Posts Tagged ‘tailgating’

Recipe for the Perfect Sunday Afternoon: Homemade Chili, Sam Adams and Your Favorite Team!

The calendar may only say October, but that didn’t stop Old Man Winter from paying an unwelcome visit to many parts of the US this weekend!  It was an unannounced, unofficial white out in Happy Valley today and the Nittany Lion faithful were not even wearing their white PSU garb.  Instead, snowfall fell throughout Beaver Stadium as JoePa reached his 409th victory!

So since the weather has turned cold and bone-chilling, it is time to break out the comfort food that warms the body and the spirit! This hearty recipe is a crowd pleasing favorite.  Wake up, throw it together and enjoy the mouthwatering aroma all day long as it simmers to perfection in your crock pot.  By kick off, you can enjoy a warm, delicious meal as you cheer on your favorite team!  What could be easier?


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed/drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • ½ of a red pepper, diced
  • Diced jalapeno peppers, to taste
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Dash (or 2 or 3 or 4) of hot sauce
  • Salt/pepper to taste

In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink.  Just  before beef is finished cooking, add onion, red pepper jalapenos and garlic and sauté slightly and drain.  Transfer to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours –  or on high for 4 hours. Garnish individual servings with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  Serve with warm cornbread, tortilla chips and some Samuel Adams Octoberfest for a perfect football watching experience!  

“Pumped for the Game” Pumpkin Soup… Mmm, Mmm Good!

Thanksgiving is a mere 2 days away.  That means a day of  family, friends, fabulous foods, and of course, football!  As you shop for your Thanksgiving dinner groceries, add the ingredients from our “Pumped for the Game Pumpkin Soup” recipe to your list.  It’s the perfect choice for this weekend’s upcoming games.  After a day (or two) of eating too much turkey and stuffing, this soup is a nice, light choice that is lip smackin’ good!

“Pumped for the Game” Pumpkin Soup

14 baby pumpkins

½ bottle of rum (whichever brand you prefer, but it doesn’t need to be top shelf!)

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

¾ cup of chopped shallots

¼ cup minced garlic

1 chili pepper, seeded and minced

Vegetable stock

1 Tbsp. thyme

Sugar to taste

Slice pumpkins in half, seed them and place on an oiled baking sheet.  In a preheated 350 degree oven, roast pumpkins for approximately 30 minutes, or until they are soft and golden in color. 

Allow to cool slightly, then remove skin and mash.

Heat oil in large pan adding shallots, garlic and chili pepper.  When they turn golden, add thyme and sauté for about 2 mins.

Take the ½ bottle of rum, set aside ½ cup, and pour the remaining into the pan to deglaze.  Allow the rum to reduce and the alcohol to evaporate over medium heat.

Add the mashed pumpkin and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Add enough vegetable stock for consistency, cook another 10 minutes.  Add the ½ cup of reserved rum.

Pour the entire mixture into a blender or food processor and puree.

Add just enough sugar to taste.

Add salt and pepper and enjoy!

This recipe yields approximately one gallon of hearty soup – enough to please a crowd of gridiron girls and guys!  A crusty French baguette is a great accompaniment to this fall favorite.  Add a mixed green salad and you will have a healthy meal that’s a tasty alternative to typical tailgating foods.

Burgers and Wine Can Be Oh So Fine!

It’s time for “Wine Wednesday”, our once a month feature that showcases wines that match up well with football and football-watching foods.  What says football tailgating more than the All-American burger?  This month, we highlight a couple of wines we love to pair with this ultimate tailgater’s treat!

Want to make a simple, yet scrumptious burger?  Start with ground chuck and shape gently into 6 ounce patties, about ½ to ¾ inches thick.  The higher fat content of ground chuck helps keep the burger nice n’ juicy, so while we all like to watch our fat intake; don’t skimp on the beef when making burgers!  Run a little extra on the treadmill, or cut out the potato chips, but use the ground chuck to get the tastiest tailgate burger. 

Rather than add seasonings, onions, garlic and the like while shaping the patties, which tends to draw moisture out of the burger even before it is cooked, wait until just before grilling.  Simply toss on some freshly ground pepper and kosher salt before throwing the burgers on a hot grill.   This will give the burger a nice sear and keep the moisture inside. 

The burger toppings are the key factor when trying to find a good wine choice.  For Pinot Noir lovers, try a burger topped with apple wood-smoked bacon, caramelized onions, or grilled mushrooms.  Serve it on a brioche bun and you kick your tailgate up a notch!  A good Pinot choice for a burger with any of these delicious toppings is the Gruet Blanc de Noirs.  At just under $14 a bottle, it is an affordable wine laced with berries, with a subtle hint of lip-smacking grapefruit and other herbs.  From New Mexico, the Gruet Blanc de Noirs boasts a creamy texture and a pretty salmon color.  It is a sinfully delightful wine.

