I grew up with three older brothers and a father who were all avid football fans. My mother and I would plan our meals around game times, being sure to have the guys back in front of the television in time for the next kick-off. These days juggling timing is more challenging because there are so many games on the air, but on Super Bowl Sunday only one game rules.
I love the whole spectacle, the tailgating, the singing of the National Anthem, half time entertainment, commercials on TV and of course the food. This is the day for pure comfort food, nothing fancy, and preferably something that can be nibbled on throughout the day. Chicken wings and chips/dips are some of my favorite game day foods, the perfect casual foods that everyone loves.
The first of two styles of chicken wings I am sharing with you today are teriyaki. I could eat teriyaki wings all day, every day and still be happy. I also make my own teriyaki sauce these days using gluten-free soy sauce, making these safe for nearly everyone in your crowd. The beauty of making your own is you can customize to suit your personal tastes. If you want it a little sweeter, add some more sugar. Make it exactly the way you love it.
The second of todays chicken wings are Buffalo-style but a little more balanced than the traditional version. I’ve added some sugar and lime juice to stimulate all your taste buds, so instead of just burning your mouth, these wings have a flavor you can become addicted to. You can add as much or as little hot sauce as you like, making these just the right level of spicy to suit your family. You can offer more hot sauce at the table for those who really love screaming hot foods.
Although Sriracha is said to be gluten-free and I have no issues with it myself, if you have someone who is severely sensitive or celiac, you may want to use a certified gluten-free hot sauce in its place. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
A lot of the chicken wing recipes use calorie-adding cooking techniques and ingredients. By grilling the wings you add a ton of flavor and reduce the calories. I also like that you can cook all of the wings at one time and then add the sauce after they are cooked, making your preparation a lot easier. Plus, the grilling can be done a day ahead, saving you work on game day! Just reheat the wings before tossing with the warmed sauces.
And to offset the healthy aspects of the wings, we have a complete indulgence.
My cheese dip is a totally delicious and horribly fattening treat. You have to balance the scales, LOL! I have added grilled vegetables and seasonings to make this tastier than your ordinary cheese dip. You can customize the seasonings to suit your personal tastes – use the recipe as a guideline and make notes to any changes so you can recreate it next time!
All of the recipes can easily be doubled, so if you are hosting a crowd, scale them up to feed all of your guests. If you don’t want to deal with the bones of chicken wings, go ahead and use chicken tenders or chicken breasts cut into strips. Just realize that because they are boneless they will cook MUCH more quickly and will need to be watched carefully.
For game day get creative and serve a cocktail to match your team. As you can tell I am a 49er Faithful, so I tend toward red cocktails – a tequila sunrise has all the colors ;-), but anything you like would be fun. Even without the Niners in the game, Sunday is still going to be fun. A special shout-out to my friend Jane Reid for loaning me some of her game day decorations. She lives and breathes the Niners!
Have a fabulous Super Bowl party everyone!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Take the pressure off and cook the sauces several days ahead. Grill the wings the day before. Alll you need to do is reheat them before people arrive. Make batches of a signature cocktail and set up a drink station where people can serve themselves. This frees you up from bartending duty and lets you enjoy the day as much as your guests!
Make sure you use gluten-free soy sauce for the teriyaki sauce.
- 5 lb whole or separated chicken wings (about 20 whole wings or 40 total pieces when wings are cut up)
- Olive oil
- 2 tsp onion powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Line a baking sheet with two layers of aluminum foil. Tightly crimp the first layer to the pan edges and lay the second sheet of foil loosely over the first layer.
- If your wings came whole, you will need to cut them into parts for easier eating. Turn them all skin-side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp heavy knife, cut through the joint between the wing tip and the middle section of each wing. Transfer the wing tips to a sealable bag and freeze to use to make a future soup or stock. It is easier to see the joint that separates the leg from the middle section of the wing. Cut each wing in half.
- Transfer the wings to the foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle them lightly with some of the oil and toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle with the onion powder, salt and pepper, turning so all sides have seasoning.
- Preheat your gas grill to medium-high (all burners on) or build a medium charcoal fire; spread coals out when ready. If you are using charcoal, note where the hot spots are so you can move the wings in and out of those areas. A medium fire allows the wings to cook through gently without burning.
- When the grill is hot, place the wings over the hot part of the grate. If using a gas grill, lower the heat to medium/medium-low and keep the cover closed except when turning the wings; if using a charcoal grill, cook the wings uncovered (coals need the oxygen to burn) and move the wings on and off the hotter areas so everything cooks evenly. If you have a smaller grill you may need to cook the wings in batches; don’t overcrowd the grill.
- Remove the top layer of foil from the baking sheet and discard. This leaves you with a clean surface to place the cooked wings and you will avoid cross contamination from any raw chicken juices.
