Janet's Notebook
Score Big With Winning Game Day Snacks!

Prize-Winning Tiki Bites!

Who's going to win the big game this year? You are! After all, the key to a winning party is in the company you invite and the snacks you serve!

I'll leave the invite list up to you, I sure can help with the snacks! We've been cooking up a sporty storm in search of the best game day eats. And thanks to all the entries we received in the 3rd Annual Sporty Snack Showdown contest, there was no shortage of tasty candidates. With a theme of "Anything Goes," the entries were incredibly varied and delicious... just like a successful party menu should be!

Topping our list of football food faves this year - and winning a snazzy $4,000 home theater system - is Jeanette Nelson's Island Teriyaki Tiki Bites. These little darlings are as delectable - and exotic - as they sound, but quick as a blitz to prepare!

"Asian food is one of my family favorites, " says Jeanette, who is a proud mama to three girls, ages 3, 7 and 11. "This delicious appetizer recipe captures those flavors you find at your favorite Chinese restaurant."

How does a busy mom like Jeanette do it? Well, with a creative hand and some wonderfully ingenuous shortcuts, that's how.

The Tiki Bites begin with a simple filling of sauteed chicken and onions. Toss in some additional veggies, jarred pineapple preserves, garlic, vinegar and hot sauce, and your filling is done! Place a bit of the filling inside triangles of crescent dough that you've laid in prepared muffin tins. Simply give the triangle points a twist to seal each Bite and bake 'em up. You'll be amazed and the punch the vibrant filling packs once it's wrapped in the darling crescent dough shell.

"I guarantee if you put these in front of a crowd - especially at a football party get together - they will be gone in seconds," smiles Jeanette. "Winning [the Just A Pinch contest] isn't so much about the prizes for me as it has been about getting to know other people. It's kind of like a big family. It's so inspiring to me and really keeps me going."

Donna Graffagnino of New Orleans also ranked high in the Sporty Showdown, earning a spot as a contest Finalist with a meaty take on traditional gumbo. Her chicken & andouille version of the recipe has forever earned a soft-spot in our hearts (and stomachs!)

It is her signature Tamale Balls that are the go-to treat for Stacey Lawson, a two-time contest finalist also hailing from New Orleans.

"Whenever we have a get together I am asked to bring tamale balls. Here in New Orleans hot tamales are a delicacy, and these tamale balls are their very spicy and very delicious cousin. They are a great appetizer but you can also put a few on a roll and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and you have a very spicy sandwich."

And rounding out the game day roster of fabulous Finalist recipes is Texan Tamie Joeckel's fantastically named TexaCali Turkey Tailgate Fiesta!

"I love ground turkey, but I had to come up with a way to keep the lean meat moist and flavorful," she explains. "Tex Mex flavors evoke memories of home in South Texas. And when my grandkids liked this burger, I knew I had a winning combo!"

Each of these wonderful cooks has earned a home in the Just A Pinch Honorary Kitchen Crew and a standing invitation to our collective table. Whether you're rooting for the offense, the defense or the commercials, you just can't lose with recipes and friends like this.

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J C Walling - Feb 4, 2013
You used the crescent roll out of the can, I assume. However I am gf so wonder what I could use to make these outer covering to substitute for my gf group? Thanks You site has been a lifesaver for me.
Patricia Morse - Jan 31, 2013
I so enjoy trying a lot of the recipes at justapinch!I joined back in june of 2012 I think.I print a lot of the recipes an share them with family an friends.
Lori McLain - Jan 30, 2013
Wow ! These recipes are all winners...I will be making them all ! Congratulations to all of you and thanks for giving us great stuff to prepare for the big game !...well...I amy not be able to wait that long :0)