Sunday, March 20, 2016

Munch Madness '16: Matzo Pizza!!



Homegaters!

March Madness is upon us once again -- or as we here at Homegating Headquarters like to call it, Munch Madness! This is a crazy time of year with all the college games going on. Bracket mania is alive and well in all the offices. But unfortunately my bracket is already dead in the water due to a few shocking upsets. First time in a long time that I got bounced out of the action so early in the tournament. Oh well, that leaves me more time to concentrate on making something yummy for the Gang. This weekend I came up with a quick cultural mashup that got me in and out of the kitchen in no time so I can enjoy the b-ball action:  Matzo Pizza.

I love matzo. There's something about it's thin, crisp texture that I really enjoy. It's readily available this time of year, so I always have a box (or 2) of it in the house. A bit of insanity struck me and I thought it would make an interesting base for funky little pizzas. What the heck? How bad could it be? Well, it was pretty darn good and pretty darn different.

Since you don't have any dough to stretch out, take the sheets of matzo and break them up into any size pieces that you'd like. Spread some pizza sauce, cheese and any other toppings you'd like and pop it into a 400-degree oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Matzo Pizza
(serves 4-6)                                                          

4 sheets of matzo (broken into smaller pieces)
pizza sauce
shredded mozzarella
various toppings of your choice (optional)

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees. Spread pizza sauce on each piece of matzo. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the sauce and add any other toppings you'd like.

2.  Bake in oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.

It's as simple as that. You're going to get a kick out of the crispy "crust" that the matzo provides. It's different, fun and yummy. Try it, I think you'll agree that it's slam dunk (did I just say that?).

Good luck to all of you whose brackets are still alive. I'll have to wait until next year for any kind of victories in that regard. And good luck to whichever team(s) you are rooting for as well. Until next week, keep on Homegating!




Saturday, March 12, 2016

Breakfast of Champions!!




Homegaters!

This weekend the Gameday Gang is coming over to catch some hockey and pre-season baseball. A few folks are coming over early to help me do some of the cooking beforehand, so I thought I'd whip up a little breakfast for them. Since most of the afternoon we'll be gorging on a little less-than-healthy fare, I thought I'd start the day out on a healthy note (counts for something, right?). This Wheat Berry Cereal is hearty, healthy and a nice alternative to some of those sugar-laden packaged cereals.

A wheat berry is the whole grain form of wheat - so it's not gluten free. It is however, high in protein, fiber and vitamins. It cooks in the same amount of time that rice would. You can find wheat berries in most health food stores. Besides the wheat berries, the cereal includes chopped pecans, raisins, shredded coconut, ground flax meal, vanilla and maple syrup. You can make a whole bunch ahead of time, fridge it and then just serve it with your milk of choice (we went all-in on healthy and used coconut milk).

Wheat Berry Cereal
(serves 4)

3 cups cooked wheat berries                      
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tbs shredded coconut
1 tbs ground flax meal (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
milk

Method:

Combine all the ingredients and spoon into individual bowls.
Serve with milk of your choice. You can also add some fresh fruit if you'd like.

As I previously mentioned, it's a pretty hearty breakfast. Very filling and very tasty.
Let me know how you like it!

I hope you've been enjoying some of your other teams' games. We've turned into puck heads watching our teams on the ice. We are also looking forward to some March Madness action and the upcoming baseball season. Lots to look forward to!

Keep checking in for more gameday recipes! And keep on Homegating!!







Sunday, February 28, 2016

Homegating101 Hits the Red Carpet - well, sort of...



Homegaters!!

We're going a bit off topic this week, but I still have a great munchie for you that will go great at your homegate hangout anyway. Because tonight is the Oscars, the Gameday Girls decided to get together to pre-game with the Red Carpet show. Now let me tell you, you get a bunch of women together to watch the stars rocking some of the latest couture, that could be a sporting event in itself. I can guarantee you that a few of us will be throwing a few barbs at the screen, just as we would with a bad call. The only difference is that the drinks and munchies are a bit more, "sophisticated." Prosecco replaces beer and Eggroll Crackers replace tortilla chips.



