Yeah, I know, everybody’s throwing a Super Bowl party. But on this day, I avoid the celebratory one-upmanship and stick with an easy, stress-free concept that allows me to enjoy the actual football-watching part of the big game (imagine that!).
I’m all about a sandwich bar and beer. Albeit a little spiffed up because I toast the sandwiches and serve craft beers, but straightforward enough, right?
Now I realize that, depending on your comfort level in the kitchen, “easy” and “stress-free” are relative terms. But taking this notion of sandwiches and beer and kicking it up a notch really is simple — even for the novice cook or reluctant entertainer. Honest.
The ground rules are simple: Invite a bunch of friends, tell them to bring something (ice, drinks, a side or dessert), and you provide the main course (in this case, sandwiches). Gone is the pressure of heavy-duty cooking, replaced by a focus on enjoying your pals and having a good time.
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I come from a family with hippie tendencies, particularly when it comes to food. During my childhood, the only bread in our fridge was the kind that had at least eight different kinds of grains. I didn’t know that rice could be anything other than brown for my first decade. And for years, I assumed that everyone made granola on a weekly basis.
Every Sunday afternoon, my mom would pull out her rimmed cookie sheets, a big jar of oats and jug of honey to make that week’s batch. Her recipe came from a friend who, for a time, had a granola business. It was of the kitchen-sink variety and included flaked coconut, wheat germ and sesame seeds. While it was quite delicious, it was built for nutrition more than to appeal to my six-year-old taste buds.
As it turns out, this apple hasn’t fallen very far from her tree. Once I got out on my own, it wasn’t long before I fell into the same Sunday afternoon granola habit that I grew up with. My kitchen feels quite naked without a jar of granola on the counter. I eat it with a bit of milk for breakfast, munch on a handful when the late-afternoon munchies strike and dash a few clusters over Greek yogurt for that late-evening something sweet.
Before you start toasting your oats, read these tips »
You created six new sandwiches for Food Network specifically for the big game this Sunday. How did you come up with them?
JM: They are easy sandwiches I would want to eat while watching a game. Plus, they hold well so they are going to remain fresh and tasty, at least until halftime, when they’re all gone.
Which one can we expect on your menu?
JM: My good friend is actually hosting an engagement party the day of the big game, which is not only grounds for a man-card revocation, but also cuts into my prep time. That’s why I’m making the Rueben Meatball Sliders. They are easy to make ahead, as well as the Monster Muffaletta, which really involves no cooking.
Bread can make or break a sandwich »
Even if one is stuck in the Great White North, February is still a fiery month for food festivals.
Tropical Wine Festival, Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 3: Iowa is more than a crucial battleground in presidential politics, it’s a fertile land for oenophiles with a sense of humor when it comes to clothing — we’re as surprised as you are — during the first weekend in February. The Tropical Wine Festival, for which attendees are encouraged to don their favorite tropical attire, unites local wineries and lovers of their vintages for a few hours of chin-chins and nibbles from area food purveyors, including The Cheese Shop of Des Moines and Dos Rios Cantina and Tequila Lounge. Go all the way with Hawaiian leis and tiny bubbles when musical group Tropical Steel fires things up.
AleFest Columbus, Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 5: Warm up in the Buckeye State with this one-day brew fete. Beer aficionados will geek out at the opportunity to sample some of the more than 250 stellar creations — including cask — at this seventh-annual affair. Admission ($40) earns the festival-goer a tasting glass to be filled with 20 samples and a guide to scheduled events, including a silent auction and a raffle for beer collectibles. Belly up to the booth.
More food festivals in February »
On game day, fake out your guests with this nacho platter from Food Network Magazine — it’s really dessert. Follow this easy step-by-step guide and whip up a nacho cheesecake in no time. While you’re at it, try your hand at another one of the magazine’s wacky and creative cakes.
Chorizo is a bit like pornography. You’ll know it when you see it, but it’s a bit hard to define in the abstract.
That’s because there are several hundred varieties of this sausage made across at least three continents and many bear little resemblance to the others.
