After a very long and stressful off season, football is finally here. Weekends are no longer filled with trips to the lake or laying out poolside. It's all about football, both college and pro. So with all this excitement around this 2011 football season I would put money on it, and I am not usually a betting woman, that most households on Saturdays and Sundays are filled with friends, food and touchdowns.
This fall don't just purchase the store brand chips and dip and throw in a frozen pizza, make some food that will keep the fans full and wanting more. Traditionally football parties will have bean dip, maybe some pizza, and some little frozen finger foods that aren't always the best tasting or best for you. Well, here are some recipes that are easy, tasty and will for sure keep you energized for the entire game and hopefully post game celebrations.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
1/4 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup buffalo sauce or buffalo style barbecue sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded meat from a fully cooked rotisserie chicken
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a deep baking dish, mix cream cheese, salad dressings, buffalo sauce, and cheese. Stir until combined. Stir in chicken.
Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until the dish is heated through. Serve with crackers, pita chips, sliced bread or vegetables.
Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, rinsed and dried
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. freshly-cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Carefully cut the potatoes into 1/4″ thin strips, or to your desired thickness and length. Then place in a large bowl, and toss with the remaining ingredients (oil and spices) until potatoes are evenly coated.
Then spread out the potatoes evenly on a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet. (Try not to overcrowd the sheet, or have multiple layers of fries — you want them to be roasted, not steamed.)
Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, turning the fries once or twice during that time to cook evenly. (May take more or less time, depending on the size and thickness you cut the fries.) Remove once the edges slightly begin to brown and fries begin to crisp.
Slow-Baked Mac and Cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups of evaporated or skim milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temp
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups (12 oz) shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend, recipe calls for Italian fontina cheese)
1/2 pound elbow macaroni or mini penne tubes, par cooked and drained (this means cook them for about five minutes until tender but not completely cooked)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Spray the inside of your slow-cooker with cooking spray or grease it with olive oil. Combine milk, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, and salt in slow-cooker and whisk until smooth (or you can use an immersion blender to do the whisking for you).
Add the shredded cheese (not the Parmesan) and macaroni, sprinkle with black pepper (and whatever other spices you want to use). Stir gently with a spatula to coat evenly.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to LOW and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until custard is set in the center and the pasta is tender. The macaroni and cheese may sit in the cooker on the KEEP WARM setting for 30 minutes before serving. Before dishing it up, I sautéed some bread crumbs with olive oil and sprinkled them over the top to make it a little fancier.
Enjoy and have a great fall and football season.