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Saturday, September 19, 2015

CHEERING ON THE TEAM!!!

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It's week 3 of the 2015 college football season.  We had other obligations, so unfortunately we aren't able to physically be at a game, BUT we'll be enjoying tailgate food nonetheless, and cheering on our teams with gusto!  These are the big games we're passionate about:

GEORGIA TECH vs NOTRE DAME - 3:30PM et

AUBURN vs LSU - 3:30PM et

GEORGIA vs SOUTH CAROLINA - 6:00PM et

KENTUCKY vs FLORIDA - 7:30PM et



TAILGATE MENU:

TOMATO TAPENADE with crostini or crackers
BEEFY TACO DIP with corn chips
BBQ CHICKEN SALAD SLIDERS
CUCUMBER-AVOCADO SALAD

BUTTERSCOTCH BROWNIES

DRINK OF THE DAY:
SAILOR'S PUNCH!


TOMATO TAPENADE
(Adapted from Ina Garten)

This tapenade is AMAZING.  I served it recently while at the beach on vacation, on crostini, and we all loved it, but I also used it on a sandwich, and WOW!  It was a game changer.  This time I'm using it as a dip with sturdy crackers, and I gave half of it to my daughter, Caroline, to enjoy on crostini as she drives with her boyfriend, Brian, on a trip to Boston this weekend.  I've already gotten big thumbs up from them!  The combination of flavors it to die for - tangy balsamic, sweet from the brown sugar and depth of flavors from the garlic, kalamata olives and herbs!

2 lbs small tomatoes, cut into 1'' pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp finely chopped fresh basil
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Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cover a jelly roll pan or roasting pan with heavy duty foil for easy clean up. Combine the cut tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and brown sugar right in your pan.
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Roast for about 25 minutes, or until the tomatoes slump and the juices are bubbling. Remove pan from the oven and set aside to cool a bit.
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Once you can comfortably handle the tomatoes, place them on a cutting board and chop them a bit more finely.
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Transfer tomatoes to a small bowl. Then add juice from the roasting pan and chopping board, olives, hot pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, and basil.
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Stir gently to fully combine. Store covered in a nonreactive container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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BEEFY TACO DIP
(Adapted from plain chicken)
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1 lb ground beef
1 can refried beans (I used lower fat refried black beans)
1 packet taco seasoning (I try to find one - if I don't make my own - that has good ingredients with few chemicals and zero partially hydrogenated oil)
16 oz sour cream (I always go with low fat sour cream)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Garnish with chopped avocado and jalepeno pepper slices if desired
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a skillet, brown the ground beef over medium heat, drain.
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Mix beans, cooked ground beef and taco seasoning.
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Spread bean mixture in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish, and then spread the sour cream on top of the beans. Finally, top with cheese.
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Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes (until cheese is bubbly). Garnish, if desired.
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Serve with your favorite chips.

BBQ CHICKEN SALAD
(Adapted from Aggie's Kitchen)
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I have been looking for a good BBQ chicken salad recipe ever since my daughter graduated from Auburn University.  Why? Because in Auburn, AL there's a delightful little place called "Chicken Salad Chick" that serves a multitude of chicken salads, including my favorite, BBQ Chicken Salad.  This recipe isn't quite there, BUT it's close!  Very yummy served atop a mixed green salad or as a sandwich or wrap.  I added more chipotle sauce on mine since I like it hot! Great to serve on small rolls (like Hawaiian) for a tailgate party, so it's easy finger food for people to pick up and eat.

2 cups cooked shredded chicken
3/4 cup Ranch Dressing (I used Naturally Fresh Lite)
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons of your favorite barbecue sauce
2 green onions, chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
4 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1-2 tsp chipotle sauce, if desired (I used the adobo sauce in a can of chipotle peppers)
salt and pepper to taste
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In a small bowl, combine the Ranch Dressing with the barbecue sauce. 
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Add sauce to shredded chicken into a large mixing bowl along with green onions, celery, cheddar cheese and chipotle hot sauce.
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Mix until sauce and ingredients are completely combined. Refrigerate for at least one hour for the flavors to blend. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary.
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CUCUMBER AVOCADO SALAD
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
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This simple salad is so delicious.  I made it recently at the beach with family and everyone RAVED about it - just a few ingredients so it takes minutes to prepare.  It's an easy side that's green, healthy and crunchy - perfect for a hot day in the south watching football!

1 seedless cucumber, washed and chopped into chunks
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 large avocado, pitted and diced
2 TBSP mayonaise (I always use Hellman's)
Juice of half a lime, plus more to taste (~1 TBSP+)
Salt and hot sauce (I used tabasco), to taste
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Combine cucumber, scallions and avocado in a bowl. Either whisk together mayo, lime and seasonings and then drizzle over the salad. OR throw everything in a bowl and toss, adjusting levels of salt and lime to taste.
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BUTTERSCOTCH BROWNIES
(Adapted from bbonline)
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The best thing about brownies is that they are PERFECT for tailgating.  Cookies often get either crumbly or soggy in transport.  Brownies or bars usually transport well and remain moist.  These are fabulous!
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
2 eggs
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract
3 cups Instant Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
1 2/3 cups Butterscotch Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and grease a 9x11 glass baking dish. In a mixer combine butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add to butter mixture on low speed until just combined. Slowly add in oatmeal and butterscotch chips. Spread evenly into baking dish. Mixture will be moist so flour your hands if needed. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

SAILOR'S PUNCH
(Adapted from Ursula's Cooking School)
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Our family's been enjoying this drink ever since my mother attended Ursula's Cooking School (Atlanta, GA) years and years ago.  It screams summer, and we've been fixing it for over 20 years. Just remember "6, 6, 12" and you'll be good to go!

6 oz (3/4 cup) vodka
6 oz (3/4 cup) frozen limeade
12 oz (1 average bottle) of your favorite beer
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Throw all the ingredients in a blender.  Note: the game is on in the background ;)!
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Add ice and puree to slushee consistency. Imbibe.
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GO TEAMS!!!


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