George’s Gameday Mac and Cheese

It's that time of year again; cooler evenings, more events going on and tailgates to organize. That's when I turn to my crowd pleasing Mac-N-Cheese. If you're planning your Gameday menu, then my Mac and Cheese is a must; you can make my mac-mix ahead. Chill it, then just bake-it just before game time. It's good time food.

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Use my recipe as a guide and feel free to add smoked ham, pancetta, pulled chicken or grilled shrimp to make your own home-spin.  

George’s Gameday Mac and Cheese

As seen on Live with Regis and Kelly by Chef George Hirsch | Makes 6 servings

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon hot sauce

pinch fresh grated nutmeg

2 cups half & half

1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Jack cheese, shredded

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

2 Tablespoons fresh italian parsley, chopped

1 1/2 pounds uncooked elbow, shells, or other small pasta

Melt Butter in a large soup pot or saucepan. Add onion, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add the broth, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add the bay leaves, thyme, diced green chilies, hot sauce, and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Stir in the half & half and heat to a simmer. Slowly add the Cheddar, Jack, and Parmesan cheeses, stirring until they melt and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the cooked pasta. Place in a serving dish and eat immediately or sprinkle with Mac Topping, and bake five minutes in a 350 degree oven. 

Optional Additions:

1 cup each Chorizo or smoked sausage, chopped plum tomatoes

For the Mac Topping

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

6 Tablespoons bread crumbs

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

1 Tablespoon each fresh cilantro & parsley, chopped

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Quantity:
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Dishin' Up Gameday

Ravens VS. 49ers

LOCATION New Orleans—Super Bowl XLVII and it's time to plan your Gameday party for the biggest sporting event of the year is taking place. Why not plan a buffet-style party as a fun way to celebrate this year's Super Bowl. 

In New Orleans they'll sure love the flavor of the grill; so whether your party is indoors or out, plan a menu with a little outdoor style for ultimate flavor! 

A good game plan to consider is serving finger foods such as Hush Puppies, Sausage & Artichoke Calzones, Pork Sliders and steaming bowls of Crock of Beer Chili. There's a whole lot of corn in the midwest so be sure to have my Pecan Cornbread ready before the pre game action. But, don’t forget to honor the host city with my favorite Grilled Schweinefilet Sandwich. I’ll be serving it myself on gameday – so you know it’s got to be good. 

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Practical tips for preparing your biggest sports party of the year: 

Pre-Gameday

• Every winning team has key players. Select your team of key players for your “GameDay Party” who can assist in menu planning, preparation, and clean up. And don’t forget to assign the grill chefs.

• Consider a buffet. Serving your main foods buffet style takes the pressure off of timing in respect to the game action. 

• Include in your party plan mix; preparing some foods from home and buying some prepared foods from a local restaurant or specialty food market to remove GameDay party pressure off the home chef. 

•  If part of your party menu includes catered or prepared ready-to-eat or take out foods from your local restaurant or market make sure you instruct them if you want your food ready hot or cold; so you won’t be getting your ribs hot at 11AM - when not serving until 3PM.

• Create the party shopping list several days before the Big Game and be prepared to do your shopping three to four days in advance, except breads.

• Take inventory of your bowls, dishes, silverware, glassware, coolers at least three days in advance (or just go with eco paper products for easy cleanup). Short on glasses? No sweat, use mason jars.

• You’ll need about 1 pound of ice per person for drinks, and chilling soft drinks, wine and beer. BTW, craft beer is huge in Indiana, so you may want to set up a micro brew bar in lieu of standard brew. 

• It may be chilly outside the Stadium, but a batch of margarita or sangria will add a tropical warmth to any crowd. Serve it in a large glass infusion jar - served up with a ladle into mason jars for a fun beverage option.

• Prepare hot foods a day ahead and keep in the refrigerator for easy heating on Gameday. 

Game Day Recipes

Game Day 

• Kick Off is approximately 6:30 EST PM, but you need to ready all the party foods early in the day so you do not miss any pre-game action 

• Prepare all dips, finger snacks and foods by 1pm or earlier if your party includes watching pre-game shows.   

Set up the bar one hour before guests arrive 

• Have all cold finger snacks out before guests arrive. 

Pre-Game

• Serve finger snacks such as nuts, cheese, crackers, assorted chips and dips. If serving hot hors d’ oeuvres, stagger heating so guests will enjoy them while they are still hot. 

• Now’s the time to cook-up any grilled foods so the grill chef doesn’t miss the coin toss. 

•  Heat hot foods one hour before game time and serve before kick off.

• I’m not much for betting, but a fun wager could be for the losing team’s fans to assist in party clean up. Washing cars?

1st Quarter 

Load up your plates & enjoy the first quarter action. 

Half Time

• Serve sandwiches and cold foods for half time. If serving hot foods have them fully prepared prior to the game. This makes no fuss serving, and you will not miss any game activities. 

3rd Quarter 

• As 3rd quarter closes it’s time to close the bar and put out desserts and coffee. 

4th Quarter 

• Two minute warning- a close game will keep everyone glued to the TV set. Serve finger sweets such as cookies and candies. Make extra George’s Chocolate Brownie Cookies and Blondie Bars the day before the GameDay to send home with party guests.