Green Bay Packers Cheddar-Beer Queso


Adapted from Green Bay Packers Cheddar-Beer Queso by Stiletto Sports


In our family, showing some love for professional football is not unusual.  On the contrary, it is celebrated.  The guys are fans of the New England Patriots, Danielle is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and I am a proud Cheesehead!  I know that in some families everyone has the same rooting interest, but believe me, it is much more exciting to be pitted against each other like we are several times a year.  When our teams play one another, there is usually a pretty good amount of trash-talking that goes on. Sometimes this talking is backed up with a friendly bet.

I have special recipes for each team and this is the one for my team.  It is quick and easy to make, tastes great, and after you mix it all together, the queso can be poured into a small crock pot to keep it warm.  Enjoy!



16 oz. package Velveeta, diced

10 oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles, drained

1/2 cup Wisconsin beer

1 cup Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar, shredded



1. In a pan over medium-low heat, melt Velveeta.

2. Add the tomatoes and stir.

3. Add the beer and stir.


4. Add the sharp cheddar and mix thoroughly.  Add more beer if necessary to make a smooth queso.

5. Serve with big, fat bready pretzels to soak up all the gooey cheese.


*If you are concerned about the amount of fat in this recipe (it is substantial), I would suggest that you try to fit some veggies into your tailgating menu.


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.

Black-Eyed Pea Salsa


Adapted from Woman’s Day Magazine, February 2011

I did change this recipe a little by adding juice from the jalapeno jar and green Tabasco, just to give it a little kick.  If you prefer your salsa to be a little tamer, skip those additions.  It takes about 5 minutes to put this salsa together, but I would suggest that you make it ahead of time so that the flavors have time to mingle.  In the Woman’s Day article, this salsa is served as a side dish with a pork loin that has been seasoned with cumin and chili powder. Sounds yummy!

Sometimes I change up the ingredients of this salsa, depending on what I have on hand at the time, and what I am serving it with.  I’ve discovered that black beans and corn (especially fresh corn that’s been grilled) is delicious substituted for the black-eyed peas. This salsa is terrific served as an appetizer with lime flavored tortilla chips, or as is, served with grilled chicken or pork.  Enjoy!



1- 15 ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch dice

3 green onions, chopped

1 Tablespoon tame jalapeno slices, chopped fine

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)

juice from jar of tame jalapenos, optional

a few good shots of green Tabasco, optional

salt and fresh ground pepper



1. Combine the black-eyed peas, cucumber, green onions, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and optional jalapeno juice and Tabasco.


2. Season with salt and pepper and serve as an appetizer with lime flavored tortilla chips.  It would also be yummy served with grilled chicken, pork, or fish that has been soaked in a citrus marinade.

Stuffed Cherry Peppers


Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma


This recipe comes from one of our trips to Rhode Island.  We were visiting Mark’s family for the Easter holiday when we had these stuffed peppers at his sister Kim’s house.  These are a signature dish of Kim’s ex mother-in-law, Carol.  I immediately approached her and asked for the recipe because they were just so delicious that they disappeared within minutes.  She said that she learned to make them at a Williams-Sonoma cooking class. I’ve made them numerous times over the years, and everyone loves them.  They look pretty on a buffet, and you can make them ahead of time. Enjoy!



2-16 oz. jars sweet cherry peppers (these are not hot peppers), drained and rinsed

about 5 slices prosciutto, diced

about 5 slices smoked provolone, diced

garlic flavored olive oil, for drizzling




1.  Using a sharp knife, slice off the tops of the cherry peppers as close to the stem as possible, and remove the seeds.  I use a tiny espresso spoon to scrape out the seeds.



2. Dice the prosciutto and the provolone, and mix them together in a bowl.


3. Stuff each pepper with the mix and place them on a serving tray that can be refrigerated.

4. Drizzle the garlic olive oil over each pepper.  Place the tray in the refrigerator for several hours, or cover and leave in the refrigerator overnight.


5. To serve; place the tray on the buffet table at least 30 minutes before serving time so that the peppers can come to room temperature.




Open-Faced Smoked Salmon Finger Sandwiches


courtesy of The Food

These sandwiches were made in honor of the Seattle Seahawks, for Super Bowl XLVIII (I made Cowboy Beans in honor of their opponent, the Denver Broncos).  They turned out so pretty and would be perfect served for Easter brunch, a bridal shower or even for a Mother’s Day luncheon.  If you want all the flavors without the fuss, serve the cream cheese mixture in a bowl, with the salmon and some crackers on the side.  Enjoy!


8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 Tablespoons minced chives

2 heaping Tablespoons horseradish

pepper and salt to taste (smoked salmon is very salty, so go easy on the salt)

zest of 1 lemon

pumpernickel cocktail loaf (you will not need the entire loaf)


8-10 ounces smoked salmon


6-8 chives, green parts only, cut into slim 1 inch match sticks




1. Combine cream cheese, minced chives, horseradish, pepper, salt, and lemon zest.



2. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture on a slice of pumpernickel cocktail bread.  Top the cream cheese mixture with a piece of crispy lettuce, followed by a thin slice, or chunk of smoked salmon.  Garnish the sandwich by placing a small dollop of the cream cheese mixture on top of the salmon and placing 2 pieces of the 1 inch chives in the dollop.