All right gang, are you ready for Super Bowl Sunday? Are you having friends over or are you going to a party somewhere else? Do you have your menu planned? In case you are still mulling over possibilities, here are a bunch of recipes that would be perfect for a football party, guys poker party, or a picnic. The best part is they can all be made ahead so you don’t have to miss any of the fun commercials.
The Artist and I usually make a whole series of picnic foods and then park ourselves in front of the television and snack the day away. I look for things that can be served cold, at room temperature, or kept warm in a slow cooker or low oven. I want foods that don’t require any last minute preparation, items that are easy to eat without making too much of a mess, and good old-fashioned comfort foods.
When I am composing party menus, I feature one or two main courses or more substantial offerings and add a bunch of other snacks and goodies, often made from grains and vegetables or other less expensive ingredients. Start out by offering chips and dip for example, which fills people up and then you can serve smaller main course portions. This keeps everyone happy without costing me an arm and a leg.
Obviously decorating your home with the colors of your favorite team is easy, but try to give some equal time to the opposing team too. If you want to get even more adventuresome, you can offer specialties from each team’s hometown. My personal favorite is to select recipes that are pure comfort food that can be made at least partially ahead so I am not spending the entire day in the kitchen.
Make sure you set up a do-it-yourself beverage station, have bowls of nuts or other snacks scattered around the room, and put out a few piles of napkins so everyone can keep greasy hands off the furniture. If you have wood tables, you might want to cover them with a plastic coated tablecloth so you don’t have to worry about spills or having people use coasters. If you will have warm dishes, set them on trivets so your tables don’t get damaged from the heat.
If you are serving a main dish in the evening (like yesterday’s Chili with Beans and Chocolate) you may want to just offer finger foods and snack items so people still have room for dinner. If you want more rib-sticking foods, there are plenty of great sandwiches, tacos and other finger-licking treats below, something for everyone.
So, this weekend while you are enjoying the Super Bowl and the commercials, treat your family and guests to some homemade goodness to nosh on!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Do as much prep as you can ahead of time. Read each recipe through and figure out what parts can be made or assembled early. If there are common ingredients, say onions, chop enough for everything you will need at one time. Do your shopping several days ahead if possible to avoid long lines. Pretend that you are Ina Garten and make up a huge batch of cocktails and store them in pitchers. Then everyone can help themselves and you don’t have to miss the game by playing bartender.
Most importantly, make sure that you leave plenty of time on game day so you can relax and enjoy yourself!
- 16 oz sour cream
- 2 packages Taco Seasoning mix
- 1 small onion, chopped finely, optional
- 1/2 to 1 lb lean ground beef, optional (replace with sauteed vegetables if you want a vegetarian version)
- 16 oz refried beans
- 4 oz canned diced green chiles
- 2 small tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup guacamole
- 4 oz chopped black olives
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- Taco or Picante Sauce, or fresh salsa
- Tortilla chips
- In a small bowl, combine sour cream and one of the Taco Seasoning packets. Set aside.
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown chopped onions with the ground beef, breaking up clumps. Remove excess fat from the skillet. Stir in second Taco Seasoning packet and water as directed on package. Reduce heat and cook until sauce is thickened. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat refried beans with about 1/4-cup water or enough to reach your desired spreading consistency. Set aside.
- Refried beans
- Cooked beef and onions, optional
- Green chiles
- Black Olives
- Taco or Picante Sauce
- Cheddar cheese
- Sour cream mixture
- Yield: 10 servings
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion (1/2 med onion)
- 1/2 small garlic clove, smashed and minced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, dried and chopped, reserving some for garnish
- 2 to 4 tbsp Chipotle en Adobo, or to taste
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained but not rinsed
- Juice of 1 lime, reserve juice separately
- Juice of 1 lemon, reserve juice separately
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Tortilla chips and fresh vegetables, for serving
- In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, and chile powder to oil. Reduce to medium and cook until onions are translucent and softened, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal S-blade, combine cooked onion mixture, fresh cilantro, chipotle with juice, and beans. Pulse until coarsely pureed. Add lime juice, half of the lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Puree until very smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping sides of the bowl often.
- Taste, adding more chipotle if you want it hotter, or more lemon juice if it needs balancing. Transfer puree to a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Make up to 3 days in advance; cover and keep refrigerated. Flavors blend and intensify with time.
- For a party, place a bowl with hummus on a platter and surround the bowl with tortilla chips. Adding strips of lightly steamed red, yellow and green bell peppers plus cauliflower florets and jicama sticks, or other crudités, makes the platter look more tempting and healthier for those on a diet.
- Yield: 10 to 12 servings as an appetizer
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder, optional
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder, optional
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, breasts, or tenders
- Canola oil, if you choose the frying method
- In a flat container (such as a square baking pan), combine the flour, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk together until well blended.
- Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and set next to the flour mixture. Place the panko breadcrumbs in another flat container and set next to the eggs.
- You want to have all the chicken about the same thickness so everything cooks evenly. You can pound smaller pieces if needed, but if you have thick breasts, cut them in half horizontally to create two thinner pieces. Cut into roughly 2-inch cubes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
- The technique to prepare the chicken for either baking or frying is the same. Working with a few pieces at a time, dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour. Transfer to the bowl with the beaten eggs and then into the panko. Roll in the panko until thoroughly coated.
- If some of your cubes are smaller, place them in a separate pile and cook them independently of the larger pieces, adjusting cooking times as needed.
- To Bake: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425°F. Distribute coated chicken pieces on the lined sheet and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes, depending on the size of pieces.
- To Fry: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat about 1 minute. Pour in about 1/2-inch of canola oil and heat until a drop of water pops when it hits the oil. Very carefully add the chicken cubes and cook until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a rack set over a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Using the rack helps keep the chicken pieces crispy.
- Serve immediately. Offer with the following dipping sauces if desired.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Spicy BBQ Ketchup
- 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
- 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (use your favorite)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Honey Mustard Sauce
- 1/4 cup prepared yellow or spicy brown mustard
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/3 cup low fat Best Foods or Hellman’s brand mayonnaise
- Blue Cheese Ranch Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing, preferably homemade (from Hidden Valley Ranch packet)
- 1/4 cup blue cheese salad dressing
- For each version, combine ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp prepared mustard
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar, optional
- Pinch sugar, optional
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 cups slivered salami
- 1 cup slivered ham
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 2 tbsp minced pepperoncini peppers, drained
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 (6-inch) pita breads, halved
- Green lettuce leaves, cleaned and stems removed
- 3 green onions, white and light green parts minced
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine salami, ham, olives, peppers, tomatoes, and cheese. Toss to blend. Add half of dressing and toss to coat evenly. Add more dressing as desired. Line pita halves with the lettuce leaves, spoon about 3/4 cup into each half, and top with green onions.
- Serve chilled.
- Yield: 4 servings (2 pita halves per serving)
- 1 lb cooked large shrimp, coarsely chopped
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2-1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp snipped chives
- 1 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped basil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 10 (3-inch) round white dinner rolls or sourdough rolls
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with the celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, parsley, and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using a paring knife cut a 2-inch round from the top of each roll. Discard the filling from the rolls, set the rolls on a baking sheet and warm in the oven, about 5 minutes.
- Butter the inside of the rolls and fill with the shrimp salad. Top with the lids and serve.
- Yield: 10 servings
Additional items that might tempt you this Sunday!
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