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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cooking Through the Football Season – Week 9


Most Aggies who follow the football program even remotely closely were really looking forward to this game.  Our former back-up QB from last year (who actually competed against Johnny Manziel for the starter position), Jameill Showers, transferred to UTEP last year and has been their starter this year.  I was really looking forward to seeing him play.  However, last week, Showers dislocated his shoulder and is unable to play the rest of the season I believe. 

Bummer for us, but even more so for him.  I wish him the speediest of recoveries.

Playing another Texas team on a weekend that I needed something fairly easy to do for dinner called for fajitas and guacamole.  Now, there is a recipe for each of these items in Southern Living’s The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook on the Texas A&M menu.


No self respecting Texan would use Southern Living’s recipes for fajitas or guacamole. 


Just telling it like it is, folks. 

We Texans each have our own way of doing fajitas and guacamole and you can’t tell us different.  Mostly, these are items that you just throw together, usually with just whatever you have on hand, and it’s different every time.  No recipe can capture that.

Nor should it.

Just a few notes about my fajitas.

I use flank steak and marinate it for a short period of time before grilling.  It is tender and perfect when cut correctly (across the grain).

 fajita flank steak

A nice pink center is absolutely necessary.

 steak fajita

And I always use corn tortillas. 

My family thinks I’m nuts. 

They like flour. 

I know they’re wrong.


Guacamole should be simple.  Fresh and ripe avocado, lime juice, onion, and garlic salt are necessary.  Optional additions could be finely minced jalapeno, tomato and cilantro or your choice of salsa.  “Wholly Guacamole” brand is used only in the most dire of emergencies.

So the UTEP game was late and, well, odd.  But the Ags won, our injured running back is okay and from what I heard the next day, Jameill Showers “sawed ‘em off” during the Aggie War Hymn.  A good evening in the end.

On to Mississippi State.

Gig ‘em and God Bless the Aggies!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cooking Through the Football Season – Week 8

I nearly took this week off.  Nothing on the Vanderbilt Commodores menu was working for me.  Either I couldn’t afford the money required to purchase the ingredients or the recipe just simply didn’t strike my fancy as something my family would eat.

However, since it was a morning kickoff, I decided to stray from my original goal of cooking something from the opposing team’s menu and opt for something from the breakfast section of the cookbook, “Early Morning Warm-Ups.”

I finally settled on a recipe I’d had my eye on for a while.  Scrambled Egg Muffin Sliders.

Scrambled Egg Bacon Muffin Sliders 2

This is a cornbread muffin that is laced with cheddar cheese and bacon, cut in half and stuffed with scrambled eggs. 

The idea is great.  However, this particular cornbread muffin didn’t wow us.  The mouth-feel was rough and we think it needed some regular flour to lighten up the texture.    I’d probably just use my regular cornbread recipe, add some bacon and make it into muffins in the future. 

One interesting thing was that the recipe called for the eggs to be seasoned with Cajun seasoning.  I’d never thought of adding Tony Chachere’s to my scrambled eggs before, but I tell you what, it was good.  Just a little went a long way to flavoring the eggs.

So there you go.  A nice bounce back for the maroon and white and a nice end of the game video-bomb…

JM Video-Bomb

Gig ‘em and God Bless the Aggies!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cooking Through the Football Season – Week 7

Auburn.  War Eagle.  Tigers.  So many mascots. 

Not that A&M is any less guilty of multiple mascot syndrome.  Reveille.  Ol’ Sarge. 12th Man. Yeah.

And do you want to know how I deal with a game like that was?  I eat.

Slow-Cooked BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Cornbread.

sweet potato cornbread

We’re kind of corn bread purists around our house.  So to add something like sweet potatoes to our cornbread was a bit of a stretch for us.  However, it works.

This particular recipe calls for some pumpkin pie spice to be added as well.  I think I might skip that next time in favor for something more savory or spicy… like some chipotle chili powder. 

