Football games make me hungry. Just watching the kick off on TV makes me crave a cheesy delicious snack. Here are my top five picks for appetizers you can easily whip up for game day.
This little dip tastes great and is actually not too fattening. In a bowl, mix together two tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of one lemon, two cloves of minced garlic, a tablespoon of chopped basil, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and some ground black pepper. Add ¾ of a cup of diced feta and one cup of sliced, pitted Kalamata olives. Serve with your favorite hearty cracker or baguette slices.
Place a nice sized wedge of manchego (from Spain) in the middle of a round or oval platter. Scatter some crackers around the cheese. Then all around the border of the platter, alternate slices of summer sausage and slices of English cucumber. This looks sophisticated and yet requires only minimal slicing on your part. Ole!
3. Pepper Jack
You knew there had to be a cheese ball on this list. So here it is. In a food processor, combine 6 ounces of pepper jack cheese, 4 ounces of sharp Cheddar cheese, 6 ounces softened cream cheese, and the juice of one lime until completely mixed. Stir in ¼ cup of chopped chives. You can then shape it into a ball, or really go for it, and shape it into a football. You can even press some sprouts into the top to look like the laces. Serve with crackers.
Baked brie in pastry looks fancy, but can be accomplished in minutes. Take a frozen sheet of puff pastry and thaw according to package directions. Place an 8 ounce wheel of brie in the middle of the pastry sheet. Fold up the pastry edges to enclose the cheese. Beat one egg with a tablespoon of water and brush this mixture over the top of the pastry for a warm golden result. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 – 20 minutes. Serve with table water crackers.
You can add a variety of toppings on the cheese before wrapping it in the pastry: ¼ cup of apricot preserves; or ½ cup of pecans with drizzles of honey; or a tablespoon of melted butter mixed with ¼ cup brown sugar and ½ cup of walnuts.
Some foodies might argue that Velveeta does not qualify as a cheese. I don’t care. It melts beautifully and when mixed with a can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles, it just can’t be beat. I have tried gourmet recipes from the likes of Bon Appetit magazine that required chorizo and three kinds of cheese that I had to grate by hand. Just stop!! Velveeta and Rotel reigns as King of Game Day Cheese. Serve with tortilla chips (obviously)!