- Turn the wings every 5 minutes with tongs and cook until they are evenly browned on all sides, crisp and cooked through, about 20 minutes total. Wings will cook at different times depending on their size, so remove them from the heat as they finish cooking. Chicken is done when it reaches 160°F. (Insert an instant read thermometer into the meat on a leg portion without touching the bone.)
- When they are done, transfer to the baking sheet, cover with more foil and keep warm in a low oven or on the rack above the grill while you make the sauce(s). The wings will stay warm and finish cooking if there are any spots that aren’t quite cooked through. They will come up to about 165°F, the perfect temperature.
- When you are ready to serve, transfer the wings to a large mixing bowl and pour on some of the sauce. Toss until evenly coated, transfer to a warmed serving platter and serve with extra sauce on the side.
- If you are making more than one sauce, divide the wings evenly into separate bowls and toss each set with one of the sauces. Consider garnishing each type with a different ingredient so they are easy to identify on the platter. For example, use chopped green onions on one, sliced almonds or white sesame seeds on another.
- You can cook these wings up to a day in advance on the grill. When cooled, place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Reheat in a low oven (about 250°F) until hot and then transfer to the mixing bowl(s) and toss with warm sauce(s).
- Yield: about 8 appetizer servings
- 1 cup soy sauce, gluten-free soy sauce or gluten-free Tamari sauce
- 3/4 cup mirin (Japanese wine)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 2 green onions, tough ends trimmed, chopped
- 2 tbsp bourbon, dark rum, or white wine (use wine if anyone is celiac or highly reactive to gluten)
- 2 lb grilled chicken wings, kept warm in a low oven
- 1 green onion, tops trimmed, finely chopped, for garnishing
- In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, green onions, and bourbon. Simmer about 30 minutes. Strain out the solids and discard.
- Transfer the wings to a large mixing bowl. Pour about half of the sauce over the wings and toss with your hands to coat evenly. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with a little extra sauce if desired, and sprinkle with remaining green onions.
- Remaining sauce will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a month.
- Yield: about 2-1/2 cups sauce
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into cubes
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup Sriracha or other hot chile sauce, to taste
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 lb grilled chicken wings, kept warm in a low oven
- Celery sticks, optional, for serving
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the chile sauce, sugar, salt and lime juice. Cook, whisking, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is blended together. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more chile sauce if you want it spicier.
- Transfer the wings to a large mixing bowl. Pour about half of the sauce over the wings and toss with your hands until evenly coated. Transfer to a warmed serving platter. (Wash your hands carefully and don’t rub your eyes!) Serve with extra sauce in a bowl and celery sticks if desired.
- Yield: about 4 appetizer servings
- 3 poblano chiles
- 1 to 2 jalapeno chiles (the more you add, the hotter the dip)
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced thickly
- 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 (15 oz) cans chili with no beans (Hormel brand is gluten-free)
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp ancho chile powder or chili powder of your choice
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 16 oz sour cream
- 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh cilantro or Italian parsley sprigs, for garnishing
- Tortilla chips, for serving
- Prepare your Grilled Vegetables: Heat your gas grill to medium-high heat or build a medium charcoal fire. When the grill is hot, add the chiles and cook until blistered on all sides, turning as needed with tongs, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer chiles to a bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel to steam. This will help loosen the skins, making them easier to peel. Note: using a towel instead of plastic wrap will help absorb some of the moisture from the steam and make the chiles even easier to peel!
- Lightly brush the oil on the onion slices and garlic cloves. Add them to the grill and cook until softened and have grill marks, turning them as needed. When done, transfer to a plate. Peel the garlic and mince. Chop the onions very finely and transfer to a bowl.
- Peel the skins off the chiles. I do this over a bowl because the chiles can be quite slippery. Do not rinse them or you will lose a lot of the flavor. Cut off the tops, cut down the length of the pepper, open it up and remove the ribs and seeds. Cut the chiles into long strips and then finely chop crosswise. Add them to the bowl with the onions and garlic. The vegetables can be grilled and chopped up to a day in advance.
- Make the Cheese Dip: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the cream cheese with the chili and tomatoes, stirring often. If your grill has side burners, you can do this step outdoors! When the cheese is melted, stir in the grilled chopped chiles, onions and garlic. Add the ancho chile powder, cumin, turmeric and cheddar cheese, stirring until the cheese is mostly melted. Stir in the sour cream. Remove from the heat and whisk until cheese is fully melted and all the ingredients are blended. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and more of any of the seasonings you like.
- Transfer to a slow cooker or chafing dish to keep warm and garnish the top with the cilantro or parsley sprigs. Serve hot with tortilla chips.
- Yield: about 10 to 12 servings
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