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Watching game with dad? Make great snacks

If your dad is hunkering down on Father's Day to watch a baseball game or a movie, make sure you're there to enjoy it with him. And since it's his big day, it's your job to take care of the snacks.

It's all about tailoring your food offerings to the event. If you were getting together for a Truffaut film festival or to listen to your latest Cleveland Symphony CD, you'd want to go the whole canapes and wine route. If you were hosting a Rotary luncheon or the neighborhood watch party, you'd want to crank out a wide variety of fairly substantial finger foods.

This, however, is a sporting event. Basically, you don't want to feed people anything you won't mind seeing hurled into the air when they disagree with the ump's call. This simplifies things considerably, but that doesn't at all mean your offerings need to be bland!

Get Your Popcorn!

Looking for a popcorn that will make you famous? The folks at Great Lakes Popcorn have created a line of popcorns for every taste that uses a unique process that evenly and thoroughly flavors every single kernel. From their addictive Vanilla Butternut to the spicy kick of Wild Walleye, there's not a bum choice in the list.

They even manage to make root beer popcorn that actually tastes like root beer. I'm a complete snob when it comes to root beer, having cut my teeth drinking the birch beer produced in Pennsylvania, and this stuff is fantastic.

Next on my list is their salt and vinegar. We select few who crave that particular flavor combination in potato chips will gather before the popcorn stand in tribute, I've no doubt.

Meaty Munchies

Here are two quick-fix favorites that will satisfy the hardcore carnivores in your group:

Zippy Meatballs

This one calls for three whole ingredients. I'd advise making a double recipe, because they'll go FAST.

In a crock pot, combine one bag of frozen Italian-style meatballs, 12 ounces of grape jelly (cheap is fine) and a 10-ounce bottle of chili sauce (found with the ketchup in most grocery stores). Turn the crock pot on low and stir occasionally until jelly is melted and combined with the chili sauce. The sweet-spicy flavor is addictive. Feel free to make the recipe sound much more complex than it is when you tell your guests about it.

Pigs In Sugar

If three ingredients is too complex, try this mixture of two.

In the aforementioned crock pot, mix two 1-lb. packages of all-beef cocktail franks with ¾ c. of light brown sugar. Turn heat to low and stir occasionally until sugar melts and forms a glaze on the franks. Serve with toothpicks, bamboo skewers or those groovy little cocktail swords usually found in tropical drinks.

The Heavy Artillery

The following concoction, called anything from "Piggy Toes" to "Coyote Droppings," is quite possibly the most addictive snack food ever created.

2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup margarine (yes, you actually DO need to use margarine for this one)
½ c. light corn syrup
½ tsp. baking soda
1 14 ½ ounce bag baked Cheetos or other cheese puffs


Preheat oven to 250° F. Spray a large oven-safe metal bowl with nonstick cooking spray and empty the cheese puffs into it.

In a heavy saucepan, mix sugar, margarine and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and keep boiling for five minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove pan from heat and mix in baking soda. Mixture will turn white and become slightly foamy.

Pour syrup mixture over cheese puffs and toss VERY thoroughly to coat all the puffs. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Spread baked puffs onto waxed paper, separating as much as possible (you will end up with a few stuck in clumps). Allow to cool completely.

To say that you can't eat just one of these is a gross understatement. Strongly consider doubling this batch.

If you use a large enough bowl, you can cook a double recipe all at once. Increase baking time by 20 minutes or more, as needed. Watch the puffs and pull them from the oven when they begin to take on a slight golden-brown color.

Now, select your favorite adult beverage, crank up the big-screen, and settle in.

Article Topic Follows: Father's Day

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