Well, we still have a lot of football left, don’t we! But the really big match-up will be the Super Bowl on February 13 in Inglewood, and my husband is already thinking about “football food” for that day.

Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at barbiewb@hotmail.com.

John even suggested that he could remove the tailgate from his truck, so we could have a tailgate party inside the house where it’s warm! I told him I’d have to give that some serious thought. 

I have, however, been thinking about a menu of sorts for the game, and the following recipes can be made ahead, so any cooking is out of the way before game-time. Of course, I always have to have a bowl of onion dip, which is a tradition in this family, but this year I’m going to “tweak” it by adding Blue Cheese. Other than that, I like a variety of party foods.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

Chicken Wings in Maple-Whiskey Sauce

Ingredients:

3 pounds chicken wings (about 16)

1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup or maple-flavor syrup

1⁄2 cup whiskey

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut off tips of wings and discard. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil. Arrange wings in a single layer in pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Drain well. In a 31⁄2 or 4-quart slow cooker, combine maple syrup, whiskey, and melted butter. Add wings, stirring to coat with sauce. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 21⁄2 hours. To serve, keep on warm or low-heat setting for up to 2 hours. Makes 16 servings.

Creamy Blue Cheese Onion Dip

In a medium bowl, stir together one 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream and 2 tablespoons dry onion soup mix. Stir in 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup crumbled blue cheese. Cover and chill until ready to serve. If mixture is too stiff after chilling, stir in 1 tablespoon milk. Serve with vegetables dippers such as carrot and celery sticks, cauliflower florets, and green, red, and yellow sweet pepper strips.

Southwest Snackin’ Mix

Place 8 cups popped popcorn in a very large bowl. Lightly coat popcorn with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle popcorn with 1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix; toss gently to coat. Stir in 2 cups peanuts, 11⁄2 cups corn chips, 1 cup golden raisins, and 3⁄4 to 1 cup pumpkin seeds. Makes 12 servings.

It has been one year since ECHO opened a transitional shelter in Paso Robles. Today that shelter is fully operational and has helped hundreds of people experiencing homelessness with shelter, food and supportive services. Many who have used the shelter consider it a success as more than 100 individuals have transitioned into permanent housing and/or become employed.

Success can be partially contributed to the large outpouring of support from donors, community members, and local businesses in Paso Robles, who formed a meal provider network of over 40 teams and a volunteer force of 350. 

This is just another example of the caring people here in North County. Keep up the great work!

Cheers!