Saturday, December 19, 2015

2X Baked Spuds!!


Last weekend the Northeast enjoyed an unusually warm weekend for December (no complaints here!). A couple of the Gameday Gang decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and hosted a homegate over at their place because they have a TV on their deck. That way we get some fresh air AND enjoy the games. Fantastic idea! You don't have to homegate inside all the time. If your place allows for outdoor entertaining while watching the games, go for it.

2X Baked Spuds are relatively easy to make and they travel well. You can bake the potatoes ahead of time and when you're ready, you can prep the filing and then bake them again. Whatever type of filling you make is up to you, but for this recipe I mixed sauteed hot Italian sausage with the potatoes, sour cream, scallions, garlic powder and cheddar cheese. It gets popped back in the oven to heat through and to melt the cheese. The Gang really enjoyed it - and the hostess even hoarded a few leftovers to a secret location in her fridge so that she could enjoy another one the next day before her hungry crew got to it.

2X Baked Spuds                                           

(serves 4-6)

5 large Idaho potatoes
8 oz container sour cream
6 hot Italian sausage removed
from their casings
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1/2 stick of butter
1 tsp granulated garlic
8 oz package of shredded cheddar
(reserve 1/2 cup)
salt & pepper to taste


1.  Bake the potatoes in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes. Test with a fork for doneness. If the fork goes through the potato easily, they're done.

2.  Remove potatoes from the oven and let cool slightly. Once cooled a bit, slice in half and scoop the insides into a bowl. Mash until soft.

3.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix through. Spoon back into the potato skins and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of each potato.

4. Bake at 400-degrees until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are heated through.

There you have it!

Hope you try it! It makes a hearty snack for gameday and your company will really enjoy it. Enjoy your games!

Until next weekend - keep on homegating!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Jalapeno Popper Pizza!!


If there's one thing I can make week after week without boring the Gameday Gang, it's homemade pizza. They can't get enough of it. It's relatively quick and easy to make. Once in a while I shake it up and make something different from your garden variety cheese pizza. Last week I whipped up a Jalapeno Popper Pizza.

The gang is really into all-things-spicy, so I knew they would be on board with this one. As soon as I told them what was in the oven, their eyes lit up. The pizza is basically a riff on your standard jalapeno popper: cream cheese, cheddar and jalapenos - all laid out on pizza dough.  What you get is a nice bite of creaminess offset by spicy, vinegary jalapenos all on a crisp crust. It's pretty cool  -  or should I say, hot?

For this recipe I used pre-made pizza dough. Sometimes when time allows (or I'm just in the mood), I'll make the dough from scratch. But for the most part I go the easy route and buy the dough. I rolled this pizza into a sheet pan, but you can create it freestyle also. Since this recipe doesn't use pizza sauce, the cream cheese replaces the tomatoes, so I needed to thin out the cream cheese in order to make it spreadable. I used whipped cream cheese, brought up to room temperature and then thinned it out with some milk.  Once my base was set, I sprinkled a shredded cheddar jack combo over that and then topped it with the pickled jalapenos. I popped it into the oven and 8 minutes later we were in spicy pizza nirvana...

Jalapeno Popper Pizza                                          

(serves 4-6)

1 package pizza dough
(brought to room temperature)
16 oz package shredded cheddar-jack cheese
8 oz container whipped cream cheese
(brought to room temperature)
3 tbs milk (or more)
Fresh or pickled jalapenos
(it's up to you how much you want to use)


1.  Pre-heat oven to 525-degrees.

2.  In a bowl, thin out the cream cheese with milk until it reaches an easily spreadable consistency.

3.  Roll dough out to desired size and spread cream cheese on top.

4.  Sprinkle shredded cheddar-jack over cream cheese.

5.  Top with jalapenos.

6.  Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted and dough is golden (approx 8 minutes). Oven temps vary, so start checking the pizza after about 5 minutes (or earlier if your oven runs hot).

And there you have it! Hope this inspires you to try it. If you have a crowd that's into hot and spicy, this one will definitely fit the bill. Make sure to have a lot of ice cold beer on hand to wash it down.

Until next week, keep on homegating!!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Best Wurst Spread - Eva!


