As long as I can remember, I have been the quintessential cheerleader for the underdog. Some prime examples; the 1980 USA Olympic Ice Hockey team, Rocky Bleier,  Zola Budd(before the elbow), the Jamaican Bobsledding team, Eminem,  and the Blind Side along with Glory Roads both give me a good excuse to cry. Sadly, I now have to include all collegiate athletes that never received a luxury SUV from a booster. Terrible!

We all want to see the team or person with the odds stacked against them come out on top. That has always been my hope for the Detroit Lions. A break through season that would lay the foundation for ongoing years of success.  Meeting Derrick Williams, wide-receiver for the Lions, made me ponder the fondness I have for his team, reminisce about Thanksgiving Day, and hope that a talented young athlete can have a break through season of his own.

In April, I had the opportunity to work with Derrick Williams on my first episode of Cooking with the Pros. Sous Chef Derrick comes from Penn State stardom in the Nittany Mountains, to the challenges of the Motor City. In a city that is struggling, on a team that’s  had it’s highs and lows, Derrick now in his third year with Detroit, has developed his skills and is poised to show what he learned in Happy Valley.

Derrick Williams Detriot Lions, Jen Heasley, Michael Robinson Seattle Seahawks

Derrick, a very entertaining and lighthearted young man,  made it clear I had to walk  him through the recipes as the kitchen was not his comfort zone.  Thankfully,  he will be playing Thanksgiving Day and not hosting dinner.  While preparing Maryland crab dip on homemade pretzels, Derrick and I  talked about his new city, love for Penn State, and his philanthropy “Meals On D-Wheels”.  Below you can watch the entire segment with Derrick and myself. This clip allows fans to see Derrick’s easy-going personality and learn how to create an outstanding appetizer to share on game day!!

Talking with Derrick sparked some childhood memories revolving around Thanksgiving. I remembered being banished to the land of misfits a.k.a the kids table,  my parents having a cocktails, they only hit the sauce on holidays, my siblings and I fighting over the wishbone, and watching Detroit Lions football. This Turkey Day I look forward to seeing my young sous chef show how he can turn up the heat on the field. Ok, maybe that was a  bit cheesy, but I certainly wish Derrick and the Lions the best. I hope this is a season where a mountain lion proves he can be a city lion.

Coney Dogs

Even though Derrick and I prepared crab dip as he is a native to Maryland,

people from The Motor City know that a Coney Dog is the way to go!!

Coney Dogs are grilled dogs, on a grilled roll, topped with a beanless

chili (traditionally prepared with beef hearts), yellow mustard, and oinons.

Apparently, cheese is a debate.

– 1 lb beef hot dogs (I used Nathan’s)

– Potato Rolls

– 1/2 lb ground beef (I didn’t opt for the beef hearts)

– 1 chopped white onion

– 1 can tomato paste

-1/2 tsp garlic salt

-1/2 tsp chili powder

– 1/2 tsp cumin

-1/2 tsp pepper

-1/2 tsp salt

grill hot dogs set aside, brown meat, add paste and spices allow to

simmer. Toast rolls in oven. Assemble hot dogs top with chili first, then

mustard, and finally onions.

Hoping I make my friends in Motown proud!!

As always thanks for reading, cheer for the underdog, and remember…………Who do you want in your kitchen on game day?

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