Fall has fallen and football season e' arrivata finalmente! Last weekend was notable in the world of college football, with several good matchups and even an upset or two. Even if your company is cheering for the other team, these recipies are sure to bring everyone together, because everybody knows, watching football on an empty stomach is almost impossible! Here's what we tried out last weekend, as a good alternative to the standard hot wings and onion dip:
- Susan's Epic Parmesan-Artichoke Spread
Yum. That's about all I have to say about this one. Try it, you'll see. This recipe came to me last week from Susan Morris (contributor Sarah Morris' mother.) Thanks, from the bottom of my belly!
- Spicy Turkey Mini-Meatballs
These are so great for game day--they are spicy like hot wings but much less greasy and far more tasty. As a bonus, if you have leftovers (you won't) you could make a yummy meatball sub!
- Antipasto Salad
One variation on a classic Italian recipe. I prefer to eat "Antipasti" in a salad, like this one. It's great to have to much on instead of chips--and as long as you've got ingredients with good flavors, it's tough to mess this one up.
Susan's Epic Parmesan-Artichoke Spread:
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: +/- 2 pints (yes, a lot) of spread
This gem of a recipe cries "game-day" -- the classy way. It's sure to be a crowd-pleaser, just be sure to save room for the other things!
The original recipe calls for:
2 packages cream cheese or neufchatel (softened)
A very large dollop of mayonnaise
Another very large dollop of sour cream
1/2 container fresh grated parmesan
2 cans drained artichokes, chopped
A couple of slices of swiss cheese
Season with dried onions, cracked black pepper, some garlic powder
Mix these ingredients together and place in 350 oven for 20-30 minutes until bubbly on top. Sarah advises that crab meat may also be added to this for an upgrade from game-day to cocktail party.
I improvised some, here's the recipe I used:
1 package neufchatel cheese (softened)
1 8 oz. container sour cream
1 1/4 C. fresh grated parmesan
2 containers artichoke hearts, chopped
2 slices provolone cheese (on top)
2 tablespoons (a lot) of cracked black pepper.
I mixed these together on the stovetop, low heat, then baked in the saucepan for about 30 minutes before transferring to a serving bowl. I used a bit more laziness than the original recipe calls for, but after all, it is game day.
You can put this spread on:
Cracked Pepper Water Crackers
(Anything with some substance, but probably wouldn't work well with regular potato chips).
Spicy Turkey Mini-Meatballs:
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: Up to 1 hour
Yield: +/- 20 small meatballs
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 cup breadcrumbs (plain work best)
1/2 onion, chopped very fine
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
About 4 tbs. Olive Oil
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper
1 jar prepared red pepper pasta sauce**
** (Or you can make your own sauce, see recipe for Penne Al'Arrabiata recipe on my post, "Among Friends").
Mix together the onion, breadcrumbs, turkey, parmesan, and olive oil using your hands. Season with the cayenne, salt and pepper, then mix those in. After everything is blended completely, put a frying pan on low heat and begin to make your meatballs, by taking small amounts of the turkey mixture and rolling between your palms to make a meatball that is slightly smaller than a ping-pong ball. Sautee these in a frying pan on low heat for about 10-15 minutes, until they are a little brown. Pour the jar of pasta sauce over the meatballs, sprinkle with additional cayenne pepper, then cover. Let the meatballs simmer in the red sauce for 30 minutes or so.
This is the perfect replacement for hot wings! Your guests won't be disappointed (but be sure not to tell them how much healthier these meatballs are in place of hot wings). Serve with toothpicks or in a bowl with a fork. Don't forget to sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan just before eating...Buon appetito!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes (may be refrigerated up to overnight).
Yield: A great big salad for 6 people, a regular-sized salad for 10.
1 bag of lettuce (I like "Hearts of Romaine")
2-3 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped (or, one package of cherry tomatoes, walshed and halved)
2-3 roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1/4 lb. provolone cheese (I like to get this from the deli, it is a little sharper than the packaged kind), sliced into strips
1/4 lb. genoa salami, sliced into strips
1/4 lb. sopressata or capicola, sliced into strips
6 oz. olives, drained (Try to find a nice assortment from an olive bar, I try for the ones which have the pits removed--if you can't an olive medely in a jar is also nice).
4 oz. artichoke hearts, drained, halved
1 container fresh mozzarella (I like the small balls of fresh mozzarella, but you could also cut the larger balls into smaller pieces)
3-4 pepperoncini (hot green peppers) sliced
Season with: Extra virgin Olive Oil (~5 T.), and a couple dashes of balsamic vinegar. Salt & Pepper to taste.
Mix these in a big bowl, cover, and refrigerate until you're ready to serve it! Facile!