I used to be indifferent to football. These days, however, you can find me sporting an Eli Manning jersey and checking stats for my Fantasy team. Perhaps dating a diehard Giants fan and living with two guys has influenced my change of heart. But really, I think it’s the food that won me over. There’s an unspoken rule that all food eaten on Sunday should be of the comfort food variety, and I’m OK with that. An excuse to eat nachos, wings and brownies? Count me in.
For a recent Sunday night game, I made cinnamon-sugar soft pretzels. Chewy, with a slight crunch from the buttery sugar coating, they tasted just like the famous ones that tempt you at malls and airports — and they smelled equally amazing. Even after a quarter filled with fumbles and turnovers, my frustrated friends couldn’t help but be giddy while my pretzels baked in the oven.
OK, I have a confession: I don’t understand football. Never have. Never will. It’s just the way I was made. I do, however, love throwing Super Bowl parties. You wouldn’t actually find me watching the game, but I love to have all my friends over and cook a big feast and let everyone else enjoy the game while indulging on great food.
The key to a great big-game soiree is to have lots of finger foods — things that are easy to eat while you’re on the couch watching TV and screaming for your favorite team. You also need recipes that are simple to make so you don’t spend the whole day in your kitchen.
The big game may be tomorrow, but there’s still time to organize a feast. Here are a few of my favorite recipes that always make an appearance at my party:
Alton’s guacamole. I once heard a fact that some obscene amount of guacamole is consumed every year during the Super Bowl — something like two football fields’ worth. But since guacamole is awesome, I can believe it.
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Game Day is just hours away, and whether you’ve been planning your tailgate-ready menu for days or have just started thinking about what you’ll serve, rest assured that Food Network has easy recipe ideas to see you through your big game bash. Perhaps more than anything else on Sunday, it will be important that you have enough food to feed the mass of hungry football fans gathering in your living room. But while you want to offer a super-large spread of eats and drinks, you surely don’t want to spend your evening in the kitchen cooking it while your friends are cheering about the latest touchdown. To make sure that you enjoy game day too, stick with fuss-free recipes for slow-cooked classics and easy-to-make sandwiches to feed the whole group without a lot of time or effort. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite crowd-pleasing recipes below, then find a complete game-day menu with Alton’s meatballs, maple blondies and Bobby’s margaritas.
While most macaroni and cheese recipes require plenty of hands-on time for cooking and draining the pasta, whisking in handfuls of cheese and milk and then transfering everything from stove to oven, Trisha Yearwood’s Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate in do-ahead cooking. She starts with precooked macaroni (what you have left over from last night’s dinner is a-ok to use), then mixes it with milk, butter and more than a pound of cheddar cheese in the base of a slow cooker and lets the machine do the work for her. Prep this meal in the late afternoon, and by the time you’re ready for dinner during the first half, all you’ll have left to do is quickly stir the macaroni before serving.
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When it comes to sporting events, I’m really only in it for the food. As a kid, when I went to baseball games with my dad, my mind was on killing time until the seventh-inning stretch, when I’d be allowed to have ice cream. In high school, football games were all about the soft pretzels (and flirting, of course). And to my mind, Super Bowl Sunday is about snacks, dips and wacky commercials.
While there’s nothing wrong with classics like queso dip (made from only the very best processed cheeses) and blender salsas, I do get a kick out of making fancied-up versions of traditional dippy dishes. I’ve entertained a number in recent days and two that have bubbled to the top of my big game hit parade are Trisha Yearwood’s Hot Corn Dip and Alton Brown’s Onion Dip From Scratch.
The Hot Corn Dip is one of those addictive creations where you mix up a few ingredients, scrape the whole mess into an ovenproof bowl and bake it until bubbly (I’m drooling a little just thinking about it). It can be prepped ahead of time and baked off just before the game starts. Served with tortilla chips, it’s a good snacking time.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
Once the game is clicked on this Sunday, your chances of stirring a pot come to a screeching halt. You need one-pot dishes that come together — and stay together — throughout your Super Bowl party. That’s why, this week, we’re lining up our favorite chili recipes, ranging from traditional to chicken to white bean. Simmer a pot for the fam or fix it cook-off style. Either way, this Sunday is all about chili.
In the spirit of keeping things easy, consider your slow cooker your most valuable asset. Slow-Cooker Texas Chili and Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili by Food Network Magazine both come to fruition in just about seven no-hassle hours. Simply pile in the ingredients and kick off.
