Divisional Playoffs TGIFS Weekend Edition

Did you catch the games last weekend? Home teams did well except the Skins. As much as I enjoy a tough game, the weirdly not quite collapsing knee footage on RGIII was not fun at all to watch. So the dust has settled, the games are set and the talking heads have had only four games all week to dissect ad nauseam. I’m watching all four games but my biggest interest of course is our Pats. How will they play having both tight ends in the game for really the first time since week 3? Which defense will show up? More importantly, can our offensive line keep Brady upright? I suspect this one will start off slow and defensively with an explosion of points right at the half and into the 3rd quarter followed by an agonizing fourth quarter. In Brady & Belichick we trust so I look forward to a solid game and a subsequent week of football.

With four games on two days to prepare for, this weekend calls for extra effort on my part. The theme this weekend is options. Bite size, tasty, easy to cook and lots of options.

Grilled skewered shrimp
- medium sized fresh shrimp uncooked. – shell and de-vein them.
- 3 or 4 to a bamboo skewer. drizzle with your favorite Asian cooking sauce or full calorie & fat Italian dressing. I’m doing mine in Italian dressing.
- bbq on medium heat for 3-5 minutes a side. finished color should be pink bands & white body. cook carefully as these cook fast.

Meat Balls
- 2 lbs of 85% lean hamburger
- 1 cup of bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 32oz of BBQ sauce – your favorite works here. We’re using some Sweet Baby Rays with a tablespoon of our hot ground pepper blend. Sweet and Heat!

Mix ingredients till they are integrated and you can shape small meatballs that hold together. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. In a crock pot, combine sauce, hot pepper blend and meatballs. Mix so that the sauce covers all the meatballs. Cook on low for an hour and it’s ready to serve.

Hot Wings
- Fresh chicken wings
- Fresh drum sticks
- Franks Red Hot buffalo wing sauce

Take a baking sheet, lightly spray with olive oil. Spread the chicken evenly and cook for 15 minutes at 350, turn chicken over and then cook for another 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix chicken with sauce till thoroughly coated. Serve in a warming tray with extra sauce slathered liberally on the chicken.

Cheese Plate
- Pepper Jack
- Gouda
- Aged Cheddar
- Water crackers or another nice, simple hard cracker. I stay away from the heavy flavored crackers so the cheese can shine.

Have some fun at a gourmet cheese counter. Get a few blocks of cheese, cut into wedges or serve with a cheese knife as a DIY cheese and cracker treat.

- air popped popcorn
- lightly sprayed with olive oil (doesn’t make the popcorn soggy like butter will)
- freshly ground sea salt & pepper to taste. A fun twist I like is to season with a Jamaican dry rub seasoning.

The hard to make staples
- Pretzels
- Corn chips
- Salsa – medium’s my choice. Doug’s Best if you can find it.

Over a two day range of games I’m going bottles over a growler. I want options and a chance for friends to try whatever they want. I’ll have Belgian Style Pale ale, Hooksett, Hop Session, Oude Timey and Indulgence. The Indulgence is to celebrate on Sunday.

I hope you enjoy these options when considering your own football plans. Happy divisional playoff weekend to all. Cheers, Bill

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