Saturday, September 15, 2012


With fall comes football season, and with football season comes tailgating, and with tailgating comes decisions.  Such as "beer or liquor" (my group always did both, why limit your inebriation options?), "set up before or after the game" (if it was noon, 4, or 8, you best expect both!) and "maroon or orange" (because come on, there are no other colors)

LOGAN! He falls forward for a gain of 2!  First Down!

Through the past 5 years I've buckled down on Saturday to go honor the most sacred of holy days in the church of football.  With the honorable Frank Beamer presiding assisted by Bud Foster.

Lunchpail Defense.  Go to work.

So while there are many things that could be different from Saturday to Saturday, there were always 2 constants: spinach dip and pinwheels.  Both we figure originated from the football gods to be distributed amongst mortals to enjoy while getting ready to discuss the highly technical maneuvers that were laid out before us.

Depicted: Beamerball

So I present to you, tailgate-worthy pinwheels

5 slices of bacon or precrumbled bacon
1 tube of crescent rolls or 1 crescent roll sheet
1 tub of onion and chive cream cheese (I use the 1/3 and you can't tell the difference)
1 cup of cheddar cheese (this is a rough estimate)

If you didn't get precrumbled bacon, BONUS TUTORIAL!  Bacon on the broiler!  Preheat the oven to broil.  Lay out the bacon on a broiler pan.  This allows the bacon grease to run off the bacon into the broiler pan and you'll end up with a lot less fat on the bacon as it cooks.  Bacon is good enough without all the extra fat.

Put in the oven for about 2-3 minutes on each side depending on how crispy you like it.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Roll out the crescent rolls so there are no seams and just to generally make the surface larger.  Make it about 1/8" thick or thinner; enough to be able to support cream cheese.

Spread the entire tub of cream cheese over the surface.  Go up to all the edges except leave a strip on the far end plain.  Contents may shift during the rolling process.

Cover with cheddar cheese. Again we're going for general coverage on this.  I wouldn't create a layer of cheese, but enough that the surface is covered minus that strip up top.

This is usually what I go for.
Cut up the bacon and spread across the cheese.

Now begins the tricky rolling process.   Starting at the side closest to you begin rolling the crescent dough length-wise.  Make sure to patch tears as you go, keeping mildly tight so it's easier to cut but not so tight as you tear the dough.  Be gentle, and don't rush or it'll be a lot harder to cut.

Tears can easily be patched with some dough from the end.

Plus if you rush you could lose toppings.  That bacon is valuable.  Go munch on a piece if it; it'll make you feel better.

After finishing rolling up the dough, it's time to slice.  Going along the tube, slice pieces about 1/2-3/4" thick.  As you cut, roll the dough slightly back and forth.  It will help preserve the shape.  And it's ok if you have to do some reconstructive surgery.  They're going to be just as good in the end regardless of shape.

Explosion!  This one came out ok

Line a baking sheet or 2 with parchment paper (easier cleanup, I see what you did there) and arrange the pinwheels on it with a small space between each.  Put in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Check periodically, you want them to come out lightly browned.

Not yet ready, give it about 4 more minutes
Transfer to a cooling sheet and serve warm.  Be ready to be loved by everyone watching the game.

Good luck to your team!  & I'm going to settle into watching the two best teams on the planet: Virginia Tech and whoever's beating UVA this week.


Easy Brown Sugar Garlic Chicken

One unfortunate thing about cooking for yourself is that most meals are built for the family of 4.  Since I'm missing several of the components of that nuclear unit, it becomes cook one day and you're good to go for the week.

The presentation is never this good 4 days in a row.
In order not to get sick of the same meal, since my normal food exactness tolerance is tripped by anything other than salmon & hamburgers after 3 days, I've developed the Sidebartender's Shots methods.  Aka: cutting the portion size down to last 2 days and cook everything on the stove top.  Seriously, I don't have the patience to put things in the oven or to wash up after it's done.  The dishwasher was invented for a reason and that is so I don't have to go through the 24 pack of sponges as quickly.

Totally got some room there in the front.

After seeing this recipe I decided that the oven and 2 of the chicken breasts were unnecessary, and I shot it up!  So Pinteresting!  Based off Easy Garlic Chicken from

2 chicken breasts or 4 thin sliced chicken breasts
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp brown sugar

If you're using thin sliced chicken breasts, congrats on saving some time & you can skip down a couple pics to enjoy your deliciousness sooner.  If you're not, congrats of saving some money and we'll quickly play catchup.  Slice your breasts in half so you end up with 4 thin breasts.

If they're still a bit thick, whip out that mallet and hammer them thinner.  The thinner they are the faster they cook, and since we're on the stove top, it's really important to ensure that they cook all the way through.

Add the oil to a sauce pan over medium heat and cook the chicken until about cooked through.

We are not ready
Remove chicken from heat.

Lookin good!
To oil in the pan, add the garlic and saute the garlic.

Add the brown sugar and continue to saute until the garlic is browned.

Add the chicken back to the pan.  Spoon the mixture over the chicken.  Lower the heat, cover, and let cook for 5 minutes.

Dig in and enjoy minimal cleanup.  Seriously guys, the dishwasher can totally pull the weight on this one.  *high five*

Sidebar: this sauce is extraordinarily good and I can easily imagine it over salmon, mixed in with tuna, or a glaze on a hamburger.  Might even be enough to bump the tolerance up to 4 days.  Get creative!  That's over half of what cooking is in the first place.