Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

32 Simple Snacks for Football Fans

posted in Appetizers and Snacks by startcooking team

http://startcooking.com/public/IMG_4362a.JPG

Jalapenos Stuffed with Sausage and Cheese

So what’s on your party menu for watching the big game? We’ve put together the following items, which go beyond bowls of corn chips, pretzels and cheeses. We make no specific claims about their healthiness, so pace yourself!  Your final menu choices will depend on how much prep work you feel like doing for your party.

The Easy & Traditional Snacks

These are the snacks that are easy to put together, and mostly require minimal effort.

  1. Kielbasa wedges . What meat lover doesn’t like kielbasa? Cut up some thick slices and serve with crackers and/or cheese.  A dab of spicy mustard works well with kielbasa.  (By the way, turkey kielbasa is delicious!)
  2. Garlic bread or Pull Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread is great fun for a party and will disappear fast.
  3. Meatballs. Little Sweet and Sour Meatballs served with toothpicks or Sausage Balls(shown below) are always a crowd pleaser.http://startcooking.com/public/IMG_1572k.jpg
  4. Mushroom caps. For a change of pace, try these bacon Stuffed Mushroom Caps(video).
  5. Chicken wings. Make chicken wings in the oven for an easy-to-prepare football snack that everyone will appreciate. Serve with the traditional sides — thick blue cheese dressing, celery and carrot sticks, hot sauces, and a fistful of napkins.
  6. Grilled sausages. If the weather’s still good (or you’ll grill in the snow), fire up the backyard grill and throw on some nice Italian or Polish sausages.
  7. Nachos and cheese dip. “Guilty pleasure food” at its best with this 2 ingredient nacho cheese dip.
  8. Potatoes. Potato wedges a really inexpensive snack are great with ketchup or sour cream.http://startcooking.com/public/images/imgp2610_305.jpg
  9. Stuffed potato skins. Or if it’s not wedges, it’s potato skins, which can be assembled ahead of time for baking. Make sure to set out extras, like sour cream, chopped chives, crumbled bacon, and grated cheese.
  10. Classic cheese ball.  Need I say more?  Serve cheese balls with a variety of crackers or thinly sliced pumpernickel bread.
  11. Chex mix. There are an endless number of combinations to the snack most of us know as chex party mix. Customize the recipe to your liking, but keep an eye on the oven, as the onion powder tends to burn easily.

Lighter & Healthier Snacks

http://startcooking.com/public/IMG_3142.jpg

Make Ahead Layered Salad

If you’re feeling slightly peckish instead of all-out hungry, here are a few suggestions. Most are pretty traditional, like the items above – just lower in calories.

  1. Crudites and dip. Cut up some celery, carrots, cucumbers, and red peppers into bite-size pieces and serve with a nice dip.
  2. Cold cuts. We feel that some of the best cold cuts and sliced meats come from Italian markets. Just roll each slice up into a tube, or fold into a wedge, and arrange on a platter.
  3. Olive selection. Even simpler than cold cuts or crudites. While you’re at that Italian or Mediterranean market, pick up a nice array of olives – from savory to spicy, with different stuffings, from pimento to cream cheese to even almonds.
  4. Cheese bites and (wheat) crackers. Cheese platters do not have to be boring. There are so many cheeses to choose from – go for different textures and flavors – and then add some grapes and nuts to the platter as well.
  5. A crazy big salad. A big salad is the perfect complement to most game day foods – and relieves the guilt of eating all the other (heavier) snacks. Chop items small and throw it all in — vegetables, fruits, olives, boiled eggs, cheese, etc. — depending on your tastes. Top with balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lime.
  6. Savroy Pies. Quiche can be served hot or at room temperature. Baked spinach pie, reminds me of spanakopita, only easier to make! A store bought pie crust makes these recipes easy as…

Sandwiches and Burgers

http://startcooking.com/public/images/IMG_1987.jpgWhat’s a game party without some sort of sandwiches. Here are a few variations, some possibly unique to this article.

  1. Hot sandwiches. Serve spicy Italian sausage with plenty of peppers and onions, on crusty rolls.
  2. “Grilled cheese” burgers. You read that right. Make your burgers in one pan and keep it warm. Then, on order, make a grilledcheesesandwich (shown above) in another pan, using regular bread slices. Split it open (careful, it’s hot) and place tomato slices, pickles (optional), and a cooked burger patty. Have hot sauce or ketchup on the side.
  3. Tex-Mex Cheese Burgers. Need I say more! Check out the video.
  4. Pocket subs. Whether you call them hoagies, rockets, subs or something else, these are always a hit, especially with kids. Make sure you have lots of small Italian buns or sub buns, a variety of cold cuts, pickles, toppings and spreads.

Something Extra and Hearty

http://startcooking.com/public/images/IMG_0184.jpg

Quesadillas!

These are for those colder football days, when you feel like something heartier.

  1. Perogies. Potato, onion and/or cheese perogies are so readily available in most supermarkets freezer section that you don’t need to make them from scratch. Serve with sour cream, salsa, dips, hot sauce.
  2. Pigs in a blanket. Don’t forget the kids in the snack list. We don’t know what it is about pigs in a blanket, but kids (and adults!) love them.
  3. BBQ ribs. You don’t need massive brontosaurus ribs like Fred Flintstone. Some regular sized, finger-licking, melt in your mouth  slow cooked barbecued ribs will do just fine.
  4. Burritos. Beef and bean burritos are easy to put together beforehand or assemble on the spot and who knows better how to make them then The Pioneer Woman!
  5. Chili. A great, hassle-free, “simmer in the pot until you are ready for it” game food like chili (video) is hard to beat. Chili is also an excellent make-ahead dish, freeing you up to enjoy the game while it simmers.
  6. Meatloaf. Meatloaf isn’t particularly original, but if you like to get creative, you could shape it into a football.
  7. Calzones. While traditional calzones are delicious, this spinach and ricotta stuffed variation, flavored with a touch of nutmeg, is simply delectable. Buy prepared pizza dough to make it really easy.
  8. Pizza Loaf. This fast and simple-to-prepare pepperoni and cheese stuffed snack is sure to be a hit served with a bit of tomato sauce on the side for dipping. It’s a fair bit like calzones, but probably less work over all.
  9. Sweet potato fries. Be sure to pre-heat your oven for about 20 minutes to make sure that these baked fries come out crispy.
  10. Chicken kabobs. Kabobs are eaten in a number of countries across Northern Africa, Europe and South Asia. So you have many flavor choices for chicken kabobs. Or just buy some from the deli counter and throw them on the grill or bake in the oven.
  11. Samosas. These East Indian potato-filled pastries are said to taste great with beer – an alcoholic beverage of choice for football viewing. Making these from scratch is time-consuming. So just pick some up fresh from an Indian or Pakistani grocery store, or in frozen form from most large supermarkets.

Now if none of these look tempting, check out Cooking Light’s list of Football Party Recipes!

If you are new to startcooking, or are a regular visitor here, please consider subscribing for free.

Quesadillas with Tomatoes and Olives

print recipe card posted in Lunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

A quesadilla is a flour tortilla, filled with savory ingredients. You can fill a tortilla with lots of different fillings the same way you would choose lots of different fillings for a sandwich.

Cheese is very often one of the main ingredients. I’m using leftover Monterey Jack shredded cheese with scallions, black olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

Buy the 8 inch flour tortillas. The 12 inch are just too big to handle.

Lay one flour tortilla in a non-stick pan and top with 1/3 cup of cheese.

Wash one scallion (green onion). Cut off the hairy bit on the end. Cut the scallion into quarter-inch slices and sprinkle on the tortilla.

Chop the black olives and sprinkle on top of the scallions

Dice three sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkle them on top of the scallions.

Now sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 cup of cheese

And top with the second tortilla.

Set the pan on the stove top and turn the heat onto medium. (A brush of butter or oil on the tortilla does give it a nicely browned and crispy finish but, on very rare occasions, I do like to try and save a calorie or two!)

After about 1.5 minutes the tortilla should be lightly browned and the cheese is starting to melt. Flip the quesadilla over with a spatula.

Cook for about another minute on the flip side. Peek inside the quesadilla to make sure the cheese is all melted before removing it from the pan. You may need another minute or so. Slide the quesadilla out of the pan and onto a cutting board.

With a large kitchen knife cut the quesadilla into six slices.

Serve this quesadilla with some salad and you’ve got yourself a perfect lunch or light supper!

Enjoy!

If you are new to startcooking, or are a regular visitor here, please consider subscribing for free.

How To Make Chicken Noodle Soup

print recipe card posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

There are lots of different things you can make for dinner with leftover (cooked) chicken. My favorite, particularly on a cold night, is a hot bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup. This is one of those soups for which you can find really complicated, time-consuming recipes or – just use this quick version for beginners!

All of the ingredients you will need for this recipe are pretty standard food items:

  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 4-6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken, cooked and shredded
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Broth is the strained liquid left from cooking vegetables, meat, or fish in water. It is often used as a synonym for bullion.

Stock is basically the same thing but cooked more slowly and has a more intense flavor than broth.

Bullion cubes or granules are compressed stock that needs to be dissolved before using.

For the broth, I’m using a product called “Better than Bullion.” It needs to get dissolved in hot water before adding it to the soup. A can or box of chicken broth or bullion cubes or granules could be used here as well.

My grocery store sometimes has what they call a “Soup Green Mix”. They bundle together everything you might need to make soup.

This mix included a turnip, an onion, a potato, 3 stalks of celery, 1 GIANT carrot, 1 leek, 1 parsnip, some dill and some parsley.

If you like all the vegetables in one of these “starter packs”, great! But I prefer to pick out my own vegetables.

To make startcooking.com’s Chicken Noodle Soup, start by chopping the onion, and slicing the carrot and celery.

Melt the butter in a big pot, on medium-high heat, and add the onions, carrots and celery.

Cook these three vegetables until lightly browned – about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and bring the pot to a boil.

Turn the soup down to simmer.

Cover the pot and let the soup cook for about 10-15 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, chop the parsley and shred the chicken by just pulling it apart with your fingers. You could cut it into chunks but shredding it gives the soup a nice homemade texture.

(You can buy a roasted chicken at the grocery store or roast one yourself. Click here to review how to carve a chicken.)

Add the noodles to the pot and simmer the soup, uncovered, until the noodles are tender. The amount of time will depend on what size noodle you added to the soup. Check the label on the noodle package for cooking times.

Taste the soup to see if it needs any salt and pepper. (Different chicken broth brands have different levels of salt in them, so a taste test is essential to determine how much salt your soup needs.)

Add the shredded chicken and simmer until chicken is warm.

Mix the parsley in the soup or use it to garnish the top.

Dinner’s ready!

P.S.: If you’re a soup lover, you’ll probably enjoy our French onion soup recipe too!

If you are new to startcooking, or are a regular visitor here, please consider subscribing for free.