1000 x 90

Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Homegating – Covid’s Newest Phrase

By Sherrie Norris

Well, just when you think you’ve heard it all, a new phrase has arisen from the 50-yard line. It seems that “homegating” is the new tailgating, since most football stadiums are not allowing the ever-popular gatherings before the big game that countless fans have come to love. Well, let’s back it up and put it all in perspective. The fans aren’t even allowed at the games, so no need to set up the party in the parking lot, right?

But, its seems that “homegating” is the next best thing, and something you can easily do in the comfort of your own backyard or patio — while you’re waiting for the game to appear on the big screen in your living room.

I’m not even a huge football fan, but it feels strange for me to even be suggesting same.

Anyway, a semblance of football season like we’ve never known it before has arrived and the parties can begin.

Just as before, it’s personal preference whether to plan for something as simple as sandwiches and chips, or something as elaborate and time-consuming as you want it to be.

Simple is good and you really don’t have to worry about competition this time around, so whatever works for you is all that matters.

You can still fire up the grills for the chops, steaks, ribs, wings, burgers and dogs.

Sandwiches and subs score big with reliable sides, like pasta and potato salads, veggies, specialty breads, baked beans, etc.

Cookies, bars and pound cakes are easy to handle, or do something a little more elaborate this year, knowing you can carry it out straight from the kitchen and not worry about making a mess or having to keep it cold.

But, still keep in mind food safety: proper storage before and after, thorough cooking, and proper disposal.

Have lots of ice available and containers to handle any perishables. Keep cold items cold and hot items hot before eating.

And go ahead and make it easy on yourself by using disposable plates, cutlery, napkins, condiments, salt and pepper, bottle and can openers, paper towels, folding tables, seating and trash bags.

Most of all, try to have a great time despite the change in atmosphere. Wow. Homegating. Who would have ever thought about that even a year ago?


Half-Time Ham Rolls

Pack of sandwich ham

Pkg. of cream cheese

Pickles (long spears)

Spread each piece of ham with cream cheese; place one pickle spear on top and roll up. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve. Cut each ham roll into four pieces. Secure with toothpicks


Cheese Straws

4 cups plain flour

1 lb. shredded cheese

1 lb. butter or margarine

Pinch of salt

Dash of Tabasco sauce

Mix all ingredients together. Press through cookie press to form a straw, or roll into ball and flatten with fork on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes, or until lightly brown.


Easy Chili Recipe

1 lb. hamburger

1 chopped onion

½ chopped green pepper

Brown in skillet together and drain; pour into a large pot


2 cans kidney beans

2 cans pinto beans

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 can tomatoes

1 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. garlic

1 tsp. oregano

1½ tsp. salt

1½ tsp. chili powder (or more to suit taste)

Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Can be made in advance and refrigerated; heat thoroughly before time to serve.


Bacon Cheddar Puffs

¼ cup milk

¼ cup butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

1 cup Sargento Shredded Cheddar Cheese

8 slices bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled

½ tsp. onion salt or powder

¼ tsp. garlic salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Combine milk and butter in medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is simmering. Add flour all at once; continue to cook, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat.

Beat in 1 egg until mixture is smooth. Repeat with remaining eggs, adding just 1 egg at a time, beating until thoroughly combined. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop heaping teaspoons of mixture onto greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350°F oven 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Pretzel Sparklers

Long rod pretzels

White or regular chocolate, melted

Sprinkles, the color of your favorite team

Melt the chocolate. Dip pretzel rod halfway into the melted chocolate then pour sprinkles over the wet chocolate. Lay on waxed paper or place in a cup to dry.


Quick Ritz Cookies

Ritz crackers

Peanut Butter

Candy coating, color of favorite team

Make a sandwich out of the crackers and peanut butter. Melt candy coating and dip crackers. You will be pleasantly surprised at the taste. They disappear like magic.


Ranch Drummettes

½ cup butter or margarine

¼ cup hot pepper sauce

3 Tbs. vinegar

24 chicken wing drummettes

1 pkg. (1 oz.) Ranch salad dressing

½ tsp. paprika

Additional prepared salad dressing and celery sticks (optional) 
 Melt butter and mix together with hot sauce and vinegar in small bowl. Dip drummettes in butter mixture; arrange in single layer in large baking pan. Sprinkle with ranch powder.

Bake at 350°F. for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is browned. Sprinkle with paprika. If desired, serve with celery sticks and additional prepared Ranch dressing.