Football Game Menu

by Jacky Martin

Hmmm, can we smell the clean, crisp signs of autumn approaching? Sure enough, those long lazy summer days are ending and, as they leave us, thoughts of cooler days and inside entertaining begin to fill our heads.

Besides a new season of sitcoms on TV, back to school for the kids and putting away the grill, what else comes to mind? Why, football season, of course! Those Sunday afternoons spent in front of the TV cheering on our favorite team can turn into a party with recipes that can be made ahead, then heated up and served on the day of the big game.

So, get out your shopping list, phone up your friends and get set for a fall football celebration!

To get into the mood and decorate the table at the same time, how about beginning with a football-shaped cheese spread?

Football-Shaped Cheese Spread

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. grated cheddar cheese
  • 5 oz. can of deviled ham
  • Paprika for garnish

Mix cheeses and ham thoroughly, then mold into a football shape. Sprinkle with paprika.

Chill until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, place the mold on a large platter surrounded by crackers for dipping.

The meal should be easy to serve, yet substantial. All of that cheering makes people hungry!

Our menu consists of ham, baked corn, salad, bread and a yummy apple pie for dessert. The ham can be purchased in any manner that you are accustomed to and made ahead of time. I normally just use one that is already cooked and heat it up. When you serve it sliced on a lovely platter, surrounded by pineapple slices and maraschino cherries, it looks great with very little effort. It goes great with the baked corn recipe below.

Yummy Baked Corn

--a Southern recipe--easy, delicious, will win you compliments every time!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14.75 oz) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8 oz) container sour cream
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (8.5 oz) package dry corn muffin mix

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Combine the whole-kernel corn, cream-style corn, sour cream, melted butter or margarine, eggs and corn muffin mix. Mix well and pour into one 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

I sometimes vary this recipe by mixing in some chunks of ham or sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top before baking.

Salad and bread are easy. Just buy some Italian or French bread, slice it up and serve with butter. No toasting necessary. For salad, I just use lettuce and tomato with a choice of prepared dressing. Remember, this is supposed to be fun for the cook as well!

Now, for the dessert. Fall is the perfect season for the all-time favorite, apple pie. Here is a recipe that's not too difficult, but yields great results.



Apple Pie

Ingredients:

  • 7 tart apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon, or more to taste
  • 2 tbsps all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg or apple pie spice, or more to taste
  • Salt to taste (I don't use any, but it's up to you!)
  • 2 store bought pie shells
  • 1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Cut apples into 1/4 inch slices.

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, flour, nutmeg (or apple pie spice), and salt; mix thoroughly. Pour spice mix over apples and stir until apples are coated.

Line one crust in a 9 inch deep dish pie pan. Place apples in the pie crust. Dot the apple filling evenly with butter. Fit the top crust over the apples. Press the crust down gently and cut 3 or 4 slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape while the pie bakes.

Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Check pie after the first 30 minutes of cooking: if the crust is already browned reduce the heat to 350°F (175°C) to allow apples to cook without the crust burning.

Makes 8 servings. Serve a la mode with vanilla ice cream for a special treat!

Now that you have thoroughly impressed the neighborhood, why not start a take-turns type of entertainment for the Sunday games? Once a month or every few weeks, everyone comes to a different home. With everyone pitching in with a menu item, the cost will be minimal, the food will be varied and there will be lots of laughs, as well as cheers for the favorite teams!

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