Countdown to Football Season


Back, Back, Back, Back Ribs by Chris Berman and Texas Caviar by Gale Sayers

Adapted from The NFL Family Cookbook, published by SMITHMARK Publishers, New York, NY

Well it is finally here, that time of year that all of us sports fans live for, football season.  College football kicks off next week, and the NFL kicks off the week after that.  Whether you are tailgating, watching a game with friends, or screaming at the tv with 100 other patrons in a sports bar, one thing is for sure…there will be food.


If you are planning a football party, know this; there must be food before the game, snacks for during the game, something special brought out at half time, and a little dessert to nibble on throughout the day.  I always try to make as much food ahead of time as possible and have Mark operate the grill so that I’m free to watch all the pre-game stuff, and visit with the guests.


Two of the following recipes come from The NFL Family Cookbook.  The first recipe is Back, Back, Back, Back Ribs from Chris Berman, the humorous ESPN sportscaster who is so well-known for giving the players funny nicknames in his broadcasts.  The second recipe is Texas Caviar from the legendary NFL Hall of Fame Running Back, Gale Sayers.


Ribs and Brats, along with the Pasta Salad are great for eating before the game.  Texas Caviar with tortilla chips can be munched on all during the game, along with a veggie tray that includes your favorite dip.  Make some Chili in a crock pot and have all the fixin’s (shredded cheese, chopped onion, crackers, macaroni, etc.) ready before the game starts, then at halftime you can serve a great Chili Bar with very little effort.  Peanut Butter Cookies and Buckeyes are yummy at any time and will be gone before you know it, so make extras.  Here’s hoping your team has a great season…and Go Bucs!  Enjoy!


Football Party Menu

  • Ribs
  • Brats
  • Pasta Salad
  • Halftime Chili Bar
  • Texas Caviar
  • Veggie Tray
  • Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Buckeyes



Baby Back Ribs Ingredients

6 pounds baby back pork ribs (each rack is about 3 pounds)

32 oz. ketchup

1/3 onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke

1 Tablespoon Louisiana pepper sauce



1. Set up your gas grill for indirect cooking with the setting on low.  Cook the racks of ribs for about 2 1/2 hours.

2. After 1 1/2 hours prepare the BBQ sauce. Bring the sauce to a low boil and then simmer for about 1 hour.


3.  Brush the BBQ sauce on the ribs and cook over a medium, direct heat for about 5 minutes. Flip the ribs, brush on some more BBQ sauce, and cook on the other side over the direct heat for about 5 minutes or until the ribs are browned to your liking.  Keep basting the ribs with sauce and move them to the back of the grill ( indirect) if necessary to allow the sauce to cook in to the ribs.



Texas Caviar Ingredients

2-14 oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained

1 -15 oz. can white hominy, drained

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (I used the tame jalapenos)

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped or snipped (cilantro would work well in this recipe, too)

1 8 oz. bottle Italian dressing



1. In a large bowl, combine the black-eyed peas and hominy.


2. Add the tomatoes, green onions, and garlic.  Mix well.

3. Add the green pepper and jalapeno peppers, onion and parsley (or cilantro).  Toss well.


4. Pour the salad dressing over the vegetables and toss gently to coat well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


5. Drain, and serve with tortilla chips.

Danielle’s Graduation


Graduation season is upon us and I would be remiss if I did not share the photos and recipes from our daughter’s college graduation.  Three years ago, around this time, our house was abuzz with excitement.  Our beautiful and brilliant daughter, Danielle, was preparing to graduate, Magna Cum Laude, from The Ohio State University.  She could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and four years of hard work and sacrifice were finally paying off.


Our son Bobby, had recently enlisted in the Air Force, and had not been at his first duty assignment for very long when Danielle’s graduation day approached.  She didn’t think he would be allowed to take leave, and was very sad.  Mark and I knew it had been arranged and kept his arrival a secret from her (that was very hard).  When he called her from the airport, the night before graduation, she totally freaked out!


Mark’s Mom and Dad came out from Rhode Island, to be part of the first college graduation in the family.  The commencement ceremony was held in Ohio Stadium-The Horseshoe- on a blistering hot (92°) day.  I felt so sorry for those kids wearing black robes in that heat, although we were pretty miserable, too.  We watched as Danielle and over 10,000 of her fellow graduates filed out of the stadium like ants at a picnic.


The stadium was about 3/4 full that day


There were over 10,000 graduates.  The names were not announced, and it still took over an hour for the graduates to receive their diplomas.  They were moving at a pretty good clip, too.


Danielle got her tassel adjusted before accepting her diploma.


Danielle is now employed as an educational aide to students with disabilities.  She is 2/3 of the way done with her Master’s program and will start student teaching sometime this Fall. I don’t know where the time went, it just seems like yesterday that she and I were at Ohio State for the requisite two-day parent/child indoctrination program before Danielle’s freshman year.


I’ve included the menu, and you will see about half the recipes from that day on this website very soon.  The other items on the menu came straight out of a bag (chips, pretzels) or a box (Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix and Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix), although I did make the frostings from scratch.  We ordered sub and cookie platters from Subway®, and rounded out the menu with lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and cheese.  There was a ton of prep work involved in getting ready for Danielle’s party, but thankfully I had Mem and Pep to help me out with all the chopping and fixing, and the kiddos did the decorating. Enjoy!



Fresh Fruit Salad

Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip

Snyder’s of Hanover®  Pretzel Pieces

Fresh Mozzarella Cubes with Olive Selection

Black-Eyed Pea Salsa with Lime Tortilla Chips

Cheese Ball with Crackers

7 Layer Dip

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Pasta Salad



Subway®  sub platters

Ohio State Butter Mints

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Subway®  cookie platter