The Recipe Gals: Game day recipes that work for any occasion

Even though it is officially fall, we have been experiencing summer-like weather. With fall, we associate it with the changing of the leaves, cooler crisp weather and football. I have a couple of simple recipes you can serve at your next football gathering.

Cheeseburger Dip

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

one 15-ounce jar salsa con queso

1/3 cup half-and-half

1 cup shredded yellow cheddar

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons pickle relish

2 tablespoons ketchup, plus more for serving

salt and pepper

Tortilla chips, for serving

Preheat the oven to broil. Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the oil.

When the oil is hot, add the ground beef and cook, crumbling it with a spoon, until it begins to brown. Add the onion and cook until the onion is softened and the beef is cooked through, 8-10 minutes.

Clear an empty spot in the middle of the skillet, add the tomato paste and toast the paste for a minute. Sprinkle with the garlic powder and stir to coat the meat.

Stir in the salsa con queso and half-and-half. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until smooth, about a minute or two. Sprinkle the middle of the dip with the Cheddar cheese, leaving a small border around the edge without cheese.

Broil until the top is bubbly and browned in places, 1-2 minutes.

Mix together the mayonnaise, relish and ketchup in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. You can use a variety of toppings if you like: onions, dill pickle chips, chopped iceberg lettuce, diced tomato and yellow mustard.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Hint: This is a gluten free recipe. Check your ketchup and mayonnaise brands. This recipe is a crowd pleaser. You should get some kudos for serving this at your next football gathering.

This next recipe is a great fall dessert and easy to make. You can also serve this at a football gathering or any dinner gathering.

Caramelized Pears

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter,

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, more if you like totally up to you.

4 cups chopped, peeled ripe pears

In a skillet, combine brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolved, 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pears; cook and stir until the pears are tender, 5-10 minutes longer. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

Hint: This is a gluten free recipe. Again, check your brand of ice cream for additives that may contain gluten. You can also substitute apples if you don’t have pears. This is so simple but yet can be quite decadent. I hope you enjoy these simple fall-like recipes with your friends and family.

-Pamela Rolley

Another thing we associate with fall foods is their warmth. I have a couple of warm recipes that are perfect for breakfast, lunches and dinners.

This delicious Tomato Basil Mozzarella Tart is sweet, salty and herby, making the perfect balance for any fall breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Tart

For the crust:

6 ounces butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons

For the filling:

4 large eggs

1 cup ricotta cheese will be easier to mix at room temperature

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup small fresh basil leaves

10-15 colored small tomatoes depending on size

8 ounces fresh mozzarella coarsely grated

Preheat the oven to 410 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium-sized Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar and salt. Place the bowl in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and brown around the edges.

Remove the bowl from the oven and pour the flour into the butter mixture. Stir until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

Transfer the dough to a 10 or 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. When the dough has cooled down a bit, set aside a small piece of dough and then press the remaining dough into an even layer with your fingers.

Pierce the bottom with a fork all over. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove from the oven. Use the reserved dough to patch up any cracks that might occur during baking. Allow to cool before filling.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a sheet pan on the middle rack.

While the crust is cooling, combine eggs, ricotta, half and half, Italian seasoning and salt. Mix well to combine then add basil leaves and stir gently.

Slice tomatoes into quarter-inch slices and place on several layers of paper towels to drain.

Add mozzarella to the cooled crust and spread to an even layer of thickness. Pour egg mixture over the top. Bake on a heated pan for 10 minutes.

While the tart is baking, brush the tops of tomatoes lightly with olive oil. After 10 minutes, remove tart from the oven and arrange tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until just set or when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the tart to set up for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This warm kale salad can serve four main dish salads while also providing a great source of protein, nutrition and deliciousness.

Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad


1 bunch kale, ribs removed, chopped

Coarse kosher salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cup cooked quinoa

3 carrots, julienned

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped

1 avocado, sliced

1 apple, thinly sliced

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 clove garlic, pressed

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a small bowl or jar, whisk together dressing ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Sprinkle kale with salt and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Using your hands, massage until dark.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the kale, quinoa, carrot, red bell pepper and sunflower seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until the kale is slightly wilted. Remove from the heat and add the cilantro. Stir to combine.

Toss salad with half the dressing and serve drizzled with additional dressing, sliced avocado, a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes if desired. You can also top the salad with sliced apples and feta cheese.

Hint: You can add more to this salad by adding your favorite cooked meats like shrimp, chicken or salmon.

-Karen Sick

The Recipe Gals, Pam Rolley and Karen Sick, together have more than 60 years’ experience as nutritionists in the public school and university settings. You’ll find their delicious offerings every other week in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette’s section, The Taste.


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