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!