Top 10 Tips For Your Thanksgiving Table

October 1, 2014 in Featured Articles

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dv520008It can be easy – but first thing you will need to remember is that setting your table is almost is important as preparing and displaying your food. Paying attention to how you do it and remembering little details will make your holiday meal even more special!

If you are wondering what tablecloth to use, or if you should use placemats instead, or where to put the cutlery , if you should consider setting a buffet-style table and what to do about kids… here are some tips for you that will help:

1. Table Covers: If you have a beautiful table, you may want to consider using placemats. If you feel more comfortable using tablecloth, then start there. The rule in using the tablecloth is that it should be big enough to hang about 6 inches over the edges of the table. White tablecloth are the easiest to start with and make for festive feel – patterned tablecloths have a tendency to make the table look more cluttered. Little tip: if you find that your chosen tablecloth is wrinkled and creased – throw it into a dryer on air setting with a damp towel – that should take care of it, without having to pull out your iron.

2. Cutlery: Forks go on the left, spoons and knives on the right and they need to be placed in the order they will be used – first utensil on the far end from the plate, second one closer to the plate, etc. And the knife blade should be turned towards the plate.

3. China: Side plates go to the left of the main plate setting. If you are serving a salad, you can place the salad bowl either on top of the dinner plate or the side plate.

4. Glasses: Wine glass goes above the tip of the main course knife. If you are using more than one glass, arrange them in the order they will be used. Liqueur glasses don’t belong into your main setting – bring them out separately after clearing your dinner dishes.

5. Napkins: If you know how to make a pretty fancy fold, use it to decorate the table by putting it on the top of the main plate. If you are using it flat, place it on the side plate or under knife and spoon.

6. Place Cards: These a great idea if you are having a large gathering – having them will avoid awkward moments when your guests are seating themselves. Place Cards are easy to make – you can make simple ones by just folding an unlined recipe card in half and writing names on in calligraphy.

7. Buffet Style: This is a good option for a larger gathering when you need to have your guests take up whatever seating is available. Let’s face it – not everyone has a table large enough to accommodate  more than 12 people. When setting up your buffet, place plates, cutlery and napkins close to each other at one side of the table. I like to put cutlery into a neat little package, wrapped in the napkin and decoratively tied with a ribbon or a piece of craft twine. If you can, use larger plates – I prefer 12 inch size, that allows guests to pile on the food and not have to keep returning to the serving table as often. You will need to “police” your buffet table, refill serving dishes and keep it nice and neat. There is another alternative – kind of half buffet and half seated arrangement. Set up your serving dishes in the kitchen, have your guests serve themselves and then seat at the table. That allows the dinner table for being cluttered with serving dishes.

8. The Kid’s Table: It is definitely a good idea to set up kid’s table – and you can make it fun for them as well! Use bright paper or plastic tablecloth and its is perfectly fine to use plastic plates. Another great idea is to put a plain white tablecloth you can purchase at a second hand store and provide kids with markers to draw on it. You may even want to save these works of art for years to come and reminisce with then the grown up “kids” . Alternative to this would be paper placemats and crayons or activity book for each child.

9.Dessert Table: If you have an alternative table – such as one in the kitchen dining area, set up desserts, coffee and tea there. You can serve it in the dining room, after dinner dishes are served, but I find that separate setting works well, especially if you are serving a choice of desserts.

10.After Dinner Liqueurs: You can pick several types of liqueurs to serve – I like to create a tray (round silver one with a paper doilie works well) separate it into four sections, place show glasses filled with different liqueurs on with a little place card with liqueur name next to the each group of glasses and place it on the dining room table or walk around the guest with the offer.

Here are some creative place setting ideas for you:

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Hope this information was helpful to you – please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is always welcomed and appreciated!

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Easy Easter Table Decorations

April 8, 2014 in Household Hints

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easter chicksAdding creatively arranged flowers or handmade centerpieces along with colourful easter eggs of Easter decor will make your home and your festive dinner table more appealing – and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a couple of my favourites to give you an idea or two – do not be afraid to get creative, use your favourite flowers and enjoy your holiday! 

Sweet Surprise

How to Make this Pretty centerpiece:

  • Trace the mouth of a paper cup onto paper.
  • Draw petals around the circle you traced; each petal should be about 2 inches long.
  • Trace this flower shape onto coloured paper and cut it out.
  • Pierce the center of the flower with a pencil.
  • Cut triangles from this center hole out toward the petal, making sure to stop about an inch from the edge.
  • Slide the flower over the cup so that it comes up to the rim.
  • Cut off the excess paper at the tips of the triangles, then tape the base to the cup.
  • Trace the flower-shape template onto green paper and extend each petal into a point to form a ring of “leaves.”
  • Repeat the same process with the leaves and tape beneath the petals.
  • Place a small bowl filled with jelly bean in the centre.

Sweet Centerpiece

How to Make this Prettty Centerpiece:

  • Center a small glass vase (or a juice glass) inside a larger one.
  • Fill the space in between the two vases with an assortment of brightly coloured jelly beans.
  • Pour a few inches of water into the inner vase, then set your blooms in place.
  • I made this centerpiece last year and used yellow silk tulips. After the holidays, I wrapped it in plastic and stored it on a shelf – and I have a ready to place centerpiece this year!

Enjoy your holidays and send in your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!

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Fun Easter Games for Kids

March 31, 2014 in Featured Articles

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easter eggs (284x177) (284x177)It is definitely a good idea to have few games ready for your Easter gathering – especially if there are children present. You can easily have these games organized ahead of time – when I do it, I have little plastic baskets filled with materials for each game ready to go on a moment’s notice. If you decide to do that, you will find out that it is very easy to call the kids together and occupy them for quite a while. And don’t be surprised if adults get involved as well – after all – being competitive is just human nature, even if it involves cupcakes and Easter Eggs!