For some random reason, last week I got a hankering for liverwurst. Not sure why. I very rarely eat cold cuts, so this craving literally came out of nowhere  -  especially since I haven't had liverwurst in about 15 years. But I gave in, picked a little up and proceeded to make a sandwich with it (on rye, with mustard). As I ate the sandwich, I started contemplating the texture of the lunch meat, since liverwurst is a somewhat soft and spreadable in and of itself. I began thinking how I can incorporate this into something for one of the homegates. I finally came up with:  Wurst Spread!

I played around with a few flavor profiles and came up with a pleasant spread that works well on crackers, crostini or even as a sandwich. For homegating purposes, the spread worked nicely. I incorporated onions, fresh garlic, pickles, the pickle brine, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and cream cheese. Once again, my trusty food processor did all the work in seconds and all I needed to do was spoon it into a bowl and unleash it on the Gameday Gang. I got a few mixed reactions when I told them what it was (note to self: never reveal ingredients until people try it first). But eventually folks gave in, tried it and liked it.

Wurst Spread                                         
(serves 4-6)

1/2 lb liverwurst, sliced
8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 small red onion
1/2 clove fresh garlic, minced
2 tbs dill pickles, minced
1 tbs dill pickle brine
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp mustard
1 tbs chives (for garnish)


1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until it reaches a smooth consistency.

2. Serve with crackers, flat pretzels or crostini.

And once again, there you have it. Hope you give it a try at one of your homegates (or tailgates - it's portable!). If you do, please let me know how you like it.

Enjoy the games this weekend. Can you believe there's only 5 weeks left of the regular NFL season? It's going by fast  -  and my team better wake up soon! How about your team? Things start getting very interesting this time of the year, so we'll see how it all finishes out. But don't forget that we still have the Playoffs and then The Big Game! Lots more to come...

Enjoy it all and keep on homegating!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sausage & Peppers!!


Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I was able to get away from the kitchen this year and play guest, so I just brought dessert and vino. It was a great afternoon of food and football - just like Gameday Sundays! Except on Thanksgiving, the food volume gets cranked to 11. So since I have no leftovers, I didn't need to get creative and come up with something cool and funky to serve on Gameday. I just decided to whip up a good ol' standard:  Sausage & Peppers!

The best part about sausage & peppers (besides the taste) is that it is so freakin' easy to make, with so few ingredients:  sausage, roasted peppers, onions, granulated garlic and a little balsamic vinegar. Pop it all in the oven for 1 hour and voila!

The Gameday Gang likes to eat it different ways: in rolls, over pasta or just like that! Just whip up a bowl and let your crew have at it however they like.

Sausage & Peppers                                     

(serves 4-6)

3 lbs sweet (or hot) Italian sausages,
cut into 1" pieces
1 large onion, sliced
1 jar roasted peppers, drained
(or 4 freshly roasted peppers)
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
olive oil


1. Heat oven to 375-degrees. In a large roasting pan, place the sausages and onions. Sprinkle with the granulated garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

2. Roast in oven for 1 hour - or until the sausages are browned and the onions are golden.

3. 15 minutes before you take the sausages out, add the roasted peppers and let cook through.

4. Remove from oven, place in serving bowl and serve with rolls, pasta or rice.

And there you have it!  Hope you try it!

Enjoy the game this weekend and I will see you next week!

Keep on Homegating!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Meatloaf Nachos!!


The one thing about my move from the city to the suburbs is that I'm closer to my krazee kuzins - much closer. That means that they'e around a lot - including on Gameday. This past Saturday a bunch of us had gotten together for dinner. Meatloaf was on the menu. I made enough to feed a small army and naturally wound up with leftovers. The next morning I found myself staring into the fridge trying to decide what to cook for the Gameday Gang when it hit me. What do you do with leftover meatloaf on Gameday? You make Meatloaf Nachos, of course! Yes, I went down that path. Why not?

As you know, meat, cheese and crispy things are standard on Gameday. That combination is even better when it's made spicy (it gives the beer something to wash down). Nachos are a perfect vehicle for all those food groups and are really easy to assemble - especially since they're incorporating leftovers and not much actual cooking is necessary. All I needed to do was chop up the meatloaf and layer it into the mix. It literally took me 5 minutes to put together and throw in the oven to heat things up and melt the cheese. I got a few stares when I presented it, but the crew dug it and it soon disappeared.

