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!!