@CommonsCooks: Tailgate Treats

Be the consummate football party host this fall with delightful, easy and tasty meals. This week’s @Commons Cooks offers three crowd-pleasing dishes perfect for a Game Day party or tailgating excursion. That means spending less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the game with friends and family.

Chicken Gumbo

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes



  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen, cut okra
  • 8 ounces smoked (precooked) Andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)


  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium.
  2. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Add 4 cups water; stir in okra and sausage.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Stir in shredded chicken, and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.

Required Equipment:

  • Large skillet

Recipe Credit: www.marthastewart.com

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes



  • 1 lb. ground beef/sirloin
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. steak sauce
  • 1 c. beef stock
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 pkg. sliced mushrooms
  • Provolone cheese, cut into slices or pre-sliced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Buns/Rolls


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add onion, green pepper, and mushrooms. Cook another 3-4 minutes until they start to get tender. Stir in steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes.
  4. Split rolls, place one slice of cheese on one side and toast under broiler while keeping watch so they don’t burn.
  5. Place a scoopful of the meat on the bottom half of bun, drizzle with steak sauce and place cheesy bun on top

Required Equipment:

  • Large skillet

Recipe Credit: www.sixsistersstuff.com

Chili Mac


Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes



  • 1 pound corkscrew shaped pasta with lines or elbows with lines
  • 2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan in a slow stream) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seed and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper sauce
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup beer or beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Chopped scallions, for garnish


  1. Boil pasta until al dente in a large pot
  2. Meanwhile, use a big, deep pot to brown beef in oil over medium high heat. Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Season meat mixture with cumin, cayenne, salt, and chili powder.
  3. Cook together for 5 minutes, stir in beer or broth, and reduce by half for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain pasta and add hot pasta to chili pot, stirring to coat pasta evenly. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped scallions.

Required Equipment:

  • Large Pot (2)

Recipe Credit:www.foodnetwork.com

Get Up & Go: Fun on the Freedom Trail

Boston is arguably the signature destination for tourists who want to experience a bit of the American Revolution. At the heart of this fascination lies the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile walk marked by a red line that passes through sites significant to our nation’s path to independence. This week’s Get Up & Go! gives you five destinations along the Freedom Trail that are steeped in history—and perfect for a fun fall day in the city.

Park Street Church

Founded in 1809, The Park Street Church has been known throughout history as a site of human rights activism and social change.  But, did you know that for 36 years, between 1810 and 1846, the church was the tallest building in the U.S. boasting a 217 ft. steeple? Author Henry James called the church “the most interesting mass of bricks and mortar in America.”

blog1photo via www.cityofboston.org

Massachusetts State House

Once a patch of land where John Hancock’s cows grazed, the Massachusetts State House is today recognized among the most stunning public buildings in the country. The State House’s iconic gold dome was initially wooden but was covered in copper in 1802 after the roof leaked.  It was re-gilded once again in 1874 with gold leaf. The dome was continually re-gilded every five to ten years throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century. It was last re-gilded in 1997.


(photo via www.boston-discovery-guide.com)

USS Constitution

Standing 207 ft. tall, the USS Constitution is distinguished as the oldest commissioned warship still afloat in the world. Named by George Washington, the ship famously saw action during the War of 1812 with Great Britain. During the war, a crew member remarked that cannon balls fired at the ship appeared to bounce off as if the boat were made of iron. Hence, the nickname “Old Ironsides.”


(photo via www.photoblog.nbcnews.com)

The Blackstone Block

At the corner of Union and Hanover Streets is The Blackstone Block in Faneuil Hall, the oldest preserved city block in the country. Built during the early 18th century, the historic block is home to Union Oyster House, America’s oldest restaurant. It was originally constructed in the 1700’s as a silk shop, but has served fresh, local seafood since 1826.


(photo via www.stevestravelguide.com)

Paul Revere House

Paul Revere, famous for his legendary midnight ride, left his home on the night of April 18, 1775 to warn Bostonians of the enemy’s approach. The home later housed hundreds of Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants throughout the 19th century. Converted to a museum in 1908 the restored dwelling is now downtown Boston’s oldest building and stands as an important historical landmark that embodies the lore of colonial America.


(photo via www.tripadvisor.com)