By Mike Viso

As I’m getting to know you, you’re getting to know me. I hope it’s been good thus far but today might change that. I have a confession, it may be earth shattering to you. Hell, you might not have heard news this shocking since you found out Sylvester Stallone used to do porn! Brace yourself, lean in close because I’m about to tell you… I’m a DALLAS COWBOYS FAN!

Are you okay? Get a drink of water and sit down, I’ll wait…. Okay, you’re back. You didn’t miss anything, I was just watching this.

Back to business. I hope you read my column a couple weeks ago. If not, check it out. For this column’s sake, I’ll tell you that it was a guide on how to enjoy a game—that 85% of America it seemed—didn’t care about. This week I’m giving you a present that is inspired by the Eagles beating the Cowboys at the Vet in 1995. The game where they stopped the all-time NFL leading rusher two times in a row when he needed one yard to seal the game for, as Michael Irvin would say, “MY Cowboys”. This is my guide to best/ smelliest/tastiest foods.

As I said above you’re getting to know me and vice versa, so you’ll learn that I’m incredibly superstitious (I refuse to touch a Cowboys shirt on a Sunday because they have lost the three times I have, thank you 11 years of baseball), sophomoric at times, and more competitive then you can imagine. It should be no surprise that I’m looking for home field advantage while I’m watching a game. Eagles-Cowboys games are the holiest of the regular season games to me.

Quick side note: REAL Cowboys fans know that our rival is the Redskins, however, they are irrelevant in my mind and I feel you should get a pass if you’re a fan of another team in another city. An example would be if you’re a bears fan in Minnesota. You’re “supposed” to hate the Packers but it’s understandable if you hate the Vikings more.

Okay, so if you want to give yourself a psychological edge at home follow this guide:

Game time this weekend is a bit different since it’s Sunday night (Kudos to those who have taken Monday off, I was not as wise). All times are relevant to your commitments beforehand. I’ll be starting at 2:53 on Sunday afternoon and it’s because of DeMarco Murray’s rushing total from last week. I’m looking at you, Birds linebackers.

Spoiler alert**: You have to start prepping dinner at this time because it takes a bit to make delectable meatballs. They are key because they soak up the liquids from earlier and provide the stamina you need. Plus, it is generous with the garlic, which helps re-up the rancid breath factor when you cheer, “HHHOLY cow did you see HHHis PAHHHss?”

Now back to the appetizers. My personal favorite is taco dip. It’s so simple, it tastes great and guess what’s in it. Beans.

The amount of ingredients you need is based on the size of the plate. Each ingredient you need will be enough to cover the layer below it. With that being said here are the ingredients you need: Cream cheese, sour cream, ground meat, taco seasoning, iceberg lettuce, a tomato, an onion, black olives, shredded cheddar cheese and chips (I like lime Tostitos).

This is a very simple recipe. First, in a medium heated pan, add a desired amount of meat. As the meat browns chop it down to smaller chunks. Once the meat browns add the taco seasoning and mix thoroughly. Once the meat is cooked through, drain the grease. As the meat cools, on a chilled plate, cover the entirety of the plate with cream cheese. Follow the cream cheese with a layer of sour cream. Now, add the meat evenly. Chop or shred the lettuce and cover the meat. You will also want to dice the tomatoes before adding them. Diced onions are the final time you will need your knife. Once they are added, place drained olives on top of the onions. Finally, you can add the shredded cheese.

This is a fantastic and addictive filler. The lime chips add a zest to the aftertaste, which is pleasant. The versatility to eat this warm or cold is also a bonus of this dish.

Make sure you have an extra bag of chips handy because you will need them. Go the safe route and pick up a bag of regular salsa chips on this one. Never underestimate the power of good melted cheese and a good salsa. My dad makes an awesome salsa that I’ll talk about another time, but this is a day where simplicity is necessary. You can’t move your eyes from the TV; you have to see if your gamble to start Percy Harvin is paying off!

Sidebar: Do I bother starting Hines Ward? I fell below .500 last week and it’s because I didn’t start Early Doucet. My team is bad. Help!
Quick recap: The spread so far is taco dip, melted cheese, salsa and chips. Yum!

Now it’s dinner time. Since you are making meatballs, their heaviness could be a factor. That’s why you eliminate the pasta portion, use store bought meat sauce—not to be confused with homemade gravy—and splurge on sub rolls.

It’s worth the few extra bucks to find a local bakery that sells rolls. Even if you want to dominate your guests in sports and breath, they are still your friends and you have to keep them happy to keep your home field advantage for the second match-up of the season. Going to a local bakery—in addition to being delicious and cool because you found a niche place—you get the satisfaction of helping out a small business. There’s your good deed for the week!

Now here’s recipe my sister uses when she doesn’t have time for the family one. This serves four people:

You need a lb ground beef , a half cup of Italian-style bread crumbs, one-fourth cup of milk, a half teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, one-fourth teaspoon pepper, a small onion, finely chopped and one egg. I also tend to get a fresh piece of garlic, dice it and add it in. If you want to give everyone heartburn, do that and sprinkle chili powder and garlic powder on it too.

The next step is to mix all the ingredients and shape them into the size of a 50 cent piece. You can go bigger or smaller but if you are going to use the rolls I suggested, you want them to be sizeable but not falling out and making a mess. Also, the bigger you make them, the longer it will take to cook.

When cooking these, you have one of two options. First, you can use foil and cooking spray to bake these or you can fry them with EVOO like I do. I know it seems like cheating, but our gravy and meatball recipe has been in the family for generations. It came over from Sicily with my great-grandparents and has made its way down to me. I love ya but it’s still early in the relationship.

At this point your esophagus is getting more work then it ever thought. Between belching and heartburn, you guests are going to love your food and hate your face. Being the loving friend you are, you present dessert. Being the sports-crazed fan that’s looking for an advantage, you have a very acidic one. Some of the treats that come to mind are Key Lime or Lemon Meringue Pie.

I’ll confess I’m not much of a baker. Surprisingly, my dad handles the baking duties and nothing says manly like father and son baking snicker doodles together. So you can guess that I’ve never really learned.

At this point, it’s time to kick up your feet. I like to finish my meals in the third quarter so I have enough time in the fourth to decide if I’m sad, nervous or joyfully eating. My emotions dictate what part of the meal will see round two. I have a feeling this week I’ll be enjoying some taco dip when the Eagles have no timeouts and 1:43 left on clock.

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