Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


September 9, 2013

Lee Ward: Food and football come together in ESPN reporter's book: 9/10/13

ASHLAND — There is one aspect of football that appeals to every fan: tailgating.

Food you’ll find before, during and after the game is some of the most satisfying comfort food there is.

That’s what makes “Taste of the Town” by Todd Blackledge and J.R. Rosenthal so successful.

Blackledge, an ESPN reporter, combined his love of food and football to create a book that recommends restaurants in many college football towns (sorry, not Lexington) and includes recipes for some of their most prized dishes, all appropriate for tailgating.

It also has a section of recipes from coaches. Some of those recipes are funny, like University of Georgia’s Mark Richt’s Hot Dog Delight, which calls for 2 hot dogs, 2 hot dog buns, sliced cheese, ketchup and 1 or 2 tablespoons of baked beans. No thanks.

But some of the coaches’ recipes look mighty good, like this one submitted by Dan Mullen at Mississippi State University; he admits it’s prepared by Megan Mullen at his home. I made this at my house and I believe you need more chili powder and maybe a few red pepper flakes, too.


3 cups cooked rice

1 can whole stewed tomatoes, crushed

1 cup chopped green bell peppers

1 cup chopped celery

8 tablespoons butter, 6 tablespoons of it melted

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1⁄4 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound medium to large shrimp, cleaned and deveined

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large casserole dish, combine cooked rice with crushed stewed tomatoes.

In saucepan over medium, sauteé green peppers and celery in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add mushrooms and onions until all vegetables are cooked.

Put sauteé vegetables in casserole dish and add chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Stir in uncooked shrimp and the six tablespoons melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Al Golden, University

                 of Miami

Prepared by Kelly Golden

1⁄8 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for chicken

4 cups chopped yellow onion

1⁄8 cup minced garlic

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

2 15-ounce cans Great Northern beans

1 teaspoon chili powder

1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and ground black pepper, to taste

4 large tomatoes

2 to 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a large saucepan, heat the 1⁄8 cup olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Cook onions until translucent.

Add garlic and cook for one minute.

Add bell peppers, beans, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper and cook for a minute.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, crush tomatoes in batches.

Add tomatoes for the saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rub chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon oil and place them on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook chicken at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.

Let cook slightly. Cut into 3⁄4-inch chunks.

Add chicken to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with crackers or cornbread.


Even better than the coaches’ recipes are recipes that come from some of the better eateries in some of the college towns.

This simple but different recipe comes from Chandler’s Deli in Knoxville, Tenn.


1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 jar pimentoes

1⁄2 cup diced celery

1⁄2 cup diced onion

1⁄2 cup diced green pepper

2 cups diced cooked chicken

1 cup milk

1 pound linguini

8 ounces shredded American cheese, plus some for garnish

Combine all ingredients except pasta in a medium saucepan.

Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Add other ingredients. Mix well and top with shredded cheese.


Ballyho Grill

Gainesville, Fla.

1⁄2 cup butter

2 cinnamon sticks

1⁄2 cup brown sugar

3 ounces heavy cream

2 bananas, thickly sliced at an angle

2 ounces banana liqueur

2 ounces triple sec

2 ounces 151-proof rum

1⁄3 cup superfine sugar

1 large bowl of ice cream or 2 ice cream-filled crepes.

Over low heat, melt butter in a pan with cinnamon sticks.

Add brown sugar and stir until it begins to melt.

Add heavy cream and keep stirring until smooth.

Add bananas, liqueur and triple sec.

Add run, but be careful, because it will catch fire briefly.

Sprinkle sugar, stirring constantly.

Let sauce thicken to a syrup-like consistency.

Pour the sauce over the ice cream and crepes and serve.


While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send email to lward@dailyindependent.com.

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