Are you a Cabernet Sauvignon lover?  The full bodied flavor of Cabernets makes them perfect accompaniments to grilled burgers.  The traditional toppings – lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, ketchup – are perfect choices when sipping on a nice Cabernet.  With so many affordable Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet blends available, you can’t go wrong!  We like the Chateau St. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007 from Washington. At around $17 a bottle, it is an inexpensive wine, but so charming it makes you feel like you are indulging in a real luxury.  It has a nice black cherry aroma and a touch of dried currant, making it a tasty choice for your freshly grilled burger!

So this weekend, throw some burgers on the grill and kick back with some flavorful wines while you enjoy your favorite gridiron game.  Whether it is a Pinot Noir or a Cabernet Sauvignon, your tailgating or game watching experience will be oh-so-much better with a bottle of wine…or two…or three!

It’s Thirsty Thursday! Tailgaters Prepare for the Battle of the Techs

Tonight’s ESPN prime time college football game features the battle of the techies, as Virginia Tech hosts ACC defending champs Georgia Tech (5-3) at Lane Stadium.  VT started the season with high expectations.  The phrase “national championship” was even bantered about by sports analysts during the summer, as it was widely believed the Hokies had one of the most talented offensive rosters in their history. 

After a loss to Boise State and a stunning defeat by James Madison, the Hokies have won their last 6 games.  Now Virginia Tech sits at 22 in the BCS rankings and is slowly trying to climb its way to a major bowl appearance. 

So, what does tonight’s match up look like?  The Hokies are undefeated in conference play and are the team to beat in the ACC.  They have lost to Georgia Tech 2 consecutive years, but this Hokies squad should be able to break that streak. 

The Hokies offense seems to be clicking, with a powerful, healthy backfield and QB Tyrod Taylor taking charge of the offense.  The dual-threat Taylor has thrown for over 1600 yards this season and rushed for over 500.  With just 95 more total yards, he will become VT’s all time leader for total offense.

Defensively, the Hokies are a young unit. But Georgia Tech’s offense is pretty one dimensional, with 21 of their 28 TDs this season coming off run plays.  VT Defensive Coordinator, Bud Foster, is a strategy guru and will likely load the box, forcing struggling Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt to throw.

It has been a rainy day in Blacksburg and the temperature at kickoff (7:30 pm) is expected to be around 45 degrees.  Despite the conditions, Hokie fans are out in force today, ready to support their team.  Campus parking lots have been swarming with tailgaters all day.  Classes?  It seems many students have decided to forgo class and tailgate vigorously as they prepare for this rivalry game!

Tonight’s bone-chilling weather calls for a hot tailgate beverage!  One of our fall favorites is our version of spiked hot apple cider.  Pair it with some great grilled burgers and hot dogs for a terrific tailgating treat.  So mix up a nice, big batch of our hot spiked cider and sit back and enjoy the battle of the two Techs!

Hot “Spike the Ball” Cider…

  • 2 quarts water
  • 8 orange spiced tea bags
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 2 cups Captain Morgan’s spiced rum
  • cinnamon sticks

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat, adding the orange spice tea bags. Cover pan and steep approx. 5 minutes. Remove tea bags.  Next, stir in brown sugar, apple cider, rum, and 4 cinnamon sticks. Heat just to warm, do not boil.   Pour hot spiked cider into large thermal carafes to keep warm until game time.  Ladle cider into insulated mugs, garnishing each with a cinnamon “swizzle” stick and enjoy!

Football and Wine? Hell, Yeah!

While the men in your life continue to demand beer, beer and even more beer for their football tailgates or game watching parties, we ladies can show that we are the more refined gender by pairing our favorite gridiron foods with wine.

One Wednesday each month we will feature a “Wine Wednesday” blog that pairs a popular tailgate food with a nice wine.  This month we feature our Quarterback Queso and Touchdown Tortilla Chips appetizer – a sure crowd pleaser that will score you extra points! 

The perfect wine for this spicy Mexican style dip is a light white wine.  Try the Sutter Home 2009 Pinot Grigio.  It is inexpensive, so you can stock up on a few bottles to keep your wine glasses filled for a whole weekend of game watching!

Quarterback Queso Dip:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium tomatoes, diced

3-4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 medium onion, diced

Salt to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste

Your favorite hot pepper sauce to taste 

6 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet, adding the tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onion, salt and cayenne pepper.   Cook over medium/ high heat, stirring constantly, until ingredients are soft, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, adding the cheese and stirring until fully melted, which is only about 30 seconds, adding cilantro as you are about to remove the queso from the stove.  Serve immediately.

Touchdown Tortilla Chips:

While store-bought tortilla chips are perfectly fine to use, for a real treat try this VERY simple method of making your own!

In a large heavy saucepan or deep fryer, heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees.  Take one 12 ounce package of corn tortillas and cut each tortilla into 6 equal wedges.  Fry wedges in small batches until crisp.  Transfer cooked chips to paper towels to drain and season with salt while still warm.  Yields 72 tortilla chips.

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