 

Easter Cupcake Walk

easter cupcakes

Materials:

  • Cupcake for each child
  • Numbers taped to the floor
  • Easter basket to hold number call cards
  • Music

 How To Play:

When the music starts the children begin to walk around the room stepping on each of the numbers as they go. When the music stops the children should step on the number closest to them. A number is pulled from the Easter basket and the child standing on that number gets to choose a cupcake and return to their desk. That number is then removed from the floor and the bag. Continue until every child has a cupcake.

Egg Toss

fabric eggs

Materials:

  • Large cardboard with Easter basket drawn on one side and a good size hole cut-out in center of basket, or a few small holes for older kids.
  • Colourful egg-shaped bean bags (Easter eggs)
  • Bucket to hold bean bags
  • Tape to mark distance line

How To Play:

Place cardboard basket a little distance from a wall with a paper box lid on floor to catch Easter egg bean bags. Mark your distance line according to age and skill of children. Line children up behind the line and place a bucket of Easter egg bean bags beside them. Give each child three tries to get their bean bag through the hole. Get all three Easter egg bean bags in and earn a ‘egg-licious’ reward.

Easter Egg Roll

easter egg toss (2)

 

Materials:

  • 1 hard-boiled Easter egg for each team (maybe a few extras)
  • 1 spoon for each team

 How To Play:

Divide children into teams. The goal is for the first person to roll the egg with the spoon to the end of the course and back. The person hands the spoon to the next person in line and the relay continues until a team finishes.

 

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Halibut with Lemon-Dill Pesto Recipe

March 14, 2014 in Recipes

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Halibut 001The wonderful taste of lemon will transform and ordinary pan-fried fish into something delicious. You can serve it with steamed asparagus and brown rice for a simple, fresh meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 halibut fillet (about 1 lb.), skinned and cut into 4 pieces
  • Pinch of each salt and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil

Lemon-Dill Pesto:

  • 1 cup of packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup of packed fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup of slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon of each salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Directions:

Lemon-Dill Pesto:

  1. Using mini blender pulse together parsley. dill, almonds, salt and pepper 5 times.
  2. Pour in oil, 1 tablespoon of water, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  3. Puree until smooth thick paste.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper
  6. In skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
  7. Cook fish, turning once, until golden and fish flakes easily when tested with fork – about 6-8 minutes.
  8. Serve with pesto.

Hope you will enjoy this recipe – please send me your comments, your input is always welcomed and much appreciated!

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Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

February 24, 2014 in Recipes

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spahghettiandmeatballs

I am thinking – it is almost spring and we are all just wanting to be outside.But for now, I just want to add one recipe that is delicious, takes little time to prepare and will give you more time to actually be outside as the weather starts warming up! Personally – I love my slow cooker and I use it a lot. It’s great to put all the stuff in it in the morning and have a great meal in time for dinner! Try it and make sure to let me know how it turned out for you!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs:

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of each – dried oregano and hot pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of minced fresh parley
  • 1 lb. of spaghetti, cooked

Meatballs:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of grated onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of each dried basil, oregano, salt and pepper
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef

Directions to Make Meatballs: In a bowl, beat eggs, mix in onion, garlic, bread crumbs, cheese, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix in beef and shape into balls (you should have about 16, depending on the size you want) Bake on foiled-lined baking sheet at 400F oven until firm – about 10 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

Directions :

  1. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat oil over medium heat, cook onion, garlic, oregano, hot pepper flakes and salt, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add to slow cooker.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, cover and cook on low heat until slightly thickened – about 4 hours.
  4. Stir in parley and serve over cooked spaghetti.
  5. Sprinkle with additional grated Parmesan cheese and grated mozzarella before serving –  will give it an little extra flavour!

For more delicious homemade recipes made in your slow cooker, check out:

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Slow Cooker Spinach Ravioli Soup

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

 

Hope you will enjoy making these delicious meals – please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated

 

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How to Make Chocolate Truffles

February 10, 2014 in Recipes

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I really wanted to do something special in time for Valentines Day this year. Since I bake all the time (pretty much), I decided to give a try to making truffles. I do recall trying it few years back and not really having much success. But this time – with a little bit of patience – they turned out great!

Here is the recipe and step by step directions – it is really easy! All you have to remember is to be patient making them and then get creative with the finishing touches:

Chocolate Truffles:

  • 9 oz. of bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped)
  • 2/3 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of coca powder

Directions:

I have developed a habit of laying out all required ingredients first – regardless of how many of how few there are. It really makes the task easier.

I used sharp, heavy knife to cut large chocolate pieces into smaller ones first.

Using my Magic Bullet is a great help in the kitchen – it is fast and easy to clean. The finer pieces you chop the chocolate into, the faster it will combine with your cream.

Put your cream into a small pot and bring to just the boiling point – when small bubbles start forming around the edges

Pour the boiling cream over chocolate and whisk until uniformly mixed. Let stand for a while, until the mixture cools to about room temperature.

Cover with plastic wrap and out into your fridge to cool for a minimum of 3 hours. I did this overnight – made the mixture night before I was ready to finish my truffles.

Making sure there are no chunks of cocoa before rolling the truffles in it is important – use a fine sieve to put the cocoa through

Form small balls from the truffle mix (this will be messy so get ready to wash your hands in between rolling the truffles) then roll them in the cocoa. I used little gold candy cups to place them into

Half on my truffles were coated with cocoa – the other half with ground almond. Then I place a slice of almond on the cocoa coated ones and a few chocolate slivers onto the almond coated once.

 

I hope you will try these – making your own handmade truffles and getting creative with the finish can really give you a great sweet gift to share on Valentines Day!

