Football games, New Year’s gatherings call for finger foods with a punch

Robin McDaniel
Allison Dooley, wife of  University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley, likes to serve this fresh salsa at bowl game parties or tailgates.

Allison Dooley, wife of University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley, likes to serve this fresh salsa at bowl game parties or tailgates.

Barbara Dooley, mother of University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley, often serves the meat pies when called on for tailgating duties.

Barbara Dooley, mother of University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley, often serves the meat pies when called on for tailgating duties.

These easy sausage balls are a Paula Deen favorite. She serves them with a mayonnaise/mustard dip.

These easy sausage balls are a Paula Deen favorite. She serves them with a mayonnaise/mustard dip.

From The Market at Washington and High, these mini crab cakes are bite-size and perfect for bowl games or New Year’s Eve parties.

From The Market at Washington and High, these mini crab cakes are bite-size and perfect for bowl games or New Year’s Eve parties.

Brenda Pilson’s coconut candy makes a great party or bowl game treat.

Brenda Pilson’s coconut candy makes a great party or bowl game treat.

In 2010, there are 35 bowl games being played on fields and in living rooms all across the country. Add in the fact that the University of Tennessee is just down the interstate in the Music City Bowl on Thursday, and that we will welcome a new year with some pomp and circumstance on Friday, and you have a perfect environment for parties.

Today’s host or hostess leans heavily toward convenience when it comes time to “fill up the bowl” with party food. Still, having something in the party spread to “wow” the guests is always fun.

I enjoy getting ideas for party food from the experts. For this compilation of recipes, I went to some of our local experts. Mike Adams at The Market at Washington and High not only coordinates and cooks for The Market’s catering business, he also helps with the monthly Taste of the Market gatherings. At Taste of the Market, guests can sample some of the good things they can find at The Market, often prepared in creative ways by Mike and his team.

And, when it comes to “experts” at feeding football fans, who could be better than a coach’s wife and a coach’s mother? Allison Dooley, wife of University of Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley; and Barbara Dooley, wife of legendary coach Vince Dooley and Derek Dooley’s mom, offered the News Sentinel some of their husband/son’s favorite recipes.

So veg-out on the couch with your Fantasy Football group or put on your party finery and invite the neighbors over for a “we can all walk home” New Year’s Eve party. Here are some party food ideas to keep your bowl full.

She shares two of her favorite dip recipes, both that represent her home state of Texas very well.

Allison Dooley’s Salsa

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes

1-3 fresh jalapenos (see note)

1/4 of a small onion

1-3 garlic cloves

1 large handful of fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

Boil the jalapenos until softened, about four minutes. Remove stem and de-seed. Put all ingredients in food processor and blend. Serve at room temperature.

(Note: Allison uses 2 jalapenos and 1 garlic clove, but make to your own taste/spice level.)

Allison Dooley’s Black Bean and Corn salsa

1 (16-ounce) bag extra sweet frozen corn, thawed

2 bell peppers, diced

1 purple onion, diced

10 Roma tomatoes, diced

5-6 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans black beans, drained

2 jalapenos, finely diced

1 bunch green onion, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, minced

Dressing (recipe below)

Mix together in bowl, then toss with dressing.

Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoon brown mustard

Keep in refrigerator. May be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.

Barbara Dooley’s Meat Pie

1 pound ground meat

1 medium onion (chopped fine)

1/4 cup pine nuts

Juice of 3 lemons

1 tablespoon Laban or plain yogurt

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon pepper

10-15 biscuits (canned or homemade)

Sauté meat and onions lightly. Remove from heat and drain off liquid. Add remaining ingredients, stirring mixture well. Using basic biscuit dough recipe or canned biscuits, place filling in the center of each round of dough. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Barbara Dooley’s Corn pudding

1 (14.5-ounce) can cream style corn

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons flour

5 beaten eggs

2 cups milk

4 tablespoons butter

Mix corn, sugar, salt and flour in ungreased casserole. Add beaten eggs. Mix well. Add milk. Mix well. Dot butter on top. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Brenda Pilson’s Coconut Candy

2 boxes confectioners’ sugar

1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

2 sticks butter, or margarine, softened to room temperature.

2 tsp. vanilla

2 bags (7 oz. size) shredded coconut

1 pkg. (24 oz. size) Quick & Easy Microwavable candy coating, white or chocolate.

Mix confectioners sugar, condensed milk, walnuts, butter, vanilla and coconut in large bowl. Set in refrigerator and chill for about an hour. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheets. Place in freezer for about an hour.

Prepare chocolate coating as directed on package. Dip coconut balls in chocolate with a toothpick and place on wax or parchment paper.

