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Mini Cuban sandwiches: Sports-themed snacks that are sure to be a hit

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MILWAUKEE -- It's one of the best parts of taking in a game -- the grub! Chef Alisa Malavenda joins Real Milwaukee to talk about everything from pizza to brats to Queso.

Players Punch

  • 3 Cups Gin ( you can substitute vodka )
  • ½ C Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 4 C Cranberry Juice
  • Ginger Ale
  • Raspberries and oranges for garnish

Combine first three ingredients in a pitcher and stir to combine. Place in fridge for at least 2 hrs for the flavors to meld. Pour over ice filled High Ball Glasses and top with ginger ale.

Garnish with orange slices and raspberries and for a game night look add festive  swizzle sticks

Mini Cuban Sandwiches

  • 1 Loaf of Cuban Bread (Substitutes: French/ Italian Bread or Hawaiian rolls )
  • 1 pound cooked ham (sliced)
  • 1 pound cooked pork loin (sliced)
  • 1/2 pound Swiss cheese (sliced)
  • dill pickles (sliced)
  • Yellow mustard
  • Mayo or butter

Preheat a griddle or frying pan on medium heat.

Lightly coat the outside of the bread with mayo of butter like you would for a grilled cheese,. Layer the sandwich with ingredients and place sandwich onto the hot surface.

Put a clean, heavy skillet on top of the sandwich to flatten it. Press the bread down to about 1/3 of its original size.

Leave the skillet on top of the sandwich and grill for one or two minutes. Lift the heavy skillet, turn the sandwich over and repeat this step for the other side of the sandwich.

The cheese should be melted and the bread golden brown. Slice in small squares or triangles

Note: you can also use two heated baking sheets and carefully place sandwich in between, press it down and bake it.

Pepperoni Bread

Makes 2

  • 1 # Pizza dough , Homemade – Store Bought or 2 cans  Pillsbury
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • ½ C Parmesan Cheese
  • Sprinkle of Italian Seasoning or other dried herbs like oregano
  • 2 C shredded mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 package sliced pepperoni – 30 to 40 slices of small slices per bread
  • Marinara or pizza sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 – line a baking sheet with parchment paper .

Beat egg with parmesan cheese and seasoning; set aside.

Cut dough in half and roll into a 10 inch square

Sprinkle the dough with shredded mozzarella cheese leaving about a 1 inch border and then  cover cheese with single rows of  pepperoni. Sprinkle with a little more seasoning,

First fold in the short ends of the pizza dough and then roll the long ends of the dough until a loaf form. Pinch the end of the dough to seal it so the cheese doesn’t ooze out and place seam side down on the the baking sheet.

Brush the loaf with a light coat of  the egg mixture

Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown in color . Cut the  loaf into nice slices and serve with marinara for dipping

Note: This also makes a great freezer meal for during the week. Wrap leftover slices tightly in saran  and then foil. Defrost as many slices as you want, and bake them on a sheet pan.

Game Night Veggie and Cheese Board with Assortment of Dips

Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Dip

"Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and garlic are the main flavors in this bright tapenade. This simple recipe can be used as a dip for vegetables and pita triangles or as a sandwich spread."

  • 1 (7 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  •       1 (6 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  •       ½ C minced fresh parsley
  •       ½ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  •       1/3 C olive oil
  •       ¼ C  drained capers
  •       4 cloves garlic, chopped
  •       1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  •        salt and pepper to taste

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the red peppers, artichoke hearts, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, capers, garlic, and lemon juice. Pulse until finely chopped and the mixture is blended. Transfer to a serving bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to blend the flavors.

Caramelized Onion Dip

  • 3 cups thin sliced onions(half moons)
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • ¼  cup oil
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • ½  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½  cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise

Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and sauté for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.

Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise or yogurt and beat until smooth. Fold in onions until well incorporated. This is better if you make it a day ahead of time. If you prefer not to have onions stringy you can chop before adding to cream cheese mixture

Beer Brat Queso

  •  2-3 beer brats , remove sausage from skin ( or any sausage)
  • 1 T cooking oil
  • 1small white onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno , seeded and diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced ( you could also use 1 can RoTel Diced tomatoes with green chilies in place of tomatoes and jalapeño )
  • 2 oz of beer ( enjoy the rest )
  • 4 C Monterey Jack or Mexican Melting Cheese , shredded

Heat oil in a frying pan and add crumbled sausage. Cook until browned remove from pan. Leave enough fat in the pan to equal about a T. Add the onions, tomatoes and jalapeno with a pinch of salt and cook over med-high heat until soft and onions are  translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the beer to pan and cook until the alcohol burns off and evaporates, add the cheese to the mixture and stir constantly until cheese is melted. Add the meat back to the pan and stir. Pour into a serving bowl .  serve immediately or keep warm in a slow cooker

Fruit Pizza


Chewy Sugar Cookie Crust

  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ½  t vanilla extract
  • 2 ½  C all purpose flour
  • ½  t baking soda
  • ½ t  baking powder
  • ¼  t salt

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in the egg, vanilla extract; beat until combined.

Add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined.

Place in the pizza pan and press to form the pizza base. Chill Bake in a 350 oven for 10-12 min. Do Not Overbake

Note: you can also use packaged sugar cookie dough.


  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ C bakers sugar
  • ½ t vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Cup heavy whipping cream – whipped
  • Assorted fresh fruit.

Blend soft cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest . Fold in whipped cream

Spread mixture over cooled cookie dough. Arrange fruit on top in a decorative pattern using cookie cutters or molds or just free hand . . Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

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