• Tommy Centola

Game day snacks for the win

Football season is here! Whether you are tailgating or just watching on television, you never want to be without your Game Day Snacks. I have seen them range from a bowl of potato chips to a spread of over 20 different dishes. As we say in New Orleans, there’s always a reason for a party.

Today, I collected a few dishes that I think are great for Game Day. They are finger foods, leaving one hand free for a cold beverage or high-fiving your friends. The dishes are Spinach Dip, Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls and Pralines. I think they will please all of your hungry football fanatics. Let’s head to the kitchen!

Here’s a great recipe for any meal. It was the most popular appetizer at the last restaurant I worked at, Cannon’s. Traditionally served with tortilla chips, it’s also great when served with Fried Bow-Tie pasta.

Spinach Dip

3 ounces butter

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

1 ¾ tablespoon minced garlic

½ cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1 pint heavy cream

1 pint chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup sour cream

1 Teaspoon Tabasco sauce

3 pounds chopped spinach

1 cup chopped artichoke hearts

Add butter and olive oil to a 5 quart pan and heat over medium heat. Do not burn butter. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft. Turn down heat and add flour to make a roux. Cook slowly for 5 minutes. Do not allow roux to brown. Slowly add cream and chicken stock to roux. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt, sugar, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and cheese to mixture and remove from heat. When the sauce has slightly cooled, add sour cream and Tabasco. Add spinach and artichoke hearts to sauce and heat before serving.

It was tradition growing up that my Dad would cook hamburgers every Saturday night. This recipe was a result of putting a twist on my childhood memory. This is a great snack to grab while watching the game.

Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup onions, minced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

Creole seasoning to taste

8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, grated

6 ounces Bacon Jam or 1/2 cup real bacon bits

Egg roll wrappers

Over medium heat, brown ground meat, onions and garlic. Drain well.Season with Creole seasoning. While still warm, mix in cheese and bacon. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.. Preheat deep fryer to 375℉. Place 2-3 tablespoons in egg roll wrapper and roll up. Do not prepare egg roll more than 30 minutes before you fry them. Fry them until they are golden brown, remembering to turn them to ensure both sides of the egg roll cook. Drain on paper towels and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

What’s a game time spread without sweets? Here’s a New Orleans favorite. They are a great one-handed dessert that will quickly disappear. Be careful! They are very addictive.

Pralines

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup light brown sugar

½ cup evaporated milk

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

½ stick (4 tablespoons) of butter cut into 1-tablespoon pieces

1 cup chopped pecan pieces

Add both sugars and milk in a saucepan over medium high heat. Heat and stir about 15 to 18 minutes, to a softball stage*. Cook 3-4 minutes longer. Take off heat. Add butter and vanilla. Let the butter melt then add pecans slowly and mix well. Spoon out on wax paper to cool.


  • A softball stage is 235-240 degree. At this temperature, the sugar mixture dropped into cold water will form a soft, flexible ball. If you remove the ball from the water, it will flatten like a pancake after a few minutes in your hand.

With the exception of the Pralines, they are not Creole or Cajun dishes. They are tasty foods to snack on anytime. So don’t wait for a football game. Serve them up today!

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