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Awesome Super Bowl Sliders and Salad

Chef Grandma —

I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1941. My mother, father and I lived in a modest house in a middle class neighborhood. We did not have an organic garden or fruit trees. Nor did we have egg-laying hens. We did not grow herbs in the window sill or make our own ketchup. We did, however, have WONDER BREAD and VELVETTA and MIRACLE WHIP!

Everything we ate came from either a box, a can, a bag, or the butcher’s display case. Dinner usually consisted of boiled white potatoes, canned vegetable, and a greasy hamburger patty or dry pork chop or the always dreaded liver. Occasionally, we had stew or meatloaf. There was nothing glamorous about Midwestern food during my childhood.

There was no string cheese, Coffeemate, or sweetened cereal in the neighborhood grocery store. Who heard of pasta? We called it macaroni. Who knew about eggplant or kiwi? Not anyone in my family. There was, however, grapefruit to eat with the runny eggs and limp bacon, the usual fare after Sunday mass. Runny eggs and grapefruit are still on my “Refuse to Eat” list.

Butter was white lard-looking goo, encased in a tough plastic bag with an orange bubble in the middle of it. Squeeze the bubble until the coloring mixed in with the white lard stuff and then knead it like bread dough. When the orange-ish color turned everything yellow, it was a bag of butter.

In 1953, my family — which now included a younger sister and brother — boarded a train for a California vacation. My parents liked the weather, the seaside city, and the people, and we never went back to Kansas City from that vacation. My father did, however. He sold our house, packed up our belongings, and drove my grandmother, aunt and her two sons out to California.

My culinary experiences certainly took a turn in my new surroundings. The first night in California, a relative made tamale pie. Since I had never tasted Mexican food, not even a black olive, I was definitely apprehensive. No boiled white potatoes on my plate! The next night, we had tacos. My family was hooked…on California as well as its cuisine.

My mother’s midwestern cooking, however, remained at our family dinner table for quite awhile. Eventually, however, we were eating regional and more interesting food, nothing exotic but at least tasty.

My father was a meat and potatoes man, and my Indiana-born husband is of the same ilk. So, not too adventurous in my cooking although often I surprise him and myself with a really good recipe. My children and grandchildren appreciate my endeavors, however, and they always enjoy something new when they visit. I have bookshelves of cookbooks and sometimes just pull one out and read it like a novel and look at the gorgeous food.

One of my all-time surprTouchdown Slidersise recipes came just after Christmas this year. Everyone was here to celebrate, it was busy, and there was a slider recipe that looked easy and quick. I do not make fancy food or raise anything green in cute containers or serve haute cuisine to my family and friends, but interesting is paramount.

This slider recipe is so easy, my grandchildren could make it. Now, there are many slider recipes, but this one is different because of the butter sauce that goes on top.

Since Super Bowl Sunday is coming this weekend, this would be good to set out and let the fans help themselves. All you need is dinner rolls, meat of choice, cheese, and butter sauce.

Split the dinner rolls in half (I smeared vegetable cream cheese on one side, but that is not necessary). Cut the meat to fit the roll or fold over (I used boiled ham and turkey both), add cheese (any kind) and the top of the roll. Place them all in a pan to fit.

Next the butter sauce: Melt a cube of butter, add a couple of shakes of dried onion, Worchester sauce, and a good squirt of mustard, salt and pepper. Mix this up and spoon over each roll until it is all used. Be sure and cover the sides of the rolls also.

Cover the rolls with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and add another 5 minutes or so until the rolls are totally hot and the cheese melted. Plan on two for each person, but my 6-year-old great-grandson ate two so maybe three per person. They will go quickly.

Field Goal SaladAnother great recipe to try that is easy and fun partners any size Mason jar or any clean jar and lid with a layered salad. Pour your choice of salad dressing in the bottom of the jar, add whatever you would marinate (meat, pasta, tomatoes, mushrooms). Next layer cheese, egg, vegetables, olives, bacon, etc., and finally your lettuce of choice. Always keep the lettuce on top to prevent it going limp.

These can be varied salads and will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two, just bring them out on game day and let your guests choose what they want. Dump them out on a plate or bowl and everyone is happy and glad you are the cook of the day.

You can make these two recipes on Saturday, stick them in the refrigerator and forget about them until game time. Heat the rolls a little longer because they will be cold.

Cheer on your team with lots of rah-rahs this weekend for either the Cardinals or Broncos. You will get applause also if you serve these easy recipes to your guests. Just tell them Chef Grandma coached you.

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