Sunday, December 15, 2013

Football Season and Chili Season=Love

You gotta love the south. Football games in the fall are like its own holiday. There is something about the turn of the weather (or at least possible turn of the weather here in Houston) and tailgating food that just go hand in hand. But I am going to just come clean. I don't understand football. I don't even know what is happening on the screen as I watch it. I just get into it for the sake of my husband and really any reason to throw a party. I am more likely to be the girl in the background talking anything but football with the other girls who may not be all that interested. However, most of my girlfriends are interested. It just amazes me that they know what is going on! This fact doesn't exactly make my husband the most proud but he embraces it and loves me anyway. He is is a true football fanatic, make that LSU/Saints fanatic as anyone else is that is from Louisiana or lives there. Jason's entire family is LSU fans and and now it looks like Collins will be an LSU girl herself:) I just play along, wear the LSU outfits and plan the football parties:)

Collins even wears her purple and gold to church but only after a win!

So this past football season we cheered the LSU tigers on many times while we munched on a few favorite recipes. We went to our dear friends house who are fellow LSU fans and watched the game as much as we could with the kids in tow. 
Well, the husbands watched, Gabe and I bathed the kids and fed them and let the husbands have their peace. We are such good wives.
Gabe's Jason made gumbo that was amazing and I made Golden Onion Bacon Tartlets for an appetizer. These things were delicious and addictive. And they called for pancetta which is my husband's love language alone. And as always, we had a great time. I can't really say who won the game but I got to catch up with a best friend and soak up our families together so just another reason that I am grateful for football season. And the men did have their hands full once Gabe and I settled down to a glass of wine...

Golden Onion and Bacon Tartlets
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp minced fresh or dried rosemary
1/4 tsp ground pepper
4 slices pancetta (or bacon finally chopped)
24 mini phyllo pastry shells
Fresh rosemary springs for garnish
 1. Heat oven to 350. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and tender. Sprinkle with salt and cook 3 to 5 minutes more  until very tender and golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in swiss, cream, rosemary and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in medium skillet over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp. Drain on paper towels. 
3. Arrange phyllo shells on cookie sheet. Divide and spoon  onion mixture into shells. Sprinkle tops evenly with pancetta. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, until golden brown. Garnish with rosemary if desired. Serve immediately. 

During this football season, we tried out a few other new recipes and they are definitely worth talking about. For another game with friends, we made Sesame Chicken Dip. Now this recipe is different but so good. It has delicious oriental taste that you don't expect and is so different from so many other dips that are out there.
Sesame Chicken Dip
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
 4 tso. sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 pkgs. (8 oz) reduced fat free cream cheese
8 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
1 jar (10oz) sweet and sour sauce
Sesame Rice Crackers
1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic, add the chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least an hour.
2. Spread cream cheese onto a large serving platter, top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with onions, peanuts and spinach. Drizzle with sweet and sour sauce. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with crackers.

Now for the recipe of all fall football game recipes...Bacon Beer Chili. Men, this is your kind of chili. At least it was for my husband. It had all his favorites. Venison. Bacon, Italian Sausage, and beer. Yes, beer. Jason made this for us and it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Not lying. I am not a big "game" girl but I will eat it because that is what you do when when your husband kills deer and brings home the "bacon", I mean venison. But we almost didn't know what to do with ourselves it was that good. It makes a lot so this is definitely the recipe to make for your next football game/cool weather dinner.
Bacon Beer Chili
1/2 pound mild italian sausage links
8 slices bacon
1 1/2 pounds coarsely ground venison (you can use ground turkey or beef as well)
2 large onions, chopped
2 large green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chipped
cayenne pepper to taste (we like alot!)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 1/2oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (12 oz) can tomato paste
 1 (12 oz) can beer
Optional Garnishes: sour cream, sliced green onions, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sliced green olives

Brown sausage in a large dutch oven (cast iron or large pot) over medium heat. Drain on paper towels and slice. Cook bacon in pot until crisp, remove bacon, reserving half of the drippings. Crumble bacon.
Heat reserved drippings over medium heat until hot. Add venison, onion, bell peppers and garlic. Cook until meat is browned and vegetables are tender, stirring often.
Add reserved sausage, bacon, jalapeno peppers and next 8 ingredients; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring often. Garnish if desired.

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