It is Bengals frenzy time!
Mike and I were in Washington, D.C. a week ago for the National Governor’s Conference. It was a good meeting with Republican and Democrat governors to talk about issues of the day, and the spouses had meetings, too. The spouses were invited to the White House to pack boxes for our mobilized National Guard — care boxes that included scarves, hats, treats, even a Beanie Baby (you never know when you’ll encounter a child who needs a little comfort). Via assembly line in the East Room of the White House and led by the First Lady, we packed 1,000 of these boxes, ready to mail. I was told 120 of these were going to Ohio guardsmen!
On Sunday, we were all invited to Mount Vernon for dinner. Since we were last there, they built The Ford Orientation Center. I was anxious to check it out. We arrived early around 5 p.m., and the Bengals game was not over. So we stayed in the car, watching on Mike’s iPad. At a crucial point, we lost reception and switched over to the radio. What an absolutely incredible game it was. The score got closer! Joe Burrow was amazing! The game was tied up at end of regulation time! We lost the overtime coin flip. The Chiefs had the ball, but the Bengals’ Vonn Bell made a crucial interception. Meanwhile, the National Governor’s Association people were phoning us to come in to the event because the president was about ready to finish the photos and give his address before dinner. Mike had no intention of going in until the game was over! After the interception Joe Burrow took the team down the field and rookie Evan McPherson kicked a field goal to win the game! Then Mike and I walked into the Orientation Center. We were last in to the receiving line. We explained to the president why we were running late and told him about the amazing end of the game, and that the Bengals had won! He said he would have stayed to watch the game as well!
Now I’m home and I think I’m just going to cook “Joe Burrow food” and Cincinnati Bengals food all week long! Since it’s a cold day as I write this, I’m making soup. Joe spent two years at Louisiana State University and I heard he likes gumbo. So I’m making some chicken and sausage gumbo that my neighbor from Louisiana taught me to make years ago. I read that Joe likes gravy and biscuits, so sausage gravy and biscuits are on my menu for tomorrow. Mike loves it. Of course, there are so many good Cincinnati favorites. There is nothing better than Montgomery Inn ribs and Graeter’s ice cream. My son Pat makes some great Cincinnati-style ribs that are seasoned with Grippo’s Gourmet Bar-B-Q spice (think Bar-B-Q potato chips) and then grilled. It’s too cold to grill so I’ll try them in the oven. Skyline Chili Dip is easy and mandatory for a Super Bowl party. I’m trying to figure out a way to make a Bengals tiger cake. I’m going to try alternating a dark chocolate cake batter with an orange cake batter in a bundt pan and then swirl it with a knife a bit to make stripes. I’m going to finish up with some of my Buckeye Brownies. I’ll add a little orange gel food coloring to the peanut butter dough, and drizzle the final brownie with melted chocolate to make stripes for Bengals Buckeye Brownies! Even though Joe Burrow started at LSU, I pulled up a video where he said he graduated from The Ohio State University and considers himself a Buckeye. In Ohio, we’re all Buckeyes! This is going to be fun!
Skyline Chili Dip
1- 8 ounce package cream cheese
1- 15 ounce can Skyline Chili
1- 8 ounce package shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup diced onion
Spread cream cheese on bottom of casserole dish. Sprinkle diced onion over cheese. Pour chili over onions. Cover with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Or microwave 10 minutes. Serve warm with corn chips.
Fran’s Bengals Buckeye Brownies
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
Orange gel food coloring, optional
Mix together in mixer. Chill. Roll into 3/4 inch balls and chill.
1 stick butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
2 boxes fudge brownie mix (family size 19.5 ounces)
Melted chocolate for stripes
Mix the melted butter and cream cheese together in the mixer. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the brownie mix and mix until just combined and the dough is sticky. Chill.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form the mixture into about 1 1/4 inch balls. I use a cookie scoop. Put on a greased cookie sheet, about 24 per sheet. No need to flatten them. Bake the brownie dough about 9-11 minutes (don’t over-bake). As soon as the brownies come out of the oven, press a cold peanut butter ball into the center of each cookie. Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes and transfer to rack to cool. Drizzle with melted chocolate to make stripes. Serve or wrap individually. Makes about 6 dozen.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.