Making matters worse, chorizo makers in the U.S. are a pretty freewheeling bunch. No matter what the packages say, you never quite know what you’re getting.
The good news is that you don’t need to sift through all that to understand why this meat is well worth working into your dinner repertoire.
At its most basic level, chorizo is a sausage made from chopped or ground pork and a ton of seasonings, often including garlic.
The flavors are deeply smoky and savory, with varying degrees of heat. Most are assertive and peppery, but not truly spicy.
Roasted Chicken With Chorizo and Root Veggies »
Be prepared for anything when Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his hole this Groundhog Day. Whether he sees his shadow and proclaims the doldrums of winter will continue or scurries around in a jovial spring-will-be-here-before-you-know-it jig, this mix of cold-weather comfort food and pre-warm-weather dishes are sure to be a hit.
Stay warm with Alton’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese. In cold weather, nothing is better than gooey macaroni topped with a crispy layer of cheese and bread crumbs. Save leftovers for fried macaroni and cheese.
Food Network Magazine’s Smoky Pork Calzones (pictured above) are an easy weeknight meal. Ground pork, smoked paprika and shredded mozzarella put a hearty spin on the typical pizza-dough calzone.
You’d never guess this Spicy Vegetarian Chili is seasoned with cocoa powder and coffee. Make an extra-large batch and freeze the leftovers.
Read more »
The Super Bowl is such a great athletic event. It’s also a day that honors another great sport: cooking. People get out their smokers and their spicy chicken wing recipes. Others grab their salsa recipes and tortilla presses. It’s definitely a day to bust out some of your favorite all-American recipes. What I find people struggle with is something to put out on the table that’s relatively light, something with vegetables or fruit. Are we looking for something to replace those wings or hot dogs? Absolutely not. Just something else that can complement it.
Here are some suggestions and tips for that “light” (albeit out of place) touch for your Super Bowl spread:
- Fruit can be a great guest at your party. Skewer some tomatoes and grapes and serve them with bowl of yogurt flavored with a few spoonfuls of honey, a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Or just serve them plain.
- Make a vegetable platter. What are my favorite vegetables? Raw carrots, cucumbers, celery, red bell peppers and cauliflower. Veggie platters allow people to nibble.
More tips for a lighter Super Bowl spread »
iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch owners rejoice: The latest version of Food Network’s In the Kitchen App has new features that will make browsing your favorite recipes and Food Network chefs even easier.
In the Kitchen delivers all-star dishes and menus on the go from Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri and more. Find thousands of the best kitchen-tested and fan-rated recipes for weekday dinners, in-season cooking, memorable holidays and easy parties — perfect for the big game this Sunday. Plus, tap into smart new tools:
Compare Recipes: Not sure what to make? Browse titles, cook times and ingredient lists of several all-star recipes at once. You can even use the tool to mix-and-match recipes for party menus.
Ratings and Reviews: See what other fans have to say about Food Network’s best recipes.
More smart new tools »
The Super Bowl: It’s the pinnacle of the pro football season. Even more important than which teams are playing, however, is what you’ll be serving to keep family and friends fueled until the last touchdown. Whether you have your recipes in order for the big day or you’re looking for some inspiration, we thought we would share some of the best offerings out there.
We kicked off our first Communal Table on Food Network back in November for Thanksgiving, and the response was so outstanding that we decided the Super Bowl deserved the same attention. Today, experts from the industry are excited to “pull up a chair” to our table and offer readers their favorite recipes for appetizers, desserts and drinks for the big game.
We’ve chosen to bring Alton’s Buffalo Wings to the table — an easy, last-minute recipe with only five ingredients. Alton’s secret for success is to first steam the wings before baking them in the oven on parchment paper. Tossed with garlic, hot sauce and salt, all of the flavors seep into the crispy chicken for tangy wings the whole family will love.
See what our friends are bringing to the table and tell us what you would bring to the table on Twitter by using the hashtag: #pullupachair.
See what our friends are bringing to the table »