Tackling Football and Other Dangerous Topics

January 29, 2016


Even our granddogger Tess loves to watch football.

I don’t follow sports. If Bob is watching a football game on TV, I huddle in another room with a book. I don’t know what channel ESPN is on; I don’t read the sports section of the paper; and I turn off the local news before the sportscast begins. So, why am I stocking the fridge with Budweiser, which we don’t even like? Because I’ve decided this is the year I will watch an entire Super Bowl game with Bob! Some of you may be thinking, “Whoa there, Sporty Lady, that’s a whole lotta football for someone who has never watched an entire Super Bowl game before.” True.

Sure, I’ve endured my share of Super Bowl parties, hanging around the bean dip and Fritos with a few other bored people. Of course, I’ve watched plenty of the commercials and half-time performances, but soon enough the game is back in action and I’m done. So, why am I doing this? Because I want to understand why everyone is so wacko about this annual ritual. And … I want to yellย Omaha!! with Peyton Manning. And I want my husband to think I’m really really fun. Therefore, I will become a sports fanatic for one day! I deem February 7 to be the day I tackle football as my favorite gladiator sport. Let the feats of strength begin! Dem bones, dem bones—crush ’em, I say! O-MA-HA!!


Here’s my plan. On the morning of the game, I will eat a big bowl of Wheaties, the breakfast of champions, and if that doesn’t dial up my intensity to “raging”, I’ll try to find an old Prednisone tablet to gnaw on. Hopefully, the fortified wheat flakes and a dose of ‘roids will whip me into a frenzy that can be maintained for at least four hours. O-MA-HA!! I have not decided what team I’ll cheer for. As a newbie fanatic, I have no idea what team is most deserving of my adulation. (Note to self:ย  Ask Bob who “we” are “for”.)

Next, I will go to iTunes and create a game-day playlist with lots of Sousa marches and drum-pounding cadences. I know, I know … marching bands are no longer part of the Super Bowl (I just read that on Wikipedia); but I need those primal beats to help pump the adrenaline through my veins. (I believe that one should have a playlist for every aspect of one’s life—but that’s another post for another day.)

Bev is such a creative cook and a rabid Panthers fan—UNI Panthers, that is!

And what’s on the Super supper menu in the man cave (aka, family room)? Well, I happen to have … ahem … the perfect game-day soup! We love it! O-MA-HA!! My friend Bev Riess, who is a wonderful cook and the creator of this healthy, hearty soup, served it to a gathering of friends last fall. It was so delicious that we all asked for seconds! Bev calls it Chicken Tortilla Soup; however, I received her okay to rename it Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Soup because it transcends the typical tortilla soup. Bev’s original recipe makes enough for a crowd, but I reduced the quantities (with Bev’s approval), and it still serves 12 people. Also, I have added a few “Tracy’s Tweaks.” Thank you Bev, for sharing this soul-satisfying recipe!

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Soup


Bev Riess's Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Soup

  • Servings: 12 or more
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 9-ounce package Shore Lunch Tortilla Soup Mix (*See note below.)
  • 3 cups cooked cubed chicken
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion (Tracy’s Tweak)
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 10-ounce can Rotel Original (or Mild, if preferred) Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
  • 1 15-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes (Tracy’s Tweak)
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen baby corn (Green Giant)
  • 1 32-ounce carton chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (Tracy’s Tweak)
  • 1 14-ounce can chicken broth (or more)
  • Toppings: crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, guacamole or sliced avocado, shredded Monterey Jack cheese


(*Tracy says: I don’t care for the dried corn in the soup mix, so at the risk of exposing my eccentricities, I admit that I do pick out all of the corn and throw it away before I place the soup mix in the crockpot. Shore Lunch Tortilla Soup Mix can be found at Wal-Mart and some Hy-Vee stores.)

Add all ingredients to a 4-quart (or larger) crockpot, except for the small can of chicken broth and the topping ingredients. Cook on low 7 to 8 hours. Stir in the can of chicken broth (or more if needed) during the last hour of cooking. Serve with the selection of toppings. The soup is just as delicious after being frozen and reheated. A great make-ahead recipe.

A healthy, hearty game-day soup!

Recipe from http://www.messycookblog.com

The first two recipes I have posted (January 15 and 29) require a crockpot, which is surprising since I rarely use one. (I had to rummage around in my basement to find it.) Both recipes are delicious. It’s a good reminder that a slow cooker is a useful piece of equipment that can help build the flavors of many recipes and deserves its place in the kitchen.