 

 

 

 

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How To Make Great Chicken Wings

January 31, 2014 in Recipes

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wingsSuper Bowl is tomorrow and I do believe that chicken wings are a absolute must for your guests – or for yourselves! I have put together a set of 10 chicken wings recipes for you – these are the ones I would consider to be the best. Enjoy!

Sweet Spicy Wings

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Ingredients

  • About 6 pounds chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded
  • 1- 1/2 cups of Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 pinch of garlic salt
  • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (More if you really like it hot)

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
  2. Lightly oil the grill grate.
  3. Grill the chicken 8 to 12 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. (You can deep fry or bake the chicken instead if you want to, but it is best when grilled.)
  4. Remove chicken to a large roasting pan and enjoy!
  5. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the hot sauce, butter, honey, garlic salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  6. Simmer about 10 minutes, until blended and heated through.
  7. Pour the sauce over the grilled chicken wings and stir to coat.

BarBQ Chicken Wings

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup gin
  • 2 dashes liquid smoke flavouring
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the teriyaki sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic powder, gin, liquid smoke, and sugar.
  2. Add the chicken wings, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Lightly oil the grill and preheat for low heat.
  4. Arrange chicken on the grill, and discard the marinade.
  5. Grill the chicken wings on one side for 20 minutes, then turn and brush with honey.
  6. Continue grilling 25 minutes, or until juices run clear.

Grill Master Chicken Wings

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Ingredients

  • Chicken Wings
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  • 3 pounds chicken wings, cut apart at joints, wing tips discarded

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hot pepper sauce or to taste

Directions

  1. Combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, Italian dressing, and chicken wings in a large, zip-log bag.
  2. Close bag and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt butter, stir in the 1 teaspoon soy sauce and the hot pepper sauce. Turn off heat and reserve.
  5. Remove the chicken wings from the marinade and pat dry.
  6. Cook the wings on the preheated grill, turning occasionally, until the chicken is well browned and no longer pink, 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Place grilled wings in a large bowl. Pour butter sauce over wings; toss to mix well.

Mystic Wings

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Ingredients

  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle honey teriyaki barbeque sauce
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 dashes liquid smoke flavouring
  • 1 -1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves crushed garlic
  • 8 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
  • 4 green chile peppers, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated raw horseradish
  • 18 chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan mix together barbeque sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey, liquid smoke, ginger, garlic, habanero peppers, green chile peppers, and horseradish.
  2. Simmer 1 hour over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place chicken wings in a large bowl, and coat with 3/4 of the sauce.
  4. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  5. Preheat grill for low heat and lightly coat grate.
  6. Discard marinade, and place chicken on the grill.
  7. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning occasionally, until juices run clear.
  8. Transfer chicken to a slow cooker for serving, and stir in the remaining sauce.
  9. Set to the Low setting to keep chicken warm while serving.

Mahogany Chicken Wings

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Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken wings, split and tips discarded
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons chile sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Place chicken in a shallow, medium dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, honey, molasses, chile sauce, ground ginger and garlic.
  3. Pour the mixture over the chicken.
  4. Cover and refrigerate approximately 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F .
  6. In a large baking dish, arrange chicken in a single layer.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven approximately 50 minutes, brushing with remaining soy sauce mixture often and turning once, until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Baked Buffalo Wings

BuffaloWings.jpg

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 5 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 20 chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with cooking spray.
  2. Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt into a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix.
  3. Add the chicken wings, seal, and toss until well coated with the flour mixture.
  4. Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and place into the refrigerator.
  5. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F .
  7. Whisk together the melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl.
  8. Dip the wings into the butter mixture, and place back on the baking sheet.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and crispy on the outside, about 45 minutes.
  10. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.

Hot Honey Wings

hot honey wings.jpg

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken wings, tips discarded
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more if you can stand it)
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate.
  2. Wash the wings well and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Season the meat with cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cook the chicken wings on preheated grill until cooked through and juices run clear, 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the wings.
  5. Brush the wings liberally using 1/2 cup of honey while they are cooking.
  6. Melt the butter, pour into a large bowl and mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of honey and hot sauce.
  7. Remove the wings from the grill and immediately toss them in the hot honey butter sauce to coat.
  8. Serve the wings ‘wet’ or return them to the grill for 1 minute per side to set the sauce.

Sweet and Gooey Wings

sweet and gooey wings.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken wings

Directions

  1. In a 9×13 inch casserole, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, ginger, and garlic powder.
  2. Mix until brown sugar completely dissolves into the mixture.
  3. Place the chicken wings in the dish and turn them over until they are all well coated.
  4. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  5. Turn the chicken again, after 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Bake chicken at 350 degrees F covered, for 45 minutes.
  8. Turn the chicken wings, and spoon sauce from the bottom of the pan over the tops of the wings. Cook an additional 50 minutes, uncovered.

Garlic Rhubarb Wings

garlic rhubarb wings.jpg

Ingredients for the Wings

• 1.8 lbs chicken wings
• 2 tbsp smashed and finely chopped garlic
• 1/3 cup ketchup
• 1 tsp hot sauce (tweak to your taste)
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp coconut oil (you can substitute with another oil of your choice)
• 3 tbsp finely chopped rhubarb
• 3 tbsp rhubarb syrup (from cooking rhubarb in simple syrup, or just use 1 tbsp brown sugar, honey, or agave nectar)
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ tsp fresh ground pepper

Ingredients for the Sauce
• 2 tbsp brown sugar
• 2 tbsp water
• ½ tbsp lemon juice
• 3 ½ tbsp chopped rhubarb
• 4 tsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp honey
• 1 tbsp ketchup
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp pepper
• 3 tsp whole milk
• 1 tsp cornstarch mixed in 3 tsp water

Preparation for the Wings

1. In a big bowl, mix all the ingredients except for the wings. Taste and add more salt, pepper and hot sauce as you wish until you are satisfied with it.
2. Toss the chicken wings in the big bowl, cover and let it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes as you pre-heat the oven to 425°F with the tray on the upper third portion.
3. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleaning later on.
4. Once your oven is preheated, place the chicken wings on the lined cookie sheet, but keep the remaining mixture in the bowl. Bake for 20 minutes. Make the sauce.
5. Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and turn the wings over using a pair of tongs. Using a spoon or a brush, put on the remaining mixture on the wings. Bake for another 13 to 18 minutes depending on how ‘dry’ you want the wings to be. 13 minutes is best if you want a lot more juicy meat to eat with rice, for example. 18 minutes would make it really nice and brown.
6. Take out of the oven, turn the wings to prevent the top from drying up, and let it cool for 5 minutes before transferring on your serving plate. Enjoy!

Sauce:

1. In small saucepan, heat water and sugar in low-med heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. There’s no need to stir.
2. Add lemon juice and chopped rhubarb and cook until rhubarb softens. With a heat-safe spatula, press the rhubarb against the bottom of the pan until you get a paste.
3. Add the soy sauce, ketchup, honey, milk, salt and pepper. Let it simmer for a five minutes and turn off the heat. Stirring the cornstarch-water mixture to make sure the cornstarch hasn’t settled at the bottom of your small bowl, pour to the hot sauce and stir. You can keep it on the stove (turned off) while the wings are cooking.
4. Serve with the wings.

Hope you enjoy these recipe and that you have a great Super Bowl Sunday – I will very much appreciate your comments or suggestions and if you would like to send in your recipes with your photos, I would most welcomed them!

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Best Superbowl Nachos Recipes

January 27, 2014 in Recipes

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nachos_onlineOne of the traditional and popular foods to serve at your Super Bowl party are without a doubt nachos. There are endless ways to make them – and the more often you make them, the more creative you will get. When I make nachos now, I take a good look around my kitchen cupboards and in my refrigerator and the results are always awesome!

Prepping for this coming game between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos should be about more than checking your cupboards the day of the big game. Get to the grocery store before the end of the week to avoid line ups and plan out your Nachos. It’s going to make game day a lot more relaxed and fun.


Superbowl Nachos #1 – Traditional Nachos

traditional-nachos

You can’t go wrong with the traditional Nacho toppings, the beautiful thing about your classic mix is it’s very easy to customize your Nachos. Make sure you have plenty of meat (double meat is always a big hit) and another great tip is to try some exotic peppers, taste is a very personal thing so I won’t tell you exactly what you would personally like but give some variations a shot. Your standard bell pepper is limiting, mix it up with some Jalaepeno (just a bit to add some spice) and for the daring adding a Habanero mix will really spice it up.

One more Nacho tip, make sure you layer your toppings between a thin layer of chips, then repeat. This will ensure that every layer has a tasty topping , there’s nothing worse than getting to the bottom of the platter and being out of toppings!

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz Tortilla chips (about 2 large handfuls)
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup guacamole
  • 1/2 cup refried beans or whole black beans, drained of liquid
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • *Optional- Other topping ideas include sliced black olives, white or red onions and jalapeno rings

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat broiler on high.
  2. Heat refried beans over low heat until bubbly.
  3. Place half of the chips on an oven proof pie plate and cover with half the cheese.
  4. Carefully add the rest of the chips topped with the remaining cheese.
  5. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  6. Carefully remove chips from broiler and drizzle on beans.
  7. Then add dollops of guacamole, sour cream and lastly, sprinkle on the tomatoes.

*If adding meat, freshly cooked is the best option, or re-heat pre-cooked meat until piping hot. Add right after the beans layer.

Superbowl Nachos #2 - Ground Beef Nachos (Bring on the Meat!)

beef-nachos-11

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of ground beef (the amount is up to you)
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning, about 1 ounce
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag of plain tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook ground beef in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  3. Add all ingredients but the cheddar cheese and chips to the pot and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. While it is simmering, pour the chips into a casserole dish.
  5. Spread hot mixture over the chips; sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top and put in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.

Superbowl Nachos #3 - Chicken Nachos

chicken-nachos

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bag of nacho chips
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 large jar salsa

Directions:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with foil wrap.
  2. Spread chips evenly on sheet.
  3. Drop small spoonfuls of refried beans on the chips.
  4. Mix Salsa and chicken together, making chicken “wet”.
  5. Pour mixture over the chips evenly.
  6. Top with cheddar cheese.
  7. Broil for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.

Superbowl Nachos #4 - Alaska King Crab Nachos (Fancy Fancy)

1035451

Ingredients:

  • 24 won ton wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For filling:

  • 1 ripe California avocado
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon wasabi paste
  • 3/4 pound cooked Alaska king crab leg in shell (1 leg), thawed if frozen and split lengthwise

Special equipment:

  • 2 mini-muffin pans

Make won ton cups:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Stack 12 won ton wrappers together and trim stack into a 3-inch square.
  3. Repeat with remaining won tons.
  4. Transfer 1 won ton to an oiled work surface and brush top lightly with some oil.
  5. Top with another won ton and brush lightly with oil.
  6. Repeat with remaining won tons (this way both sides become lightly oiled).
  7. Put 1 won ton into cup of a muffin pan, pressing it gently into bottom and side to form a cup.
  8. Repeat with remaining won tons and sprinkle with salt to taste.
  9. Bake won ton cups in middle of oven until crisp and golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
  10. Transfer won ton cups to racks to cool (they will continue to crisp).

Make filling:

  1. Scoop flesh from avocado and mash coarsely with a fork.
  2. Stir in shallot, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and wasabi to taste.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble:

  1. Remove crab meat from shell and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss crab with remaining tablespoon lime juice and salt to taste.
  2. Spoon guacamole into won ton cups and top with crab.

Superbowl Nachos #5 - BBQ Chicken and Smoked Cheese Nachos

berbecue-chicken-nachos1

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 10 oz. cooked chicken-breast meat, diced
  • 2 Tbs. prepared barbecue sauce
  • 4 to 5 oz. corn tortilla chips
  • 3 oz. shredded smoked mozzarella
  • 3 oz. shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 recipe Lemon-Pepper Cole Slaw (follows)

Directions:

  1. Preheat 475-degree oven.
  2. In small bowl, toss chicken and barbecue sauce until coated.
  3. Arrange chips in single layer on baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle both cheeses evenly over chips. Spoon chicken and onion onto each chip.
  5. Bake nachos for four to six minutes until cheese is bubbly.
  6. Toss coleslaw mix over chips and serve.

Lemon-Pepper Cole Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. good-quality mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded green cabbage

Directions:

  1. Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onion and pepper.
  2. Toss cabbage with dressing just before serving.

Superbowl Nachos #5 – Chinese Firecracker Nachos

chinese-firecracker-nachos2

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. peeled, minced ginger
  • 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 2 Tbs. Chinese chili garlic sauce
  • 2 Tbs. hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 to 5 oz. corn tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded Muenster
  • 3 oz. napa cabbage, finely shredded
  • 3 to 4 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 green onion, chopped

Directions:

  1. In skillet, warm oil over medium heat, then stir-fry ginger until it softens–about one minute.
  2. Raise heat to high, add pork and crumble into bits.
  3. Stir in chili garlic sauce and hoisin sauce and continue breaking up pork.
  4. Add sesame seeds.
  5. Cook until most of the juices have evaporated.
  6. Preheat 475-degree oven.
  7. Arrange chips on baking sheet, sprinkle cheese over chips, then pork mixture.
  8. Bake for four to six minutes until cheese is bubbly.
  9. Toss cabbage with vinegar.
  10. Serve nachos with green onion and cabbage sprinkled on top.

Superbowl Nachos #6 - Quick and Easy Nachos (or I forgot to plan!)

quick-and-easy-nachos

Easy nachos cooked in the microwave oven, with jalapeno peppers, cheese, and taco sauce.

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup taco sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • jalapeno pepper slices, optional

Directions:

  1. Place tortilla chips on a paper plate.
  2. Pour taco sauce over chops.
  3. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese. If desired, top with jalapeno pepper slices.
  4. Microwave on HIGH for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Superbowl Nachos #7 - Grilled Nachos

grilled-nachos

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 dozen tortilla chips
  • 2 cups Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 jalapeno chilies, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat grill to a hot temperature.
  2. Arrange chips in a flat grilling pan.
  3. Cover with other ingredients.
  4. Place on grill and turn off the grill.
  5. Let cook for about 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  6. Keep a close eye on this one to make sure that the cheese melts without burning.

Enjoy these recipes and have a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday!

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Superbowl Party Tips and Recipes

January 24, 2014 in Recipes

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superbowl

Traditional saying: “It’s that time of the year again” is usually associated with Christmas time, but in the month of February, it only means one thing: SUPERBOWL! My guess would be that a large number of people are looking forward to Superbowl Sunday. Some are just plain excited about watching awesome football, others are thinking “Finally it’s over and we can have our weekends back”. Whatever the reason, Superbowl parties are one of the top at-home party events of the year. They are much more than a gathering of football lovers – many people attending don’t actually even like football, they attend to get together with friends and break up the monotony of the very boring winter month.

seahawks and broncos

This year it’s the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos match up. Personally, I am thinking that Denver has the guys – especially the great Manning that will take it this year. From what I understand right now, they are the underdogs so that is partially why I would pick them – go figure.

So – if you are thinking about planning a Super Bowl party – here are few tips and some great recipes for you:

Superbowl Party Planning Made Simple:

  • Plan simple, easy foods and set it up as a buffet. That is your only option, since there is no way anyone will want to be sitting at a table.
  • If you have more than one television set, set the sets up around the party area.
  • Don’t choose recipes that will keep you in the kitchen – you should be able to enjoy the party as well
  • Have one room designated for non-football lovers who will just want to visit and chat or maybe have a game of cards
  • Plan on plenty of beverages – definitely do not forget the beer!
  • If you just absolutely have to decorate – use team colours, footballs, team jerseys, goal posts and pennants. But I wouldn’t worry about it too much – the attention will be on the television set.
  • You may want to have a good supply of paper towels, napkins and also a rug cleaner – things have a tendency to fly!
  • And keep a little spare change and small bills handy for betting pools that just might be popping up over the course of the party!

Superbowl Party – The Food:

The name of the game is simple – meaning organizing casual, hearty food. This time you can leave your gourmet expertise alone. Your guests will want to eat in front of the television set – so you pretty much have to keep the menu simple.

There are traditional foods you just have to serve at your Super Bowl party – they include chili, chicken wings, some great dips and nachos. I am including all the recipes for these – all easy and quick to put together. I have also included something sweet  -  if you are up to it -  a real football cake!

The menu:

  1. Crockpot chilli with Corn Bread
  2. Original Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing
  3. Layered Dip – Mexican Style
  4. Crockpot Spinach Dip
  5. Ground Beef Nachos
  6. Football Field Cake

1.Crockpot Chili with Corn Bread

crockpot-chili

Make sure you have grated cheese handy – it makes each serving awesome as it melts over the top of hot chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground chuck
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cans kidney or pinto beans, drained
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • hot pepper, to taste, cayenne
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef.
  2. Drain well.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker; cover and cook for 7 to 8 hours on LOW, or until done.

