Sideline foods perfect for football


Sheryl Sollars - Welcome To My Kitchen



It is now 10 days and counting for those who are gearing up for the Super Bowl next weekend, and the first thing that I think about when I think about Super Bowl is food … and snacks.

Up until a few years ago, I was certainly not a football fan and you would seldom find me in front of a television watching a football game. I have talked about being from a small rural school and with only about 50-60 male students in grades nine through 12, and football was not a sport that my school competed in.

I believe that the reason I did not enjoy the game was because I did not understand the sport. My older brother, Jon Hopkins, was a wonderful athlete, playing basketball and baseball (he once pitched a no-hitter in college baseball!) and I really enjoyed watching those two sports.

I know I am an exception to the rule and football is the number one sport viewed on television. I follow the Cincinnati Bengals but they don’t have much luck getting to the Super Bowl. I guess I will just have to wait until next year to get back into the scene and hope that they come back strong.

No matter who you are rooting for this weekend you will need food and snacks to go along with the game. There are more Super Bowl parties thrown now than New Year’s Eve parties which means more food is flowing and more recipes needed for snacks.

Whether you are entertaining a group of neighbors, and friends, just family or you are sitting around enjoying a sporting event yourself, food is an essential part of the gathering. Some of you enjoy “tailgating” and need food that can be served or eaten on the run. Then there are those of you who don’t leave your home and enjoy gathering around the TV and munching on finger foods and appetizers.

Today, I hope I have found some different “nibble” food that might add a variety to your menu.

When planning on foods to serve to a crowd, you want to find recipes that can be prepared ahead of time and then baked or warmed up as needed. This allows you to be a part of the party instead of spending the whole day in the kitchen.

The sausages rolls or artichoke dip are just the type of appetizers that you need to make so that you can sit back and relax at your own party. If you are planning a tailgating party, try either the cheese stick or nutty cracker recipe as they are easy to tote along with you.

I hope you can use at least one of these recipes in the future to help make your next party a “cheering “success.

NUTTY CRACKER DELIGHTS

An amazing sweet and salty snack!

42 CLUB crackers (2 ½” x 1”)

½ Cup butter

½ Cup sugar

1 Teaspoon vanilla

1 Cup slivered almonds

Place crackers in a single layer on a baking sheet (15” x 10”) that is covered with a silicone liner or foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; add vanilla. Pour evenly over crackers; sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Immediately remove with a metal spatula, placing on a cooling rack. (Be careful as the sugar coating will be HOT!) Cool and then carefully break into individual crackers if they are joined by the sugar coating. Store in an air tight container. (These can be stored for 5-7 days.)

CHEESY SNACK STICKS

These are great as a party snack or can be served with soups or salads.

1 stick butter room temperature

¾ cup flour

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons ice cold water

6 tablespoons grated sharp cheese

4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

In a bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Stir in flour and pepper. Add water and cheese and combine until a soft dough forms. Chill for about 30-40 minutes. The dough should be soft enough to press through a cookie press or pastry bag*. Squeeze dough into a 2” long stick onto a cookie sheet lined with silicone liner or parchment paper (not foil!). Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seed if you desire. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. (Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Let cool on baking sheet and then carefully remove. These can be stored in an airtight container but are best if eaten within 8-12 hours.

* If you don’t have a pastry bag or cookie press, substitute a Ziploc bag, cutting off one tip of the bag diagonally about 3/8” -1/2” wide.

SPICY ARTICHOKE DIP

I am not an artichoke lover, but this dip is fabulous. If you don’t enjoy spicy foods, omit the cayenne pepper. I highly suggest serving this dip with Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits which can be found on the cracker shelf in most supermarkets.

Place in blender:

1 -15 oz can artichoke hearts (drained)

1 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Triscuit crackers

Blend all of the first 6 ingredients until completely mixed. Pour into a 9” greased pie plate. (I like to use a decorative deep dish style). Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees until top is golden brown and bubbly around the edges. Cool 10-15 min and then serve spread on crackers.

SAUSAGE PINWHEELS

Since many packaged sausages contain MSG which I am allergic to, I like to use fresh bulk sausage (regular or Italian) which is free of MSG.

1 Sheet Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry

1 pound seasoned sausage

Thaw pastry for 20 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll one sheet to a 15” x 9” rectangle. Cut rectangle into three strips, each 3” wide. Divide sausage meat into thirds. Roll each section into a “snake” 15” long. Place each strip of meat along the long edge of each pastry. Starting at the long side with the meat, roll the pastry around the meat. Wet the bare pastry edge and press to seal roll tightly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake and serve (must refrigerate at least 1 hour). Slice rolls into ¾” slices and place on a cookie sheet (about 1 ½” apart) covered with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Bake in PREHEATED oven at 400 degrees, for 12-15 minutes or until rolls are puffed and golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool for 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Serve warm. NOTE: These can be made ahead and frozen for up to 30 days. When ready to serve remove from freezer and thaw in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. They can also be baked ahead of time and then warmed in the oven (NOT a microwave as they get soft) for 5-8 minute.

Hope these recipes will help cheer your favorite sports team to victory. Have a great week..Sheryl

Sheryl Sollars, a Clinton County native, is an accomplished cook and homemaker. She contributes her column “Welcome to My Kitchen” out of her love of homemaking and of sharing her thoughts with her readers. If you have cooking questions or a recipe you want to share, please contact Sheryl at kitchenlady44@yahoo.com.

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Sheryl Sollars

Welcome To My Kitchen