Monday, August 17, 2015

"Cooking for Kicks - The Sport of Tailgating" (the Minnesota Kicks was a former name of Minnesota's pro soccer team) - Sausage 'N Cheese Dish

Date I made this recipe:  August 13, 2015

Cooking for Kicks – The Sport of Tailgating – Recipes of sport stars and fans by Dottie Dekko
Published by:  Sprague Publications
Purchased at Arc's Value Village Thrift Stores
Recipe:  Sausage and Cheese Dish – p. 91 – submitted by Carl and Sue Nipp (part owners of the Minnesota Kicks, a Minnesota soccer team from 1976-1981)

Well so...hmm.... People, I don't know what to make of this recipe and that's a first for me!  It's a sausage and cheese "dish" that is in the entree section and yet the instructions say to eat it with corn chips.  Seems like that makes it an appetizer but what do I know?

But let's backtrack, shall we, on why this book?  Simple...sort of.  In order to talk about this book, we need to discuss professional soccer in Minnesota.  Ready? 

From 1976-1981, Minnesota had a professional soccer team, the Minnesota Kicks, thus the title of the cookbook.  The Kicks played outdoors at the old Metropolitan Stadium (Mall of America was built on that former site).  After they folded, they were replaced by the Strikers and when they folded, the Thunder and when they folded, the Minnesota Stars FC ("football" club which is what everyone else in the world calls soccer except for the U.S. = dare to be different!).  The Stars eventually changed its name to Minnesota United FC and that's where we are today.   If you knew all this beforehand, give yourselves a large pat on the back because I didn't.  I might have gone to a Kicks game after first moving here...or not.  Can't recall. 

Okay, so, as with every single sports team in the country and here in Minnesota, the Minnesota United FC needs its own stadium.  It's only fair, you know, seeing as how all the other kids teams got a stadium.  The Minnesota Vikings are almost done with the monstrosity they are building down the road from us so there's that (I am a Packers Shareholder so 'nuff said) and then several years ago, the Minnesota Twins baseball team got a stadium and this year the Saint Paul Saints minor league baseball teams got a stadium and even the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota got a new stadium so now it's "We want a new stadium," from the soccer team - all day, every day.

The problem, as you can imagine and as we will not discuss, is funding.   Okay white lie, let's have a little discussion because I have a feeling, as with most of these stadiums, that I am going to be the one partially funding this thing and that irks. Nothing against soccer—excuse me, "football" (or, as the Brits say, "footie") but I'm not much of a fan of any of the professional sports teams playing in this state and so I have issues with paying for it, especially when they are owned by much wealthier people than I, but I digress.

So with all the news swirling around soccer, I thought I should pull out this cookbook – Cooking for Kicks – and give a recipe a go.  Plus, I thought it would be a good time to acknowledge the accomplishments of the U.S Women's Soccer Team about a month ago when they won the World Cup.  And then, don't you know, in an incredible moment of timing, MY Green Bay Packers played their first pre-season game against the New England Patriots (happily beat them) on the same night I made this recipe.  This book is subtitled "The Sport of Tailgating" and wow, do the Packers have a lock and load on tailgating or what?  (Never mind last night's game was played in New England).

So all signs pointed to "yes" and I thought I had a recipe all picked out just from the name alone – "Boom Boom Brown's Tailgate Tacos" (p. 21) but then I looked and saw that this recipe was submitted by Bill Brown, former Minnesota Vikings running back.  And since making that dish would be tantamount to Packers treason, I let it go and it's a shame because it sounded good but I could not make a Vikings dish – retired Viking or no retired Viking – on a Packers game day. (Nothing personal, Boom Boom.)

And so I flipped through the book, seconds before leaving with my husband to head to the grocery store and decided to make this "dish" instead.  But as I said above, the intended use of this "dish" is unclear and so while Andy ate it with the suggested corn chips, I opted to cook some rigatoni and use it as a pasta sauce.  And that's because to my mind, it was a pasta sauce rather than a dip.  The whole thing was so unclear, as is the answer to the question of "Who is going to pay for a new soccer stadium?"

Here's the thing:  if this "dish" is a dip, then as dips go, this sort of fails.  If you ask me, and you didn't, if you are going to make a dip using sausage and cheese, then I suggest making an "American favorite:" Velveeta + sausage + Rotele tomatoes.  Now that is a cheese dip!  And if this "dish" is more of a pasta then leaving out the beef bouillon will make the dish less salty and more authentic.  (And speaking of the bouillon cube, the recipe didn't say whether or not to add the cube as is or to add water to it to make a broth and then add it to the dish.  I added it "as is.  As always, incomplete directions are my pet peeve!)  And if this "dish" is something else entirely, then I give up!

The previous owner of this book starred a couple of recipes that might also float your boat:  "Cheese Ball" – p. 33; French Dip Sandwich – p. 35; "Tossed Chinese Spinach Salad – p. 37" or "Corned Beef Sandwiches" – p. 39, just to name a few.

And so there it is, your soccer/football/tailgating recipe to help you celebrate and embrace "your" team.  

Sausage 'N Cheese Dish – serves 6
1 lb. hot Italian sauce (bulk or links cut into bite size pieces)
1 c. chopped onion
1/3 C. chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 c. tomato juice
4 oz. mushrooms
2 beef-flavored bouillon cubes
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Corn chips

In a large skillet, brown sausage, drain.  Add onion, green pepper and garlic, cook and stir until tender.  Add tomatoes, juice, mushrooms, bouillon and seasonings, mix well.  Simmer uncovered 30 minutes.  Stir in ½ c. cheese, heat through.  Serve with chips and remaining cheese.

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