We’re almost a week away from America’s most popular sporting holiday. The Super Bowl has different meanings for many of us. For some, Super Sunday is the culmination of months of gut-wrenching fandom, the ultimate contest to determine if your team will end their season with the Vince Lombardi trophy held aloft, or if they’ll head home to a long summer filled with what-ifs. For those of us whose team didn’t make the big game? Eh, we’ll probably catch a few downs during commercials for the Puppy Bowl. I mean, it is still the biggest game of the season!
Now, everyone has their official, uber-hyped game day meals. That’s all fine and dandy, and we have some dynamite suggestions, too. But we also wanted to offer a few cautionary tips to help you avoid a super disaster at your game day party.
Tip 1: Stay away from soups
Imagine yourself strolling through the door with a Thermos (or Guy forbid, a Crock Pot) full of New England Clam Chowder. You won’t exactly be greeted as a culinary hero. Granted, the New England Patriots are representing the AFC in the game. This doesn’t mean you should take the Chowder Head idea literally!
Soups are just impractical for parties like this – they require an extra dish in addition to the plate partygoers will be carrying, which can make moving around a lot more difficult. Since everyone will be sitting in front of the TV – read, sitting on the nice couches and chairs – spilling is a big risk with potentially big consequences. And let’s not forgot the football aspect, here. You have to look down to slurp your soup. That one second looking away can be all it takes to completely change a game. (We’re speaking from experience here. We don’t even go to the bathroom until halftime.)
If you’re dead set on chowdah, you can exercise some imagination and make a bacon and clam pizza, like the recipe we found at ZenCanCook. While you don’t need a pizza stone, they’re great at getting the crispy crust that is critical to offset the clam and bacon mess! If you’re not quite ready for the stone, various pizza pans work great as well.
Tip 2: Don’t do dainty
This is a no-brainer. Even the name Super Bowl is, well, super. Really, if this game wore pants, it’d have an elastic waistband; your food should be big enough to match.
We know, you just made those New Year’s resolutions, but everyone deserves a cheat day, right? Forget the Buffalo wings – try Buffalo drumsticks.
Or just stick with our Buffalo chicken dip recipe. This recipe is partly adapted from Frank’s Red Hot, which actually has a site called buffalochickendip.com – the only web page you’ll ever need. The dip is a party favorite because it’s way less messy than the wings, but has all the flavor just the same. You can oversize it to suit however many hungry mouths you need to feed.
Just please, whatever you do, don’t spend hours perfecting the ambiance of your fancy mini canapes. This is the Super Bowl, not a state dinner.
BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP
8 oz cream cheese
Shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup hot sauce (most people use Frank’s)
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
Cheese – you can use 1 cup crumbled blue cheese, or 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella
Crackers, carrots, and celery for dipping
Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium skillet, melt the cream cheese over moderate heat until smooth. Add the hot sauce, chicken, salad dressing, and half the cheese (unless you’re using blue cheese), and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish or deep pie dish (like these from Emile Henry), and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top (all of the cheese if you’re using blue). Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
You can call us Joe Namath, because we guarantee you’ll be getting compliments for this one.
If it has to be healthy, make it count!
Look, we get it. Some people actually like healthy things – they’re not just pretending like the rest of us. But if you’re going to be that guy on Super Bowl Sunday, just make sure you remember your audience. That means no wheatgrass and flax smoothies, people!
A simple (and cheap) option is to utilize our microwave chip maker, which just so happens to be the subject of our in-store demo this week. This surprisingly cool piece quickly makes chips from potatoes, carrots, mangoes – really, all sorts of fruits and veggies. If you’re in the Philadelphia area this Saturday, you can stop by the store from 11-3 to see this baby in action.
For those who are feeling more ambitious, you can use a food dehydrator to make homemade trail mix, veggies or fruit chips (rather than the fried versions). These can provide a big burst of flavor at a fraction of the calories.
Of course, you can easily just alter your recipes to increase the health factor. (And we do encourage this!) For example, parsnips (the oft-bitter cousin of the carrot) are great veggie replacements for potatoes when thinking of fries. And if anyone complains about the lack of calories, just serve up a little cheese on the side.
Parsnip Image: By Zyance (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons