So the past two weeks I was all hyped up about apple season, but I forgot another, possibly more obvious upside to September: football season.
I’m a Ravens fan, but not the most obvious one. I watch most of my games at home, often alone while my husband watches one of the halves at the gym. I won’t say I turn down invitations to football parties, but I don’t make plans with others to watch games either because it’s so much harder to pay attention when people are talking, particularly about things that aren’t about football.
The only football parties I usually go to are Ravens-Steelers games and the Super Bowl party, and if the Super Bowl doesn’t have the Ravens, then I’m one of the annoying people talking about other things besides football.
This year, however, I decided I’m taking the football season off. I’m not giving up on my team, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the kneeling during the national anthem, it’s just that practically, I’ve got a ton of stuff to do these days and I can’t set aside three hours on a Sunday afternoon to intensely watch a game that’s two-thirds waiting and commercials.
Specifically, I’m putting the finishing touches on a basement renovation that consumed my whole summer, which also has led to an entire house reorganization now that we have so much more useful space. My kids nap during the 1-3 p.m. time window, thus that time slot needs to be maximized for productivity.
But maybe I’ll start listening on the radio while I organize. And maybe by mid-November, I’ll be over the organization project (if my kids get good naps). Maybe I’ll become a casual watcher instead of an intense watcher, and then I will start seeking out football parties. And then I can take part in yummy football foods.
Which is what I wanted to write about today. I looked up tailgating recipes because I think that seems like it would be a really fun activity, if that’s your thing. I don’t think it will ever be my thing, but I could always make these foods at home.
First up, breakfast tailgate dogs. This kind of made me laugh, but it seemed so American and footbally that I had to include it. You sauté some onions, add some sliced hotdogs to the pan, and then scramble some eggs over it all. Butter and grill your hotdog buns and then serve the eggs and hotdog bits on the bun. Breakfast of champions!
Second, this cheddar tailgating bread. It’s basically a pull-apart bread made from a store-bought Italian loaf, drenched in butter, garlic and green onions, then cooked with shredded cheddar cheese on top. Oh yeah!
And finally, a “lighter” choice for a skillet nacho dip. You make a kind of chili with pre-cooked hamburger patties, add a little bit of pinto beans, then top it with light mozzarella and Mexican-blend cheese and set it under the broiler to melt. Add fresh tomatoes, red onion and avocado at the end and serve it with chips. It won’t be nearly as heavy as a full-on guacamole or queso dip, and yet should be quite satisfying.
Breakfast tailgate dogs
¼ cup diced onions
4 hot dogs, cut into half inch slices
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 hot dog buns, such as Ballpark
Place onions in a medium, greased pan on medium heat until they are slightly soft. Place sliced hot dogs in the pan, stirring them with the onions until they are slightly brown. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and salt. Pour mixture into the heated pan on top of the onions and hot dog slices until eggs are thoroughly cooked and scrambled. Remove from heat.
Grease another pan and put on low heat. Brush melted butter onto the inside of the hot dog bun and place butter side down in the pan until slightly toasted. Use tongs to remove the buns from the pan and onto a plate. Scoop hot dogs and eggs into the bun and top with your favorite condiment.
Cheddar tailgating bread
1 loaf Italian bread, 16 ounces by weight
1 pound grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 stick butter
1 large clove of garlic minced or pressed
1 bunch of green onions scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
A fistful of fresh curly parsley minced
Nonstick cooking spray and foil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or preheat grill to medium heat). Lay out a double thickness of standard foil (or a single thickness of heavy-duty foil). Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl or a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the butter until melted and mix in the garlic and sliced green onions. Stir with a serving spoon.
Lay the loaf of bread on the cutting board and cut a ½-inch grid pattern into it stopping about ¼-inch above the base of the bread so that it stays connected. Gently pry apart the bread and spoon the butter mixture along the seams. Gently wrap the foil up around the top of the loaf and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, open the foil and sprinkle the Cheddar cheese over the top, gently pushing some of the cheese down into the cut bread.
Leave the foil open and return the pan to the oven or grill and raise the heat to 425 degrees or high heat for another 15 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and bubbly and lightly browned on top.
Let set for 3 minutes before showering with freshly minced parsley and serving.
Skillet nacho dip
1 teaspoon olive oil
¾ cup chopped red onion, divided
2 tablespoons seeded minced jalapeño
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
⅔ cup unsalted beef stock
2 cooked ground beef patties, finely crumbled
1 cup drained unsalted canned pinto beans
½ cup pre-shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
½ cup pre-shredded 2 percent reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese
½ cup chopped tomato
½ cup chopped avocado
2½ cups baked tortilla chips
Preheat broiler with oven rack in upper middle position.
Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add ½ cup onion and jalapeño to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add flour, cumin, and chili powder; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add stock; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium, and stir in crumbled beef patties and beans; cook 2 minutes. Stir in mozzarella; cook 1 minute or until cheese is melted. Remove pan from heat.
Sprinkle Mexican-blend cheese over pan; broil 1 minute or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup red onion, tomato, and avocado over pan. Serve with chips.
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