Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Something to Cheer About

Photos by Aimee Broussard

Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar,

All for the return of football, stand up and holler!

It was beginning to look like this season might offer a return to normalcy, but alas, we seem to be trending in the wrong direction when it comes to the surge of COVID-19. The 2020 season couldn’t have been any more awkward in my opinion. There was the weirdness of football being played in socially distant, partially filled stadiums … while folks wore masks. It was not for me. I stayed home with my snacks. Should this trend continue, you will find me at home with my snacks once again.

And speaking of snacks, the return of fall football also brings with it the return of football snacks! Appetizers, it’s your time to shine, my friends, and the fact that we can now gather together to enjoy them makes these recipes all the more appealing. 

You cannot go wrong with my tried and true Hot Crab & Artichoke Dip. It’s creamy and cheesy with a little bit of kick, making for an easy crowd favorite. If seafood is not your thing, then perhaps some Cheesy Pull Apart Bread with a spicy Creole topping slathered on might do the trick. And yes, you read that correctly. Pull. Apart. Bread. 

Wash it all down with some Purple Reign (see what I did there?) Cocktails, a spin on the wildly popular drink named after Prince’s sixth album. They are delicious and they are fun, and it’s pretty hard to resist team-color-coordinated beverages. 

Cheers to the return of the South’s favorite pastime! 


Hot crab and artichoke dip

Ingredients:
1 (12-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
1 cup fresh lump crabmeat
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Paprika and chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Chips or crostini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix artichokes, cream cheese, mayonnaise, crabmeat, garlic, Tabasco and pepper. Pour into oven-proof casserole dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Turn oven to broil, on the lowest setting, and allow the top to lightly brown. Keep your eye on it—it only takes a few minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and top with chopped parsley, if desired. Serve hot with chips or crostini.
Makes 8-10 servings.

Cheesy pull apart bread

Ingredients:
1 loaf French bread, or 2 round loaves
2 ½ cups Italian blend shredded cheese, divided
1 stick butter, softened
2 Tbsp. grated onion
2 Tbsp. Creole mustard
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
Chopped parsley or green onions for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Cut deep X’s across the top of bread but not all the way through to the bottom. Wrap aluminum foil halfway up sides of bread, leaving the top exposed. Stuff 2 cups cheese into the X cuts. Combine butter, onion, mustard and seasoning and spread over the top. Sprinkle on remaining cheese. Place on baking sheet and set on the bottom rack of oven. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley or chopped green onions, if desired. Serve warm, allowing guests to pull apart chunks of bread. 
Makes 8-10 servings.

Purple reign cocktails

Ingredients:
3 oz. vodka
6 oz. lemonade
½ oz. Blue Curaçao liqueur
½ oz. grenadine
Lemon peel for garnish 
Fill 2 glasses with ice. Combine first 4 ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain liquid into glasses over ice. Garnish with a lemon peel. 
Note: Add more Blue Curaçao to make a darker shade of purple. 
Makes 2 servings.

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning cookbook author. Seen on QVC, Rachael Ray and more, she is a self-proclaimed accidental entrepreneur with a penchant for porches and sweet hospitality. Find her online at aimeebroussard.com.