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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Let the games begin.......

Steeler season begins today. And, you know what that means? Football eating. And, for me--football cooking. It makes me wonder--why is it that football, unlike any other sport....puts me in the kitchen whipping up things like hot sausage, wings, beer dip, nachos, chili, bbq beef, pulled pork, ribs, etc? I'm not sure if a football game is much more exciting when these foods are sprawled out in front of the TV, if this type food just tastes better with the glow of the TV hitting it or if this kind of food is the key to winning or loosing. I just don't know. Perhaps it has more to do with the Steelers themselves. After all, their home field is named after food---Heinz.

Heinz---a company that makes food like ketchup, hot sauce, bbq sauce, relish, etc. Maybe that's why food and football in Pittsburgh is what it is. But, for whatever reason--when it's a Sunday during Steeler season, you can bet that I'm in the kitchen being controlled by whatever forces are at work. Even if I'm not whipping up football fare to be eaten during the game, I'm planning a meal around the game. I mean...during the off-season, when it comes to cooking Sunday dinner, I could care less what time something begins and ends on TV. My only concern is when the food comes out of the oven! That's when everyone is called to the table. But, during the season, my oven, the food I cook, the timing of meals and where it's eaten are all controlled by the Steelers.
Thank God for my Lapband. Now, my eating is not controlled by the Steelers.

So, what's cooking today?
The family is kicking off the season with some Italian Hot Sausage. For anyone who lives in to fresh homemade sausage made by a family member...there's nothing like Joe Labriola's (you can buy it at the Uncommon Market in Mt. Lebanon) or check Labriola's Sausage Company out in the Strip District. I make it a few different ways....depending on how much time I have, what I have in the house, who is coming over and what I feel like doing. But, for today, this is the way I'm doing it. Also...there's nothing like Mancini's (another Pittsburgh staple) sausage rolls and Aurecchio provolone to make these pieces of sausage sing as a sandwich.
-5 pounds of hot sausage--cut up into 2 inch pieces
-1 large can of fried peppers & onions (I buy Mancini brand)
-1 large onion, 1 green pepper--sliced
-1 12 oz can 6-in-1 "all purpose ground tomatoes"
-1 12 oz can diced tomatoes
-Handful of fresh basil
A soon as I finish blogging here, I'm going to throw everything into my slow cooker, turn it on low and then I'm heading out to do some shopping. The game starts at 1. There's some cut up cheese and pepperoni, salsa and blue chips ready for early game munching. By the time I get home--around half time-- the sausage should be ready to serve. While I'm out, I'll probably pick up some ice cream to serve during the second half. By game's end, I'll be working on Sunday dinner. At this point, I don't have a plan....yet. All I know is that the fans will be hungry come 6 pm and their mood for food will be directly linked to whether the Steelers win or lose.

Oh, and what am I going to eat?
The sauce that is made from the sausage cooking is wonderful. So, I'll scoop up some of the peppers and onions in the sauce, wrap it up in a piece of that provolone and I will be one happy Lapbanded girl.....

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