Serves 6 to 8.

For more chili recipes, click here

Cornbread:

Cornbread Tips:

  • Sprinkle a little cornmeal in the hot pan before adding the batter. It will brown and add a crisper texture.
  • For a crusty cornbread, make sure there is a good “layer” of oil or shortening in the pan.
  • A tablespoon of mayonnaise can be substituted for the egg.
  • You can use all cornmeal, or lessen the amount of flour in the recipe.
  • Use muffin or cornstick pans (preferably iron), to vary the shape.
  • Instead of baking, fry the batter like pancakes.

Buttermilk Cornbread:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Combine dry ingredients
  2. Add beaten egg and buttermilk, mixing well.
  3. Pour into greased, heated 8-inch or 9-inch iron skillet.
  4. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Buttermilk cornbread serves 8.

Buffalo Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing

buffalowings

Chicken wings are a must for Superbowl Party – this blue cheese dressing makes them really special

Super Bowl party would not be complete without chicken wings.

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 5 pounds chicken wings
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt (if desired)
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 Tablespoons butter or margarine (1/2 stick)
  • 5 Tablespoons Louisiana-brand hot sauce or Tabasco sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar

Preparation:

  1. Chop off the tip of each chicken wings, and discard it.
  2. Chop the wing in half (cutting at the joint) to make 2 pieces.
  3. Grind on fresh black pepper and sprinkle with salt if desired.
  4. Heat the oil over high heat in a deep skillet, Dutch oven, or deep-fat fryer until it starts to pop and sizzle (around 400 degrees F).
  5. Add half the chicken wings and cook until they’re golden and crisp, stirring or shaking occasionally.
  6. When done, remove them to drain on paper towels and cook the remaining wings.
  7. Melt the butter or margarine over medium heat in a heavy saucepan, add the hot sauce and the 1 tablespoon of  wine vinegar.
  8. Stir well and remove from the flame immediately.
  9. Place the chicken on a warm serving platter, pour the sauce on top, and serve.

For more Chicken Wings recipes, click here

Blue Cheese Dressing:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream or no-fat sour cream
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons blue cheese

Preparation:

  1. In a food processor or heavy-duty blender, combine buttermilk, sour cream, garlic, sugar, paprika and salt.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add blue cheese, and pulse quickly once or twice.
  4. Do not blend. You want small chunks of blue cheese.

    Refrigerate 4 hours or more before serving to let flavours blend.

Layered Dip – Mexican Style

JOE CHURCHWELL'S SUPER BOWL PARTY 1

Great treat for everyone – add tortilla chips of any other chips you like and listen to everyone loving this dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9 oz.) can Frito Lay jalapeno bean dip
  • 3 avocados, minced
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic salt
  • 3 tbsp. sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • Several tomatoes, chopped
  • Layer chopped green onions
  • 1 (4 oz.) can black olives
  • 1 (9 oz.) can jalapeno cheddar cheese dip

Layer as follows in a shallow dish:

  1. 1 (9 ounce) can bean dip, 3 avocados, minced.
  2.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and garlic salt.
  3.  Mix 3 tablespoons sour cream, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 package taco seasoning mix.
  4.  Chopped tomatoes.
  5. Layer 3 green onions.
  6. 6. Sliced black olives.
  7.  1 (9 ounce) can Frito Lay cheddar cheese dip. Serve hot or cold

Crockpot Spinach Dip

artichoke-spinach

This is an awesome dip – especially if you decide to serve it warm

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimento
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled

Preparation:

  1. Combine cream cheese and cream in slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW until cheese is melted, about 1 to 1- 1/2 hours.
  3. Add remaining ingredients; cover and cook on LOW for about 45 minutes longer.
  4. Serve with raw vegetables, crackers, or crusty bread cubes.

Ground Beef Nachos

beef-nachos-1

You cannot have a Superbowl Party without nachos – they are easy to put together and it is OK to get creative with the recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of ground beef (the amount is up to you)
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning, about 1 ounce
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag of plain tortilla chips

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook ground beef in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  3. Add all ingredients but the cheddar cheese and chips to the pot and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. While it is simmering, pour the chips into a casserole dish.
  5. Spread hot mixture over the chips; sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top and put in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.

For more Nachos recipes, click here

Football Field Cake

Step-by-step How to Make it

footballcake

Yes you can! You can make this incredible cake and surprise everyone! Sweets are not usually an important element of a Superbowl party menu, but make this one and it will be a hit!

This creation will definitely score for you! You will need to make a sheet cake – 13″ x 9″ size is recommended.

footballsupplies

You will need:

  • 1 – 13″ x 9″ sheet cake that has been frosted chocolate (my preference) or vanilla.
  • 7 oz. shredded, sweetened coconut that has been tinted by shaking in a plastic bag with 1 teaspoon green food gel
  • 1 pretzel rod divided in two parts
  • 4 short pretzel sticks, 2 of which have been divided in half
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 can white decorator frosting
  • Assorted football cake decorations such as footballs, plastic players, team flags

How to Put the Football Field Cake Together:

Create the Goal Posts

goalposts

  • Place 12″ square piece of wax or parchment paper on cookie sheet.
  • Place chocolate chips into microwave safe bowl. Melt at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir. Continue heating at 50% power for 30 seconds each time until smooth consistency is reached.
  • Dip pretzels into melted chocolate, tapping off excess. Place on prepared paper and form into goal post shapes.
  • Once goal posts have been made, transfer cookie sheet into refrigerator to chill.

