Tailgating recipe/ How to beat USC

I bet you could see this one coming from miles away. It's rather obvious that this week's recipe will have something to do with poultry. Now, for the controversy: I'm going to give you a delicious chicken recipe with a football theme. There are 11 men on the field for each team, so what does the number "11" have to do with chicken? How about 11 secret herbs and spices?

Tailgating at Home for the South Carolina Gamecocks Game


I bet you could see this one coming from miles away.  It's rather obvious that this week's recipe will have something to do with poultry.  Now, for the controversy:  I'm going to give you a delicious chicken recipe with a football theme.  There are 11 men on the field for each team, so what does the number "11" have to do with chicken?  How about 11 secret herbs and spices?


Am I about to reveal a secret that has lasted for over 50 years and tell you how to make chicken the colonel's way?  The answer is yes, no, maybe.  First let's get a few things straight.  Colonel Harlan Sanders invented his world-famous chicken recipe using 11 herbs and spices that "anyone could find on their pantry shelf."  The company has changed hands numerous times over the years, and it is a good bet the original blend of herbs and spices no longer can be found in the chicken.  Author William Poundstone in his book Big Secrets procured a sample of the spice-mix in the flour and had an assay lab test it.  Unfortunately, only four ingredients were found: flour, salt, pepper, and MSG.  Secret recipe sleuth Gloria Pitzer invented her own blends using 11 herbs and spices that she said closely resembled the blend made by the colonel, but many food connoisseurs could tell the difference.


I am about to give you a list of 11 herbs and spices that could very well be on your shelf right now.  I will not say where it came from, and I have modified it to remove MSG, which is a dangerous excitotoxin.  Try this when you fry your chicken and if you are old enough, compare it to the Colonel's chicken from the 1960's (before the company was sold).  The numbers in parentheses indicate how many parts to put in the blend concentration.


11 Herbs & Spices

1. Basil  (1)

2. Black Pepper (6)

3. Celery Salt (6)

4. Dry Mustard (6)

5. Garlic Salt (4)

6. Ground Ginger (2)

7. Oregano (1)

8. Paprika (24)

9. Salt (1)

10. Thyme (1)

11. Turbinado Sugar (1)  replaces MSG (or MSG with I+G) for flavor enhancing.


Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in cool, dark, dry place.


Here's a great recipe for simple oven-fried chicken using the above spice blend.  Use four teaspoons of this blend for every cup of flour in your fried chicken.


2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted (or use organic coconut oil)

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons milk or almond milk

1/2 cup organic yellow corn meal

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

4 tsp. of the 11 herbs & spices blend

3-lb. box of cut-up chicken pieces, with skins removed


Combine the milk and eggs in one bowl and the corn meal, flour, and spice blend mixed in another bowl.  Dip chicken pieces into milk-egg mixture, coating them thoroughly, then into flour-spice mixture. Arrange them in greased baking dish (do not crowd them; use at least a 13 x 9 dish).


Place the chicken in an oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees.  Bake the chicken for about 50 minutes to an hour (or until the meat is no longer pink at the bone).  About 35 minutes into the cooking process, baste the chicken with its own juices.


Two great side dishes for chicken are mashed potatoes and green beans.  Rather than eat starchy potatoes how about trying this substitute to get the family members in your household to eat more vegetables in a sneaky way:


Cauliflower "Mashed" Potatoes


1 head cauliflower, cut into chunks

2 Tbsp. almond milk (or milk)

Salt & pepper to taste

Hungarian Paprika


Steam the cauliflower until tender. Put the cauliflower into a food processor and add the almond milk; process until creamy.  Add the salt and pepper and stir. Place the cauliflower in a baking dish, pour paprika over the top, and heat in an oven until hot and bubbly.


Now that you can smell and taste delicious, juicy chicken in your mind, let's try to satiate our eyes with a successful dish of Vanderbilt football.


What must Vandy do to win this Saturday and place itself on the top side of the bowl bubble?   Defensively, it might be a good idea to play a 3-3-5 stacked alignment a good deal of the time.  South Carolina isn't going to run the ball down our throats like they did under Lou Holtz.  Steve Spurrier's Florida teams could hurt opponents on the ground, but his Gamecocks are mere hens on the ground.  The Goldmen need to combine the best attributes of the nickel and dime packages with a disruptive pass rush.  By stacking three linebackers behind three down linemen, one, two, or all three of those backers can stunt and/or dog on most plays.  With just one linebacker blitzing, the defense is still rushing four but the offense won't know which four.  Designing a blitz for Moses to part the Red Sea (or garnet sea) and drown the quarterback early in the game might cause Blake Mitchell to hear footsteps the rest of the night.


This has to be the week that Cassen Jackson-Garrison and Jeff Jennings act like Eric Dickerson and Craig James.  The Commodores must rush the ball 40 or more times this week and accumulate more than 200 yards doing so.  South Carolina has not fared well when the opponent mixed power and finesse running plays.  Since the Vandy offense doesn't feature two backs often, and when they do, the fullback is strictly a third guard, Jay Cutler must also have a big game on the ground.  The option should be featured.  I would also try to get the ball to CJG at the perimeter as many times as possible.  He needs to have a 20-carry game. 


The Play-action pass needs to be used as a compliment, but Cutler needs to have more options to throw deeper passes.  There is enough speed to get receivers open 20-30 yards downfield, and the offensive line should hold pass rushers long enough for number six to spot them downfield.  Cutler needs to sprint out and bootleg to the perimeter, thus eliminating two or three pass rushers from the equation.


It wouldn't hurt to throw in a wrinkle to loosen the South Carolina defense.  Taking advantage of two great athletes, it's time to take advantage of a great asset.  The Commodores have an h-back who can throw a perfect pass on the run.  They have a quarterback who is an A+ open-field runner.  Let Steven Bright throw a pass to Jay Cutler.  Here is a diagram of an h-back reverse pass from a spread, bunch formation:



Cutler gives the ball to Jennings or CJG and fakes off-tackle from the spread formation (the basic Northwestern option play). 


Jennings/CJG pitches backward to Bright who lines up at H-back in the bunch formation (thus forcing a defensive overload to the strong side) and takes one step forward before pivoting into the backfield.


The other two bunch receivers fake a sprint route then cross over to block downfield for Cutler after the pass is caught.


The opposite side wide out runs a post pattern to occupy the weak-side of the secondary.


After faking the option, Cutler sprints downfield deep and fades slightly toward the sideline.  Bright rolls wide and loses ground to give himself more time to pass.  He pulls up and throws deep to Cutler for the touchdown.


Combine this play and the blitzing idea, and Vandy would out-Spurrier the Gamecocks.  Our players need some extra oomph for this game, and these strategies might also calm some nerves.  The players know how important this game is.  If it's just subconsciously, they know this is the most important game in their collegiate careers.  Like a basketball team making its first trip to the Big Dance, you can expect the players to come out somewhat tight.  Having a secret up their sleeves to spring on an unexpected defense just might be the elixir that calms some nerves and reverses a 23-year spell.

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