I also got to thinking that this recipe might make some good cornbread for dressing to go with your Thanksgiving Day turkey.  Just thinking out loud here.

sweet potato cornbread & slow-cooked bbq chicken

The chicken was easy enough.  Just sprinkle a cut up whole chicken with a spice mixture (salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika), put it in the crock-pot, add the liquid (ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, “cola” - I used root beer – and bourbon – which I skipped) and cook on low for 6-7 hours. 

I served mine on top of the cornbread and it worked really well together.  But I only did that because we were out of sandwich buns, the kids used the last of the sandwich bread and I was far too depressed and judgment impaired after the game to go to the store to buy anything else.


On to “The Next One.”

Gig ‘em and God Bless the Aggies… and Johnny’s shoulder.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cooking Through the Football Season – Week 6

Ole Miss. 

I am writing this during the game, so I apologize if I may not make sense.  I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine and I’m trying to pay attention to the game.  It’s been an “Upset Saturday” with t.u. beating OU, Mizzou beating UGA and Utah beating Stanford.  Understandably, I’m a little on edge about our game.

I don’t really know much about Ole Miss other than that The Grove is supposed to be the best tailgating experience ever.

Well, if the recipe I made from the Southern Living SEC Tailgating Cookbook is any indication, it’s got to be good.  Because… my mercy… these kabobs…

Molasses-Balsamic Steak Kabobs. 

Molasses-Balsamic Steak Kabobs Ideally these would be best earlier in the football season when green tomatoes and peaches are easy to find at your local farmers market.  Instead, we had to settle for pluots (a plum/apricot cross) which were good, but I’m guessing peaches would have been amazing.  The green tomatoes are not something I would have thought of myself, but they are a stroke of genius here.  The tart of the green tomatoes balanced so well against the sweet of the molasses-balsamic glaze. 

And playing Ole Miss, I couldn’t resist making Minny’s Chocolate Pie from the movie The Help.

Minny's chocolate pie

So.  Beat The Hell Outta Ole Miss.

Gig ‘Em and God Bless The Aggies!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cooking Through the Football Season – Week 5

Arkansas.  What can you say about Arkansas? 

Well, they kept our mascot, Miss Reveille, and our band off the field for this game.  It seems as though they desperately want a rivalry.  We’ve been calling them the Tech of the SEC around our house.  If you’re an Aggie, you get that.

The Aggies?  I think our team is hungry for a win on the road.  This is our first away game, after all.  As Aggies, we’re all hungry for pig!

Our menu item for the day is courtesy of the Arkansas Razorbacks menu: Ham Stuffed Biscuits with Mustard Butter.

Ham biscuits 1

The biscuits are different than the biscuit recipe that I normally use.  These called for yeast rather than relying solely on chemical leveners (baking powder & baking soda).  I don’t know that I’d dig them for a normal breakfast biscuit, but for these little mini sandwiches, they worked great. 

I was also skeptical about the mustard butter, but I found myself to be pleasantly surprised.  Even with a good “slathering” of it on the biscuit, it just gave a hint of the mustard flavor that compliments the ham perfectly.

Ham biscuits 2

All in all, a great finger food that would be perfect for your next tailgate (regardless of the time of day).  Especially when you need to prepare yourself to feast on pig!

Beat the Hell Outta pig!

Bye week next week, so I’ll catch up with you in two,

Gig ‘em and God Bless the Aggies!


Cooking Through the Football Season:

The Challenge
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cooking Through the Football Season – Week 4

Another throw-back to our old Southwest Conference days.  SMU.

Having grown up in the Dallas area, going to Texas A&M just amplified any generalizations that I might make about the financial and social status of students attending SMU.  I’ve always viewed them as the “Richie Rich” set and quite privileged.  I imagine their conversations in their sorority houses always involving what their daddy bought them that week.

Therefore it only seemed right that the recipe I would make for the game this week would be “Texas A&M Caviar.”

This isn’t any dainty serve on a cracker kind of caviar that those uppity ponies from SMU might enjoy. 


A mixture of black-eyed peas, Ro*Tel, avocado, bell pepper, red onion and some other flavorings, this is the dip your Fritos in kind of “caviar.”