Meatloaf Nachos
(serves 4-6)                                          

2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs brown mustard
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp granulated onion
16oz bag of tortilla chips
pickled jalapenos
1/2 lb American cheese


1.  Meatloaf: pre-heat oven to 350-degrees. Mix the first 8 ingredients until well incorporated. Shape into a loaf or place in 2 loaf pans. Bake for 45-minutes to an hour. Remove from oven and serve 1 loaf. Take other loaf, let cool, then place in fridge for Gameday.

2. Nachos:  take meatloaf out of fridge and dice into small cubes (or crumble up, whichever you prefer). Layer the nachos in a casserole dish or roasting pan: 1 row of tortilla chips, meatloaf, cheese & jalapeno. Continue to do this until you reach the top of the pan. Bake in a 400-degree oven until the cheese melts.  Serve warm.

And there you have it. It's an easy dish that didn't take long to put together and turned out to be pretty darn delicious. Hope you try it.

Until next weekend, good luck to your teams. I'll see you next weekend! Keep on homegating!!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fried Chicken Hero!!


I gotta tell ya, the Gameday Gang has me on my toes coming up with something different and delish every weekend. The pressure is on and I've had to step up my game. This week I decided to go a little trendy and jump on the fried chicken bandwagon. At first I was going to go the chicken and waffles route (which, I may do at a later date), but then I decided to keep it simple with a good ol' Fried Chicken Hero!

As any good Homegater knows, heros are one of the quintessential foods of any sports-watching activity (besides wings, of course). They're relatively simple to make and success can be achieved with a variety of meat and vegetable combinations. I wanted to keep the focus on the chicken and so I added a few layers of flavor onto that and then complimented it with a salad-y topping. For this recipe I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I think thighs are juicier and don't dry out the way breasts tend to. This was especially important because I fried up the thighs ahead of time and kept them warm in the oven until it was time to assemble the hero.

I marinated the chicken in pickle juice for 90 minutes before breading and frying it. Not only did the pickle juice help to tenderize the meat, but it added a subtle tang that made it unique. I used plain bread crumbs and spiced it up myself and then made a shredded salad topping to compliment the fried aspect of the chicken. A nice, crusty piece of Italian bread is then all you need to round the dish out. Once assembled, the hero makes an impressive presentation. The gang couldn't wait to dig in.

Fried Chicken Hero
(serves 4-6)                                                  

5 chicken thighs
1 pint pickle juice
16 oz plain breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground back pepper
2 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp granulated onion
1 tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs, beaten
8 oz flour
half head of lettuce, shredded
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1 tsp garlic powder
olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1 loaf crusty Italian bread
vegetable oil for frying


1.  Pour pickle juice over chicken and let sit for 90 minutes.

2.  While the chicken is marinating, season the breadcrumbs with the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, smoked paprika and cayenne.  Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in 3 individual bowls.

3.  After 90 minutes remove from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Dip the thighs into the flour, then the eggs and finally the breadcrumbs. Place on a platter or plate until all the chicken is coated in the breadcrumb mixture.

4.  Heat enough vegetable oil (about 2 inches deep) in a medium fryng pan on medium heat until it registers 375-degrees. Place 1-2 pieces of chicken into the pan and fry on both sides until the breading is golden. Remove from the pan and drain. Repeat until all the chicken is fried. (NOTE: check the internal temperature of the chicken to make sure it is 165-degrees. If it is not, place the chicken into a 350-degree oven and continue to cook until the chicken has reached 165-degrees) You can also use a deep fryer if you have one (follow the unit's directions for use).

5.  Toss the shredded lettuce and onion together. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.

6.  To Assemble:  slice the Italian bread and place enough chicken pieces to fill up the bread. Top with the shreaded lettuce and slice into individual portions. (Optional: you can add tomato slices, jalapeno slices, roasted peppers, pickles,....)

Once you bite into it, you'll notice that the chicken is tender and juicy. The salad topping balances out all the flavors. All you need is an ice cold pint of ale and you're in business.

So there you have it. Add this to your Gameday repertoire and you'll be a culinary "hero!"

Until next weekend, enjoy your games and keep on homegating!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pepperoncini Shooters!!


There's an unwritten law in Homegatingville that you have to eat spicy things on Gameday. I'm guessing because 9 times out of 10, it's being washed down with beer. And we all know how Gameday and beer go together. That's another unwritten law. Hey look, I don't make the laws, I just follow them - willingly. So with that in mind, I decided to put together something along the lines of a jalapeno popper, only different. I came up with:  Pepperoncini Shooters!

