As any seasoned NFL fan knows, the home opener requires special preparation — dusting off of the stadiums seats, freshening the game-day togs, preparing a tailgate menu, shopping, cooking, loading the car, the traditional screeching U-turn and return to the house for the tickets.
You know the drill.
We lucked into a tailgaters dream a few years ago, a type A personality with who doesn’t mind a couple of C-listers jumping the line. Our friend Gregg does all of the legwork in scouting and preparing our spot. He found us a gem a few years ago, a house in the shadow of Lambeau Field and on the edge of a park. The Packers bought that house last year, and we had to regroup.
Gregg and his sidekick Dennis scouted all summer, and landed us another terrific spot, a private house just steps away from our entrance to Lambeau.
Here’s the genius of the Gregg method of tailgating — the grill stays there all season. Anyone who has had to dump smokey coals and shove a hot grill back into the back of a car understands the brilliance of this detail.
He also sends out a pre-season game plan, a spreadsheet with food assignments, that we can tweak as the season rolls along.
I’ve been assigned potatoes, which are boring, and dessert, which is not.
Also, this weekend, I ended up with a whole Saturday afternoon to myself, so I had a little fun in the kitchen.
In honor of autumn, tailgates, my beloved Packers and one really fortuitous timeout, I bring you these cute little pies which, thanks to my pal Sheldon Richardson, tasted even sweeter Sunday afternoon.
We’ll call them this:
Large Parchment Baking Cups (These are muffin liners you can find in any grocery store)
6 apples, peeled and cut into small cubes (mine were small. I normally just need five for a regular pie)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
Three rolls of Pie Crust (I used frozen pie dough. Don’t tell Molly)
Caramel Sauce (I used Smuckers Simple Delight Salted Caramel Sauce)
I found a lid that was just a pinch smaller than my muffin covers, and cut circles of pie dough. Then tucked them into the muffin tin. For the filling, combine apples, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and spoon into the pie shells. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
Remove to a baking rack. When cooled, drizzle with caramel sauce and top with chopped pecans.
I also made pumpkin tarts and for those I just used the recipe on the back of the canned pumpkin tin. This recipe made 36 tarts, 18 apple and 18 pumpkin pie.
They turned out pretty tasty and easy to eat. Enjoy and, as always, Go Pack Go!