Football Food Roundup

This week a lot of people are excited about the game, I am not one of those people. My beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t even make the playoffs, even though they had a better record than Seattle. But I promise to not go off into a tangent. As much as I love football and hate this time of year when it’s almost done, I just don’t like the two teams playing. I have many loved ones who are huge Steelers fans and being here in PA it’s a bit hard for me. I’m just ready for the weekend to be over and a new season to begin. Till then, people are going to be planning their big parties and they need some food. That’s where I can help. I have a great list of recipes for anyone planning a party to watch the game (or the commercials).


Finger Foods/Sides:

Main Dish:


Fresh Tomato Salsa

I made this salsa when I made the stovetop chicken fajitas. It was a fantastic condiment to serve with the fajitas and I was sad we had no salsa leftover. My husband is looking forward to me making it again and so am I. I’m not a jar salsa fan and would rather have something fresh and crisp to dip my tortilla chips in. It’s easy to put together and the longest part of the process is letting the tomatoes drain. Once that’s done, throw everything together and let sit for a few minutes so the flavors blend together. Enjoy!

Fresh Tomato Salsa:

  • 12 ounces tomatoes (about 2 medium) cored and chopped small
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 2 tbs minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile, stemmed and seeded and minced finely (whole if you want it very hot)
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice, plus extra to taste
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Sugar
  1. Toss the tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt in a colander and let drain for 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer the drained tomatoes to a bowl and toss with the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, 1 1/2 tsp of the lime juice and garlic. Season with additional lime juice, salt, pepper and sugar to taste. let the salsa sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

I know I’ve posted quite a few dips recently and I don’t want to bog you down with dips. But so many people are looking for the right one to serve at parties, especially during playoffs. This one pairs very nicely with Buffalo Wings. I made the recipe exactly as it said but next time I’m going to add more cheese to the dip. I felt it could use more, possibly up to another cup. You can always more or less of anything in this dip, to suit your tastes. You could use any other kind of thick fries if you don’t want to use waffle cut. I do recommend using a thick cut, due to the dip being a little on the thick side. Small cut fries won’t stand up to it. I hope you enjoy the loaded baked potato dip as much as my family did.

Loaded Baked Potato:

  • 1  (2.1-oz.) package fully cooked bacon slices
  • 1  (16-oz.) container sour cream
  • 2  cups  (8 oz.) freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3  cup  sliced fresh chives
  • 2  teaspoons  hot sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Garnishes: cooked, crumbled bacon; sliced fresh chives; freshly cracked pepper
  • Serve with: waffle fries or other thick cut fries
  1. Microwave bacon according to package directions until crisp; drain on paper towels. Cool 10 minutes; crumble.
  2. Stir together bacon and next 4 ingredients, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours before serving.
  3. Garnish, if desired. Serve with crispy, warm waffle fries. Store leftovers in refrigerator up to 7 days.

Source: January 2011 issue of Southern Living Magazine

Sausage, Bean, and Spinach Dip

We are in the middle of playoffs and soon the big game will be here. This dip would be perfect to serve at your next football party or any other party for that matter. When I first tasted it, I thought it was good. But as I continued to eating the dip got better and better. Everyone loved it and the only bad thing was that I didn’t  have enough corn chips to scoop up the dip. Do not make the mistake I did, make sure you buy 2 bags of the big corn chips scoops. Then you won’t have the grumbles coming from your family/friends like I did.

Aren’t those fingers so cute? Those are my baby girl’s.

Sausage, Bean, and Spinach Dip:

  • 1  sweet onion, diced
  • 1  red bell pepper, diced
  • 1  (1-lb.) package hot ground pork sausage
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2  cup  dry white wine
  • 1  (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1  (6-oz.) package fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2  cup  (2 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 bags corn chips or 1 bag Pretzel rods
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cook diced onion and next 2 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in garlic and thyme; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid has almost completely evaporated.
  2. Add cream cheese, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until cream cheese is melted. Stir in spinach and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Gently stir in beans. Pour mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake at 375° for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with corn chip scoops and pretzel rods.

Source: January issue of Southern Living Magazine

Happy New Year…

Here are some party horns to get you started. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and I hope that 2011 brings everyone better things. What are some of your traditions for New Years? My husbands family traditional food is pork and sauerkraut. My families is black eye peas and collard greens. I love how we have a North and South thing going on in my house. Tomorrow I will be making a pork loin stuffed with hopping john stuffing (look for that this week). My mother-in-law will be making the pork and sauerkraut. I love that we are teaching my kids the different traditions from around the country. I’d love to hear what yours are.