Pepperonicini Shooters are smaller and lighter, but still pack a little punch. So for those of you who aren't big on jalapeno poppers, this could be considered an alternate version. What makes this recipe ridiculously easy is that there are only 4 ingredients: pepperoncinis, chive cream cheese, mayo and adobo sauce, so they're easy and quick to prepare. The brininess of the peppers is a nice pairing with the spicy cheese filling. They're not too spicy, but they kinda let you know they exist - in a good way.

You can literally whip these babies up in 15 minutes. I would recommend using either a piping bag or plastic storage bag with the tip cut off to stuff the filling into the peppers. It makes life much easier. Fridge them for about an hour before you serve them so that the filling sets a little. When you're ready to serve, just place them on a platter or in a shallow bowl and watch them disappear.

Pepperoncini Shooters
(serves 6)

16 oz jar of pepperoncini peppers, drained
8 oz container whipped chive cream cheese, softened
3 tbs mayonnaise
2 tbs adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)


1.  Drain the pepperoncini peppers. Cut off tops and remove the seeds. They usually come right out if you squeeze the peppers slightly.

2.  Mix the cream cheese, mayo and adobo.

3.  Place cheese mixture into a piping bag and pipe a generous amount into each pepper. If using a plastic storage bag, cut a corner off and pipe the cheese into the pepper with that.

4.  Fridge for 1 hour before serving. After 1 hour, place on a platter or in a shallow bowl.

I served them to the Gameday Gang last weekend and they really got into them. I know that if you serve these to your crowd, they'll go pretty fast. As is said, they're lighter than regular poppers and much easier and quicker to prepare. They're also different from poppers, which will get people interested. And that's the idea, you always want to bring out something different on Gameday, just to keep things fun and interesting.

Enjoy your games. I also hope your fantasy teams are doing well. If not, just pop a few shooters and start trolling the waiver wire...

See you next week and keep on Homegating!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Antipasto Bruschetta!!


When I'm developing a recipe, I usually start asking around for reactions: "Hey, what do you think about this?" "Do you think this sounds good?" "Would that interest you?" So when I asked, "How does an Antipasto Bruschetta grab you?" I got mixed reactions. I was a bit surprised and a little hesitant at first, but then I decided to go for it and make it for the Gameday Gang anyway.

When making the antipasto bruschetta, I figured the worst that could happen is that people will try it to be nice and then it'll just sit there (trust me, it's happened with some recipes from Gamedays past). I'll wind up throwing it in a salad for lunch during the week, or it'll wind up in the garbage disposal (aka: the dog). Well my fears were allayed because the gang really got into it. Turned out that we ran out of bread and wound up using crackers to finish it up.

What's cool about this recipe is that you can put it together with almost any type of cold cut, cheese and pickled vegetable combination you like. The possibilities are pretty much endless. I made an Italian viniagrette for it, but you can certainly use bottled Italian dressing if you want to go that route. On Gameday Eve, make the brushcetta and let it sit in the fridge so the flavors could develop. On Gameday, just slice your Italian (or French) bread, toast it up a little and serve it alongside the bruschetta.  And make sure to have some crackers around in case you run out of bread...

Antipasto Bruschetta                                            

(serves 6-8)

1/4 lb hard salami, sliced thick
1/4 lb ham, sliced thick
1/4 lb pepperoni, sliced thick
1/4 lb soppressata, sliced thick
1/4 lb provolone, sliced thick
1/4 lb mozzarella, sliced thick
8 oz jar of marinated mushrooms, drained
16 oz jar of giardiniera, drained
1/2 cup mixed, pitted olives
1-2 loaves Italian bread sliced


1 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 shallot, finely minced
3 tbs grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 - 3/4 cup of olive oil


1. Chop the salami, ham, pepperoni, soppressata, provolone & mozzarella into very small pieces and place in a bowl.

2. Place the giardiniera, mushrooms and olives in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is minced (not too fine).

3. For the viniagrette: place all the ingredients into a blender (except the oil). Turn on low, remove the little cap from the top and begin drizzling the oil in until it's blended.

4.  Toss the viniagrette with the bruschetta mixture until well incorporated and let sit in the fridge overnight (if possible).

5. Slice Italian bread and toast in the oven (at 400-degrees) until slightly golden. Spoon bruschetta on top of the bread and serve.

