Yay! It’s an October football weekend in Kentucky. The weather is (usually) magnificent, and along with UK football, there’s Keeneland and horseracing. Planning a fun, grill menu for a crowd! So excited to be heading back to UK! Chances are we’ll be serving a crowd….

It’s a night game, and it’s cooler weather, so the food can be a bit heavier. It’ll be a delicious menu!


                                                     Pizza Puffs with Marinara sauce  

Spinach Dip with Veggies and Crackers  
OR Muffaletta Dip  
 Chili for a Crowd (if the weather’s cool enough)  
Bacon Swiss Burgers  
SIDES: A fall caprese salad and  
Either Grilled Zucchini (if the weather’s not too cold) 
ORBaked Potato Casserole 
DESSERT: Peanut Butter Cake

DRINK: Cider Surprise


3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
pinch of salt (optional)
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cubed pepperoni
1/2 cup good pizza or marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper flakes.

Whisk in the milk and egg.

Stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

The BEST Spinach Dip!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

2 10oz. pkgs. chopped spinach, cooked and well drained
2 cups sour cream
1 cup mayonaise
1 cup fresh minced parsley
1 cup chopped green onion tops
1 tsp Beau Monde seasoning
1 tsp dill weed
S & P to taste

Blend all together and chill. Best made the day before – serve with crudites and/or crackers.


(Courtesy Pip and Ebby)

16-oz. jar pickled mixed vegetables (giardiniera), rinsed, drained and chopped (remove stems from peppers if there are any)
8-oz. package cream cheese, cubed
4 oz. provolone cheese slices, cubed
2 oz. cooked ham, finely chopped
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed, drained and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Mix all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low setting for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in enough milk to reach dipping consistency.

Serve immediately or keep warm on low setting in crock pot for up to 2 hours. Add milk as necessary and continue to stir occasionally.

Serve over salami, atop a square of toasted Focaccia bread.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

(thanks to Silver Palate)

Serves 20 and is so so good! It can easily be halved for a smaller crowd. But, the flavor explosion you’ll get with each bite is to die for!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
4 pounds beef chuck, ground
1 can (12 ounces) tomato paste
1 1/2 TBSP minced garlic
1/3 cup ground cumin
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 TBSP dried basil
2 TBSP dried oregano
1 1/2 TBSP salt,
or to taste
1 1/2 TBSP freshly ground black pepper
3 cans (28 ounces each) Italian plum tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cans (16 ounces each) dark-red kidney beans, drained (I use smaller pinto beans)
2 cans (5 1/2 ounces each) pitted black olives, drained (I use pitted kalamata since I don’t care for regular black olives)

Heat the olive oil in a very large pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 minutes. Add the sausage meat and ground chuck; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the meats are well browned. Spoon off any excess fat and discard.
Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley and kidney beans. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Add olives; simmer for 5 minutes more to heat through. Serve immediately. Offer sour cream, chopped onion, shredded cheddar and/or monterey jack cheese, chopped jalapeno peppers and tabasco as toppings. YUM!


8 slices bacon
1 lb ground sirloin
1 tsp worchestershire
1-2 dashes tabasco
1/4 tsp dried thyme
S & P to taste

Prehead grill to medium high. Cook bacon on stovetop in a large skillet over med-low heat until just crisp (~6-7 minutes). Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Place the beef, worchestershire, tabasco, thyme and salt and pepper in a bowl, and toss lightly with a fork to combine. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.
Oil the grill grate well with vegetable oil. Add the burgers and grill for about 3 minutes for rare, 4 minutes for medium-rare. Turn them over and grill for another 3-4 minutes topping the burgers with Swiss cheese in the last minute of cooking.
Place the burgers on toasted buns and top them with bacon.
Offer as sides: tomato, onion, avocado and lettuce.


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

1 lb plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
1/3 cup EV olive oil, divided
1/4 cup basil leaves
1 lb cold fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss tomatoes with 2 TBSP EVOO and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper.

 Roast tomatoes cut sides up, in 1 layer in a 4-sided sheet pan until skins wrinkle and the tomatoes are beginning to brown on the bottom, about 45 minutes. Cool completely.

Cut basil into fine shreds. Arrange mozzarella and tomatoes on a platter and sprinkle with basil. Drizzle with vinegar and remaining oil. Season with pepper.


zucchini 12-14 inches long, sliced in slices 1/2 to 5/8 inch thick.
1/2 cup your favorite Italian salad dressing
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 -2 tsp. dried oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, or a combination (optional)

Cut zucchini into slices, making sure the slices are the same thickness. Combine salad dressing with garlic powder and dried herbs of your choice, if using. (I like this both with and without the extra flavorings. This is one place where fresh herbs are not better.) Put zucchini slices into ziploc bag, pour in marinade and let zucchini marinate 4 hours or longer, even as long as all day if desired.
To cook zucchini, preheat grill to medium-high. (You can only hold your hand there for 3-4 seconds.) You can spray the grill with non-stick spray if desired, but you don’t really need it.

Place zucchini on grill, having a spray bottle handy for taming any flames that shoot up from the oil in the marinade. After about 4 minute, check for grill marks, and rotate zucchini a quarter turn. Cook 3-4 more minutes on first side.

Turn zucchini to second side and cook about 4 minutes more, or until zucchini is starting to soften quite a bit, with the outside slightly charred and browned. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot.


(adapted from Martha Stewart)


5 lb russet potatoes
10 slices bacon
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chives, minced
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks.

Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces.

Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. Add the chives, 2 cups cheddar cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.

Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.

This recipe can always be adapted to heat on the grill. Simply prepare the casserole in advance and take to your tailgate. Heat on a medium hot grill until potatoes are heated through and then garnish with bacon.


I think of my step-mother every time I fix this cake, because she is a peanut butter FANATIC!  It super yummy though whether you love peanut butter or not.  Basically it’s a peanut butter version of a Chocolate Texas Sheet cake which means it’s super moist and oh so delicious!!!


2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking Soda
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter
1 cup water
1 cup peanut butter
½ cups milk or buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

1 stick butter
½ cup peanut butter
2 TBSP milk
1 pound powdered sugar


In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 cups flour and 1 tsp salt. Set aside.


Combine 2 sticks butter, 1 cup water and 1/2 cup peanut butter in saucepan and bring to boil.


Pour over flour mixture and mix.


Add milk, vanilla and eggs. Mix.



Pour in large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.


Bake at 350 F degrees for ~ 25 minutes or until it tests done.


Prepare frosting while cake is baking.

Bring butter, peanut butter and milk to boil in saucepan.


Add one pound of powdered sugar and mix well.  Add more milk if needed to attain desired consistency.


Pour frosting over warm cake after it comes out of the oven.  Cool completely and cut into squares.



Combine fresh apple cider, good gingery ginger ale, and Kentucky bourbon (we are using Woodford Reserve) in a 2:2:1 ratio. Cheers!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

And GO CATS!!!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Bill Fidler

Photo Credit: Doug Bogue