If you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that the best thing about football season is the awesome game day food! Of course, living in Colorado it’s usually a bit chilly for tailgating this time of year (or I’m not a true die-hard fan), so we often “tablegate” in the comfort of our home.
I don’t usually go all out with game day food unless it’s a big game. And this past Sunday was a big game! The Denver Bronco’s vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. Long time rivals, both teams were playing for the top spot in the AFC West Division. I knew everyone would be glued to the television and there would be little chance of getting my husband and three boys to sit at the table for a formal dinner. Which meant it was the perfect opportunity for creating some delicious tailgate fare with the new Farmer’s Garden products from Vlasic.
These artisanal quality pickles are hand-packed with specially selected cucumbers, carrots, peppers, garlic, herbs and spices, with no artificial ingredients. There are several varieties available, including Zesty Garlic Chips, Bread and Butter Chips, Kosher Dill Spears, Kosher Dill Halves, and Dill Chips.
I should probably mention that besides being a huge football fan, my husband is something of a pickle fanatic. He could hardly wait until Sunday for me to open up these jars. I’ve seen him put pickles on his tacos folks, lest there be any doubt about how much he loves everything pickled!
I stashed away the dill spears to use in a game day recipe (below) and set some bread and butter chips out for snacking. They were gone well before the end of the first quarter–pickles, carrots, peppers–everything! They really were delicious! The pickle slices were thick and crunchy and even the kids gobbled up the carrots and peppers, which is totally out of character–especially the carrot gobbling. Everything was just so fresh tasting. I can see why the Farmer’s Garden line was voted a 2013 product of the year by consumers.
The Farmer’s Garden products are perfect game day snacks on their own, but they’ll also add a zesty crunch to many of your favorite game day recipes. I chopped up some of the dill spears, along with the carrots, peppers and garlic, and added them to these amazing baked Italian sandwiches.
These sandwiches were perfect for watching the game! Because everything is baked in a single loaf, they’re easy to transport if you are heading out to the stadium, but they’re also great for serving a crowd at home. Crusty bread loaves are sliced, but not quite all the way through. Then the loaves are stuffed with Italian meat, cheese and the chopped pickled vegetables from Vlasic. Everything is drizzled with some olive oil, sprinkled with Italian seasoning, wrapped in foil and baked until warm and toasty.
When you’re ready to eat, just slice the sandwiches apart and serve! We made 2 loaves–one to eat at the beginning of the game and another to warm up at halftime. All that cheering really works up an appetite.
Any of the Farmer’s Garden products would be great in this recipe. My family really loved the sandwiches with the dill pickles, but the bread and butter and zesty garlic varieties would have been equally delicious. In fact, if you really want to go all out, you could offer a variety of fillings and let everyone stuff their own portion of the loaf–great if you have any picky football fans. We had a few pepperoni and cheese only sections on the ends of our loaves.
Baked Italian Sandwich Loaf
- 1 crusty round loaf of bread
- 6-8 ounces Italian sandwich meats (pepperoni, salami, Mortadella, Capicola, etc.)
- 6 ounces sliced mozzarella or Provolone cheese
- 1 cup chopped Vlasic Farmer's Garden pickles, any variety
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice the bread into half inch slices, being careful not to slice all the way through and leaving about 1/2 inch uncut at the bottom.
- Fill every other slice with meats, cheeses and chopped pickle mixture.
- Drizzle loaf with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
- Wrap tightly in foil and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and sandwiches are warmed through.
- Slice sandwiches apart at the unstuffed cuts and serve warm.
*This is a sponsored post for Farmer’s Garden by Vlasic, but all opinions stated are my own.