So there you have it! This is a fun and tasty munchy to prepare. It will keep in the fridge for a few days (if you have any leftovers) which will come in handy if the gang decides to stop by during the week to catch the World Series or any hockey or basketball games. And as I said, if you have any leftovers, you can always throw it into a salad for lunch or dinner.

Hope you try it. Let me know if you do!

Enjoy your games and good luck to your teams!!

See you next weekend!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Coconut Mango Wings!


As we all know, wings are pretty much the official food of Gameday. There wouldn't be restaurants devoted to them if they weren't so popular. We all enjoy a good wing when the opportunity arises. While the hotwing is the King of Wings - and my favorite go-to wing, I like to come up with something new for a change of pace. It also keeps the Gameday Gang on their toes because I try not to be predictable when it comes to the grub.  So this week I present to you: Coconut Mango Wings!

The Coconut Mango Wings are roasted (my favorite way to cook wings) and then finished off with a sweet and spicy glaze. You can make the glaze while the wings are roasting. The glaze is ridiculously simple and comprised of mango spread, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, habanero sauce (optional) and coconut rum  -  because how can you go wrong with rum? It's prepared in a saucepan and then basted over the wings in the final 5 minutes of roasting. If you want to be extra fancy, you can sprinkle some shredded coconut over the wings before you serve them.

Coconut Mango Wings                                            
(serves 6)

3 lbs wings
10 oz mango spread
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1/3 cup coconut rum
1 tsp habanero sauce (optional)
shredded coconut for sprinkling (optional)


1. Heat oven to 400-degrees. Place wings in a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour. Flip the wings over after 30 minutes.

2.  Spoon the mango spread into a saucepan on medium heat and heat through until the spread melts down. Keep stirring until it becomes smooth.

3.  Stir in the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, coconut rum and (optional) habanero sauce. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until the glaze is thickened slightly.

4.  Once the wings are done, turn the oven off, brush the glaze over them and let them stay in the oven for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove from the oven, place wings on a platter and sprinkle the shredded coconut over them.

And there you have it. Another tasty wing recipe to add to your homegating repertoire. You can never go wrong with wings. They're a fan favorite.

Hope you try this recipe. Let me know how you like it if you do. In the meantime, enjoy your games and keep on Homegating!  See you next week!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Messy Jo's!!


One of the biggest rules in cooking is that you never test out a recipe on guests. But to that I say, if you don't serve it to them, who are you going to serve it to?? During my recent freezer expedition, I came up with a package each of ground beef and ground pork and decided to wing a recipe for the Gameday Gang. I made my version of a classic and named them, "Messy Jo's."

The Messy Jo is somewhat similar to the Sloppy Joe. I switched up a few ingredients and added some high test (aka: beer). How can you go wrong?

I was in the culinary red zone with only an hour to go before the gang would start showing up. If this didn't turn out right, my reputation would have been deflated - without any help from The Patriots (pa-dum-pah!). I had a package of sandwich-sized English muffins in the freezer as well, so they made a nice vehicle for the meat. The whole thing took me approximately 45 minutes to whip up and it wound up being a hit with the crew. Some folks went back for seconds, so that was a sure sign that I did good. I usually don't fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to serving my guests, but this one turned out to work in my favor.

Messy Jo's
(serves 6-8)

1 lb ground beef                                        
1 lb ground pork
1/2 med onion, minced
1/2 med green bell pepper, minced
1/2 small carrot, grated
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbs chili powder
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbs Worchestershire sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/2 can (or more) lager
salt & pepper to taste
Package of English muffins or
hamburger buns


1.  Sautee the onion, bell pepper and carrot until the onion is translucent and the vegetables have softened.

2.  Add the ground pork and ground beef and saute until the meat is browned.

3.  Add the garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Add the 1/2 can of beer and cook until the beer almost evaporates (almost!).

5.  Add the Worchestershire sauce and tomato paste and heat until bubbly. If the sauce is too thick, add more beer until the mixture is slightly thin. Continue to cook for 10 more minutes.

6.  Toast the English muffins (if using) or hamburger buns and place  a nice dollop of the mixture on the muffin/bun.

7.  Place on a platter, stand back and watch them disappear.

So there it is. It's fast, it's fun, it's messy, but it's tasty. Hope you try it on Gameday.

Until next week, enjoy the games! Keep on Homegating!!

Friday, October 9, 2015



Last Sunday I intended on making 2 dips for the gang:  guacamole and hummus. The guac was already made and I started on the hummus when I realized that the tahini I had in the fridge was expired. In and of itself, there wasn't enough guac to feed the hungry masses, so I decided that a fusion was in order and came up with: Guacmmus!

