Janet's Notebook
Football Frenzy is Here

Buffalo Wing Garlic-Toasted Hoagies

It's back ... are you ready for some football? I sure am! In the south, just like in your part of the country I imagine, everything turns football as me move into fall.

We proudly wear our school colors and gather with other college alumni to catch our team in action. And the pros kick off later this week, so my Sunday's will now be scheduled around when our team is playing.

You'll never hear me complain, though. Because what goes along with football? Food! I'm sorting through my recipe box to find some favorites to throw the perfect tailgate.

Wings and football go together like peas and carrots. Buffalo wings are delicious, but switch things up from the norm and try Linda Kauppinen's (West Palm Beach, FL) Hot Lemon-Herb Chicken Wings.

Linda shares the story of how she used to make these for college neighbors years ago. They wanted wings but not Buffalo, so she "mixed the hot sauce with the lemon herb recipe I had and it was an amazingly huge hit with the boys who asked for this dish numerous times."

The combination of hot sauce with the lemon juice creates this hot lemon flavor that I loved. I dipped them twice for a medium heat and it was just right for the Test Kitchen tasters. You can dip them less or more depending on how hot you'd like them. If you love lemon, I suggest giving these a try.

Jalapeno poppers are always a game-day favorite. But I agree with Dawn Cordova (California) "they can be somewhat messy." Her solution? Jalapeno Popper Roll-ups.

"I can up with these quick, easy finger snacks for a work potluck," explains Dawn. "Now my co-workers ask for them all the time." Really how can you go wrong with crescent rolls, bacon and cream cheese? These are super simple to make and you can prepare them ahead of time. Then, as guests arrive pop them in the oven and serve warm.

Another quick and easy recipe and great if you're serving a crowd is Sue Stone's (California) Chili Con Queso. "This is a family favorite," shares Sue. "I often double the recipe and freeze half for later."

Onion, tomatoes, chilies, and jalapeƱos are mixed with cheddar cheese and Velveeta to make one ooey, gooey dip. If you don't like your queso on the spicy side, I suggest cutting back on the amount of jalapenos because this does have a slight kick. It stays warm in a crock pot wonderfully too, so plan to prepare this prior to kick-off.

"Super fast, feeds a lot, gets rid of leftovers and uses food usually on hand," is how Betsy Wolfe (Marengo, IL) describes her Dinner Nachos. How would I describe them? One word... Awesome. They were a big hit in the Test Kitchen.

We used ground chuck and sausage for the meat, but customize your protein choice based on what you have leftover in the fridge (or is on sale at the market). With cheese, beans, sales, lettuce, and sour cream, this is simple yet substantial enough to not send anyone home with an empty stomach.

Years ago, Kelly Williams (Forked River, NJ) fell in love with Buffalo wings. She jokes, "Ever since then I've used the same concept making dips, pizzas, salads and my latest concoction Buffalo Wing Garlic-Toasted Hoagies."

I'm a sucker for the combination of blue cheese and Buffalo wings. Add garlic and muenster cheese, and you've really hooked me. Using purchased rotisserie chicken is a great timesaver. Make sure to have extra napkins on hand... these sandwiches definitely require multiple napkins.

After all the great food, it's nice to have a little something sweet. Julia Sonier's (Houston, TX) Dirty Chocolate Chip Cookie will score extra points with friends.

"Don't let the name fool you, there's no dirt anywhere," says Junia. "I named this because of how it looked when it was all finished."

Junia combined two of her favorite cookies - Oreo and chocolate chip - into one fabulous cookie. Between the Oreos, brown sugar and chocolate chips in these you can be sure that all the cookie monsters in your life will love these.

Whether you have a college alma mater you cheer proudly for or a pro team you're faithful to, gather a group of friends, cheer for your team and enjoy fabulous food. Happy Pinching!

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