and chili and football go together like parties and beer, I thought I’d share a new recipe. The fact that it’s also Labor Day makes it even more harmonious. See, Labor Day and chili also just happen to go together like parties and beer. I know that burgers and hot dogs are the popular choice for Labor Day festivities, but did you know that chili is also one of the most consumed recipes this holiday weekend? It’s true! The fact that Hatch chiles just happen to be in season for a few more weeks, makes this recipe primed for the making.

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What makes this chili so great for guests (or even just you and your family) is how rich and versatile it is. The richness comes from the three different kinds of chocolate. The cocoa powder and chocolate bits give it a very nice chocolate flavor, but the stout is what makes it rich and thick. While I wouldn’t recommend changing out any of the chocolate, the one thing you can change out are the chiles. See, Hatch chiles comes in mild, medium and hot.  So, if you’re like me and not a big fan of spice, I’d use the mild chiles. But if you’re a spice fanatic, use the hot Hatches instead.

But no matter how you choose to make this chili, or what holiday you’re making it for, I guarantee your guests will be begging for more.

over head

Triple Chocolate Hatch Chili (adapted from Saveur Magazine)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 pound sausage, casings removed
  • 1 (6 oz.) can of tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz.) can of whole san marzano tomatoes
  • 10 oz. fresh mini san marzano tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 roasted mild hatch chiles, minced
  • 1 tablespoon mild hatch chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (12 oz.) bottle chocolate stout
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 (9 oz.) packages of Melissa’s steamed kidney beans
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until tender.
  2. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, all the tomatoes, the chiles, chile powder, cocoa powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, stout and brown sugar until combined.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for at least 1 hour or up to 3. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, stir in the chocolate chips and kidney beans. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped fresh cilantro.

I love the Super Bowl. Every year come February I’m sitting on my couch in front of the TV screaming… even if I don’t care one iota about the teams playing. Why am I yelling at the TV? Because it’s football, and there’s nothing better than sitting on the couch with friends while screaming at the television. Christ, it’s practically become the national pastime. And nothing goes better with screaming and football than greasy, sticky, party food.

One popular choice: chicken wings. Especially if they’re from Buffalo. But see, I have a small problem: I’m not from Buffalo and I can’t stand those little wings. Actually I detest, loathe, hate with every essence of my being those awful, spicy wings that all men around me seem to be able to never get enough of. Sure, I like the celery that always seems to accompany these spicy pieces of poultry, especially when they’re dipped in ranch dressing. The wings themselves, however, blech!

So while I am not a fan, I do understand why they’re so popular during the football season. They’re easy to pick up. They’re not super messy and you can eat them with one hand so you never, ever have to put down that bottle of beer.

But then I thought, where is it written that those wings have to be hot and spicy? Who says you have to serve wings from Buffalo at your Super Bowl party? Why can’t you make wings that everyone, even people like me who like to feel their tongue after a couple bites, can enjoy? It’s your party! You can root for whichever team you want, which means you can also make (or not) any kind of chicken wing you damn well please!

And so I present to you chicken wings that are hot, sticky and so yummy you may just have to put down that bottle of beer so you can two fist these babies. What I especially like about these tasty wings is since the sauce is made with lemons, this is the perfect time of year to make them. See, all sorts of lemons from Meyer to Eureka are currently in season. So it doesn’t matter if you like your lemons sweet or tart, they all work with this recipe. Even better, this recipe calls for beer. And who doesn’t like a little beer with their football.

So wait. You’re telling me you’ve got beer, lemons and chicken wings all in the same recipe? Damn straight these were made for the Super Bowl.

Lemon Chicken Wings

adapted from Food & Wine Magazine


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 3/4 cup club soda
  • 1/2 cup malt liquor
  • salt to taste
  • 2-1/2 pounds chicken wings
  • vegetable oil for frying


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the lemon curd, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the pepper and set aside.
  3. Whisk together both flours and the corn starch in a large bowl. Add the club soda and malt liquor and stir until smooth. Stir in the salt. Add the chicken wings and toss to coat.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the wings and fry in batches until golden, about 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-coated plate and let cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Reheat the oil and fry the wings a second time until brown in color and cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. Drain the wings on a freshly paper toweled-plate.
  6. Toss the fried wings in a large bowl with the lemon sauce until coated. Transfer the wings to a platter and serve immediately.