Gameday Grub for Football Fanatics

The National Football League’s 2014 season has finally launched amidst rumors and speculation that drove us full-speed ahead into opening weekend. From last season’s controversial “Fail Mary” involving the Packers and Seahawks to current revelations and retributions for a select number of Denver’s front office execs and players who seemingly enjoyed the summer abusing alcohol and performance-enhancing drugs, we’re off to a ferocious start. The Packers and Seahawks kicked off the season with a Fail Mary rematch, and the Bolts and Cardinals wrap up opening week on Monday night. With 16 NFL match-ups, over 125 college teams paired-up and a frenzied fantasy football craze, this weekend is crammed with pigskin madness. So here’s a menu of tried and true game day grub that will sustain football fanatics throughout this four-day gridiron marathon and right into the playoff season …

FOR WEEKEND BRUNCH:

Denver Omelette

Denver Omelettes for a Bronco-style Brunch

Kicked-up Denver Omelettes
(Recipe adapted from 5280 Magazine article) 

For each individual omelette: 

3 eggs
1 Tbsp. milk
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. diced ham 
1 Tbsp. diced orange bell pepper 
2 tsp. diced jalapeño 
1 Tbsp. diced red onion 
4 Tbsp. butter 
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
Sour cream and hot sauce for serving 

In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a small skillet. Add ham, peppers and onion and cook until softened. Heat remaining butter in a separate omelette pan or small skillet; add the whisked egg mixture and gently move the pan over heat, scraping the edges with a rubber spatula to prevent browning. When the eggs begin to set, place the cooked ham, peppers and onion in the center and top with shredded cheese. Place under a hot broiler to melt the cheese and finish cooking the eggs. Gently fold onto a plate. Serve with sour cream and hot sauce.

Smoked Salmon and Bagels

Smoked Salmon and Bagels served with a spicy “No Fail Bloody Mary”

Seattle Smoked Salmon & Bagels 
A selection of fresh bagels (mini-bagels can also be used) 
Cream cheese at room temperature 
Thinly sliced smoked salmon or lox 
Capers, sliced chives and lemon wedges for garnish 

Slice each bagel and toast until lightly browned under a broiler. Spread each half with cream cheese, then top with a thin slice of smoked salmon. Garnish with capers and chives and serve with lemon wedges. 

The “No Fail” Bloody Mary 

4 Collins glasses 
Large ice cubes 
Small skewers 
1 lime cut into five wedges 
2 tsp. celery salt 
4 oz. vodka 
1/4 cup juice from jar of olives 
2 tsp. black pepper 
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce 
1 Tbsp. Tabasco Sauce 
2 tsp. Horseradish Sauce 
3-1/2 cups Clamato or tomato juice 
1/2 cup clam juice 
12 green olives 
8 cooked large shrimp, chilled 
4 celery stalks 

Pour celery salt onto a small plate. Using one of the lime wedges, rub the rim of each glass, then dip the rims into the celery salt. In a pitcher, combine the vodka, olive juice, remaining celery salt, pepper, Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Sauce, horseradish, tomato juice and clam juice and stir, mixing well. Slide the green olives and shrimp onto the skewers and finish with the lime wedges. Fill glasses with ice and Bloody Mary mix, drop a celery stalk into the drink and lay a skewer across each glass. 

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins with crumb topping and drizzled with powdered sugar icing

Niner Coffee Cake Muffins
(Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup light brown sugar 
2 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1/4 tsp. baking soda 
1/4 tsp. salt 
3/4 cup milk 
1/3 cup canola oil 
2 large eggs 
For the topping: 
1/3 cup extra fine granulated sugar 
1/3 cup light brown sugar 
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1/4 tsp. salt 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
For the glaze: 
1/4 cup confectioners sugar 
1-1/2 tsp. milk 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Fill a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside. 

For the topping, combine the sugars, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Whisk in melted butter. Add flour and stir using a rubber spatula until moist. Spread the mixture onto parchment paper and allow to dry a bit. 

For the muffins, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, canola oil and egg. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Evenly sprinkle each muffin with the topping, pressing the crumbs lightly into the batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

For the glaze, combine the confectioners sugar and milk and whisk until smooth. (Add more sugar or milk to gain the drizzling consistency you want.) 

Cool muffins for 10 minutes, then drizzle the glaze onto each muffin.

