Frito Pie & Friday Night Lights

If you’ve seen or even heard of the television show Friday Night Lights, you might have an inkling as to how important local high school football is to Texan culture – especially South Texan culture. There are entire towns in South Texas where the *only* thing to do, talk about, or enjoy on a weekend night is the local high school football game.

I don’t even like football that much (don’t understand all the rules), but throughout my middle and high school days, I spent nearly every Friday night of the Fall out at our school district’s football stadium, cheering on my school’s team. (Go Raiders!)

In typical foodie fashion though, one of the things I looked forward to most was dinner comprised of snack bar food. The king of snack bar food at a San Antonio high school football game was and is Frito Pie.

There’s not much ‘pie’ about it. It’s the simplest thing in the world: Snack bar lady opens a lunchbox size packet of Fritos, adds chili and nacho cheese from the dispensers that are also used for the hot dogs, sticks a plastic spoon in the bag, and hands it to you with a fistful of napkins. Let me tell you something; nothing warms you and keeps you happy on a chilly Autumn night in San Antonio like a bag of Frito Pie.

I hadn’t ever really experimented with making my own chili. I’m not really sure why, because it’s deceptively easy. A few weeks ago, we were invited down to the Jersey Shore for the first time ever, to visit Nancy from Sensitive Pantry, and her husband, Andy.

If you follow Nancy’s tweets (@SensitivePantry), you know that a) she’s gluten and dairy free, and b) her husband Andy often makes his famous chili for dinner, as it’s something quick and easy that she can eat and doesn’t have to cook herself.

Andy made lunch for us that Sunday, cooking up a big dutch oven full of his famous chili. We enjoyed it with a lovely grilled salad, but I just knew that this chili was destined in our house for Frito Pie. He’s a sweetheart, is Andy (truthfully so is Nancy!), and he willingly shared his recipe with me, so that I can share it with you. Thanks, Andy!!

Tell me, what are some of your hometown favorites?


  1. says

    I have yet to see Friday Night Lights, but its a show I would love to get into. We are a big football family, but mostly college (Go Gators!)…went to our first high school game to watch my nephew play last Friday and it was so fun!

    I can’t believe I have never tried Frito Pie! I’m going to make this for us soon…how fun to eat! It might get my kids to try something new too!

  2. says

    I’ve had something similar yet I’m sure it was nowhere near as good. But mostly commenting because I’m faniacal (Yes, that is a word. My word.) about Friday Night Lights. Loved it from the start, missed it last year, loved it came back to a big network and now hear this is last year and heaven knows where it’s gonna play; heard DirectTV. Mentioned it on Twitter and can say this…it is not just a football TV show; it is a hunk a hunk of burning love for a bunch of women TV show! If you didn’t see it; you missed somethin good!

  3. says

    Believe it or not, football (in NJ of all places) was big in my hometown, too. We lived in the middle of nowhere so sporting events were the town social hour. Sadly, they never served Frito Pie at the snack bar. Too bad ‘cos it sounds like a real treat. Thanks so much for the kind words and for featuring Andy’s Belmar Chili!!

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