Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie!

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie...what's more American than that?  Major League Baseball Opening Day is like a holiday in our house.  We've waited all winter and finally, baseball is back!  You must understand, we are a baseball family.  My husband played in college, my son plays on a travel team, which my husband coaches, and my daughter used to play on an all-boys team when she was a little girl.  We never miss a New York Yankees game on T.V.  We even DVR the games if we're not home.  Some might say "obsessed".  I say "Passionate"!

But, to understand why we love Yankees Baseball so much you need the whole story.  My father-in-law, Sal Durante, was at a Yankee game with his girlfriend (at the time, now his wife) on October 1, 1961.  Yankee Roger Maris was on the brink of breaking Babe Ruth's single-season home run record.  He was tied with the Babe at 60.  In the 4th inning, Maris hit his 61st home run, breaking the record.  My father-in-law caught that ball.  He became a celebrity in New York and around the country.  He tried to give the ball back to Roger Maris, but Mr. Maris told him to keep the ball, sell it and make some money.  He sold it for $5,000.00 and used the money to marry my mother-in-law.  They've been together ever since, over 50 years!  Even though the record has since been broken by Mark McGwire and then Barry Bonds, many people feel, due to the steroid accusations, that Roger Maris is the true record holder.  My father-in-law still gets calls to do interviews and autograph signings.  He was even portrayed in the HBO movie *61.  People are still interested in his story all these years later.

Here's a photo of Roger Maris and my father-in-law, Sal Durante:

So, you can see why Yankee Baseball runs in the family.

When you think of baseball, you think of hot dogs.  So here's a recipe for chili that goes great on a dog and you don't need one of those packets of chili seasoning.  I'll tell you how to make your own packet.


1 TBS flour
1 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cumin

Mix everything together.  This equals 1 packet that you would buy at the store.

To prepare chili:

Brown 1 lb ground beef and drain off fat.  Add 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can red kidney beans, 1/4 cup water, and the seasoning mix.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.
*Add a little hot sauce for extra heat, if desired.

Tip:  Sometimes I use leftover red beans that I've cooked instead of canned beans.  Also, if you have picky eaters who don't like beans, zip them in the food processor until smooth.  That way you can't see the beans but you can still use them to thicken the chili.

Another use for this chili (that reminds me of baseball):  Make a Frito Pie!  If you're from the South, you know what I'm talking about.  If not, a Frito Pie is something you get from the concession stand at the ballpark.  They take a small bag of Fritos and cut it open along the side (lengthwise) and pour in chili.  They give it to you just like that!  Grab a fork and start eating!  It was my favorite thing to get at the ballpark when I was a little girl.  If you want to gild the lily, you can throw some shredded cheddar on top.  Try it.  Trust me.

Here's an easy way to make apple pie.  It kind of tastes like a McDonald's pie.


won ton wrappers (2 for each pie)
canned apple pie filling
melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 TBS cinnamon and set aside.  Pour pie filling into a bowl.  Chop the apples into small pieces and stir in a teaspoon of cinnamon.  Place a small spoonful (about a Tablespoon) of filling in the center of the wrapper.  Wet the edges of the wrapper with water using your fingertip.  Top with another wrapper and press the air out.  Seal edges by pressing with a fork all the way around.  Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place pies on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until golden.  Let cool a bit before eating.

*Sorry no pic on the pie-lets!  My camera batteries died.  I'll add in a pic soon.  Thanks!

So, I hope you make these recipes and watch some baseball.  You don't have to root for the Yankees (just don't root for the Red Sox.)  Enjoy!

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