It’s nearly inconceivable that anyone can watch NFL games without snacks. And after all these years as a football fan, it’s time you fielded an unbeatable snack-attack strategy. So as you gear up for the in-person AFE Pro Blitz tour coming your way, or prepare to watch the Big Game on TV, here are some ideas on how to step up your game and fly your banner as a professional snacker.
First: Open your cabinets and fridge and take stock of your provisions.
- Living without a kitchen? What existing snack items can you get your hands on?
Then: Think outside the bag.
- How can what you have be transformed or combined with something else to create a new taste treat?
Next: Set it all out and consider your options.
- Don’t be afraid to mix textures and flavors into something new. After all, someone probably thought up trail mix and peanut butter cups this way. And you know you’ve dumped Milk Duds into a bucket of theater popcorn, haven’t you?
Finally: Channel your inner Chef Frankenstein.
- Build a better sandwich. Unfold a fantastic new omelet. Make dips you want to swim in. Shake up fruits and veggies with tangy toppings.
Need more ideas? Here are a few all-star recipes worth considering.
Pop Warner Simplicity
Ants on a Log: Use a knife to spread peanut butter in the groove of celery sticks, then top with a line of raisins.
Bugs on a Berg: Use a knife to spread cream cheese in the groove of celery sticks, then top with a line of chopped olive pieces.
Fish in a Boat: Use a knife to spread tuna or salmon salad in the groove of celery sticks. Top with potato chip crumbs from the bottom of the bag.
Dips for Dummies
Give plain yogurt its own spotlight as MVP. All it takes is a sprinkle of creativity.
Sweet Cream: Stir a teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of sugar or honey (more if you like) into a cup of plain yogurt. Use as a dip with slices of apples, pears, bananas, mangos, strawberries and melon.
Sassy Cream: Stir a cup of yogurt with ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon garlic or onion powder and a few dashes of Tabasco. Feeling super playful? Use a freshly grated garlic clove and finely chopped onion. Serve as a dip with carrot and celery sticks, sliced jicama and cucumber, broccoli and cauliflower pieces.
College Draft Choice
Nacho Daddy’s Nachos
This is where your creativity with pantry items really come into play. Who says nachos have to start with tortilla chips and end with a slice of pickled jalapeño?
All about the base: Instead of a layer of chips, try one of these foundational options:
- Thick (1/4 inch) slices of zucchini – lightly grilled or raw
- Slices of cucumber
- Lettuce cups
- Baked sweet potato or white potato skins
- Pita chips
- Toasted bread, sliced into quarters
- Tater tots or fries
Build on it: This is where you tap into your knowledge of balance and construction. Layer your base with just about anything edible, beginning with spreadable items and finishing with crunchy texture.
- Spreads: Hummus, mashed beans, cottage cheese, softened cream cheese, labneh or Greek yogurt, guacamole, tomato sauce, peanut butter
- Texture: Pickle slices, cooked meat, raw or steamed veggies, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped cabbage or shredded lettuce
Get cheesy with it: If you can’t heat up your nachos to melt your cheese, you can still drape your rising masterpiece and tie it together into a great bite:
- Place a slice of cheese on top as the final layer
- Grate or chop cheese and sprinkle it on top
- Consider a new kind of topping, such as thin slices of meat or a piece of lettuce, to hold it all together.
Big League Pro Bowl
Chili for Champs
Living overseas used to create a hard barrier to cooking American dishes from scratch. Today’s international food scene has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, with a variety of our most common spices and ingredients readily accessible in stores, and certainly available through mail delivery. Even though you may find jarred chili fixings and dried mixes in larger grocery stores, here’s an easy scratch chili recipe almost anyone can master for the big game day.
- 1 lb ground beef (80% lean is ideal)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper sauce such as Tabasco, more/less to taste
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (19 oz) red kidney beans, undrained (optional)
Cook beef, onion and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is cooked through. Drain mixture to remove grease and return it to the pot.
Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt pepper sauce and tomatoes and heat to boiling over high heat. Quickly reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook 1 hour, stirring now and then.
Stir in kidney beans, if using. Heat an additional 20 minutes or until the liquid has thickened. Serve with Frito Scoops or any other corn chips, or for a healthier choice, top a mixed salad with a scoop of hot chili. Try it. You’ll like it.