Game-Day Dishes

September means on thing in Texas - the start of football season. To us Texans, this game is more than a sport; it's a way of life.

Yes, we take our football seriously (much like our food). Score big with the snacks you serve your game watchers with all-star munchies that are sure to tackle even the heartiest appetites.
I’ve been making Cheesy Stuffed Sandwich Rolls since I was a newlywed. They are still a favorite in my house and might soon be in yours. For the recipe, visit fwtx.com.

Baba Ganoush
Yield: About 2 cups
I always think of Baba Ganoush as a swarthy cousin to hummus. Switch out eggplant for chickpeas, and the rest of the ingredients are the same. Unlike selecting a lemon that is heavy with juice, choose an eggplant that is light for its size. The lighter the eggplant, the less bitter moisture retained in the vegetable.

1 large eggplant, lightly smoked
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup tahini
2 – 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon salt or to taste

To smoke the eggplant, I used my Cameron stovetop smoker. Slice the eggplant, lengthwise, to fit into your stovetop smoker. (You can also smoke or cook eggplant whole on your grill.) Follow instructions for your stovetop smoker and smoke eggplant 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from smoker, place on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave 3 – 5 minutes, until soft. Remove peeling.
In the bowl of a food processor, place cooked eggplant, parsley, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Process until smooth. Add more lemon juice and salt to taste.

Caramelized Onion Dip
Yield: About 3 cups
Fabulous as a dip, this is also divine as a spread on sandwiches.

3 large onions
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sherry (optional)
2 cups sour cream

1. Thinly slice onions. In a large, heavy skillet, heat butter and olive oil. Add onions, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Add sherry, if using, and cook another 2 minutes, until sherry has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. When onions are cool, stir in sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Iron Skillet Thai Pizza
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
Once hot, an iron skillet makes fabulous pizza. Since this recipe adds the dough to a cold skillet, it’s important to pre-heat the bottom of the skillet. To do this, add dough and then cook stovetop for a few minutes before baking.

 

1 pound pizza dough
1, 6.73-ounce bottle Thai chili and ginger sauce, or mild Asian chili sauce
1 cup shredded cooked chicken (I used meat from a fully-cooked deli chicken.)
3 - 4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Red chili flakes to taste
3 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts

½ bunch fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 500º. Sprinkle iron skillet with about 1 tablespoon cornmeal. (I used a 9-inch skillet. Using a larger skillet will work fine – the crust will be thinner.)
2. Roll out dough to about 1 inch larger than your skillet. Place dough in skillet and fold down edges to make a rim.
3. Spread dough with about ¼ cup Asian chili sauce. Layer dough with chicken, onions, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and red chili flakes.
4. Place filled skillet ON YOUR STOVETOP, over medium-high heat for 3 – 5 minutes, until bottom of skillet is very hot and crust is beginning to brown. Immediately transfer to oven and bake 10 – 15 minutes, until crust is browned and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven; sprinkle with peanuts and fresh basil and drizzle with more sauce to taste.
5. Use a metal spatula to slightly lift edges of pizza and slide out of skillet onto a large cutting board.

Caramel Corn
Yield: about 12 cups
Rich and buttery, this crunchy treat will thrill guests of all ages. Keep it stored in an airtight container until time to serve

3 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
½ cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup roasted nuts
6 ounces melted chocolate (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

1. Preheat oven to 325º. Place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper on your counter. Place popcorn in a roasting pan or large ovenproof Dutch oven. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Let mixture boil for exactly 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
3. Place in oven and bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and use a heatproof rubber spatula to stir. Make sure you scrape all of the caramel up and off the bottom of the pan and onto the popcorn. This will prevent the caramel from burning. Bake another 10 minutes and remove from oven. Stir in nuts, again making sure to scrape the caramel up and off the bottom of the pan. Bake another 10 minutes, remove from oven, and stir well one last time. Spread on parchment paper to dry. When cool, drizzle with melted chocolate.
4. Store airtight up to 2 days.

For this month's web-only recipe CLICK HERE.