Saying that I am behind on the Friday Football Foodie is a bit of an understatement, but in a weird way my performance is not that different from how many teams ended the season.
Week 16 – Dec 20, 22, 23 - In a Thursday night game against the Rams, Steelers running back and league leading rusher Willie Parker goes out with a broken fibula. FFF is not posted due to food poisoning from a bad turkey sandwich. (It was going to be about the above Steelers sugar cookies* with buttercream frosting and these great pumpkin spice cookies** that are perfect for the holidays. Sent batches out to all of the Ladies and Tuffy.)
Week 17 – Dec 29, 30 – Every playoff bound team is resting their starters if they can. FFF is not posted due to lack of internet at a spa retreat. (Athletes get deep tissue massages and feel a great sense of relief; I get a deep tissue massage and am sore for two days.) There is something to resting your starters though. Who knows when injury can happen. The FFF’s camera which had been on the fritz for awhile was dropped onto a marble floor at the spa from which it will never recover, thus hurting the FFF’s playoff run.
Wild Card Playoffs – Jan 5, 6 – Pressure, pressure, pressure, come up with a game plan THAT DOES INVOLVE BRUCE ARIANS HOW CAN YOU SAY HE’S COMING BACK NEXT SEASON. FFF is not posted due to poor clock management, stress, and more stress.
Which means the Friday Football Foodie is much like the Colts right now; Haven’t had a game that tested them since Week 14 against the Ravens and are completely beat up.***
But we solider on. No step-by-step directions. Instead of the usual 16-24 pictures that make up the Friday Football Foodie there is one photo, and camera phone picture at that.
Like the Colts though, it is still solid.
Spinach-Artichoke Dip with Harry & David Multigrain Chips and Dance Off, Pants Off Drinks
This recipe was given to me from a friend – who can be seen in the background of the homemade corn dog FFF – who got it from Cooking Light magazine. It is possibly the best spinach dip recipe I’ve ever come across and works just as well if you make it their “light” way or if you go ahead and use full fat cheese and sour cream. Which I do. And I use way more spinach than they call for.
You will need –
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided (Double this.)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened (Or just two regular cream cheese packages.)
1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry (I use two whole packages of spinach.)
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, 2 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) Parmesan, and next 6 ingredients (basically everything except for reserve cheese) in your baking dish and stir until well-blended. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. (Depending on the oven, it can take up to 45 minutes.) ****
In that bowl is the greatest tortilla chip known to mankind; The Harry & David’s Multigrain tortilla chip.
How great is it? They try to keep them all for themselves as they are not even listed on their website. (Some guy in Michigan has even noted how many people look for these chips online.) Apparently, the only way you can get them is if you stop at one of their stores. Which means 3 out of 5 times we drive back from Santa Barbara, we stop at the outlet stores just to buy some of the chips.
Something about them – maybe it’s the black sesame seeds – is just downright magical. Sturdy enough to hold up to most dips and salsas and yet still light in texture.
Pants Off, Dance Off Drinks
We keep full bar at our place, which is good because what is the point of owning so many books about cocktails if you can never make them. You cannot taste pretty pictures.
Sometimes you just want to poor a bunch of different things in a glass and see what happens next. (The old college football just heave-the-ball-down-field-and-hope-it-works mentality if you will.)
Which is what we call the Pants Off, Dance Off in our place. Will light rum, cognac, and Frangelica mix? What about amaretto and vodka – which is called a Godmother – be ok if I cut it with a splash of ginger ale? What about grappa and… no. Not the grappa. You get the idea.
This is the weekend to Pants Off, Dance Off. Show them something that they have not seen before.