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Tailgate Like a Pro This Season

Written on September 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm , by

Catelli believes that you don't have to hide veggies from your kids. (Photo courtesy of Domenica Catelli)

Domenica Catelli grew up with a taste for the culinary world. “My grandparents opened a restaurant in California in 1935, which was passed down to my dad. I was sure I’d never work there but I started working at a different restaurant in college. I was a hard worker and spent most of my life around the business, and took over as head chef at 19,” Catelli says.

Today the mom, cookbook author and event chef (she cooked for Oprah’s Legend’s Ball in 2006!) focuses on teaching families how to enjoy well-balanced meals without sneaking in ingredients through her “Mom-a-licious” brand. “I believe there’s no long-term payoff for hiding vegetables in your kids’ meals. You can build a lifelong healthy relationship with food by starting young,” Catelli says. “Adults at the table need to have a good attitude and be a role model for eating a nutritious diet, and kids will do the same.”

One of her top tips for busy parents? “Stock three or four go-to snacks in your car or purse, so you have something for you and more to share with your children, their carpool friends and even neighbors on a plane,” Catelli says. “That way you’ll be able to bypass the potato chips at the convenience store. I like raw almonds or Kashi’s TLC Peanutty Dark Chocolate Layered Bars.”

Since Catelli is such a pro at entertaining and pleasing the whole family with delicious dishes, we thought she would be the perfect person to give us some new inspiration for all of our fall tailgating parties. For your next game day meal, Catelli suggests serving her turkey chili, which her friends who are Olympic athletes love. Simply set out the bowls, spoons, chili and an array of toppings and make it a build-your-own bar.

Turkey Chili

Diners can add as many or as few toppings as they like with a chili bar. (Photo courtesy of Lucini Italia)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1-3 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 3 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of fire roasted organic crushed tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans of black beans
  • 2 15-ounce cans of kidney beans
  • 1 cup of water or chicken broth
  • Optional: Jack or sharp cheddar cheese, fresh onion, sour cream, Kashi TLC Pita Crisps
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, saute onion, cumin and chili flakes over medium heat with extra virgin olive oil. Do not let onions brown. As onions become soft, after about five minutes, add garlic and cook about two minutes.
  2. Add ground turkey and stir to smash up turkey. Add soy sauce, fire-roasted tomatoes, beans and water (or broth).
  3. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and cook for 10 minutes.
Now tell us: What appetizers or meals do you serve to wow a crowd on game days?
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