Superbowl Snacks

7 Feb

After making the last-minute decision to invite a few people over for the Superbowl, I needed to figure out what to feed them (and myself).  While I’m sure most of the attendees would have been more than satisfied with beer and chips or pizza, I couldn’t let a golden opportunity to make some fun dips and party foods pass me by, especially considering how rarely we entertain.  Additionally, I have a particular fondness for the Superbowl since a Superbowl party was my first (blind) date with Zak.  As much as I loved the first time we met, I wanted to make this a far cry from the evening where we were the only two people watching the game while the other 30 people at the party played beer pong.

I took stock of what we had in the pantry and chose to make the recipes that follow.  All of these dishes were easy and could be prepared mostly ahead of time.  I know it’s a little late to be of use to anyone actually entertaining for the Superbowl, but I just couldn’t justify the cost or time investment of preparing a bunch of Superbowl-y dishes ahead of the actual Superbowl.  So also consider this a post of ideas for what to make for your Oscar’s party.

Bean and Scallion Dip

This dip takes less than five minutes to make and can be made with ingredients most people have in their pantries.  Feel free to substitute another white bean, such as cannellini or garbanzo, for the Great Northern beans included in this recipe.  This dip was light and flavorful – a nice change of pace from the cheese and meat heavy appetizers you would usually find at a BBQ or Superbowl party.

1 15 oz. can Great Northern beans

2 tbs. olive oil

4 oz. cream cheese

2 whole marinated garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tbs. lemon juice

1/2 cup scallions/green onions, white and dark green parts only, thinly sliced

Pita bread and pretzels for serving

Add all ingredients to food processor and puree until desired consistency.  I kept ours slightly chunky, about 10 one second pulses.

Gently fold in scallions, whites and greens, reserving about a tbs. of greens.  Garnish with a tbs. of sliced greens.

[Note: This can be prepared up to 72 hours in advance and then refrigerated in an airtight container.]

Baked Feta and Cheddar with Marinara

When I saw that we had canned tomatoes and feta, I recalled this delicious-sounding dip I saw on YumSugar awhile back.  Marinara is a very, very low maintenance pasta sauce to make, so I figured this would be perfect.  I only had a few ounces of feta so I decided to supplement it with some smoky cheddar.  If you make the marinara ahead of time, this is another two minutes of prep time.  The marinara itself only has about ten minutes of active time (including the intermittent stirring as the sauce simmers), so this dish yields a very, very favorable flavor-to-time-investment ratio.

Adapted from YumSugar

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

4 oz. smoked cheddar cheese, crumbled

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

4 cups marinara sauce (see below)

Non-stick cooking spray

Butter dips (see below), pita chips, or toasted baguettes for serving

Preheat oven to 375º.

Spray a small, oven proof serving dish such as a casserole with non-stick cooking spray.  Add crumbled feta and cheddar in a single layer on the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle with the crushed red pepper flakes.  Cover completely with the marinara sauce and spread smooth with the back of a spoon.

Place in oven and bake 20-30 minutes until marinara is bubbly and darkened.  Remove from oven and serve with butter dips (see below), toasted baguettes, or pita chips.

Quick Marinara:

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

2 tbs. olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes

2 dried bay leaves

1/2 cup fresh curly leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Heat olive oil in a 10″, deep cast iron pan over medium heat.  Add vegetables and sauté until tender and edges are lightly caramelized, roughly 10-15 minutes.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Add tomatoes, bay leaves, and parsley.  Smash tomatoes with spatula.  Simmer over low heat, uncovered, roughly 1 hour or until sauce is thickened, periodically crushing tomatoes with spatula.  Discard bay leaves.

Transfer to food processor and pulse 10-15 times until smooth.

[Note: This can be prepared ahead of time and then refrigerated 24-48 hours in an airtight container.]

Butter Dips

I wanted a vessel for dipping other than chips, crispy pita, and pretzels.  I had seen these biscuits on TheKitchn and thought they looked delicious and buttery and much easier than most other biscuits, so I pulled up the recipe and set to work.  I doubled the recipe below.  These were a little salty in my opinion, but still quite good.

From TheKitchn

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Cut the butter into four equal pieces and place them in a 9-inch-square baking dish. Put the baking dish in the oven to melt the butter. This will take about 5 minutes; remove the baking dish once the butter has completely melted.

While the butter is melting, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the milk quickly, stopping as soon as a loose dough forms.

Sprinkle some flour over a large cutting board or pastry mat. Turn the dough out onto the mat and press lightly into a long, narrow rectangle. Use knife dipped in flour to cut the dough into 12 equal strips.

Take each strip and place it in the baking dish, turning each strip to cut it into butter. Repeat with all the dough and place the strips close together in the baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let cool for 5 minutes before breaking into individual strips and eating.

Cilantro and Lime Chicken Wings

Chicken wings were Zak’s idea, and I’m glad he suggested them.  These are loosely modeled off of the cilantro and lime wings served at Michael Symon’s B-Spot, which are my absolute favorite wings ever in the history of time.  I decided to bake rather than fry them, partially for the health factor and partially because I wanted to have everything basically ready to go before our guests got here and didn’t want to be standing over the stove battling splattering hot oil while people walked in.  If you want crispy wings, bake them for an initial 20 minutes and then finish them off in a few cups of canola oil heated to 375º for another 10 minutes or so.  The flavors of these chicken wings were excellent.  They work great as an appetizer/snack, but would be a really nice main course for a casual dinner with friends as well.

1 4 lb. bag kosher chicken wings and drumsticks, defrosted if frozen

4 limes, juiced

1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

10 green onions, whites only, thinly sliced

1/4 cup corn oil

3 cloves garlic

Nonstick cooking spray

Combine all ingredients except chicken wings in a food processor.  Pulse 15-20 times until smooth.

Place chicken wings and marinade in a large plastic bag and shake to evenly coat wings.  Marinate 2-4 hours in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375º.

Cover 2 large baking sheets with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place wings on baking sheets in an even layer, giving each wing at least 1/2″ on all sides.  Bake 30-40 minutes until cooked through (when internal temperature reaches 165°).

Remove wings from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cheddar, Tomato and Mushroom Pizza

I realized last minute I had a sheet of puff pastry chilling out in the freezer and thought I would take this opportunity to get rid of it, rather than have it hanging around, mocking me with its deliciousness.  This was a very easy crowd-pleaser.

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen

1 cup smokey cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup plum tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 egg, beaten

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400º.

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray (or use parchment paper, if you have it).  Roll out sheet of puff pastry and place on greased baking sheet.  Brush a 3/4″ strip along the edges of the puff pastry with the beaten egg.  Fold the edges over to form a 1/2″ border, pressing firmly with a fork to form a rim.  Prick the entire center all over with a fork.  Place into refrigerator and chill for half an hour.

Add cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms to forked (haha) area of puff pastry sheet.  Place in oven and bake 20 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden brown.  Serve immediately.

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