Friday, February 5, 2016


It's Super Bowl time!  And that means Tailgating and Super Bowl parties!  And THAT means FOOTBALL FOOD!

It's odd how there are countries that have their own unique style of cuisine, but there are also occasions we celebrate where you can't just have your basic meat and potatoes or simple hamburgers and hot dogs if you want to do it right.  Christmas and Thanksgiving have turkey.  Birthdays have cake and ice cream.  Super Bowl parties, or in my case as a Canadian, Grey Cup parties (GO ARGOS!), and just football tailgating in general are in their own league!

Grey Cup 2007 week.  Many many pounds ago!  Partying with Saskatchewan Roughrider fans at Riderville.

Lenny Kravitz performs the Halftime show!

We have all seen them on TV.  Most of us have not been lucky enough to attend a REAL tailgate party.  Here in Toronto, we have the Canadian Football League and the Toronto Argos.  Unfortunately, our Argos don't usually have much of a pregame tailgate party going on except those put on by corporate sponsored vendors where the beers are $14 a can and the hot dogs are your basic sized hot dogs stuffed in a standard bun with an option to top with whatever sauce company is sponsoring the zone you are in.  It is not the real deal.  It is not like what you see from our neighbors to the South.

The Super Bowl, NCAA Championship game, and yes, even the Grey Cup but to a lesser extent are not just events, they are a celebration.  And one things for sure...they are also a celebration of food!

Full house at the SkyDome (aka Rogers Centre) for the championship game  Roughriders vs Blue Bombers.

Final score.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders win the 2007 Grey Cup, as we all expected.

One of the things on my bucket list is to attend an NFL game and an NCAA football game as well as a real pregame tailgate party.  The crazy thing is that, up until 2004, I hated football with a passion.  I was a hockey guy.  But then the NHL lockout of 2004 occurred and I needed a sport to fill the void.  That became football after stumbling across a Boise State Broncos home game on TV.  The insane atmosphere of the crowd was one thing, but the blue field is what got me hooked instantly and I suddenly remembered that we not only have a professional league in Canada, my city has a team which at that time had just won the Grey Cup!  I ordered season tickets for the following year and my football fandom journey began!

A few years ago, we held the NCAA International Bowl here in Toronto.  I attended two of them, but much like the Argo home games, the tailgating was not the real thing like what we see on TV.  I want to experience the slow cooked pulled pork!  The jumbo hotdogs, ribs and burgers!  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Much like Christmas and Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is a day where millions of people throw whatever diet they might be on out the window.  Everything becomes super-sized!  I like super-sized every now and then.

Ingredients for Slow cooked Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs.

I like meat!  And on special occasions, I like fatty meat!  And lots of it!  And I like my slow cooker!  I like beef, sausage, fresh spices and cheese!  I like meatballs!  I like meatballs stuffed with cheese and spices!  And Super Bowl means super-sized!

This giant mozzarella stuffed Italian meatballs recipe is perfect for the big game!  Granted, they’re not as mind blowing as a lot of the tailgate items people come up with, but they do the job!  And they make the house smell awesome!

Meatballs stuffed and ready to spend a few hours in the slow cooker!

I got this recipe from Buzzfeed and I highly recommend trying them out!  I wasn't able to find ground Italian sausage, but I did find linked hot Italian sausage and it was as simple as removing the meat from the casing.  Give them a try.  (Insert football cliche here!)

Here is a link to a video quickly detailing the process:



1 lb Ground Beef
1 lb Hot Italian Sausage
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Parsley
1 Jar Traditional Pasta Sauce
1 Brick Mozzarella Cheese, Cut into squares the size of one die (or dice, however you want to pronounce it).

1.  Place all ingredients, EXCEPT PASTA SAUCE and MOZZARELLA, in a large bowl and combine.
2.  Take a handful of the mixture and roll into a ball, slightly smaller than a tennis ball.
3.  Place a mozzarella square into the middle of the meatball, cover and roll into a ball.  Place in slow cooker.  Repeat until you have used all of the meatball mixture.  It's ok if the meatballs are stacked.
4.  Cover all meatballs with the pasta sauce.
5.  Cook on HIGH for 2-2.5 hours (I cooked on high for about 2h 45m).  Mozzarella will most likely escape from some meatballs as they cook.  This is normal.
6.  Scarf 'em down and enjoy!

Chef Nairby

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