Friday, September 30, 2016

Smashed Potato Bombs


What to do with leftover mashed potatoes? Turn 'em into Smashed Potato Bombs! With a few ingredients, you can repurpose last night's dinner into a Gameday treat.

I had a particularly large amount of mashed potatoes leftover recently. I knew I wasn't going to have them again the next day, but I knew that if I turned them into something else, I'd be able to freeze them and use them another time. Bingo! Smashed Potato Bombs! These little guys are crunchy and creamy and make perfect finger food for Gameday.

I have a muffin tin that makes only muffin tops, which was perfect for this. I placed spoonfuls into each slot, placed a small thumb indentation in each and sprinkled a little bit of grated cheddar on top. If you don't have one of those tins, you can certainly just drop spoonfuls onto a sheetpan like cookies.

Once they were done (and tested, of course!), I let them cool off and froze them. On Gameday, I just reheated them at 350-degrees and they were great!

Smashed Potato Bombs                                            

(serves 4-6)

4 cups mashed potatoes
2 Tbs finely minced scallions
2 tsp granulated garlic
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar (divided)
salt & pepper to taste


1. Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients, except for 1/4 cup of the grated cheddar.

3. Scoop a small amount of the potato mixture into a shallow muffin tin.

4. Create a small indentation on the top of each potato "coin" and then fill the indentation in with a little bit of the grated cheddar.

5.  Place in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are golden - about 20 - 30 minutes.

It can't get simpler than that!  Let me know how you like it!

Enjoy your games this weekend and keep on Homegating!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Gameday Sweets: Peach Crostata!


Once in a while, you need to sneak some sweetness into your homegate menu. After gorging on spicy, savory and/or salty fare all Game Day, it's nice to have a little sweet treat to balance it all out.
I wanted to take advantage of the wonderfully sweet peaches that I've been enjoying these past few weeks and make a little Peach Crostata to serve on Gameday.

We're usually not big into sweets on Gameday, but once in a while someone will bring cookies or ice cream to have towards the end of the day. I always keep puff pastry in the freezer, so when I had an abundance of peaches not too long ago, I thought a crostata would be a nice way to go to use up those peaches and the puff pastry.

The filling is light and not too sweet, which is why I happen to be a fan of this. All it's comprised of are peaches, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. You can't get any easier than that.

Peach Crostata                                
(serves 4-6)                                            

3 peaches, sliced thin
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 sett of puffed pastry


1. Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees.

2. Place the honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan and heat through. Pour over the peaches and toss until thoroughly combined.

3.  Roll out a sheet of the puff pastry onto a sheet pan and dock (pricking holes with a fork) all around leaving a 1/2" border untouched.

4.  Arrange the peach slices on top of the pastry, leaving the 1/2" border.

5.  Place in oven for 20-30 minutes until the pastry puffs up and is golden.

6.  Bring to rom temperature and serve.

So there you have it! Something a little different this time, but I think your guests will like the change. If you try it, let me know how you like it.

Until next week, keep on homegating!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Green Wings!!


I don't know why I hadn't thought of these sooner. It's so simple - it was right under my nose. But you see? It takes something else to trigger a little culinary inspiration. During a day of recipe testing, I came up with:  Green Wings!!

On this one particular recipe test day, I was on a food processor rampage. I was pureeing and making various little sauces. I was on a roll and kept thinking of what else I can puree and make into a sauce. I opened the fridge and spied a bottle of pickled jalapenos. Yaaassssss!!!!! I dumped the entire jar (juice and all) into the processor and whizzed it up. After taste testing and adding a few other ingredients, I knew I had a tasty, but spicy sauce to play with. But what to do with it? Oh yeah - baste it on some wings and let 'em fly!

By the time the wings are finished roasting, they just look like roasted wings with a slight greenish tint. They have a nice bright flavor. They're not as hot as the red sauces, but they do have a little after-zing. I served the extra sauce on the side in case anyone wanted to add a little more to their wings.

Green Wings
(serves 4-6)                                              

3 lbs chicken wings
16 oz jar of pickled jalapenos
2 tsp grated onion*
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tbs fresh cilantro


1.  Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees.

