recipe courtesy of Joyce Levesque

My husband, Mark, and our son, Bobby, are fans of the New England Patriots.  With football season just underway, I would like to pay homage to the reigning champions by preparing one of Mark’s favorite dishes from home.  A Rhode Island favorite, Stuffies are stuffed Quahog shells.  For all you folks out there who are not from New England; a quahog is a big clam, and until I met Mark, I had never heard of them either.  There are tons of Stuffie recipes out there, and they all vary just a bit, so we are going to use my Mother-in-law’s recipe.

To make a Stuffie, you remove the clam meat from the shell and chop it up.  You then scrub the clam shells (or buy the disposable ones),  and place the Stuffie mixture on the clam shell and bake it in the oven.  However, we live in land-locked Ohio, so we are using canned clams and baking our Stuffies in ramekins.

Once you get the mixture put together, you can either bake it all, or freeze what you don’t need for a later date.  If you plan on freezing some for later; spray the ramekins with Pam, scoop the Stuffie mixture into the ramekins and allow the mixture to freeze in the ramekin.  Once frozen, you can remove the Stuffie mixture and place it in a freezer bag for long-term storage.  Then when you get the urge for a Stuffie, all you have to do is take one (or two) out of the freezer and pop it into a greased ramekin to bake.  Enjoy!


1/4 cup onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons dried parsley

red pepper flakes, to taste

1 Tablespoon paprika

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter

juice from clams, diluted with water if too salty or bitter- use bottled clam juice if not using fresh clams ( I used 1-8 oz. bottle clam juice, plus the juice from the 3 cans of clams)

1 1/2 cups clams, chopped (I used 3-6 oz. cans of chopped, not minced, clams)

1 loaf stale Italian bread, with crust peeled off


paprika, for garnish

fresh chopped parsley, for garnish


Italian Bread


Naked Italian Bread


1. In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Saute onion, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, and paprika just until hot and bubbly.  Do not brown the onions and garlic.


2. Add juice to the pan, bring to a boil, add clams and turn off the heat.


3. Tear bread into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Pour clam mixture over the bread.  Combine the bread and liquid until the bread is soaked and the mixture is somewhat loose.  At this point the mixture can be frozen for use at a later time.


4. Spray ramekins or clam shells with Pam.  Mound Stuffie mixture in prepared ramekin, or on prepared clam shell.  Sprinkle lightly with paprika.


5. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.  It will be slightly crispy on top, moist inside.  Garnish with fresh parsley.

Pittsburgh Steelers Mac-n-Cheese


Pittsburgh Kielbasa and Bacon Braised Cabbage Mac-n-Cheese

Adapted from a recipe by Chef Christopher Bonfili of Avenue B

5501 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Continuing with the football theme, this is the recipe that I make for Danielle’s team.  The first time I made this it was such a hit with everyone.  Even though there is a lot of work involved, this recipe makes a ton, and I even cut the original recipe in half.  You will have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day, and believe me, it gets even better after it sits.

The list of ingredients is long and diverse, and you may look at it and be discouraged or think that some of those things do not go together.  Stick with the plan and you will be pleasantly surprised.  You will need a large skillet, a casserole dish, a pot, several bowls and three hours to soak your cabbage before you can even start cooking this dish, but it is so worth it.  Avenue B’s Chef Bonfili came up with this recipe, which is a nod to the Polish heritage of Pittsburgh.  As you take a bite, you are bombarded with so many different flavors.  It is Polish comfort food at its best.  Enjoy!



1/2 head green cabbage

1 pound elbow macaroni

6 strips bacon, chopped

1/2 large Spanish onion, diced

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 pound Kielbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch slices

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded

1/8 cup Tabasco (If you don’t like spicy food, this is a lot of Tabasco.  Tone it down a little if you must, but don’t remove it totally.)

1 1/2 teaspoon honey

salt and pepper


1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, snipped

3 green onions, sliced



1. Dice cabbage and soak in cold water for 3 hours.


2. Preheat oven to 350°F .

3. Cook elbow macaroni until al dente, drain.

4. Spray a large skillet with Pam and saute sliced Kielbasa until the edges are blistered.  Remove Kielbasa.


5. Cook bacon in the large skillet til done, remove bacon but leave the fat in the skillet.

6. Saute onions in the bacon fat until they are translucent.  Drain the cabbage and add it to the skillet.  Stir.


7. Mix together the vinegar and sugar.  Add the mixture to the skillet, stir,  and reduce the heat.  Cover the skillet and cook on low until the cabbage is tender.


8. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, Kielbasa, bacon, braised cabbage, cream, cheeses, tabasco and honey.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  Season with salt and pepper and mix again.

9. Spray a large casserole dish with Pam and transfer the mixture into it.  Cover the dish with foil and bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


10. Mix Panko breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, and green onions together in a small bowl.

11. Remove foil from pan after 30 minutes and sprinkle Panko mixture over top of casserole.  Bake uncovered until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.


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.


White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili-bowl of chili

Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

September has arrived and the weather will be cooling off before we know it.  When the temperatures drop, we eat lots of soup at this house.  The great thing about soup is that it’s a whole meal in one pot.  Also, many soup recipes can be cooked in the crock pot, leaving you free to do household chores, go to work, or my favorite… watch sports.