Along with ringing in the New Year, I’ll be busy watching football. Our Penn State Nittany Lions will be taking on the Florida Gators in the Outback Bowl. That bowl brings back so many memories for me. Growing up in Florida and then meeting my husband, we have gone to many Outback Bowls to cheer on Penn State. I do miss Florida this time of year. But I’m in PA right now and will be watching it at home. But we won’t be alone, we will have family with us.

If you will be like me and will be watching football all weekend, I have some great recipes for you. I’m going to be trying some new ones along with some oldies. Here is a great list of things to make for either your New Years parties or Football parties.

This is a fabulous dip and I’ll be serving it tonight with our New Years get together. Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Baked Fontina is my new favorite.

Hot Corn Dip is a must for any football party

Football Sandwiches can be served as little sliders for New Years Eve parties or regular sandwiches for football watching. Either way, you will LOVE them.

We can’t forget about the sweet tooth. You could make these brownies without the white chocolate and candy canes. They would even be cute cut into football shapes.

What is better than good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies? These are amazing and you won’t make them any other way once you try them.

I have so many other great recipes that you would love. Take a look over on the right side of your screen and click on the categories to find more.

Again, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Tortellini Pasta Salad

This week is going to be a slow post week. With the holiday behind me I am starting to gather myself back up and focus on getting back in the kitchen. But I do have a wonderful dish to share with you.

I got this recipe from a dear friend of mine, Cory. Awhile back his wife had posted on facebook about this awesome tortellini pasta salad he makes. Of course I had to get the recipe and see what the fuss was all about. The first thing that caught my attention was the use of tortellini instead of plain pasta. What’s great about this recipe is that it’s best made a day ahead of when you want to serve it. You can also change up the vegetables used, I didn’t use green onions but I think they would be wonderful in it. I used balsamic vinegar since it was the only one I had on hand. But Cory says he uses either red wine vinegar or balsamic. Next time I plan on trying it with the red wine vinegar to see the difference of the two. When Cory told me that the dressing is very important and to make a lot of it, he wasn’t kidding. Since you make it a day in advanced, the pasta really soaks up the dressing and takes on a lot of flavor. Don’t skip on the dressing and it wouldn’t hurt to maybe even double it and add more the next day if you wanted. The only thing I omitted from Cory’s recipe is the olives. I am keeping it in the recipe because I feel they would add a wonderful flavor, but most of the people I was serving it to do not like olives. Sad, I know.

Tortellini Pasta Salad would be perfect for your New Years Eve bash or NCAA Bowl Game watching parties. I’ll be working on a few dips this coming weekend to enjoy while we cheer on Penn State in the Outback Bowl. I’ll get those posted as soon as I can. Enjoy!

Tortellini Pasta Salad:

  • 2 large packages multi color tortellini.
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced into bite size pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced into bite size pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced into bite size pieces
  • 1-2 cucumbers, diced into bite size pieces
  • 1 Package grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large jar of pitted calamata olives
  • 2 packages of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan


  • 1 package Good Seasons Italian dressing
  • 1/2 cup vinegar, balsamic or red wine
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbs water
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  1. Boil tortellini in salted water for 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook! Drain, and put into a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the Good Seasoning, vinegar, water and lemon juice. Continue to whisk and slowly pour the oil, till combined.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl with the tortellini and drizzle over the salad dressing. Stir till everything is combined. Refrigerate at least 1 day before serving.

Source: Thank you Cory for a great recipe!

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Going to start off the week with one of my favorite dips, spinach and artichoke. We always end up ordering this when we go out to eat at a restaurant. The whole family enjoys it and it’s a fight for who will finish it off. Awhile back I decided I should try making this at home so we can enjoy it whenever we want. I finally found my go to recipe through Alton Brown. He is always spot-on with his recipes, but I did end up modifying this a little. The recipe is fast and easy, which I love. He had everything cooking on the stove and microwave, but I wanted to finish it off in the oven with melted cheese on top. That’s what took the dip to a whole new level. Serve this with tortilla chips or 1/2 inch sliced pieces of a French Baguette. You won’t miss your favorite restaurant dip again.

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip:

  • 1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid.
  3. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir everything but the mozzarella together and place in a 9 inch pie plate. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve.

Source: Adapted from Alton Brow via Food Network