First and Goal – A Manly Game Day “Tea Party”

Invite a man to a tea party and watch him run to the nearest exit. Tea Parties are for girls. Finger sandwiches, little cakes and all that tea – really? Suggest a tea party for a football game and you will get shot down before the first slice of bread can be trimmed of its crust. Disguise a tea party with little bite size sandwiches, some brownies and cupcakes and watch the food just disappear! Stop and think about it for a minute – what is a slider but a bite-size dressed down tea sandwich? Toss out the flowers and fancy china cups. Decorate the table with team colors instead. Before they know what hit them, the men in your life are attending a tea party.

The “trick” is to avoid the  traditional Tea Party trappings such as Cucumber or Egg Salad Sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Smoked Salmon is fine, just remember to avoid open-face with Cream Cheese variety. And whatever you do, DO NOT put flowers on the table.

You know that three-tier serving platter you’ve been dying to put out on the table? Go for it. Place cold sandwiches on the bottom tier; warm sandwiches on the middle tier and little sweets on the top-tier – arrange much like you would for your tea party. Keep in mind, guys eat more; so be prepared to replenish as needed. What goes better with little sandwiches but macaroni and potato salad? Shaped into a football only adds to the overall “manly” look of the table. Deviled eggs decorated to look like little footballs are also a nice touch. As for the Lemon-Basil Antipasto Tray – I just like the look, especially on an elevated platter with bread sticks.

What tea party would be complete without tea? Iced tea gets the “tea” on the table without revealing the tea party theme . . . most of all; have fun with it.

 ****** Game Day ******
Offence and Defence
Antipasto Loaf Bites – cold
Bacon, Ham and Gruyère Sliders – warm
Basil-Turkey Mini Focaccia Sandwich Bites – cold
Castle Burger Bites – warm
Chicken Salad on Mini Croissants – cold
Roast Beef & Horseradish Mayonnaise Finger Sandwiches – cold

Side Lines
Deviled Foot Balls aka Deviled Eggs
Lemon-Basil Antipasto Tray
Macaroni & Potato Salad Foot Ball

The Cheering Section – Store Bought Goodies
Mini Brownie Bites 
Mini Cupcakes

************

The Offense and the Defense

antipasto-sandwich-bitesAntipasto Loaf Bites
1 French Bread Baguette
1 tub (8 oz) Cream Cheese Spread
3 Tablespoons Pesto
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained oil-packed,  chopped
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, drained marinated chopped
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cups  baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

CUT baguette lengthwise in half. Remove soft insides from both bread halves. (Reserve removed bread for another use.)

MIX cream cheese spread and pesto; spread onto insides of bread shells. Fill with tomatoes, artichokes, Parmesan and spinach.

REASSEMBLE baguette; wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour.

************

bacon-ham-cheese-slidersBacon, Ham & Gruyère Sliders
Ingredients for Sandwiches
24 Hawaiian rolls
24 slices Deli honey ham
12 sliced Bacon, crisp and cut in fourths.
24 slices Gruyère cheese
Mayonnaise

Fry bacon crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Cut bacon into four pieces. Set aside.
Split Hawaiian rolls in half. Spread inside lightly with mayonnaise. Set aside

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Split rolls

Place 2 pieces of bacon on 1 slice of ham. Fold ham over to encase bacon. Place on bottom of Hawaiian roll. Top with a slice of Gruyère cheese. Place on high-rimmed baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining rolls, bacon, ham and cheese until all the rolls have been filled.

Cover sliders and bake 10 minutes or until cheese has melted. Uncover and bake 2-3 minutes longer, to crisp tops. Remove from oven, arrange on serving platter or serve directly from baking tray.

Ingredients for the sauce
1½ tablespoons yellow mustard
1 Stick butter, melted
1 Tablespoon finely minced onion (or 2 teaspoons DRIED diced minced onions)
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Poppy seeds, for garnish

Whip together ingredients for sauce. Drizzle sauce over tops of slider buns. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

************

basil-turkey-bitesBasil-Turkey Mini Focaccia Sandwich Bites
Ingredients – Focaccia
1 can (13.8 oz) Refrigerated classic pizza crust such as Pillsbury
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz)

Heat oven to 400-degrees. Grease large cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray. Unroll pizza crust dough; press into 12×8-inch rectangle on cookie sheet.

With end of handle of wooden spoon, press indentations in top, about 1 inch apart. Brush dough with oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese.

Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 30 minutes. Cut Focaccia bread in half horizontally.

Ingredients – Filling
1 container (6.5 oz) herb-and-garlic spreadable cheese, softened
2 medium plum (Roma) tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 package (1 oz) fresh basil leaves, stems removed
1/2 lb thinly sliced smoked turkey (from deli)

Spread cut side of bottom of Focaccia with spreadable cheese. Top with single layer of tomatoes and basil. Layer turkey evenly over basil.

Place top of Focaccia, cut side down, over turkey; press down. Pierce through all layers with toothpicks, placing them every 1 1/2 inches over Focaccia.

With long serrated knife, cut between toothpicks into squares.

************

castle-burgerCastle Burger Bites
Ingredients – Buns
1 can (11 oz) Refrigerated Bread sticks

BUNS – Heat oven to 375-degrees. Separate dough into 12 bread sticks. Cut each into 4 pieces, place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately remove from cookie sheet; place on wire racks. Cool 5 minutes or until slightly cooled. Split each in half, keeping tops and bottoms together to form a miniature bun.

