I love football. Not like it. Not watch it occasionally. Not pretend to be interested when it’s on. LOVE IT! Growing up, it was a big part of my life, having a father that coached locally, and a family equally into the sport, and the love has only increased as I’ve gotten on in years.
When I left New York City, and my life as a would-be dancer, my life’s priorities switched to three things – carbs, beer, and football. I applied to colleges that fit the criteria, and decided on Ohio State.
Lucky for me, football and beer and in Columbus, Ohio flow like the Olentangy. There’s nothing like game day, and there’s nothing like the comradery and loyalty I learned there.
When law school took me to Miami, I feared my football Saturday fundays were over. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I became instant friends with a great group of football nuts. On Saturdays, we would travel to a Buckeye bar in the middle of nowhere, that damn near recreated Saturdays for me. When we weren’t feeling the drive, I usually pulled out a serious food spread, and we rotated viewing locations.
I won’t bore you with football talk any longer, you’re here for the food! So what does this all mean for you, the dear reader? Well, it means that for the rest of the season, Thursdays will be TOUCHDOWN THURSDAYS! Each week I’ll post a seriously yummy dish for your football spread or tailgate party. If football party throwing ain’t your thing, entertaining can always use a new recipe for the masses.
Since today kicks off the NFL season, here we go!
This recipe is adapted from Katie Lee Joel, and is always a huge crowd pleaser. Unlike most spinach artichoke dips it brings a little something extra with the basil and garlic component.
It’s super easy to make ahead of time. Just pull it out about half an hour before serving then pop it in the oven.
Make sure your spinach is really well-drained and dry, trust me.
I prefer to serve this with a thinly sliced baguette that has been rubbed with garlic, brushed with EVOO and baked at 350 degrees until lightly toasted. You can use crackers, veggies, what ever floats your boat.
Oh, and that’s not all… with the beginning of my favorite season and some of my favorite kinds of cooking comes a first here at this old cooking blog… A GIVEAWAY!!!
Here’s how to play… leave me a comment including your favorite team and your favorite thing about football season. If you’re not into the pigskin, feel free to use your brother’s, father’s, husband’s, boyfriend’s info.
To enter twice, head to the Facebook page and say hey, or give another juicy football tidbit about yourself.
The winner will be picked at random and he or she will receive a super kick-ass game day package filled with football related baking supplies, tail-gaiting, entertaining, and drinking goodies.
This giveaway will start today, September 8, 2011, and end September 15, 2011 at 12 pm EST. Winners will be notified via contact email provided on the comment contact form.
And for those of you that aren’t feeling the football theme, stayed tuned, September 23 will feature a super awesome Fall giveaway and recipe.
*Special treatment will not be given to my fellow Buckeyes, Colts, Browns fans, although I’d love to know some of my readers share my passion.
Happy eating, and good luck. Here’s to a great season!
Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
1 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1 9 oz package artichoke hearts (drained jarred or canned, cooked fresh, or frozen, but not marinated)
1 c steamed spinach (1 lb. raw or one 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed), well-drained
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 small head of garlic, oven roasted
10 large fresh basil leaves
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Grease a 2-qt. baking dish.
3. In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, mayo, Parmesan, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper. Spoon into the baking dish. Top with the mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and the top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
4. Serve with veggies, crackers, chips, or toasted bread.