FOR AFTERNOON & EVENING GRIDIRON GRAZING:

Buffalo Chicken Wings

Original Buffalo Chicken Wings adapted from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo

Buffalo Chicken Wings 
(Adapted from Buffalo’s Anchor Bar Recipe on about.com)
36 chicken wing pieces (one wing = 2 pieces, the flat and the drum)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. Frank’s Louisiana hot sauce 
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine
Celery sticks
Blue cheese dressing 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut whole wings into two pieces. In a bowl, toss wings with the oil, and salt. Place into a heavy duty paper or plastic grocery bag, add flour, then shake to coat evenly. Remove wings from the bag, shaking off excess flour. Spread out evenly on two oiled and foil-lined cookie sheets. Do not crowd! Bake for about 20 minutes, turn the wings over, and cook another 20 minutes, or until the wings are cooked through and browned.

While the wings are baking, mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat. 

When wings have finished cooking, transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce over the wings and toss with a spatula to completely coat. Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on the side.

Baltimore Crabcakes 
(Adapted from Andrew Zimmern’s recipe
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
20 saltine crackers, finely crushed
1/4 cup canola oil 
8 Butterleaf lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried 
8 lemon wedges 

Whisk the mayonnaise, egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a small bowl until completely incorporated.

Gently toss the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs in a medium-sized bowl, then fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. 

Form the mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds, then lightly form into 8 patties, each about 1-1/2 inches thick. Heat canola oil in a large non-stick skillet until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over medium-high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. (Use a splatter screen if you have one!) Transfer crab cakes to a dish lined with paper towels to blot extra oil. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter, then place each crab cake on one of the leaves and top with a slice of lemon wedge for drizzling. 

Potato Skins

Cheesy potato skins served with sour cream on the side

Washington Red Skins 

6 Russet potatoes, cleaned and lightly rubbed with canola or vegetable oil 
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, then crumbled 
6 scallions, sliced into thin rings 
8 oz. shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese 
Sour cream 

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce each with a fork in a few places. Bake until a fork inserted into the middle comes out easily (about 45 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice each potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp, leaving a rim of potato about 1/4” from skin. (Reserve the pulp for another use.) Place potato skins back on the baking sheet and add about 2 Tbsp. of cheese to the inside of each, sprinkle with bacon and place the baking sheet under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. Remove from oven, garnish with scallions and serve with sour cream on the side. 

Cheesehead Fondue 
(Adapted from Tyler Florence’s Recipe)
1/2 lb. Swiss Emmentaler cheese, shredded
1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. cherry brandy, such as kirsch
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Pinch nutmeg
1 loaf of Sourdough bread cut into 2” squares 
Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced 
Broccoli and cauliflower florets 

In a small bowl, coat the cheeses with cornstarch and set aside. Rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic, then discard.

Over medium heat, add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid. Melting the cheese gradually encourages a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in cherry brandy, mustard and nutmeg. 

Serve fondue with toothpicks or skewers of sourdough bread, apples and florets for dipping. 

Texas Toast Garlic Bread

Roasted garlic butter makes this Texas toast irresistible

Texan Toast Garlic Bread 

1 thick loaf of soft-crust french bread 
1/2 lb. butter, softened 
1 bulb roasted garlic, pulp removed from skins and set aside 
Salt and pepper to taste 
1 Tbsp. dried basil 
2 tsp. red pepper flakes 
8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese 
4 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese 

Combine the softened butter, garlic salt and pepper in a mini food processor and puree to combine. (A whisk or fork can also be used to mix). 

Slice bread in half lengthwise. With a flat spatula, cover each half of the bread with the garlic-butter mixture. Sprinkle with the dried basil and red pepper flakes. Top with Jack cheese and then the Parmesan cheese. Place the halves under a broiler until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. Remove from broiler, slice diagonally into 2-inch toasts and serve warm. 

Ground Bison & Lamb Sliders

Ground bison and lamb sliders with smoked Gouda and grilled onions

Buffalo Soldier Field Sliders 

1 lb. ground Buffalo/Bison meat 
1/2 lb. ground lamb 
1 egg, whisked 
1/4 cup milk 
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce 
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 
1 small yellow onion, sliced into 1/4” rings 
2 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
8 slider buns 
1/2 lb. butter at room temperature
8 slices smoked Gouda or Fontina cheese 
3-4 Tbsp. diced pepperoncini 
1/2 cup Mayonnaise 

Combine buffalo and lamb in a medium sized non-reactive bowl. Form a hole in the middle of the mixture and add the egg, milk, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs and seasonings. Gently fold the mixture with your hands until all the ingredients are barely integrated. Lightly form into eight even-sized patties. 