Food Network Magazine’s Chili con Carne (pictured above) is prepared the classic way, while Tyler Florence’s Beef Chili swaps ground beef for tender morsels of cubed beef. For a chili recipe that goes heavy on the beans, Ellie Krieger’s Three Bean and Beef Chili is brimming with black, kidney and pinto.
More chili recipes from family and friends
It’s no surprise that Jeff’s a big football fan. Though his home team (Chicago Bears) didn’t make the playoffs this year, he’s still excited to celebrate the upcoming big game.
Here are 5 things you can catch Jeff either watching, eating or drinking during the Super Bowl:
1. Commercials: I love watching the one-up manship of these mini movies. Some are very clever and entertaining, sometimes even more so than the game.
2. I eat and make sandwiches (obviously). They’re minimal-cleanup necessary and their one-handed operation permits high-fiving and remote-controlling. It’s also an easy and economical way to feed a bunch of people.
3. I’ll be drinking a lighter beer so my tiny tummy doesn’t fill up so quickly, thus being able to enjoy much more of my personal game-day trifecta: salt, meat and carb.
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I have a deep and unconditional love for chicken wings. To me, wings are the perfect bar-snack and party food. I love them every way: spicy, sweet or savory. The only no-no for me is flabby skin!
Whether you decide to fry them, bake them or grill them — the three cooking methods we show you in Food Network Magazine’s booklet of 50 wings (page 168, January/February 2013 issue) — you’ll produce a perfectly crispy wing. And the options are truly limitless. Check out my sesame version below, then serve these for the big game with an Asian chili sauce like Sriracha:
Sesame: Spread wings on 2 oiled pans, season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees F until crispy, about 45 minutes. Toast 3 tablespoons sesame seeds in a dry skillet until golden. Toss hot wings with seeds and 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and 1/4 cup chopped scallions.
Come the fourth quarter of the big game, when the last bit of meat has been chewed off the chicken wings, the bowl of chips is dotted with just measly crumbs and nothing is left of the tray of sliders, only one thing remains: your sweet tooth. After a long afternoon of deliciously salty, savory snacking, it’s about time you dig into a game-day dessert to take off the sweet edge, right? Curb that craving at last by shifting the focus from hearty meats and cool dips to must-try baked treats and chilly ice cream sundaes with these must-try recipes from Food Network Kitchens, Alton, Paula and Giada.
Perhaps the ultimate game-day dessert, Food Network Kitchens’ Pull Apart Touchdown Cupcakes (pictured above) bring the football field to life with an edible landscape complete with end zones, a 50-yard line, a miniature football and rival players that is impressively realistic. To create, start with a batch of two dozen chocolate chip-studded cupcakes, then when they’ve cooled, get to work on setting the scene. If you’re baking with little ones, let them help you decorate these light, fluffy cupcakes with creamy peanut butter frosting, a blanket of grass-colored sprinkles, white-icing yard lines and colorful gummy “players.” You can get as creative as you’d like with the assembly, but remember, even if your final product looks more like an oblong hockey rink than a rectangular football field, this easy-to-eat dessert will still be satisfyingly sweet and a sure-fire win with your party guests.
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The big game is just days away, which means that it’s officially time to start planning your weekend tailgate menu. Whether or not you’re a fan of the teams taking the field on Sunday, almost everyone can appreciate the relaxing afternoon of TV watching, couch potato-ing and heavy-duty snacking that comes with this ultimate football showdown. Invite your friends and family over for a casual game-day bash and serve a spread of mingle-friendly dips, Buffalo-style wings and adults-only cocktails, all rounded out by a crowd-pleasing main dish: the chicken enchilada. Check out Food Network’s top five chicken enchilada recipes below — each a hearty, all-in-one meal that the whole family will enjoy — and cook up one at home this weekend.
5. Light Chicken Enchiladas — Stick to your New Year’s Day healthy-eating resolution while still enjoying this full-flavored dish, made with lean chicken breasts, just a splash of olive oil and a sprinkling of muenster cheese.
4. Chicken Enchiladas Suizas — Food Network Kitchens incorporates a touch of heat to its tomato-based enchilada sauce by adding a few Serrano chile peppers, but a scoop of Mexican crema mixed with shredded chicken helps to balances the spice.
Get the top three recipes