Put the Cake Together:

footballcake1

  • Evenly spread coconut over top of cake, reserving 1/2 cup for touch-ups as needed.
  • Draw lines with decorator frosting on field to create yardage markings and end zone.
  • Insert pretzel field goals into end zones.
  • Finish with cake toppings. In this illustration a football was created using melted dark chocolate that was formed into a football shape. Laces were created using white frosting

Hope these tips and recipes will help you have a great Super Bowl party – enjoy and share your tips and experiences – your input is always welcomed!

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The ABCs of NFL

January 20, 2014 in Featured Articles

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abc_blocks

nfl feature

           

          OF

 

 

 

I thought about this topic for a while and decided to venture into that typically male territory and give it a shot. Why you ask? Well – you see – I don’t really have a problem with the football season. I actually enjoy watching a good football game. And I do have an explanation for it for those of you who think I am just saying it. I have two sons – now actually a grown adult men. As they were growing up, I decided to join them in the NFL football passion and it became quite entertaining. We each had a favourite team. Mine were the San Francisco 49ers – and the incomparable Joe Montana. Dusan’s were the Denver Broncos and to this day, Dan is a huge fan of the New Orleans Saints. And we did have some fun Sunday afternoon and Monday nights – especially if any of those 2 teams were pitted against each other!

All that to say that it is possible to enjoy the game and refuse to be the football widow as they call it. The key is figuring the stuff out and actually understanding a bit what those guys on the TV screen are after.

So I decided to give my best shot to lending a  helping hand and provide anyone interested with the basic football info – the terms that will more than likely make the whole thing clearer.

But first – let me give you a little overview:

  • The purpose of the game is to move the ball forward, heading towards and ultimately into, the opposition’s end zone.
  • This is achieved be either running with the ball until tackled or throwing the ball in the right direction and hopefully to a team-mate.
  • While they are doing this, they are moving the ball forward in chunks of at least 10 yards. (The white lines on the field are marked in 10 yard sections)
  • The guys that have the ball and are doing this are the offence and the number of times it takes them to get through the 10 yard chunks are called downs.
  • They have 4 of these downs to get at least 10 yards.
  • If they do that – they get to keep the ball, if they don’t do it within the 4 allowed times, they loose the ball.
  • Then the other team gets it and the process starts all over again until one of them gets it either into the end zone – and that is a touchdown or decides to call their kicker and he kicks the ball into that funny looking U-shaped goal in the end zone. And that is called a field goal. Different scoring points for each :

How they score:

Touchdown – 6 points

A touchdown is scored when a offensive team player crosses the goal line with the ball, or catches or collects the ball in the end zone.

Field Goal – 3 points

The field goal is usually attempted on fourth down if the kicker is close enough to the end zone to kick the ball through the posts (they also call them uprights)

Extra Point – 1 or 2

A point is earned by kicking the ball through the uprights after a touchdown. Two points are scored by taking the ball into the end zone again.

Safety (2 points)

These points are awarded to the defensive team when a member of the offensive team is tackled with the ball in his own end zone.

So now that you know a little about the game, here are the most common used NFL terms:

The ABC’s of NFL:

a

Audible: Verbal commands shouted by the quarterback to his teammates at the line of scrimmage to change play on short notice.

b

Backfield: the area behind the line of scrimmage.

Backs: the running backs; the halfback and the fullback.

Ball carrier: any player who has possession of the ball.

Blocking: the act of preventing a defensive player from getting to the ball carrier; blockers use their arms and bodies but may not hold an opponent.

Bomb: a long pass thrown to a receiver sprinting down the field.

Bump-and-run: a technique used by pass defenders, where they hit a receiver once within 5 yards (1 yard in college) of the line of scrimmage to slow him down, and then follow him to prevent him from catching a pass.

c

Call a play: instruct players to execute a pre-planned play.

Cut back: a sudden change in direction taken by a to make it more difficult for defenders to follow and tackle him.

d

Down: one of 4 chances a team on offense has to gain 10 yards; also, the state of a player who has just been tackled; also, a ball that a player touches to the ground in the end zone to get a touchback.

Draft choice: a player chosen by a professional sports team from a pool of college players in an annual draft.

Drive: the series of plays a team puts together in an attempt to score.

Drop back: when a quarterback, after taking the snap, takes a few steps backward into an area called the pocket to get ready to pass.

e

Encroachment: if a player (besides the center) is in the neutral zone and contact occurs prior to the snap; a foul punishable by a 5-yard penalty.

End line: the boundary line that runs the width of the field along each end.

End zone: the area between the end line and goal line bounded by the sidelines, which a team on offense tries to enter to score a touchdown.

Extra point(s): additional point(s) scored by a team after it has scored a touchdown, either by a point-after-touchdown (1 point) or a 2-point conversion (2 points).

f

Fair catch: when a kick returner decides only to catch a punt or kickoff and not advance it, protecting himself from being hit by an opponent; he signals for a fair catch by raising one hand in the air and waving it.

Field goal: a place kick that passes above the crossbar and between the uprights of the goalpost, earning the team that kicked it 3 points.

Field position: the location of a team on the field relative to the two goal lines; good field position for a team is near its opponent’s goal line, while bad field position is close to its own goal line.

First down: the first chance out of 4 that a team on offense has to advance 10 yards down the field; as soon as it gains those yards, it earns a new first down.

Forward pass: a pass thrown by a team closer to the opponent’s goal line; a team is allowed to throw only one forward pass per play, and it must be thrown from behind the team’s line of scrimmage.

Forward progress: the location to which a ball carrier has advanced the ball, even if he was pushed backwards after getting there.

Free kick: a type of kick taken to start or restart play after a team has scored, with no defenders nearer than 10 yards away; includes a kickoff and a kick after a safety.