Ingredients – Filling
1 egg
3 tablespoons dried mince onion
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain bread crumbs
1 lb lean ground beef

FILLING – Reduce oven temperature to 350-degrees. Beat egg in medium bowl. Add onion, milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Stir in breadcrumbs. Add ground beef; mix well.

Press ground beef mixture into a thin layer in bottom of ungreased 13×9-inch pan. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until cooked through. Cut into 48 rectangles (8 strips crosswise; 6 strips lengthwise). Fill buns with miniature burgers.

************

chicken-curry-tea-sandwich-2Chicken Salad on Mini Croissants
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken,
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
12 Mini Croissants
Lettuce, shredded (optional)
Tomato slices (optional)

Combine chicken, celery, pecans, and green onions in a bowl. Mix mayonnaise, lime juice, and curry powder in a small bowl. Fold mayonnaise mixture into chicken mixture; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Split Croissants, fill with chicken mixture, top with shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes.

************

roast-beef-tea-sandwiches-1Roast Beef & Horseradish Mayonnaise Tea Sandwiches
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
8 thin slices white sandwich bread
1/4 lb. roast beef, sliced paper-thin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and horseradish. On a clean work surface, spread 4 of the bread slices with the mayonnaise mixture. Layer the roast beef on the bread, and season with salt and pepper. Top each with one of the remaining bread slices.

Using a serrated knife, trim the crusts off the sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches diagonally into quarters and arrange on a cake stand or serving platter. Serve immediately.

************

smoked-salmon-tea-sandwichesSmoked Salmon, Dill and Lemon Tea Sandwiches
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 loaf whole wheat sandwich bread (8 slices)
1/2 loaf white sandwich bread (8 slices)
8 ounces smoked salmon
1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)

Mix together cream cheese and dill, add lemon juice to taste, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove crust from sliced bread and, using a rolling-pin, gently flatten each slice of bread.
Take 4 slices of the flattened whole wheat bread and spread with a quarter of the cream cheese mixture. Cover with 4 slices of white bread. Spread with another quarter of cream cheese mixture.

Divide smoked salmon and onions evenly between the four sandwiches. Spread another quarter of the cream cheese mixture on remaining white bread and place cream cheese side down on top of salmon. Spread with remaining cream cheese mixture and top with remaining whole wheat bread. Slice into quarters on the diagonal and serve.

************

The Side Lines

football deviled eggDeviled Foot Ball Eggs
16 Hard Boiled Eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
3 teaspoons mustard (yellow, stoned or Dijon-Style Mustard – it’s a matter of personal tastes – try each to see which flavor suits you)
4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
Chives for garnish

Tip: Boil 2 eggs more than required to fill serving tray. The extra eggs give more yolk filling, the extra whites allow for tasting and adjusting seasonings if necessary.

To Boil eggs, place eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, cover and let rest for 12-14 minutes. Drain, then plunge eggs into ice-cold water to cease the cooking process. The results will be a perfectly cooked egg with a sunny yellow yolk.

Tips for Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs: Once eggs are cool enough to handle, roll gently on counter to crack shells. Place into cold water, refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from water and peel. Water will work its way into shell, the result is an easily peeled egg.
Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place yolks in food processor with mixing/chopping blade. Place 12 white halves on serving dish or egg platter. Select best of the halves.

Mix/chop yolks until fluffy and are fine grade resembling bread crumbs. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix until creamy. Mix in red wine vinegar one tablespoon at a time and season to taste.

Spoon filling into egg white shells. Just before serving, garnish with chives to create football laces. If desired, place line serving platter with shredded lettuce for “field” effect.

************

lemon-basil-antipastoLemon-Basil Antipasto Tray
1/2 pound sharp provolone cheese, cut into 8 wedges
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
8 pepperoncini peppers
4 radishes, cut into quarters
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
12 thin Genoa salami slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil*
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
Bread sticks, crackers, or sliced Italian bread

Arrange provolone cheese, zucchini, pepperoncini peppers, radishes, olives and salami slices on a serving platter; drizzle with olive oil.

Squeeze juice from lemon over antipasto, and sprinkle with basil, salt and cracked pepper. Serve immediately with bread sticks, crackers, or sliced Italian bread.

************

macaroni-footballMacaroni & Potato Salad Foot Ball
1 Container Deli Style Macaroni Salad
1 Container Deli Style Potato Salad
1 Football Shaped Pan (Cake Supply Stores; Michael’s or other stores that carry Wilton’s Pans)
Plastic Wrap to line pan
Chives to create Football Laces
Parsley to garnish serving dish (Optional)

Line football pan with plastic wrap. Fill half of the pan with Macaroni Salad. Fill remaining half of the pan with Potato Salad.

You’ll want to fill completely to the top of the pan. Smooth even with the pan top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate well, over night is best for salad to mold.

Remove top cover of wrap from salad. Place serving platter inverted over pan. Flip CAREFULLY and adjust placement while salad is still covered by mold.

Remove football pan, remove plastic wrap. Lay strips of chives down center of salad. Snip additional chives to finish “lacing”.

If desired, tuck parsley around salad for “grass”.

******** The Cheering Section – (Store Bought Goodies) ********
Mini Brownie Bites 
Mini Cupcakes

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