Hey ya’ll! It’s August 27th and only a few short days until the first game of the season! For some of you it’s only one day and I couldn’t be more excited. There are so many reasons that I’m excited about this. First, I love football. I’m not a total crazy football fan girl; I don’t know all the rules and I don’t know what is going on sometimes but I love to watch it. Second, the start of football season is the start of Fall for me and I absolutely love Fall!! I’ve always been hot natured, so the cooler weather is my friend. I love the cold! Not only that but it means that deer season, the fair, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are heading this way. Plus, there’s something about the way Fall FEELS! It’s a feeling in the air, the smell of the leaves, the cool breezes, the Pumpkin Spice latte’s and cinnamon-y desserts. I love the clothes and the food. And football is just the beginning of all of these wonderful things! And of course, the main reason I love football season so much, my papaw suffered from dementia in the last few years of his life and he absolutely loved football. He couldn’t remember a lot of things, some days he couldn’t tell us what he had eaten for lunch five minutes ago, but he could tell us every football game that was coming on, who the players were, and what channel it was on. That man started talking about football in March and wouldn’t stop until the next February. Every day he would start with “well, football is gonna be starting soon.” This time of year, always makes me miss him. And while that’s bittersweet, every football game I watch, I feel like he’s sitting there watching it with me. So, I’m dedicating this post to him! I’m giving ya’ll a few of our favorite game day treats!!

But first, I want ya’ll to go outside, look at the sky and see what a beautiful day it is!! I was driving along today and stopped at a light. I looked at the sky ahead of me and couldn’t help but notice how beautiful it was. The clouds looked painted into the sky and the sky itself was a beautiful cerulean blue. It made me think… “I should just thank God for waking up this morning and experiencing the beauty that is this sky!” So go! Check out that gorgeousness… and for those of you reading this later on. Sorry ya missed it in person but here it is in picture form! The clouds even look like they’re smiling at me!

clouds      photo

So beautiful! Anyway! Now that we’ve looked at the sky and appreciated it’s beauty, lets talk about the real reason we’re here! FOOOOODDDD!! So, game day food is very important for many reasons. You don’t want anything that you have to babysit because you want to be able to watch the game. So it’s something that you can do ahead of time and lay out for whoever is watching with you. Also, you don’t want much of anything that needs a knife or fork. Mainly, you want something that you can pick up and eat with your hands. So, you want burgers, sandwiches, wings, sausage, brisket, bone in chicken, potato skins, brownies, cookies… that kinda thing. Since it’s the first game of the season, I thought I would treat ya’ll to a couple recipes for boneless wings. The best homemade boneless wings you’ll ever eat. I’m giving you one recipe for Honey Garlic and one for Mild-Hot. You can control the level of heat in the Mild-Hot and I’ll tell you how after the recipe.

I fried my own chicken, mainly because I’m picky and don’t really like frozen chicken tenders. You can get the nuggets and they’re a little more tender and juicy; but, with the tenders themselves, they’re usually too thin and you can taste the frozen on them! So, I got three packs of chicken tenders. There’s a reason I got so many. My nephew Judd has discovered wings this summer. He also discovered that besides steak, wings are his favorite food. By this, I mean he discovered he could eat one order of 16 wings from Wing Stop, plus some of his brothers, plus some of his moms, plus an order of fries! Can you say growing boy?!?! So, when I set off to make these, I just knew that we wouldn’t have enough because I knew he would out eat us all and want them for lunch today. Now, Judd’s brother Jeffery, is super picky. It’s hard to get him to eat anything and he changes his mind about what he does and does not like every couple days. The only thing he always loves is a hot dog with red wienies, spam sandwiches, and mustard. The kid is a special kind of weird. 🙂 I tell him that all the time and he thinks it’s hilarious; I think it’s true. 😉 Anyway, back to my original point Jeffery is finicky. Sometimes when he eats wings, he likes honey barbeque. I love garlic and my mom HATES hot, hot wings. So I made a honey garlic sauce for some of the wings. I dipped a third of the wings in honey garlic sauce, a third in hot sauce, and left the other third “naked”. Judd also likes to DROWN his wings in ranch. I have a recipe for Homemade Ranch that I haven’t used yet. I figured this wasn’t the meal to start with because as much as I love the kid, Judd is finicky about his ranch. He won’t eat bottled and he doesn’t like some Homemade. He LOVES the kind made with Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packets. What he doesn’t know, is that I don’t go by the directions on the back. Always make this first, so it can be chilling in the fridge while everything else is getting ready.

Ranch Dressing:

2 packets Hidden Valley, Ranch dressing and seasoning mix,

2 cups BUTTERMILK,

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise,

1/2 tsp. dill weed,

1/2 tsp. garlic powder.

Mix the mayo and the buttermilk together with a whisk until all the lumps are out. Add the dressing packet, dill weed, and garlic powder. Mix well and put in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Fried Chicken Tenders:

I’m cutting my recipe in half for ya’lls benefit so ya’ll can double it if you like.

1 big pack boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins, (12 tenders in a pack)

1 cup buttermilk,

1/2 lime,

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour,

2 tsp. each lemon pepper, black pepper, salt, and garlic.

Place the tenders in a shallow dish. Pour buttermilk over the tenders and squeeze the lime over it, now put half the seasoning over it. Allow that to sit for about 20 minutes. During this time you can prepare the flour. Put everything in another shallow dish and mix well. You want the flour to be well seasoned. So you can add more seasonings to this flour mixture if you think it needs it. Once the 20 minutes are up, dip one tender at a time into the flour. Make sure it’s fully coated, like this:

breaded chicken

When all of the tenders are coated, you need to get your oil ready. I used a Fry Pappy, the Fry Daddy’s Daddy 🙂 but if you don’t have one of those, you can use my instructions for frying minute steaks and frying pork chops. You can find those instructions by clicking on the name of the item. Just about 3/4 of an inch of oil in the bottom of the pan. Allow it to get super duper hot and placing the tenders in one by one. Don’t allow it to get too crowded! These take about 7-10 minutes to cook thoroughly. Lay them on a pan with a paper towel to drain. I’m a great multi-tasker and the Fry Pappy is pretty easy to work with so I started on the sauces while the chicken was frying.