Fumble: when a ball carrier loses possession by dropping the ball or having it knocked away before a play ends; the first player to regain possession of the loose ball is said to make the recovery, and his team becomes the offense.

g

Goal line: a line drawn across the width of the field, 10 yards inside each end line, which a team must cross with the ball to score a touchdown.

Goalpost: a tall metallic structure that stands at the back of each end zone; consists of a crossbar and two uprights that extend upward from it, supported directly above the end line by a base; teams try to kick the ball above the crossbar and between the uprights to score a field goal or extra point.

h

Heisman Trophy: an award presented annually by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York to the best college football player in the country.

Holding: a foul where a player impedes the movement of an opponent by grasping or hooking any part of his body or uniform; punishable by a penalty – 10 yards if against the offense, 5 yards (10 yards in college) plus a first down if against the defense.

Home field advantage: the benefit a team gets by playing games in the area where it is based, due to fan support, familiarity with its surroundings and the lack of required travel.

i

Incomplete pass: a forward pass that touches the ground before being caught.

Intentional grounding: a foul called against a quarterback who purposely throws an incomplete forward pass solely to avoid a sack; cannot be called if the pass lands at or beyond the line of scrimmage.

Interception: a pass caught in the air (picked off) by a defender whose team immediately gains possession of the ball and becomes the offense.

k

Kickoff: when a player kicks a ball from a tee at his own 30-yard line (35 in college) to the opposing team, whose player tries to advance it the other way; used to start the game, the second half and overtime, and to restart play after each score.

l

Lateral: a pass thrown to a teammate backwards from the team’s line of scrimmage or parallel to it; unlike a forward pass (which can be thrown only once per play), players may lateral the ball as often as they want.

Line of scrimmage: an imaginary line which no player may cross before the snap; each team has its own line of scrimmage, separated by the neutral zone.

Loose ball: a ball that is not in possession of either team, such as after a fumble or a kickoff; it can be recovered by either team.

m

Man-in-motion: a single player on the offense who is permitted to move prior to the snap; he may only run parallel to the line of scrimmage or away from it.

Midfield: the 50-yard line, which divides the length of the field in half.

n

Neutral zone: the region that contains the ball as it sits on the ground before each play; the area between the two lines of scrimmage.

NFL (National Football League): the major professional football league in the U.S. with 32 teams; its headquarters are in New York.

NFL Championship: the game held from 1933 through 1965 to decide the champion of professional football; renamed the Super Bowl in 1966.

Nickel defense: when a defense brings in a 5th defensive back to replace a linebacker on the field, increasing its pass coverage.

o

Offside: when any part of a player’s body is beyond his line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped; a foul punishable by a 5-yard penalty.

p

Pass defender: a defensive player who covers an opposing receiver.

Pass protection: blocking by offensive players to keep defenders away from the quarterback on passing plays.

Pass rush: a surge by defenders to get past blockers and sack the quarterback.

Personal foul: a foul that might cause injury; punishable by a 15-yard penalty.

Picked off: intercepted.

Play: a spurt of action that begins with a snap and ends with a dead ball.

Play clock: a clock displayed above each end zone that limits the time teams may take between plays to 40 seconds (30 in college); the ball must be snapped before the clock runs down to 0.

Play-action pass: a passing play after the quarterback has faked a hand-off.

Playoffs: the post-season tournament that determines the NFL champion.

Possession: to be holding or in control of the football.

Punt: when a player 10 yards behind the center catches a snap, drops it and kicks it before it hits the ground; an opponent tries to catch and advance it the other way.

q

Quarterback: the leader of a team’s offense, he takes the snap from the center and either hands the ball to a running back to run with, passes it to a receiver or runs with it himself; he also communicates each play to his teammates.

r

Reading the defense:
recognition by the quarterback of the defensive formation; he may then call an audible to adjust the offense.

Receiver: an offensive player who catches or attempts to catch a forward pass.

Red zone: the imaginary area between the defense’s 20-yard line and its goal line from which the offense is most likely to score points.

Return: an attempt by a player who has just caught an interception, punt, or kickoff to advance the ball the other way.

Rush: a running play; also, a pass rush.

s

Sack: a tackle of the quarterback behind his line of scrimmage.

Safety: when a ball carrier is tackled in his own end zone after bringing the ball there under his own power; the defense earns 2 points and receives a free kick from the offense’s own 20-yard line.

Scrambling: evasive movements by a quarterback to avoid being sacked.

Snap: when the center while facing forward quickly hands the ball between his legs to a player standing behind him (usually the quarterback) to start each play.

Special teams: the group of players who participate in kicking plays.

Spike: when a player throws the ball at the ground to celebrate a touchdown.

Super Bowl: the championship game of the NFL, played between the champions of the AFC and NFC at a neutral site each January; it is the culmination of the NFL playoffs.

t

Tackle: a player position on both the offensive and defensive lines; there is usually a left and right offensive tackle, and a left and right defensive tackle; See also tackling.

Tackling: contacting a ball carrier to cause him to touch the ground with any part of his body except his hands, thereby ending the play.

Touchback: when a player who gains possession of a ball in his own end zone kneels to the ground and automatically starts the next play at his own 20-yard line; also awarded if his opponent kicks the ball across the end line.

Touchdown (TD): when a team crosses the opponent’s goal line with the ball, catches a pass in the opponent’s end zone, or recovers a loose ball in the opponent’s end zone; earns a team 6 points.

Turnover: the involuntary loss of possession of the ball during a play, either by a fumble or by throwing an interception.

2-point conversion: when a team that just scored a touchdown starts a play at the opponent’s 2-yard line (3-yard line in college) and crosses the goal line to earn 2 points; when successful, it looks just like a touchdown; introduced to the NFL in 1994.

I do hope you enjoyed reading this and that it was helpful to you – I will most welcome your comments, additional input and suggestions!

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