From Mike Adams at The Market at Washington and High come these mini crab cakes, which are the best I have ever tasted. The recipe will make about 60 crab cakes that between 2 and 3 ounces each.

Homemade Crab Cakes

(follow recipe exact)

4 eggs

2 cups mayonnaise

1 yellow onion (finely diced)

1 red bell pepper (finely diced)

2 tablespoons Old Bag seasoning

1 tsp. garlic in oil

2 tsp. salt

1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning

1 Tablespoon Texas Pete

2 Tablespoons Grey Poupon mustard

4 lbs. crab claw meat

2 1/2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs

Pick claw meat and remove any shell. Mix eggs, mayonnaise, onion, bell pepper, spices, mustard and Texas Pete. Fold in crab meat. Add crumbled Ritz crackers to bind mixture. Weigh out 2 1/2 to 3 ounces of the crabmeat mixture. Coat in Ritz cracker crumbs.

Place in skillet with melted butter and brown until heated throughout.

These 3 appetizer spreads are courtesy of The Market and were featured at their Holiday Tasting. Each of these recipes make a large amount, and will serve 15 to 20 people. Perfect for a Music City Bowl tailgating party.

Paula Deen’s Shrimp Salad

4 lbs. shrimp (peeled, de-veined, & cooked)

2 cups mayonnaise

2 cups celery (finely diced)

4 tablespoons green onion (finely chopped)

6 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

Peel, de-vein and cook shrimp. Place in ice water to cool. While shrimp is cooling, dice celery and green onion. In separate bowl, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. When shrimp is cooked, place in food processor and dice (not fine). Combine all ingredients and mix well. Will keep for about 1 week.

Smoked Tuna Spread

3 to 4 lbs. smoked tuna

2 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup lemon juice

Smoke the tuna in a smoker at 250 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. When the tuna has cooled, crumble into pieces and mix all other ingredients together. Mix until well-blended. Serve on favorite crackers.

Smoked Salmon Spread

4 cups sour cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons capers

1 small red onion (finely diced)

3 tsp. salt

2 tsp. pepper

4 lbs. smoked salmon

2 tablespoons Texas Pete

24 oz. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)

Smoke the salmon in the smoker at 250 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Take the skin off while it is still hot. Mix all the other ingredients together while the salmon is in the smoker. When the salmon is cooled a little, crumble in pieces. Combine all other ingredients and mix by mixer until well blended. Will keep 4 to 5 days.

Keep all of the above recipes in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Sausage balls are a favorite for any gathering. This recipe from Paula Deen has a dip for the sausage balls, which is an added treat. Use either hot or mild sausage, your preference.

Paula Deen’s Sausage Balls

1 (1 lb. ) package ground sausage, hot or mild

3 cups Bisquick

4 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1/8 tsp. pepper

Dip:

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Mix well with your fingers. The mixture will be very crumbly. Form into 1 inch balls, squeezing the mixture so it holds together, then rolling it between the palms of your hands to form balls. Place the balls on the baking sheet. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. To prevent sticking, move the balls with a spatula halfway through cooking.

To make the dip, combine the mayonnaise and mustard. Serve with sausage balls.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

From Food Network

25 fresh jalapeno peppers

14 -16 ounces cream cheese

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 (16 ounce) packages bacon

Cut stems off of peppers and cut them all in half long ways. Remove seeds from peppers.

Fill each pepper with cream cheese and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Wrap 1/2 slice of bacon around each pepper half.

Place on baking sheets and place in 450 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until bacon is fully cooked. Remove and serve when cooled.

Engagement Ring Finger Sandwiches

By Paula Deen

Food Network

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained and patted dry

1/2 cup finely minced green olives

1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1 loaf soft white bread, crusts removed

1 loaf soft wheat bread, crusts removed

2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves, for garnish, optional

2 tablespoons bacon pieces, for garnish, optional

2 tablespoons poppy seeds, for garnish, optional

2 tablespoons chopped pecans, for garnish, optional

In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese and mayonnaise. Split into 4 approximately 4-ounce portions and put into separate bowls.

Combine pineapple and 4 ounces cream cheese mixture and set aside. Combine green olives and 4 ounces cream cheese mixture and set aside. Combine cucumbers and 4 ounces cream cheese mixture and set aside. Combine pecans and 4 ounces cream cheese mixture and set aside.

To assemble sandwiches, spread the fillings on top of white bread slices and cover with wheat bread slices. Cut each sandwich into triangles, squares or circles. Arrange on a large platter by sandwich filling. Garnish with parsley, bacon pieces, poppy seeds, or pecans. In gold ink, write each sandwich filling on a small card, attach it to a toothpick and place it in the center of each pile of sandwiches, identifying the filling.

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