It's football season and whether you're following the local high school team, your favorite college team, Sunday night football, or simply your local PeeWee league, let's be honest: football is really all about the food.
Be it pre-game, during the game, or -- for the real diehards -- post-game, noshing on snacks is a football staple ... and people take their football food very seriously.
One game day last year my friend entered our house donned in gear sporting our local football team's logo and carrying a plate adorned with ... a giant edible football.
"I'm impressed," I said.
But to my surprise, she took none of the credit, instead pointing to her husband next to her.
"I didn't make it," she said. "He did."
Turns out he'd found the giant edible football recipe on Pinterest and decided it was a challenge worth pursuing.
Well, he was right. This giant edible football -- really a carefully-crafted giant Jalapeño Popper Cheese Ball -- is now our new favorite go-to recipe for football season.
It is flavorful, addicting, has just the right amount of spice and is loved by kids and adults alike. Plus, it's a conversation starter.
Jalapeño Popper Cheese Ball
- 16 oz. softened cream cheese
- 8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4-1/3 cup chopped green onion
- 1/2 cup diced pickled jalapeños (you can add more or less if you'd like)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- A pinch of salt
- 3 or 4 slices of bacon (the more bacon the better on this recipe is the consensus with my family)
- 2-3 Tbsp. fresh parsley
- 2-3 fresh jalapeños, finely chopped and deseeded
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
- 1 slice white cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or provolone work well)
- Whatever you'd like for scooping up this deliciousness — pretzels, veggies, and crackers are our favorites!
- Chop the bacon into small pieces and cook until crispy. (This was my husband's job. He's all about the bacon in this house.)
- While the bacon cooks, blend the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, half of the green onions, pickled jalapeños, garlic powder, and salt in a bowl and mix it all together (I used my blender, but you can use a hand blender or simply a sturdy spoon).
- Now place the mixture on a platter or small plate and shape it into a football (as my husband explained it to my daughter, make it look like a football cut in half the long way).
- Chop the fresh jalapenos and combine them with the parsley and the rest of the green onions in a bowl.
- Remove the cooked bacon from the pan, saving a little grease. If you choose to use them, add the panko crumbs to the pan and toast until golden brown.
- Mix the crumbs and bacon with the other ingredients in the bowl and then sprinkle over the top of the football. (You might have to push them into the cheese mixture so they'll stay put.)
- Cut the slice of cheese into strips to make laces for the football.
Now dig in, close your eyes in delicious wonder, ... and oh yeah, enjoy the game!
Kelly Bevan McIlquham is a football fan, a food fan, and the publisher of Macaroni Kid Berkshires, Mass.