For something fancy and comforting I highly recommend my ‘Fancy Mac & Cheese” a cheesy, saucy concoction mixed with Italian sausage and herbs, it’s always a real crowd pleasure! Easy to eat on your laps too! (Just bake in a large casserole dish and spoon into bowls or plates)
- 4 cups (560 g)of mini shells
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 large Portobello mushroom, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) Italian Seasoning (or equal parts dried oregano, basil, marjoram, parsley to make 1 tbsp total)
- 6 tbsp (90g) butter
- 6 tbsp (45 g) flour
- 3 cups (630 ml) of milk
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) pepper
- freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- 1 cup (125 g) Italian blend cheese (a blend of usually these cheeses provolone, parmesan, Fontina, asagio) If you can’t find the blend use half of a gooey cheese like provolone and half of the stronger flavored cheeses like asagio or parmesan)
- 3 tbsp of panko bread crumbs
- 3 tbsp (12 g) of regular bread crumbs
- Paprika for garnish
- 2 tbsp (8 g) flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Boil pasta according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile heat olive oil in a pan. Sautee red onions with salt and pepper to taste. Once wilted and beginning to caramelize, add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms start to release their juices. Transfer to a small bowl.
- In the same pan sautee sausages, out of their casings, until crumbly and cooked through. Drain with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel to drain.
- Wash out the pan and melt butter, then add flour and mix with a wire whisk until a paste forms, whisk in milk slowly, continue to stir and cook until sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Add ¼ cup of the cheese, stir until melted and set aside off the flame.
- Combine panko and bread crumbs and set aside.
- Drain pasta, mix with the cheese sauce, add the veggies and sausage and toss until combined. Transfer mixture into individual gratin dishes and top each gratin dish with 1 tbsp of the reaming cheese, a sprinkle of paprika, and 1 tbsp of the bread crumb mixture.
- Place gratin dishes until the broiler until cheese bubbles and is golden brown. Top with a sprinkling of flat leaf parsley.
- Serve with a tossed salad.
This can be made the day before and kept refrigerated in an airtight container
Who can resist a warm nut? Especially one that’s buttery, and sweet and tossed with fresh rosemary?!Print
- 1 lb (450g) unsalted, raw whole cashews
- 3 tbsp (45g) butter
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
- 2 tbsp (23 g) brown sugar
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) freshly minced rosemary
- Kosher Salt to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 350F/(176 C)
- In a sauce pan combine butter, honey, brown sugar and, allow to melt and combine. Add nuts and stir to coat.
- Transfer to a lightly greased rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 10 mins tossing every 3-4 mins.
- Remove from oven and toss with rosemary and sprinkle with salt. They will be sticky but will crisp up as they cool. Serve immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and rewarm at 300F (150C) for 5 mins and serve.
Next up, for something familiar, yet “gourmet” try my brie and pear quesadilla recipe! What might sound like blasphemy at a Game Day Party, I tell ya these things are the first to disappear at any party! And SO easy too. NOTE: The “uncooked tortillas” are really great with these! Tortilla Land Tortillas are my favorite! They sell them at Whole Foods in the refrigerated section 🙂Print
- 4 Flour Tortillas, uncooked variety if you can find them other wise plain flour tortillas work best
- 1 wedge brie
- 1 ripe pear
- Cook tortillas according to package instructions if using the uncooked variety.
- Place 2 slices of brie on 1 half of the tortilla, place 3-4 sliced pears on top. Fold over tortilla and grill on both sides until golden brown. Keep warm in a 325F (162C) oven, slice into wedges serve immediately.
For something on the lighter side there is always a crudite platter with Green Goddess Dressing!
- 1 cup (240 ml) Mayonnaise
- 1 cup (240 ml) Sour cream
- ¾ cup (180 ml) Parsley
- ¼ cup (60 ml) dill or tarragon
- ¼ cup (60 ml) chives
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) Lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve with your favorite veggies!
- Red Peppers, Yellow Peppers, Cucumber Slices, Carrot Sticks, Cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini and radishes. Mix up colors and textures for prettiest display!
Now for your main courses, and yes I do believe you should give people more than snacks on Game Day. Something needs to soak up all the beer! 🙂 Might I suggest some BBQ Chicken sliders?
- 2 Chicken Breasts, skin on, bone-in
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 package of brioche buns, slider size
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) melted butter
- FOR BBQ SAUCE
- 1 cup (240 ml) of ketchup
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) of white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup (60 g) brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (60 ml) of molasses
- 1 ½ tsp (7.5 ml) of hot sauce
- 2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp (2.5 ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 garlic gloves
- FOR COLESLAW:
- 2 cups (300 g) Green Cabbage, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup (40 g) Red Onion, thinly sliced into half moons
- ½ Carrot, peeled into ribbons with a potato peeler
- 1/3 cup (60 ml) Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) White Wine Vinegar
- 1 tbsp (12 g) Brown sugar
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp (5 ml) Celery Seed
- ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) Salt
- ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) freshly cracked pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F/(200C)
- Place chicken on a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 mins until cooked through. NOTE: This part can be done the day before. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
- PREPARE BBQ SAUCE:
- Combine ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, hot sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and garlic and in a medium saucepan. Cook, while stirring until thicken and reduced slightly. .
- PREPARE COLESLAW:
- Slice cabbage, and onion very thin. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add carrots and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a smaller bowl combine, mayonnaise, vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, celery seed, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
- Pour dressing over vegetables and toss. Serve immediately. (If not serving right away, keep dressing and vegetables separated and covered. Toss moments before serving)
- TO ASSEMBLE SANDWICHES:
- Brush brioche rolls with melted butter and lightly toast under the broiler until golden brown.