Mild Wing Sauce:

1 stick butter,

1/2 cup Frank’s Original hot sauce,

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce,

2 tsp sugar,

Crushed red pepper, black pepper, and garlic salt to taste.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Allow it to melt completely before adding the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and allow it to come to a boil. Let it boil for two minutes, then turn it on simmer until you’re ready for the wings to be dipped in it. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn.

*** Make this hotter by adding a little more of the sauce and more red pepper.***

Honey-Garlic Sauce:

1 stick butter,

1 tsp. minced garlic, (you can use fresh garlic; I accidentally forgot the garlic at the store, so I used the dried variety),

1/2 cup soy sauce, (I used low sodium, but you don’t have to),

1 1/2 cup honey,

1/2 cup sugar,

Black pepper, Garlic Powder, and a pinch of Red Pepper to set it off.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Once melted, add the rest of the ingredients. Allow it to come to a boil and boil for two minutes. After the boil, turn the heat down low, and let it simmer until you’re ready to use it.

Back to the chicken. Once it’s done, it’ll look something like this:

original wings

Line a pan with aluminum foil. Take a fork and dip each tender into the sauce of your choice. If one side is a little naked, it’s ok, just turn the tender on the opposite side and let the sauce drip down onto the naked side. You don’t want to put too much sauce on the tenders so don’t allow them to be completely submerged in the sauce. If you do, allow the sauce to drip off a little.

hot wings honey garlic wings

I served these with some lovely Olga Noodles and Ranch Dressing. I was going to do fries but I figured that it would be too much fried food! I figured I would be tired of frying! Which I was… and the Olga Noodles go GREAT with these wings! The next recipe I’m sharing with ya’ll is another classic Game Day food…. Sausage Bread! It’s easy to just cut off a slice and go to the TV or go to the game. It goes great with pretty much any side and it’s super easy to make!

The story behind this Sausage Bread is kind of a funny one. I was over at my friend Katrina’s house, it was the week before I left home for the start of the semester at State, I had just turned 21 and we were coming home from a night out. It was fairly early for us, back in those days, midnight was pretty early for us. Now, that’s late and we’re all in bed by 11! Anyway, we got back to Katrina’s and our designated driver was not going to drive us another foot. We were all hungry and wanted to play cards so Katrina pulled out some bread, sausage, and cream cheese. She started making this sausage mixture and I was mesmerized! I didn’t know what she was making but I knew I wanted a bite! I got the recipe, added a little bit to it, and my sister and my dad’s favorite bread was born! So… thank you Katrina for introducing me to this AWESOME recipe!! I hope I do it justice!

Sausage Bread:

1 pkg. Jimmy Dean ground sausage (I use Sage),

1 8 oz. cream cheese,

1/2 green bell pepper,

1/2 medium onion,

2 cups cheddar or pepper jack cheese, shredded,

Garlic powder, salt, and pepper,

1 loaf Italian Bread.

Cook the sausage, onion, and bell pepper in a skillet. Once the sausage is completely cooked, add the cream cheese. Once the cream cheese is melted, add the cheddar or pepper jack. I used both and it was awesome!

sausage mixture 2

Season the meat and cheese mixture to your liking and set aside. Cut a hole in the bread loaf and scrape out some of the bread in the middle. Pour the meat mixture in the bottom of the loaf of bread and top it with the top of the loaf. Put it in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. It will be messy and you will have to wrap it in a paper towel or aluminum foil to serve if you’re not using a plate. Cut into strips and serve.

ground sausage mixture sausage bread

Now! The easiest dessert cookie/bar thingamajig ever!! My mom won her annual Christmas cookie swap with these. We’ve made them a hundred times over my lifetime. Probably more, because we can never make just one batch. They’re delicious, easy, and best of all they’re cheap! All you need is this:

Toffee Bars:

1 stick butter,

1 stick margarine,

1 cup sugar,

1 cup pecans (I always use a little more but it’s up to you), finely chopped

1/2 box graham crackers.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Break graham crackers in half and place them close together on the pan, not touching. Melt butter and margarine in a saucepan and add sugar. Bring to a boil, add pecans, and allow it to boil for two minutes. Not a second more!! It’ll get too hard if you allow it to boil for more. Once it’s boiled for two minutes, pour over the graham crackers and spread evenly.

Toffee Bars

Bake in a 225 degree oven for 20 minutes. Get them out, let them cool, and try to keep everyone out of them. Go ahead and try… P.S. you may want to invest in some heavy duty football gear to keep all those folks away from them… 🙂

toffee bars cooked

Like I said, we can never make just one batch so I would go ahead and double this recipe. It’s just easier that way! Now, I’ve tried this with brown sugar and it’s really tasty, but it was a little stickier than normal. You can also do walnuts or almonds or any other kind of nut. They really are delicious and super easy! I hope ya’ll love them as much as we do! They may not be very pretty, but they won’t last long enough for it to matter!

I think that’s it for tonight ya’ll! I’m going to grill some chicken and have a nice relaxing, HEALTHY meal for once! I need a break from all this rich food I’m telling ya’ll about! Pretty soon I’m gonna have to give ya’ll some healthy recipes, so that may be coming in the next couple of weeks! Ya’ll have a good night and I sure hope to hear that some of ya’ll made a couple of these recipes for your next game day party!!