2.  Place all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth.  Reserve 1 cup of sauce.

3.  Baste wings with sauce and place in the oven. Continue to baste the wings every 15 minutes for 1 hour.

4.  Remove from oven and serve with extra sauce.

When I served these to the Gameday Gang, they were a little taken aback when they first looked at them. After all, people are used to seeing red wings. But of course they were psyched to check them out and they got some great reviews. Some liked them as is and some used the extra sauce to dip the wings into. Whichever way they ate them, the wings wound up disappearing, so I'm going to take that as a good sign.

And there you have it! Try these guys out one weekend and see how your crowd digs 'em.

Enjoy your games and I'll see you next week!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Opening Day Kickoff 2016: Spicy Orange Meatballs!!


Happy Kickoff 2016! Football is back!!!

While the season is never really over on the internet, it still seems like forever since we watched Peyton raise the Lombardi. It seems like so much has happened since that night. Hey, even he's become a Homegater! But we are finally getting ready to start off another season with high expectations for our teams. Each team is starting out anew.

For the Gameday Gang, Opening Day is cause for a double celebration this year. First of all, we're celebrating the first week of the season, and we're also celebrating the grand opening of our new Homegating101 Headquarters at the Garage Bar (aka: Fan Cave). While it's still a work in progress, it's been all prepped with the essentials: TV, seating, fridge, kegerator and various other accoutrements. We're psyched. It's going to be a fun gathering place for the gang to eat, drink and watch the games. So to start the season off in our new location, we're presenting: Spicy Orange Meatballs!

I picked up some orange marmalade at a farm stand this summer and wanted to incorporate it into one of my gameday dishes. I figured it would make a nice sweet and spicy sauce. A combination of the marmalade along with some sambal sauce, rice wine vinegar and soy gives the sauce a nice sweet, savory and spicy tang. The sauce can work on any meat you might want to prepare, but I went with meatballs. You've got the deep savory flavor of the meatballs playing off the sweet and spicy orange sauce. It's a nice combination.

Spicy Orange Meatballs                    

(makes 32)

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp ground garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp brown mustard
2 tsp smoked paprika
salt & pepper to taste
16 oz jar orange marmalade
1 tbsp sambal sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 cup water (you may not need it all)


1.  Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees. Mix all the meatball ingredients well and roll into golf-ball size balls. Place on baking sheets and put in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until meatballs are browned. Remove from oven and let cool. (NOTE: meatballs can be made ahead).

2. In a heavy saucepan on medium heat, melt down the marmalade until it become soft and liquidy. Add remaining ingredients and heat through until almost boiling. If the sauce is too thick, thin out with a little water. Place meatballs in sauce and stir to make sure all the meatballs get covered in the sauce. Heat through and serve.

I have a small crock pot that I'll use to keep these meatballs warm. We have a table in the garage bar where we'll put all the food so that everyone can help themselves throughout the day - and I won't have to keep running back and forth to the kitchen to heat something up! That's the beauty of having warming trays and crock pots. Your hot food will stay hot all day. I have a football-shaped crock pot (of course I would!) that I use for hots dogs in water (who doesn't love a hot dog on gameday?).

So there you have it. This recipe is easy to prepare. You can make the meatballs ahead. You can even freeze them and then thaw them out when you're ready to make the sauce. Hope you decide to try these. Let me know if you do and how you like them!

Enjoy the games and good luck to your teams!

See you next week!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Munch Madness '16: Matzo Pizza!!


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)


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!!


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


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...


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


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!!


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


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!!


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


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!!


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:


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!!


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:


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:


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:


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!!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Red Onion & Roasted Pepper Flatbread!!


Greetings from a snowy Northeast! Winter finally decided to show up - big time.

This weekend we have the NFC & AFC Championship games to decide who is going to the Super Bowl in 2 weeks. We have 2 good matchups between Carolina vs Arizona and Denver vs New England. Would love to see Denver and Carolina in the Big Game, but we'll see how things play out.

This week's munchie is a Red Onion & Roasted Pepper Flatbread. You can put pretty much anything you want on a flatbread and it'll come out good. All you need is some pizza dough and your favorite toppings. This time out I went with sauteed red onions, roasted peppers and aged gouda. What's not to like?