- Remove skin from chicken. Shred chicken meat with two forks and place in a large bowl. You should get about 3 cups.
- Warm BBQ sauce and spoon over chicken tossing until well coated. Reserve the rest of the sauce to serve on the side, or it will last in your fridge for 4-5 days or in your freezer for a month.
- Place a layer of coleslaw on the bottom of the toasted bun. Top with pulled chicken mixture. Top with bun. Arrange on platter and serve with extra sauce on the side.
BBQ Sauce and slaw can be done the day before. Keep refrigerated until ready to use
And of course you can never go wrong with the classics. A grilled burger will always be a hit! Switch things up and try my “Franglais” burger 🙂
- 2 lbs (900g) ground beef (80-85% lean, you need some fat to keep the burger moist)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) Herbs de Provence
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh parsley, finely diced
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- ½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper
- 5 tsp (15 g) butter
- 5 Brioche Buns
- 5 slices Swiss Cheese
- 5 slices Bibb Lettuce
- 5 tsp (60ml) Dijon mustard
- Smokey Ketchup
- ½ cup (120 ml) of Ketchup
- 1 tsp (5 ml) smoked paprika
- Caramelized Onions
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
- 2 red onions
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp (10 ml) balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh thyme
- To begin, start by caramelizing the onions. Place oil in a pan until shinny, add onions, salt and pepper and sautee occasionally until soft and nicely browned. Then add vinegar and cook until evaporated and onions are limp and well caramelized. Set aside.
- Then combine the ketchup with the paprika and set aside.
- In a large bowl mix together eggs, Worcestershire sauce, herbs de provence, parsley, salt and pepper. Place in your meat and gently mix with your hands. Do not overmix or you will have a tough burger.
- Form into gentle patties, and tuck a pat of butter into the center, this will keep it moist. Grill on a well oiled grill or a grill pan, 4-5 mins for medium rare, flip, add the cheese immediately and grill for another 4-5 mins.
- GRILL NOTE: The secret to a juicy burger is flip once and don’t press down the burger, that only will force it to release its juices and dry out! Don’t touch and just let them do their thing uninterrupted
- Once the burgers are done allow them to rest for 5 mins (for the juices to set and redistribute), while you grill your buns to lightly toast them.
- To assemble, place Bibb lettuce on the bottom bun, top with burger. Place a dollop of ketchup on the burger, and top with a little pile of onions, spread Dijon mustard on the top bun, and place on top. Et Voila! Enjoy!
You can make the ketchup and onions the day before and keep refrigerated. Then just bring ketchup to room temperature before serving and warm onions in the microwave.
Now for some desserts! First up you can go wrong with a classic chocolate chip cookie. And this recipe is my go-to fave!
- 1 cup (240 g) of unsalted butter
- ¼ (50 g) cup white sugar
- ¾ (135) cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp (7.5ml) vanilla
- 1 ¾ cup (210 g) flour
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- 1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
- 1 cup (150 g) milk chocolate covered raisins
- 1 cup (150 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup (150 g) candied walnuts
- 1 cup (150 g) of toffee bits
- Preheat oven to 350F (177C).
- Beat butter and sugars on high for 5-7 mins until very light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add vanilla.
- Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl and whisk together. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well incorporated.
- Add raisins, chips and walnuts, mix just until combined.
- Line a rimmed lined cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out dough with an ice cream scoop. 5 to a tray.
- Bake for 13 mins, until golden around the edges and centers look dry.
- Let cool on tray on counter for 5 mins. They will set up and continue cooking on the hot tray.
- Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Next up, who can resist a chocolatey, fudgy brownie?
- 4 oz (112 g) semi-sweet chocolate
- 12 oz (336 g) bittersweet chocolate
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
- ½ tsp (2.5 ml) instant coffee
- 1 cup (240 g) of unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup (200 g) of sugar
- ¾ cup (90 g) of flour
- ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
- ½ tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) Powdered Sugar for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375F. (190 C)
- Melt chocolate and butter in a sauce pan on low. Add vanilla and instant coffee, stir to combine. Allow to cool slightly.
- In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt.
- Beat eggs and sugar together until smooth. Add chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Then add flour mixture, beat until smooth.
- Transfer into a 11 x 16 x 1 pan, lined with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan, and smooth with a spatula.
- Bake 10 mins exactly. Allow to cool for at least 30 mins to 1 hour, but overnight even better! (they will get chewier)
- Cut into 3 x 3 squares, sprinkle with powdered sugar (icing sugar)
And finally for those who would like a little ice cream, there’s nothing more impressive than homemade “soft-serve style” ice cream sandwiches!
- For Cookies:
- 1 cup of unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- For Iced Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar*
- 2 tbsp vanilla
- Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixture until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, until well combined. Form dough into a ball, and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Roll out dough on a well-floured surface to about ¼ “. Cut round cookies and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
- Pop in freezer for 5 mins to preserve their shape when they bake
- Bake 350F for 8 mins until set
- For Cream:
- In an electric mixer whip together cream, sugars, and vanilla.
- Whip until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a pastry bag with a large star tip.
- To assemble place cookies on their backs. Top one with a piped nest of cream on top 2 rows. Place in the freezer, and then place the other cookie gently on top, press down gently to adhere.
- Freeze sandwiches a minimum of two hours. Keep frozen until ready to serve. Enjoy!
The cream will be sweet but as it freezes it looses a bit of the sweetness. If you prefer less sweet desserts, reduce powered sugar to 2 tablespoons. White sugar is more important for a smooth texture, powder sugar for stabilization as you pipe the cream, but that can be reduce slightly to 1/3 cup if you prefer.