Guacamole and hummus share a couple of the same ingredients (garlic and citrus), so all I did was puree the chickpeas and then add the guac to the food processor. With the processor running, I drizzled some olive oil in to make the dip creamier. It worked like a charm. The gang really enjoyed it. And the best part about it? It didn't get dark like guac usually does after being out for a while. It can be served with tortilla chips, but folks were dipping pretzels, potato and pita chips in it as well. It's pretty hearty. You can almost say it's like guac on steroids!

Here's another idea for this guacmmus - try it as a sandwich spread. Trust me on this one...

(serves 6)

2 ripe avocados
2 whole garlic clove, mashed
1/2 small red onion, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbs cilantro
1 can chick peas, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste


Place all the ingredients in a food processor except for the olive oil. Process until smooth. With the processor running, drizzle the oil in until it reaches a creamy consistency. Serve with various chips.

Hope you try this. It's a quick recipe that is tasty and unique. Your company will really enjoy it.

Enjoy the games this weekend. Hope your teams do well - unless they're playing my teams!

So until next weekend - keep on Homegating!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chicken Meatloaf Sliders with Roasted Pepper Aioli!!


While we're only going into Week 4 in the NFL, Homegating Headquarters is already in mid-season form. Moving to the burbs hasn't quieted things down in the least. The gang is here every week. They come hungry and I need to be prepared. Last week I decided to do a riff on meatloaf and turned it into: Chicken Meatloaf Sliders with Roasted Pepper Aioli!

Preparing the sliders is a 2-part process: making the meatloaf and then making the actual sliders. I made it easy on myself and prepared the meatloaf on Saturday, then finished the sliders on gameday. It saved me a lot of culinary stress and I didn't miss any action on the gridiron.

Instead of using ground turkey, I went with ground chicken because I feel it's a little moister but you can absolutely use it if you can't find the ground chicken. I prepped the meatloaf as I normally would and then let it cool and fridged it. I also prepped the aioli that goes on top. At halftime on gameday, I sliced the meatloaf, popped them in the oven, added the cheese until it melted, assembled the sliders and had to keep people away from them until I got a few shots of it for Homegating101....

Chicken Meatloaf Sliders with Roasted Pepper Aioli
(serves 6-8)

3 lbs ground chicken (or turkey)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
2 eggs

1 cup mayo
1 whole roasted pepper (jarred is fine)
1 tbs sriracha
1/4 tsp granulated garlic

Meunster cheese
slider rolls


1.  Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Mix all the meatloaf ingredients and place in a 9 x 5 loaf pan (for one loaf, but you can make smaller ones if your pan is smaller). Bake in the oven until an instant-read thermometer reaches165-degrees (approximately 1-hour - but start checking after 45 minutes if your oven runs hot).

2.  For the aioli: place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

3:  Assembly:  slice the meatloaf and re-heat in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Cut the meunster cheese into quarters and place 2 slices on each slider. Heat until melted. Place each slider on a roll and add the aioli. Serve.

And there you have it! You know you have a winner when there are no leftovers - and there were no leftovers with this. Hope you try it!

Enjoy your games and I will see you all back here next week!
Keep on Homegating!!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Deconstructed Cheeseburgers & Fries!!


You know that I always say to prepare ahead so that you're not rushing around at the last-minute. Well last week I didn't take my own advice and wound up behind the 8-ball on gameday. But it luckily turned to my advantage and I came up with:  Deconstructed Cheeseburgers & Fries.

I usually prepare most of my gameday grub the day before and just heat it up when the gang comes over. For last week's get-together, I planned on making cheeseburgers & fries, along with a few other goodies. I had shopped and prepped the day before. All I had left to do on Sunday was to shape the burger patties and throw them on the grill. By the time I was heating the fries and getting ready to shape the burgers, I realized I had forgotten the burger buns. What to do? Think fast! I took the concept of burgers & fries and did a mash-up as a nacho-esque topping and poured it over the fries. I was taking a chance, but it turned into success. The gang loved it and I saved myself from having to slave over the hot grill. It was a win-win.