I had a jar of roasted peppers that I made during the week, but you can certainly go with an already prepared jar of roasted peppers. It's perfectly fine. I sauteed the red onions until they were translucent and then let them cool down. I rolled out the pizza dough, stretched it into a sheet pan, brushed a little garlic oil over the top, added the onions and peppers and cooked it up in the oven until the dough crisped up. Once it came out of the oven, I grated some aged gouda over it. This can be served room temperature, so I let it hang out until the Gameday Gang showed up. Needless to say, it didn't last too long...

Red Onion & Roasted Pepper Flatbread         

(serves 4-6)

3 medium red onions, sliced
2 tbs olive oil
1 jar of roasted peppers, drained
2 tbs garlic oil
grated aged gouda (or parmesan cheese)
1 package pizza dough


1.  Pre-heat oven to 550-degrees.

2.  Heat olive oil in a medium sautee pan until shimmering. Add the onions and sautee until soft and translucent. Place in a bowl and let cool.

3.  Roll out pizza dough and place in a large sheet pan. Stretch the dough to the edges. Brush the dough with a thin coating of garlic oil.

4.  Place the onions and peppers on tops of the flatbread and place in the oven. Bake until the edges of the dough are golden.

5.  Remove from the oven and grate cheese over the top. Let cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

Big Game Party Tips & Tricks:

It's 2 weeks out from The Big Game. This is a good weekend to really put a dent in some of that cooking ahead and freezing. The liquor stores are starting to run good sales, so stock up on the adult beverages while the prices are low.

Speaking of low prices, if you're in the market for a new TV for the game, check out the bargains that the retail stores are offering. Now is a good time to get that and set it up.

You should also start thinking about seating plans and how you're going to set up your room (or fan cave) for the day of the game. Trust me, I was ill prepared a couple of times and wound up short on seats and room. It turned out to be fine in the end, but it's a stress you don't want to deal with, so start thinking about that also.

And there you have it! I'm looking forward to see who will wind up going to the Big Game after tomorrow. It's a fun and exciting time of year. Hope you're enjoying it as much as we are.

Until next weekend, keep on Homegating!!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Chipotle Dip!!


The Playoffs are in full swing and we're beginning to wind down to the Super Bowl. Right now it's anyone's guess who is going to make it to the Big Game. The way things are going, it might be which 2 teams are the healthiest at the end. Even though my team went belly up before the season ended, I still have rooting interest in some the the teams left. It's all good.

Today we have a guest recipe, courtesy of my krazee kuzin Dianne. Last weekend she brought over an awesome Chipotle Dip that she created herself. The flavor was fresh and vibrant. I want to share it with you because it's another good recipe for your Super Bowl party - or any time for that matter. I would recommend making it either a day ahead or at least a few hours ahead because it needs a little time for the flavors to really develop. But try to check it out, it's really good...

Chipotle Dip                                               

(serves 4-6)

16 oz container sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs chipotle powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs fresh lime juice


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and let sit in fridge for a few hours, or preferably overnight.
Serve with chips, pretzels.

Big Game Party Tips & Tricks:
By now you should have gotten your invites out. This way your guests have enough time to respond and you'll be able to shop accordingly. Now is a good time to start hitting the party stores to pick up paper goods and any themed decorations that you might want to display around the house the day of the party. This is also a good time to start stocking up on soda, beer, water. The supermarkets are running sales right now, so take advantage of the good prices. This is also a good time to start making a few items that you can freeze ahead (wings, meatballs,...). The Big Game is only 3 weeks away, so now is a good time to start prepping a few freezable dishes now so that all you have to do the day of the party it to heat them up.

So there you have it! Enjoy the playoffs this weekend and I will see you next weekend!
Keep on Homegating!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Irish Nachos!!


I present to you:  Irish Nachos. Take a moment to let that settle in.

I decided to create this recipe after I went to a sports bar recently and had their version of Irish Nachos. They missed the mark on so many levels. I was compelled to right their wrong and do it Homegating101-style. Get ready...

The bar's version of Irish nachos included home-made potato chips topped with melted cheese, pico de gallo and shredded lettuce. It was an epic miss. The only claim to Irishness was the use of the potato chips (which were soggy). Such a disappointment. It haunted my dreams. I needed to make my Irish side proud.

