Fall, Football, and Tailgating

Those who know me, know that I am not a big football fan but I have been known to host Super Bowl parties just to make the food :) Fall is the season where many spend their weekends tailgating outdoors or in front of the TV cheering on their favorite teams. I was recently asked for ideas for recipes for "football food." Here are some finger foods, slow cooker foods and grill recipes for your fun fall weekend with or without football!

Finger Foods and Dips
Cheeseburger Egg Rolls (top left of photo below)

These egg rolls were delicious! They are from Rachel Ray. Easy to make but a little time intensive to roll each one up. I served it with ketchup, mustard and bbq sauce for dipping rather than spending the time to make the sauce. The kids went nuts over these!

Corn Dog Muffins (top right of photo above)
These are from a blog called Iowa Girl Eats. I saw them on Pinterest and ran with her idea. I made them in regular muffin tins and made the Jiffy box of corn bread :) and added about 1 cup of shredded zucchini and 1 cup of shredded cheddar and about 1/4 tsp of chili powder (add more if you want more chili flavor or a little cayenne if you want a kick), salt and pepper. Pour the batter into lined or greased muffin tins. I found for the regular sized muffins I cut the hot dogs into thirds and put one piece in each muffin and bake until ready. I found that these took a little longer than usual until the dough around the hot dog in the center was fully cooked.

Pigs in a Blanket with honey mustard dipping sauce. This is one of my favorites. The link is back to one of my previous blog posts about appetizers that has this recipe and the one for Spinach and Artichoke Dip and more!

Slow Cooker foods

I can't wait to have my house smell like chili while it cooks away all day! I'm planning to make some on Monday. Its a full meal if you add those corn dog muffins above. Make it vegetarian by making black bean chili and zucchini corn muffins. I like to make my chili in the crock pot these days, which becomes a great vessel for keeping it warm while serving or bringing to a potluck or tailgate party. Throw a can or two of your favorite beans into the crock pot with a can of diced tomatoes, dice a couple of carrots and or zucchini or use whatever leftover vegetables you have on hand (corn, squash, eggplant, parsnips - so many veggies can work), an onion, garlic clove, palmful of chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.Cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you want to add meat, cook it first before putting it in the slow cooker, unless you are using stew meet, then you could throw it in and cook it all day. I have found that ground beef or turkey is mushy if you cook it in the slow cooker with the other chili ingredients.

Short ribs

I can cross short ribs off of my Cooking Bucket List now! So if you are making a meal for friends over the weekend or for Monday night football, these are sooo good! I used the ingredients for my favorite meat marinade as the cooking the liquid, equal parts balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce with garlic and shallots.  
I made a quick dry rub for the short ribs with salt, pepper and thyme and then browned them in the pan. before putting them in the slow cooker for about 8 hours (I had about 2.5 - 3 lbs of meat).
Then I took them out when there were practically falling off the bone and poured the liquid into a sauce pan and reduced it by about half. Add a little flour, 1/2 tsp of brown sugar and a little pepper and whisk together. Add more flour if you want it thicker.  Use as gravy or dipping sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes or risotto or polenta.

Butternut Squash soup - My classic fall go to!

Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup - My new fall favorite!

Meatballs  - standard go to for any gathering!

Grilled Food
Pizza - Great for an appetizer or a meal!

Your favorite Steak, pork, ribs, BBQ Chicken or sausages always are a crowd pleaser. I recently made some chicken on the indoor grill. I made a dry rub with brown sugar, salt, pepper and African Smoke spice blend from Trader Joe's. If you don't have that spice blend, go buy it immediately! or just use smoked paprika or chili powder. It was delicious! I served it with a beet barley risotto and some steamed carrots, not exactly tailgating food, so I'll give my recipe for that later :)

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