 Texas Caviar 2

Texas A&M Caviar
(adapted from Southern Living’s The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook)

1 (15.5 oz) can black-eyed peas with jalapeno peppers, drained & rinsed
1 (10 0z) can diced tomatoes & green chiles (aka Ro*Tel), drained
1 avocado, finely diced
1/2 small green bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/3 cup zesty Italian dressing
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4-1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
Kosher salt to taste

Stir together all ingredients.  Chill for at least an hour.  Dig in with Fritos.

Texas Caviar

I decided last minute that I needed a dessert.  As I flipped through the “Sugar Bowl” section of the cookbook I came to one that really jumped off the page at me.  A rich dessert doesn’t get much richer than “Buttered Rum Pound Cake with Bananas Foster Sauce.”

Buttered Rum Pound Cake

  Once the glaze cools it is not shiny… until you add the Bananas Foster sauce…

Bananas foster pound cake

I ate ALL the calories with this.  All. Of. Them.

Gig ‘em and God bless the Aggies!!



I’m cooking my way through the college football season using the Southern Living “Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook.”

The Challenge
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cooking Through the Football Season – Week 3

If you’re not aware of my little personal challenge this fall, I’m cooking my way through the college football season using the Southern Living “Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook.”

The Challenge
Week 1
Week 2

This was an exceptionally exciting week! 


What an exciting time it must have been on campus.  ESPN’s College Game Day was there as was CBS for the broadcast.  A game that has been touted for about 10 months as the biggest game of the 2013 season.  I imagine the scene was just electric on campus and around town the entire weekend.

Around our house, we decided early on (weeks ago) that our daughter would not be running in the cross country meet that day.  And rather than try to leave during half-time to go to a barbeque, we just invited ourselves over before the game.  Being fellow Aggies, our friends didn’t mind one bit.  Or at least they didn’t let on if they did.

And in honor of this auspicious occasion I decided to do something in addition to fulfilling my challenge for the week.

But first, for the challenge, I made one item from the Alabama Crimson Tide menu.  Since Alabama is the first team menu in the book (as they are done alphabetically) it is found in the “Early Morning Warm-Ups” section that includes breakfast type foods.  However, we were playing an afternoon game, so I went with the one item that seemed game-time appropriate.  “Fried Chicken Bites.”

chicken bites

This recipe was interesting because it included bread crumbs in the breading along with the flour.  I’d never seen or done that before and it worked well.  You have to plan ahead though so that the chicken pieces can soak in the spices and buttermilk overnight.  And speaking of the spices, it is a really good spice mix on these chicken bites.  We were very impressed.

I decided to take the recipe and make it a little Aggie in its presentation, so we had chicken & waffles like we might have at Sully’s Grill in College Station.  I tell you what… the spice on these chicken bites is amazing when paired with the sweetness of waffles and maple syrup.  YUM!

Several weeks ago a friend gave me another personal challenge for this football season.  Come up with an SEC themed/inspired pie.  Since we all know my personal feelings toward pie (undying love and affection) I couldn’t pass it up. 

I let the idea mull in the back of my head for several days.  Then, the ingredients came to me… 

peaches & pecans

What could be more perfect to represent the Southeast Conference than peaches and pecans?

So I humbly submit to you my SEC inspired pie… Peach Praline Pie.

  peach praline pie 2

I did some research and found that out of the eleven states represented in the SEC, the peach is the official state fruit of three (Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina) and the pecan is the official state nut of two (Alabama and Texas). 

(Oh, and in case you didn’t know, the Pecan Pie is now the official state pie of the state of Texas as of the 2013 Legislative Session.  See, our Texas Legislature does do some valuable things.)

Considering that both Alabama and Texas recognize the peach and/or the pecan in their official state foods list, I felt it doubly appropriate to make this pie for the A&M vs Alabama game.

 peach praline pie 1

I also found that while other states in the SEC  do not recognize the peach or pecan in their official state foods lists, both are grown widely across all the represented states.  For instance, did you know that the World’s Largest Pecan is located in Brunswick, Missouri?  And did you know that there is, in fact, a recipe for a Peach Praline pie in the Kentucky Derby Museum Cookbook?