Last Bites

Speaking of marches and cadences reminds me of a funny story told by my coworker Tom several years ago. He and his fellow high school marching band members were in formation, stepping with pride and precision through his town’s main street during the homecoming parade. Drummers were drumming, baton twirlers were twirling, trumpets were trumpeting when suddenly the town’s tornado siren pierced the air. The band degenerated into a formless mass of arms and legs as everyone ran for their lives. Bass drums were rolling into clowns on bicycles; tubas were knocking down spectators; cymbals were crashing into queen candidates on convertibles; drumsticks and sheet music were raining down on seed-corn caps, cowboy hats, and fuzzy band helmets. And Tom was screaming, “shards of glass,” fearing that store windows would be blown out.

tornado-artThe chaos lasted only a few minutes. Fortunately, there was only minor damage—mostly caused by the stampeding band—since there never was a tornado. We should pause here to acknowledge the brilliance of Austrian physicist Christian Doppler for articulating a principle in 1842 regarding the wave nature of sound, which became the foundation of our modern-day tornado early warning system. Today’s National Weather Service can detect when tornadoes are forming and thus issue more reliable warnings. Isn’t it a comfort to know that today when you’re standing along a parade route you’re fairly safe from fear-crazed marching bands trampling you? (I would be fine if they mowed down the clowns, though.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am sending out a “virtual high five” to my fellow football fanatics! The good times are gonna roll on February 7! (Relax. I’m not doing the Omaha thing anymore. Yeah, that got old fast.) Thank you for stopping by. My next post will be on February 12.-–Tracy Mullen


17 thoughts on “Tackling Football and Other Dangerous Topics

  1. You’ve made my day, Tracy! Great blog. I will definitely try your soup. Love the crock pot method. Dump it in and enjoy another play day!!! Thanks to your kids for setting you up with this great forum!!!


  2. Hey Tracy! So – honestly, did you watch? How long did you last? Who won?? I’m with you. Good night for board games! I laughed a lot reading your post. In another one, maybe you can mention the Villisca summer band concerts and the cars honking applause… That’s pretty funny and not so bruise oriented. I’ll try the soup, too. In fact, I may buy a slow cooker. Mine from 1974 is not trustworthy, I think… :0 *!* ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Gwennie, hi!! So great to reconnect! I did watch! I honestly thought it wasn’t too bad. I’ll admit the fourth quarter got boring, but overall, it was tolerable. (I make no promises about next year, though.) :o) Glad you are of a similar mind. Oh yes, the summer band concerts (and ice cream socials)–definitely some material there. I’ll add that to my jumble of ideas. Thanks for being my friend on Facebook too. I tried to find Becky. She must be a hold out, as well? Never really thought I would be on Facebook. It is interesting. I still don’t even quite know what I’m doing. This learning curve is dangerous! Love ya, Gwen! Thanks for reading my blog!


  3. What a great way to start my
    day! I may just have to try this soup for the “Soup-er” Bowl!! We’re typically Chiefs fans but ya gotta love Peyton. Go Bronocs!


  4. This is just what I needed today! I can’t believe what talents you have! And we are going to fix this soup on Sunday. It sounds delicious. I do love football and will be cheering for the Broncos!


  5. Are you REALLY going to watch the Super Bowl, Trace? I will be thinking of you for sure on the 7th!! The soup looks wonderfully delicious and perfect for a wintry game day. Cheers to you my little football friend and Go Broncos!!


  6. Great blog!! Hilarious! Makes me almost want to watch the Super Bowl! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I agree, my Aunt Bev is a wonderful cook! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ


    1. How lucky you are to have Bev as your aunt! She’s the best! I think you should watch the Super Bowl. I need to know that someone else is suffering along with me! Thank you for reading my blog, Julie!! :o) Tracy


  7. Dang. Now I feel some sort of need to actually watch a super bowl (note that spell check wanted to change to superb owl which I think I’d like a lot better. ) I’m looking forward to your next post as I am looking forward to finding out who Bob wants me to cheer for. Go superb owl!


  8. This made my morning! Thank you for laughs and the recipe! I’ve been craving that soup since Christmas! Virtual high five back atcha Tracy!


  9. I’m laughing soooo hard I can’t control myself! This makes my day. I have visions of you picking out the corn, cheering on a team to be chosen and feeling the loss of big marching bands that played at past Super Bowls! Commercials are all that’s left for me to care about. Thanks dear friend for the constant cheer you bring to my heart.


  10. Oh Tracy, I just LOVE this. Thank Brad for giving us your humor on a routine basis. Gosh, I’m like you on the sports scene–between you and me, what does OMAHA mean??? Your recipe sounds delicious. I’m going to have to try it–wish I hadn’t just made a huge batch of the usual chicken tortilla soup! Gotta get to work. Just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying these!


    Sent from my iPad



  11. You crack me up Tracy! Recipe looks delicious will have to try it. This will be the first year in many that I am NOT watching the Super Bowl, I am going on a photo field trip so watch my blog for future posts!


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