With this recipe I went with kettle chips since they're sturdier (thinking about those soggy "chips" at the bar is still giving me the vapors). I topped those with shredded cheddar and minced corned beef and kept layering with the chips, cheese and corned beef until I got to the top of the pan. I popped that into the oven until the cheese melted. Once it came out of the oven, I sprinkled the chopped cabbage & onion "slaw" on top and unleashed this creation on the Gameday Gang. They were on it like piranhas on a human leg. It was gone in 5 minutes.

The baking makes the chips crispier (besides melting the cheese). The cabbage slaw offsets the heaviness of the cheese and corned beef. I don't know about you, but I think this hit the mark on being an Irish nacho. It's easy to make and disappears pretty quickly, so be sure to make enough.

Irish Nachos
(serves 4-6)                                                        

1 Bag kettle potato chips
1/2 lb sliced corned beef, chopped
8 oz shredded cheddar
3 cups cabbage, minced
3 tbs red onion, minced
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
salt & pepper to taste


1.  Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees. In a roasting pan, place a layer of potato chips to cover the bottom. Place a thin layer of the shredded cheese on top, followed by a layer of the minced corned beef. Continue layering until you reach almost of the top of the pan.

2. Cabbage Slaw: toss the minced cabbage & onion together with the granulated garlic, salt & pepper. Hold until the nachos are out of the oven.

3.  Place pan in oven until cheese is melted (5-7 minutes). Remove from oven and sprinkle cabbage slaw on top.

4.  Serve and wait for accolades.

And there you have it!

We're now reaching the home stretch of the football season. The next 2 weekends are full of Playoff action both on Saturday and Sunday. Not only am I now cooking for an entire weekend of gameday grub, but I'm beginning to think about what will be on the menu for my annual  Big Game Bash on February 7. Do I do a "greatest hits" of what I served during the season, or do I create something new just for the party. Gotta think about that....

If you're planning on having a Super Bowl party, now is the time to start thinking about your invite list and menu. Once you get your menu down, you can start planning how you're going to tackle it. Are you serving something that can be made ahead and frozen? If so, you may want to do that so that the weekend of the event isn't so hectic for you. All you'll have to do on SB Sunday is just heat it up (wings are perfect for this). It's also a good time to start shopping for paper goods and decorations. Keep an eye out for soda, chip and beer sales. Get whatever you can now instead of rushing around at the last-minute.

I'll be sharing more tips and ideas for your Big Game party in the weeks to come. Hope you keep checking in!

Until next week, keep on Homegating!!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs!!


Happy Holidays!

Can't believe that the regular football season is over after this weekend. Seems like it just started! Did it go fast for you? It flew by for me. My NFL team stank it up pretty badly in 2015, but I did win the championship in one of my Fantasy Football leagues, so that was pretty exciting. Now we start gearing up for the actual Playoffs and then The Big Game. We still have lots of homegating to do, which as you know, continues throughout the year with various sports. Stay tuned.

This week's recipe is Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs. I had an extra can of cranberry sauce hanging around from the holidays and wanted to use it up before it wound up sitting in my pantry until next Thanksgiving. Since it's a perfect compliment for turkey, making turkey meatballs would be right up the alley for the Gameday Gang. They love any kind of meatball, so this was going to be a no-brainer. I like the sweet-savory combination of this dish between the savory meatballs and the sweet glaze.

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs
(approximately 32 meatballs)                                  

2 lbs ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Cranberry Glaze:
8 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
3 tbs honey


For the Meatballs:  Pre-heat oven to 375-degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients until well incorporated. The mixture will be very soft. Wet hands and begin rolling mixture into golfball-size balls and place on a baking sheet. Place sheet in oven and bake until meatballs are browned (approximately 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven).

For the Glaze:  On medium heat, place the cranberry sauce, vinegar and honey in a small sauce pan. Continue to stir until the cranberry jelly is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and well incorporated.

Assembly:  Place a few meatballs into the cranberry glaze at a time and toss to coat. Put meatballs on a plate or platter. Add toothpicks.

You can make the meatballs and the glaze ahead of time - just don't mix them together. On the day you're going to serve them, reheat the meatballs and the glaze and then toss them together.

And there you have it! Until next weekend, keep on homegating!