Are you ready for some football? I’ve always wanted to say that. Seriously, do you love football? I do. It’s right up there with Cubs baseball (Go Cubs Go), Blackhawks hockey, ballet, gymnastics and cheer. What can I say, I love me some eclectic group of sports?
I love the ritual of watching sports. I love the excitement, the tailgating and the group outing aspect but I don’t particularly care for being outside in inclement weather. In the same way that I adore the idea of sleeping out under the stars in a national park but in reality, I need a yurt with Wi-Fi and a bed. I want it all; the best of both worlds. I’m a complex bird, okay.
I especially love tailgating. I have since my days at Purdue but I don’t really want to suffer for my recreation unless that suffering includes bad penny beers and wings at a packed sports pub. That’s why couchgating is perfect for me now that the weather has started getting a little chillier out but to be honest, I prefer being inside when it’s hot out too.
Tailgating is a blast until you can’t eat your hot dog because your freezing to death and your teeth are chattering so badly that you can’t get the damn thing in your mouth and your beer has frozen in the red solo cup. Think I’m joking? Just try tailgating at the Oaken Bucket game in November in Indiana. It’s also not so much fun when it’s 100 degrees out and you’re doing everything in your power not to sweat your face off or smell like a pig’s pen.
I prefer couchgating in my house with family and friends gathered around a big screen and pot luck food simmering in crock pots while, depending on the weather, the party ebbs and flows in and out of the house. Maybe there is some cooking on the grill, a little corn hole and beer pong during halftime or we just stay inside and stay warm. That’s the beauty of it; there’s options and they are all warm and comfortable unless you prefer to freeze. Totally up to you. I’ll be inside nibbling from the charcuterie tray and sipping on some sangria.
Here are my picks to help host the perfect couchgating party!
Today I’m teaming up with my friends at Wayfair.com to show you how to host the perfect couchgating party right at home! I am also sharing a couple of my personal favorite appetizer recipes, Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for warm artichoke and bacon dip with homemade chips and Bobby Flay’s sangria pops.
Total Time:45 min
Yield:6 to 8 servings
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 to 4 pita breads
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Butter, for greasing the baking dish
5 strips thick-cut bacon
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, optional
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 8-ounce bag frozen artichokes, thawed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (16 ounces) mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
For the pita chips:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the chili powder and cumin. Drizzle the tops of the pita breads with the oil and sprinkle with the spice mixture and salt. Cut each pita bread into 8 wedges and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes.
For the dip:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round ceramic deep-dish pie pan or a 1-quart baking dish.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and bacon and cook until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, crumble into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside. In the same skillet, add the oil (if needed), shallots, garlic, artichokes, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until the shallots are translucent and the artichokes begin to brown, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables to a food processor. Add the mascarpone cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, 1/2 of the cooked bacon pieces and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Pulse until combined but still chunky. Place the dip in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining bacon pieces. Bake until just warmed through (do not let the dip boil), 10 minutes. Serve the pita chips alongside.
Total Time: 8 hr 35 min
Yield:makes 10 to 12 ice pops
1 (750-ml) bottle fruity red wine
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/4 cup simple syrup
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons red grape juice
2 apples, cored and chopped
2 oranges, chopped
2 ripe pears, chopped
In a medium saucepan, reduce the wine to about 2 1/2 cups. While still hot, add the remaining ingredients and steep overnight, refrigerated.
Strain the mixture and fill ice pop molds; freeze until solid.
Then enjoy your football the it was intended to be; with friends, family, good food and soe tasty cocktails. What’s your favorite couchgating recipe?