Deconstructed Cheeseburgers & Fries
(serves 4-6)                                                                  

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 large onion, minced
1 1/2 lbs crinkled fries
1/2 lb Velveeta, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 whole large dill pickle, minced
crumbled bacon (optional)
salt & pepper to taste


1.  Prepare the fries according to the package directions and hold to the side. Keep the oven on.

2.  Sautee the onions until translucent. Add the ground beef and brown. Hold.

3.  Heat the milk and add the Velveeta. Heat through until the cheese is melted and creamy.

4.  Add the burger meat to the cheese and mix throughly.

5.  Place the fries in a baking platter. Spoon the mixture over the fries, return to the oven and heat through (about 7 minutes).

6.  Remove from the oven and drizzle ketchup over. Sprinkle the minced pickles on top.

7.  Serve and get ready for raves.

And there you have it!

Hope you're enjoying the football season so far. It's been quite an interesting start for some teams, but not to worry. Lots of football left. And don't get me started about fantasy football yet!

Until next weekend, enjoy the games tomorrow and keep on homegating!!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Kickoff Ribs 'n Kraut!!


We're back!!! And, more importantly.... so is Football Season!!!!!

We have finally settled in at the new Homegating Headquarters and are ready for the beginning of a new season! Can you smell the pigskin in the air? We're all ready to go!!

After all the bbq'ing this past weekend, there were a couple of extra racks of ribs leftover, along with a couple of extra packages of sauerkraut, so I dug into my recipe archives and came up with a dish that my mom used to make every once in a while: Braised Ribs n' Kraut!

This is a great dish to make either in the slow-cooker, or a braiser. You set it up, walk away and in 4 hours, you have an amazing dish. The meat is succulent, crazy tender and is complimented by the tartness of the sauerkraut. Place it all in a bowl and let your gang have at it. They're really going to like this - and so will you.

Braised Ribs & Kraut                
(serves 4-6)
2 racks pork ribs, cut into individual ribs
2 packages of sauerkraut (including the juice)
2 whole cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, minced
1 can beer (lager or ale)
1 cup chicken or veal stock
1 bay leaf
3 juniper berries, crushed
3 tbs canola oil

Pre-heat oven to 300-degrees.

1. In a large oven-proof braiser, heat the oil and lightly brown the ribs (you may need to do that in batches).

2. Remove the ribs, place in a bowl and then add the onions and garlic. Saute until the onions are translucent.

3. Add the sauerkraut and saute through (it will pick up the browned bits from the pan - this is a good thing!).

4. Add the stock and reduce the liquid by half. Return the ribs to the pot. Add the beer, bay leaves and juniper berries. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.

5. Place a cover on the braiser, put in the oven and proceed to cook for 3 1/2 - 4 hours, or place in a slow cooker and set to high for the first hour and then bring down to low for the next 2 1/2 - 3 hours.

6. Spoon ribs/kraut into bowls (by this time, the bones will literally be falling out of the meat - and vice versa), serve and enjoy....

So there you have it. Enjoy the first week of games. Good luck to your teams and I'll be back next week with another fun, tasty dish for your gang.

See you next week!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Back to the Beginning....


The packing/moving continues. It's during this time that one reflects on the past but with an eye on the future. While leaving my cozy little apartment will be bittersweet, the thought of starting anew in a different town is pretty exciting. It's a new beginning of sorts.

With new beginnings in mind, I thought it would be fun to go back to the beginning of this blog and revisit the first entry: Kickoff Krunch Burgers!

We're 2 weeks away from new recipes and new homegating adventures.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Move Continues....


As I continue to pack up my domaine, I asked a few buds which recipe they wanted to see featured again. A couple of folks mentioned the Cider-Braised Pork Belly Quesadillas. Good choice! I have gotten lots of compliments on this one - and I have to say that it's one of my favorites. It takes a little time, but it is well worth it.

Hope you decide to roll this one out on your guests because it's a good one for sure!

Friday, July 10, 2015

A New Home to Homegate In....


Homegating Headquarters is moving to the 'burbs. I'm packing things up this month and heading out of the city to a new locale for new homegating adventures. Since all the pots and pans are getting packed up, I will be featuring readers' requests for the next few weeks. But I will return the first week in August as we start gearing up for Football Season!

In the meantime, this week we're featuring a reader favorite that will be hit at your next homegate, or outdoor gathering: Bacon Deviled Eggs

Friday, July 3, 2015

Firecracker Pineapple Shrimp!!