The Kentucky Derby Museum cookbook recipe is not the one I used.  This particular recipe was an experiment for me and I did not have time or resources to test and get a recipe just right.  For this particular attempt, I poured a stovetop cooked praline topping on the pie and let it brown in the oven.  However, it didn’t set up all the way. 

As we traveled across town to our friends’ house, I tried to not take it as an omen.  But it did, in fact, turn out as soupy as our defense looked out there on the field.

Ahhh well.  There’s always next year, right? 

And I’ll attempt this pie again some time.  I’ll get it right.  Eventually.

Up next, Spur the Ponies!  Beat The Hell Outta smu!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cooking Through the Football Season – Week 2

If you’re not aware of my little personal challenge this fall, I’m cooking my way through the college football season using the Southern Living “Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook.”

The Challenge
Week 1

This week, the Aggies played Sam Houston State University.  It was televised via Pay-Per-View and we joined some of our best friends and fellow Aggies as we do several times every football season to watch the game and just spend some time in Aggie togetherness.  It always proves to be a great time when we can just enjoy being around others who have, like us, “drunk the Kool-Aid” so to speak.

Now, I’m not going to talk too much trash about Sam Houston State.  I mean, when I applied to Texas A&M, I felt like it was a long shot for me to get in and SHSU was one of my fall-backs.  Besides, their football team has made appearances in their division championship game the last several years.  You can’t just overlook a team like that.

For this game, I made a couple of things since we were going to our friends’ house.  From the Texas A&M tailgate menu, I made the Spicy Queso Dip and I also made the Nutter Butter Banana Pudding because… well… doesn’t that just sound wonderful?

I’ll give you a hint… it was! 

And, tell me, how could I break apart all these Nutter Butter cookies…

nutter butter banana pudding 4

… and not eat at least one?!?

nutter butter banana pudding 5

Shhhh.  Don’t tell!

One thing I’ve realized about myself over the years is that it is physically impossible for me to just make a recipe as written.  I mean, I have to fiddle with it… tweak it… mess around with it and make it better (in my opinion).  This was so obvious today as I made each of these recipes.  I felt bad because I thought I had challenged myself to make the recipes as they were written in the book.  However, as my husband reminded me… the Southern Living people that wrote these recipes likely didn’t attend Texas A&M.  Clearly their judgment could be called into question and it can be assumed that they are prone to mistakes based upon that fact alone.  How could it be wrong for me to correct any potential mistakes they made in the recipes and tweak them for my family’s preferences?

For instance,  for the Spicy Queso, the recipe starts out with sautéing some onion in oil.  As a good Southern woman, why would I use oil when there is always bacon grease around?  WHY?  Everything is better when cooked in bacon grease.  Period.  And with Hatch Green Chilies.  Being a good Texan, I happened to have some roasted Hatch Green Chiles on hand so I chopped up some of those and threw them in as well. 

They tested their recipe using Pepper Jack Velveeta and what I had in my fridge already was Mexican Velveeta.  Okay, no big deal.  Well, I also knew that using the whole block of it would make it too spicy for my kiddos, so I cut it in half with regular Velveeta.  And based upon my extensive experience in queso making (I am a Texan after all) and knowledge of how it can tend to seize up on you pretty quick as it cools, I added a milk/chicken stock thickened with a little flour to the recipe to try to add a soup-like component.  Sometimes, this will help it keep a liquid texture for a little longer as it cools. 

spicy queso Oh and for any of you non-Aggie SEC people who may read this, Queso isn’t Queso without Ro*Tel.


No other diced tomatoes & green chilies will do.

As written in the book it is a basic queso recipe of Velveeta and Ro*Tel with the addition of some sautéed onion and garlic and then some minced fresh cilantro at the end. Certainly easy and a must-have for any tailgate, in my opinion.

On to dessert!