I had a package of eggroll wrappers in the fridge. Instead of making eggrolls with them, I decided to cut them into squares, brush them with a little olive oil and sprinkle a few herbs and spices over them. A quick pop in the oven and you have a crispy, savory cracker that you can enjoy alone or use as a dip vehicle. Enjoy!

Eggroll Crackers
(serves 4-6)

1 package of eggroll wrappers,                  
cut into quarters
Italian seasoning
Grated Romano cheese
Salt & pepper
olive oil for brushing

Method:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees.

2.  Cut eggroll wrappers into 4 pieces. Place on a sheetpan and brush each with olive oil.

3.  Sprinkle each with some Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and grated cheese.

4.  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes - or until desired crispness.

5.  Serve as is or with various dips.

Can't get any simple - or as elegant as that!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to slip into my tiara and get ready for the Gameday Girls to arrive strutting their stuff on my non-red carpet.

Enjoy and keep on Homegating!!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Cheeseburger Meatballs!!



Homegaters!

While last week's entry was light and refined because it was just Ladies' Day at Homegating Headquarters, this week we went off the rails because the guys returned to the fold. They were hungry and thirsty and they wanted something meaty. Wings weren't going to cut it for them this weekend. They were looking for red meat. I obliged by giving them a little spin on a classic. I made them Cheeseburger Meatballs. Yes, I did that.

Making actual cheeseburgers would have sent me outside to the grill and in this frigid cold, I was having no part of that rodeo. Instead I mashed up everything that goes into a cheeseburger and rolled it into a golfball-sized gob of grass-fed beef nirvana. Yes I did that.

I took grass-fed ground beef (because is tastes so much better), added minced onions, minced pickles, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, an egg, white cheddar, breadcrumbs and rolled the mixture into bite-sized balls of bovine bliss. I took those little balls, baked them and then stepped away as the Gameday Gang went haywire. It looked like a school of piranhas on a feeding frenzy. There weren't any left for me to even have a bite or 2 (little did they know I snuck 2 before I presented the bowl. I know this crew too well.). That bowl was empty in about 7 minutes. Insane! They were moist, rich and flavorful. Do yourself a favor and check these out.

Cheeseburger Meatballs                       

(makes 24 meatballs)

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 tbs minced red onion
2 tsp ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
3 tbs shredded cheddar
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees.

2. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and roll into golfball-sized meatballs. Place on a non-stick sheetpan and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Turn meatballs halfway through cooking.

3. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

And there you have it. It's a fun, quick recipe that people will really enjoy.

Hope you feel inspired to try these. If you do, let me know how you liked them.

Until next week, keep on Homegating!!





Monday, February 15, 2016

Roasted Pepper Salsa!!



Homegaters!

I trust you survived your Super Bowl parties. We're still doing a little cleaning up, so that must be a sign that the party was good (which it was). We are very happy that Mr. Manning won his 2nd title. Now the question is will he or won't he retire? We'll have to see. But one thing I know for sure, Carolina is going to be around for a long time, so watch out for those guys. They are good! Sadly we'll have to wait 7 months to see how they rebound. However for me, football season is never really over between the internet and the NFL Channel, so I can keep getting a little gridiron fix whenever I want.

Now even though there are no football games every Sunday, that doesn't mean that Homegating Headquarters shuts down until September. The Gameday Gang enjoys their hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball and an occasional skiing/snowboarding competition on the weekend. So we're in full-swing all year 'round.

You've heard the expression, "Ladies Who Lunch?" Well at Homegating Headquarters, it turned into, "Ladies Who Hockey" this past weekend. Turns out the men-folk were busy doing various things, so the girls got together to hang out and watch some snowboarding/skiing competitions and a hockey game. Now, when the Gameday Girls hang out, the conversation might not always be about stats. When we say a goalie is hot, it might not necessarily mean he's a brick wall in net, if you catch my drift...

Since it was just the girls hanging out, I decided to lighten things up a bit and so I put together a nice, organic veggie platter. Instead of going with a high-calorie ranch dip, I came up with a fat-free Roasted Pepper Salsa. As is my nature, I winged it in the food processor and I have to say, it turned out pretty good. I whizzed up a jar of roasted peppers, red onion, garlic, cilantro, smoked paprika and cider vinegar. I served it with endive, small peppers and carrots. The ladies loved it.

