I don’t know about you, but the Super Bowl isn’t holding much excitement for me this year. Like every other cheese-head, I watched the Pack this past season with the assumed notion they would once again triumph at this big match up. I think that’s the reason for my total non-interest in the game this year. I can honestly report there is no “football fever” at my house and all week long I’ve turned a deaf ear to any commentary on it. However, I did get a call from a buddy of mine early last week announcing he’s hosting a Super Bowl party. I’m planning on going but not at all for what will be taking place on his big screen TV. It’ll be the food I’m after.
Last year I can remember consuming such delicacies as Green and Gold cupcakes; cutting into a green and gold shaped football made from cheese, scooping dip using green tortilla chips and even quaffing a mug of green beer. And the entire atmosphere of the party was different. No one stood over the food table chatting about kids, their job or pets. Everyone was glued to the tube, cheering on the Pack.
But I have been to plenty of Super Bowl parties over the years and I guess it’s natural that if “your” team isn’t in it, party conversations take on a more domestic slant while lounging around the hors d’ oeuvres. In fact, I’ve been to plenty of Super Bowl parties where there was more attention paid to the commercials and the wild halftime shows featuring well known performers, than the game. This diligence can pay off, and I cite the year Janet Jackson performed. I can’t exactly remember the songs she sang, but I do remember my jaw dropping open after her “wardrobe malfunction.” The conversation around the food table really turned juicy after that particular halftime presentation. It’s interesting to note that this year Madonna will be performing, so I’m planning on keeping my eyes peeled.
I guess in reality the Super Bowl game is, at the very least, a good excuse to get together with friends and have a little party; a welcome diversion this time of year. But football party food is also a treat and this week I’ve included a couple of favorites I have served over the years, whether the Pack was in it or not.
Which brings up another point. Who to root for? I’m slanting toward the Patriots because I like their helmet logo better than New York’s. And I’ll also be rooting for whichever team can get me set up on the right numbers for a couple of football pools I’m on. Other than that I’ll be keeping a close eye on the half-time show. You just never know what that might reveal-if you know what I mean.
Savory Hawaiian Sliders
1 20-oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
11/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbs. ketchup
1 Tbs. white vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
18 miniature whole wheat buns
Baby spinach leaves
3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
Sliced jalapeno peppers, optional
Drain pineapple, reserving juice and 11/2 cups pineapple (save remaining pineapple for another use). In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup reserved crushed pineapple, pepper and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 18 patties and then place in two 11×7-inch dishes. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, pepper flakes and reserved pineapple juice. Pour half of marinade into each dish; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning once. Drain and discard marinade. Broil 4 inches from heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Grill buns, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes or until toasted. Serve burgers on buns with spinach, remaining pineapple, bacon and jalapeno peppers if desired. If miniature whole wheat buns are not available, you can also use whole wheat hot dog buns cut into thirds.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 10-oz. cans chunk chicken, drained
3/4 cup hot sauce (or less depending on your taste)
2 8-oz.packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
11/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4-inch pieces
1 box chicken-flavored crackers
Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.
Associate Editor Mary Ann Doyle is available at email@example.com.