I have a delicious banana pudding recipe that I usually make, so it was a stretch for me to make a different one.  I took one look at the Nutter Butter Banana Pudding recipe, saw several problems and almost reverted to my favorite recipe.  But I stuck with it and decided to just tinker with this one a bit.

1) It called for 3 eggs.  Not egg yolks.  Eggs.  I have never it my life seen a custard or pudding recipe that called for whole eggs.  It’s always egg yolks.  So that’s what I used.  3 egg yolks.

2) For the banana pudding I usually make, I roast a few bananas and add them to the pudding itself.  I mean, we are making banana pudding, not just vanilla pudding topped with some sliced bananas.   So rather than roast bananas to add to the pudding, I just mashed one of the 5 the recipe calls for and added it to the pudding at the beginning as it was cooking on the stove. 

3) The thickener it called for was flour. I much prefer to use corn starch, but I went with the flour just to give it a try.  As it was cooking, I knew it wasn’t getting thick enough (possibly because of the added banana) so instead of using more flour I added about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and finally got it to the thickness I wanted.

The end result was actually a very good banana pudding with pretty good flavor.  As the cookbook says, the Nutter Butters just sent it over the top.

nutter butter banana pudding 1

nutter butter banana pudding 3

That’s a wrap for this week’s installment of Cooking Through the Football Season.  On to the Alabama game next week.  I have something special planned for that game.  A special SEC inspired pie that is not in the cookbook but probably should be.  Stay tuned! 

Gig ‘em and God bless the Aggies!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cooking Through the Football Season – Week 1

August 31st felt like I was back in the old Southwest Conference days of my college years.  Texas Tech was playing SMU. LSU was playing TCU.  A&M was playing Rice.  I was *this close* to pulling out my old Fish Camp t-shirt and actually did do my Fish Camp yells. 

Fish Camp ‘91
Aggie spirit, pride and fun
All the pieces come alive
For the Fightin’ Class of ‘95!

If you’re not an Aggie, don’t worry, you really won’t get that.

Oh, and by the way, it really is a cult.

Anyways, it’s week 1 of college football season and therefore the first week of my personal challenge to cook through the football season with my Southern Living  Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook.  We played a non-conference opponent this week, so I picked something from the Texas A&M tailgating menu to cook. 

This week’s choice….

Oven-Baked Churros

Baked Churros

Just slice some frozen puff pastry into strips, bake, dip in butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and allow to dry.  Super simple and not a bad facsimile of churros. 

Baked Churros 2

And nice job by Southern Living for a dessert choice for Texas A&M.  See… if you make enough of them, you could stack them like Bonfire.

Just sayin’.

At the end of the day, the game was exciting, I’ll be rooting for Rice in the C-USA the rest of the season and these Oven-Baked Churros were quite tasty.

Next week, we BTHO Sam Houston State. 

Gig ‘em!

Cooking Through the Football Season

Last year my oldest sister (who is also an Aggie) gave me and my middle sister (whose husband went to Vet school at LSU) copies of the Southern Living “The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook.”  Which is cool now that we are all fans of SEC teams. 

SEC cookbook

The way the book is organized, each team is highlighted in alphabetical order and has its own game day menu and dishes that are inspired by the team, the school and/or its locale.  For instance, LSU’s game day menu naturally includes Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.  Mississippi State’s menu includes Mississippi Mud Cookies. 

The book also includes a list of team inspired spritzers (all non-alcoholic) and cupcakes as well.  You can visit the Southern Living website for even more SEC game day and tailgating tips and recipes.

So, as I was flipping through it and humming “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” on Saturday morning, the first Saturday of the 2013 College Football season, I had this great idea!

I am going to cook my way through the college football season this year using this cookbook. 

Here’s what I plan to do….

On weeks when Texas A&M is playing an SEC opponent, I plan to make something from our opponent’s menu.  On weeks when we play a non-conference opponent, I will make something either from Texas A&M’s menu or one of the other many great looking recipes in the book. 

Week 1 has come and gone and I did make something from the book.  I’ll post it shortly. 

Gig ‘em and Beat The Hell Outta EVERYONE!