Patriotism is in the air this weekend! With 4th of July and the FIFA Women's World Cup Final happening, it's going to be USA! USA! all weekend long! I've got a bunch of people coming over throughout the weekend, so I wanted to keep things quick, simple and spicy! With lots of cooking happening, I didn't want to overwhelm myself and so I came up with a crowd-pleaser: Firecracker Pineapple Shrimp!

What I like about the Firecracker Pineapple Shrimp is that it's relatively light, yet bold in flavor. A quick marinade and then a quick grill will yield a delicious result. I love that the heat of the cayenne is countered by the sweetness of the pineapple. This can be prepared in one of several ways depending on what your home set-up is. You can use an indoor grill, a broiler, grill pan or an outdoor grill. Whatever works for you is fine because the final result will be something that you and your guests will really enjoy. This will make either a nice appetizer or entree. Either way will be a hit.

Firecracker Pineapple Shrimp       
(serves 6)

1 lb med shrimp, peeled & cleaned              
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored &
cut into 1" chunks
2-3 med red onion, quartered & sliced
into 1" wedges
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup pineapple rum (optional)
1 tbs hot sauce
3/4 cup olive oil
salt & white pepper to taste


1. Marinade: in a deep bowl add: pineapple juice, rum, hot sauce, olive oil salt and pepper. Mix well and add the shrimp, onion and pineapple chunks. Let sit in marinade for 30 minutes.

2. Remove from marinade and sprinkle with the cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder and ground ginger. Toss until completely coated.

3. Place on skewers. Alternate between the pineapple, onion and shrimp.

4. Place skewers on whichever heat source you are using. Grill/broil until slightly charred. Shrimp cook quickly, so you don't want to walk to far away from this. Baste with your marinade. Start checking for doneness after about 7 minutes. Remove from grill/broiler and serve.

And there you have it. Hope you try it. You'll really enjoy this.

Remember to be careful this weekend.

Have a safe and Happy 4th! GO USA!!! And keep on Homegating!!

See you next week!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Stuffed Clams!!


Everytime you go into a restaurant, you order them when they're on the menu. For some reason, whenever people see it on the menu, their voices raise a notch and they say, "Hey, wanna share an order?" They're one of those yummy little sharable appys that everyone loves to have. I'm talking about:  Stuffed Clams!

My dear Homegaters, you no longer  have to wait until you go out to eat to enjoy these savory little munchies, because I'm unlocking the secret of how to whip up an awesome batch for you and your pals. This dish doesn't take long to prepare. You can even make it ahead of time and fridge them until you're ready to heat them up.

When I buy fresh clams, I ask my fish monger to shuck them for me. I stank at shucking clams in culinary school and haven't gotten any better since then, so I cheat and have the pros do it for me. I also throw in an extra can of chopped clams because I like my filling very clammy. There's nothing worse than eating a stuffed clam and getting more stuffing than clam. You might be surprised at the addition of a little heavy cream, but that adds a little richness to the filling and balances the flavors a bit. With this dish you really need to taste as you go because you want to make sure you have a flavorful balance and not a dry, tasteless mixture. You may find that you need to add a little more clam juice, or even a little more wine. Don't worry, your palate will tell you. And then your guests will tell you how they've been blown away by your culinary prowess.

Stuffed Clams        
(makes 2 dozen)
1 dozen fresh clams, shucked
(you can have your fish monger
do that for you) and roughly chopped
2 dozen clam shells
1 can chopped clams, plus their
1 small onion, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1-2 cups frech bread crumbs
2 tbs grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup white wine (or vermouth)
juice of half a small lemon
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup canola oil


1. Heat the oil in a sautee pan. Sautee the onions and garlic until translucent.

2. Add white wine/vermouth and reduce by half.

3. Add the canned clams with their juice along with the lemon juice. Heat until bubbling.

4. Add the fresh clams and cook through.

5. Mix the bread crumbs and Romano cheese in with the clam mixture.

6. Add the heavy cream and continue heating through.

7. If the crumb mixture looks dry, add more clam juice until the mixture looks moist.

8. Spoon mixture into clam shells until nicely filled.

9. Place clams on a baking sheet and put in 375-degree oven until the mixture is lightly browned (start checking after 15 minutes).

So there you have it! This doesn't take very long to put together and your guests are going to be seriously impressed. This will be another one of those recipes that will become a go-to dish when the gang comes over.

Hope you decide to try this, and if you do, let me know how you liked it.

Until next week, keep on homegating!