Roasted Pepper Salsa
(serves 4-6)

12oz jar of roasted peppers, drained
1/4 small red onion, sliced
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tbs fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbs cider vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture reaches a coarse consistency. You don't want it to be smooth. Serve with various veggies.

And there you have it! It's a nice change of pace from regular salsa. If you want to jazz it up a bit, you can toss in a seeded 1/2 jalapeno. Otherwise, the recipe as is works nicely. It's a nice alternative to the heavier faire that we usually indulge in on Gameday. Hope you try it!

I'll see you next week! In the meantime, keep on Homegating!










Sunday, February 7, 2016

Big Game Day!!

Homegaters!

Happy Big Game Sunday!! This is the happiest day of they year here at Homegating Headquarters! There's excitement in the air as we get ready for everyone to come over later for the game. Hope things are going well at your place was well. By now, everything should be done. All you have to do is go out and pick up some ice for the cooler. But wait, you just receive a text that sends a chill up your spine: 4 more people are coming unexpectedly!

Egads! You didn't plan on that! You might not have enough food! What are you going to do? Calm down. You have a couple of choices. You can go out and get some pre-made appies and just heat them up. They work in a pinch (and this is pinch time). Or if you're feeling culinarily sassy, you can whip up a couple of dishes that are quick and only require a few ingredients.  Here we go:

3-Ingredient Wings:



















Bruschetta:






























That should hold you over. The main thing today is to enjoy your guests and enjoy the game. It's a day for fun and relaxation. No time for stressing out.

Now while football season ends tonight, the homegating doesn't stop there. The Gameday Gang will still be showing up for hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball and even arena football (we're hardcore). So I need to keep my game up - hope you continue the journey with me each week.

Enjoy tonight and I'l see you next weekend! Keep on homegating!!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Gameday Big Hits!!


Homegaters!

We've got a Denver-Carolina Super Bowl for the 50th anniversary on February 7. There's lots of excitement and intrigue with this matchup. The #1 Offense (Carolina) versus the #1 Defense (Denver).  We've got 2 dynamic quarterbacks (Peyton Manning & Cam Newton) - one at the end of his career (Manning) and one who's career is just taking flight (Newton). Who's going to take home the Lombardi? We'll know next week. I know where my heart lies, but I'm really hoping for an awesome game - and these two teams can give it to us.

Still stuck for ideas on what to make for your party next week? No worries. I got ya covered! I thought this would be a good time to give you a recap of some of our greatest hits all in one place to make it easy for you to decide what to add to your menu. Below are links to some of the recipes that I've gotten great feedback on and are always requested by the Gameday Gang:

DIPS

No Big Game party is complete without a few great dips. Here are a few of our most memorable ones:

Triple Play Onion Dip:



















Cheeseburger Dip:




















Tuscan Tuna Spread:




















HAND HELDS

We love portable foods. These are perfect for large gatherings so that people aren't confined to a table:

Honey Sriracha Wings:




















Bodacious Burritos:




















Grilled Bologna Sliders:





















BOWL FOODS

These are great dig-in munchies:

Lime Sriracha Popcorn:




















Roasted Chickpeas:




















Sweet & Spicy Pecans:




















And there you have it for now. These are some of the Gameday Gang's favorites. They're all easy to make and I hope they become a staple for your viewing parties. Next week I'll share a few recipes that you can pull together if you find out that you're have a few extra last-minute guests that you weren't anticipating.

Big Game Party Tips & Tricks:

At this point you should have a pretty good idea how many people are coming to your party. You should have already gotten your decorations and non-perishables. This coming week is when you pick up the perishables and place orders on any deliverables. Get it done early in the week so you're not scrambling at the last minute - because guaranteed, you'll wind up having to do at least one thing at the last minute next week. You'll want to minimize those unexpecteds as much as possible.

Hope these have been helpful to you. Good luck this week with all your final preparations and as I said, next week I'll share with you a few recipes that can be done quickly and with few ingredients - just in case you wind up with surprise guests.

Until next week, keep on Homegating!!