Combine the mayonnaise and pepperoncini with a little salt and pepper in a small glass bowl and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

Place a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil over grill grate and heat the grill to a medium-high temperature. Brush 2 Tbsp. butter on the foil and place the onion slices on top to grill. Turn only once when browned on the bottom, then carefully remove with a metal spatula when both sides are evenly browned. Set sliced onions aside while toasting the slider buns. 

Lightly butter both halves of each slider bun, then place “butter-side-down” on the hot grill to lightly toast. When toasted, remove from the grill and spread the top half of each bun with the mayonnaise mixture. 

Grill sliders over moderately high heat making sure the patties remain pink in the middle. Remove from grill, lay a piece of cheese on top of each patty and loosely tent with foil for about 10 minutes. Place a slider on the bottom portion of each bun, top with an onion slice, then add the tops. Serve with additional condiments such as lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and sauces.

Grilled Bratwursts

Tailgate fare … grilled brats and ice cold craft beer

Steeler Style Brats n’ Beer

Select a dozen or so of your favorite bratwursts and sausages from your local meat counter  
Hot dog buns 
Pub-style mustard 
Sauerkraut 
Diced red onion 
Sweet and/or dill relish
Sliced Peperoncini or pickled jalapeños 
Crisp, kosher dill pickle slices 
Lots of ice cold beer 

Fire up the grill and toast the hot dog buns until lightly browned. Remove and replace with the brats and sausages, grilling over medium heat until cooked through and crisping on the outside skins.

Serve brats and buns alongside bowls of diced red onion, sauerkraut, sliced peperoncini and jalapeños, relishes a jar filled with dill pickles and a cooler of ice cold beer. 

Kicked-up Cowboy Coleslaw

Cumin and lime give this coleslaw a Cowboy-sized kick

Cowboy Coleslaw
(Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Recipe on Foodnetwork)

1/2 cup mayonnaise 
1 Tbsp. olive oil 
Zest of 1 lime 
1/4 cup fresh lime juice 
1/4 cup chopped dill 
1 Tbsp. sugar 
1 tsp. celery salt 
1/2 tsp. cumin 
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper 
(2) 14 oz. bags of coleslaw mix (including cabbage and carrots) 
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion 
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper 
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper 

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil, lime juice and zest, dill, sugar, celery salt and cumin. Season with the salt and pepper. To the bowl of dressing, add the coleslaw mix, onions and peppers and toss to evenly coat in the dressing. Season again with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours prior to serving. 

Motor City Mac ‘n Cheese
(Adapted from Rachel Ray’s Mac & Cheddar Cheese Recipe)

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
2 Tbsp. butter 
3 Tbsp. flour 
1-1/2 cups whole milk 
3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese 
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper 
Salt to taste 
1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked about 8 minutes to al dente (a little chewy on the inside) and drained 

Over medium heat, add oil and butter to a deep skillet. When butter melts, add the flour and combine. Gently whisk the ingredients until smooth, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk. Gently bring the milk to a bubble, whisking frequently. When the milk begins to thicken, add 2 cups of the cheese a handful at a time, stirring to blend. Season with nutmeg, cayenne and a little salt. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and thoroughly coat by folding the past over and over in the sauce. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish that has been coated with cooking oil. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese and place under a hot broiler to brown the cheddar cheese on top. 

Chewy Cocoa Brownies

Nestle’s Chewy Cocoa Brownies are always a hit

Cleveland Brownies
(Adapted from Nestle Toll House’s Chewy Cocoa Brownies Recipe)

1-2/3 cups granulated sugar 
3/4 cup butter, melted 
2 Tbsp. water 
2 large eggs 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup baking cocoa 
1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1/4 tsp. salt 
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 
Powdered sugar (optional) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13″x9″ baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter and water. Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, then add to the sugar mixture. Stir in the walnuts, if using. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out slightly sticky. Cool complete on a wire rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Cut into squares and remove them from the baking pan. 

New York Giant Cheesecake
(Adapted from Moms Who Think Easy Cheesecake Recipe)

1 graham cracker pie crust 
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened (do not used reduced or non-fat) 
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla 
3 Tbsp. sugar
8 oz. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, eggs, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Pour into the graham cracker pie crust and bake for about 22 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. (Leave oven temperature on to finish baking after adding the topping.) 

Combine 3 Tbsp. sugar, sour cream, and 1 tsp. vanilla in a small bowl. Spread over warm cheesecake and return to oven for 5 minutes. Cool for 15-20 minutes, then refrigerate. 

Enjoy the season, all you football fanatics … and GO BRONCOS!!!! 

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