If your family likes to eat lots of soup, do yourself a favor and buy some actual soup spoons.  You will notice a difference when eating with a real soup spoon, rather than a large tablespoon.  The soup spoon is shallower and has a wider bowl.  This allows the soup to cool faster, but also places it back further on your tongue allowing more and different taste buds to be bombarded with flavor as you eat.  Enjoy!


1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-14 oz. cans chicken broth (or 1-32 oz. box)

1-4 oz. can chopped chilies

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne

chipotle seasoning (optional, it gives the chili a nice smoky flavor)

3-14 oz. cans white beans, (Navy beans, Great Northern beans, Cannellini beans)drained and divided

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I used C0-Jack)

jalapenos, chopped (optional)



  1. In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook chicken and onion in olive oil until lightly browned.  Add garlic, cook 1 minute.

White Chicken Chili-onions and chicken

2. You’ll notice that there are quite a few browned bits in the bottom of my Dutch oven, that’s good because there is a lot of flavor in that browned mix.  Slowly add about half of the broth and work the browned goodies loose from the bottom of the pan.

3. Stir in the rest of the broth, chilies, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and optional chipotle seasoning.

White Chicken Chili-broth

4. With a potato masher, mash one can of beans until smooth.

White Chicken Chili-mashed beans

5. Add all the beans to the Dutch oven (smooth and whole).  At this point you can finish cooking the chili on top of the stove, or in the oven:

If cooking on top of the stove, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer the chili for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the onions are tender.

If cooking in the oven, set the temperature to 170° F-190° F (crock-pot setting) and cook for about 4 hours.

6. Top each serving of chili with cheese and optional chopped jalapenos.

White Chicken Chili-bowl of chili

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.

Pepperoni Bread


Recipe courtesy of Game Day Fan Fare

by Gooseberry Patch

To me, sports are the ultimate reality TV;  Thrills, chills, passion, joy, elation and heartbreak all rolled into one, plus the whole thing is live! We are total sports nuts at this house and I’m always looking for new recipes to serve during football, baseball, and hockey season.  This Pepperoni Bread was easy to make and tasted delicious.  I used bread dough, but it was suggested that you could also use pizza crust dough.  I used a three-cheese blend of shredded cheese, instead of using chopped Provolone, and it was still great.  You could probably put all kinds of goodies in this bread.  Enjoy!



1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (or you can substitute Italian Seasoning for the parsley and oregano )
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (I used granulated garlic)
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 pound pepperoni, sliced
1/4-1/2 pound provolone cheese, sliced (I used a shredded 3-cheese blend)




1. Let dough rise according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine egg, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl.



2. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Divide dough into 2 equal pieces.



3. Roll out one piece of dough into a 10 inch by 8 inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.



4. Spread dough with half of egg mixture.  Evenly arrange half the pepperoni and half the provolone cheese over the egg mixture.



5. Roll up dough, starting at a long side, pinching seams together to seal.  Repeat process for remaining ingredients.  Leave more space between them than I did, though, because as you will see in the next photo, my loaves fused together a little as they baked.



6. Transfer loaves to an ungreased baking sheet, seam side down.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden.



7. Slice and serve with pizza sauce.




Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Levesque

I serve this as a chili bar, with the bowls of condiments in the center of the table. Grated cheese, chopped onions, macaroni, and sour cream are normally on the bar, along with a bottle of green Tabasco sauce.  Crackers or cornbread, and a crisp romaine salad round the meal out nicely.

Chili can be cooked on top of the stove in a large pot or Dutch oven.  However, once you are done browning the meat and vegetables, the chili mixture can be cooked in the oven, or transferred to the crock pot to finish cooking.  I’ve made it every way possible because during football season it is the menu item that is requested the most.  My recipe is fast, easy and we love it.  Tweak it to fit your family’s taste buds.  Enjoy!



1 1/2 pounds hamburger (or steak, chicken, pork, etc.)

1 large spanish onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with chiles-Do not drain

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce

1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans-Do not drain

granulated garlic or garlic powder



chili powder

red pepper flakes

salt and pepper, to taste




1. Brown the hamburger with the onion and garlic, drain.

2. Place hamburger mixture in cooking vessel of choice.  Add canned beans, tomatoes and sauce. Mix it up good.


3. Now is the fun part; the seasoning.   I didn’t put any measurements here because I tend to cook by feel, in other words by what looks good.  Adjust the amounts of seasonings by adding bits of what you like, then tasting as you go along.  Husbands are a good source for this task as they will not want to leave the vicinity anyway once they smell garlic, onions and meat cooking. We love garlic and you will notice that I have it on here twice.  I like to layer in flavors, so I use the chopped cloves and then the granulated garlic.  The chopped cloves of garlic become sweet as they cook and the granulated garlic has the nice bite.  You could even drop in a spoonful or two of a roasted garlic purée and that would be just delicious.  Add in the seasonings that your family prefers.


4. At this point you want the flavors to have time to mingle.  If you are able to allow it a long, slow or low cook, that would be best. If not, then allow it at least 45 minutes to cook.