Hungry Husky: Pigskin, potato skins

By Anne Baker

The coming of fall has a different deep-rooted meaning for all of us. For some, it means a splash of red leaves enveloping the ground. For others, it signals the beginning of a long, cold winter. Yet for many college students, it means the return of Monday Night Football.

I don’t really watch football. I have no idea about offsides or the ridiculous hand motions the referees make that incite such rage from the stands. I have only a vague understanding of the players and find the draft a little archaic (teams pay money for people! Slavery? No, just the NFL). And while I’m completely in the dark about pretty much everything about the sport itself, I do know one thing: how to feed hungry MNF watchers.

My dad, an avid football fan, has taught me well. Attentive football gazers require a food easily eaten so their eyes never need to wander from the screen. It must be robust (to go with the fall season), yet not so heavy as to prevent frequent bursts of yelling and jumping. Chili is the only answer.

This particular chili qualifies in every respect as college food: the ingredients are cheap, it’s easy to make and it tastes delicious. All that’s required is a can-opener, a big pot and a little bit of well-spent time.

The chili combines a variety of enticing flavors. The spicy chunks of sausage give a contrast to the smooth, creamy texture of the soup itself. It’s the perfect “manly” dish to accompany a raucous football party. To complement the chili and provide a bit of crunch, potato skins give the perfect balance. To top it all off, root-beer floats are an easy way to cash in on sweet flavor with very little effort.

So sit back, relax, and add this hearty meal to your Monday night pigskin obsession.

Doug Baker’s Chili con Frito What you need: 4 potatoes 3/4 cup vegetable oil Shredded cheddar cheese Sour cream (to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a medium-sized baking pan. Pierce potatoes with a fork 2-4 times. Microwave until soft, approximately 8-10 minutes (make sure to keep your eye on them, as every microwave is different). After they’ve cooled, cut the potatoes vertically in half. Using a spoon, scoop the insides out of the potatoes until about an inch of the shell remains. Heat the oil in a big, deep pan until very hot. Carefully place the potatoes in hot oil and fry for around five minutes, or until crisp. Drain potatoes on paper towels. When cool, fill the shells with cheese and arrange them in prepared baking pan. Bake until cheese is completely melted and slightly brown. It should take about seven minutes. Serve hot with sour cream.

Monday Night Football potato skins What you need: 3 cans tomato soup 1 can chili beans 1 can kidney beans 1 package Italian sausage (sweet or hot) 1 package chili seasoning 1 dash Tabasco sauce pepper (to taste) Fritos Cheddar cheese 1 tablespoon olive oil

Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and set stove to medium heat. When the oil gets warm, cut the sausage from casings, break apart with fingers and add to the pot. Using a spatula, continue to break the sausage apart into chunks as it’s cooking. Cook until brown. Add the tomato soup, beans and chili seasoning and turn heat to high. As it’s warming up, add Tabasco sauce and pepper to taste (Note: if you don’t like spicy food, don’t add any Tabasco or pepper and use sweet sausage). When warm, ladle into a bowl and garnish with cheese and Fritos.

Root beer floats What you need: 4 glasses 1 2-liter bottle of root beer 1 tub French vanilla ice cream

The night before the game run glasses under water so they’re slightly damp and put in freezer. When ready to drink, remove glasses from freezer and fill three quarters of the way with root beer. Scoop 1-2 scoops of ice cream into the glass and enjoy!

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