In advance of the Super Bowl, New Canaan foodie, Anna Gass shares some of her favorite twists on traditional recipes for the occasion! In her spare time, Anna is a chef, recipe tester & blogger whose motto is: “Life’s too short to exercise portion control.”
The super bowl is approaching and if your house is anything like mine, it’s the one day a year your husband and his friends take over the living room, get loud and have a good time watching America’s favorite sport.
I’m not a fan of football. Sad to say, I’m still not very clear on the rules and haven’t invested much time trying to figure it out. What I do enjoy though, is any excuse to throw together a fun party with really good food.
Now yes, you can throw some chips in a bowl and call it a day but seriously, where is the fun in that? Instead, this year, get creative so that even if you’re aren’t interested in the game, you will still be having a good time…eating.
- One big hit is bacon wrapped dates. No surprise, anything wrapped in bacon tastes great. Get a bag of medjool dates, take out the pit and place a teaspoon of goat cheese in the middle (or just reseal for an easier/dairy free prep). Then cut bacon slices in half and wrap around each date. A 10 minute blast in a 400 degree oven and you have sweet, salty, bacon goodness. NO one will eat just one.
- Another favorite is nachos. However, instead of tortilla chips and a sprinkle of Mexican cheese, try something new. I love Greek Style nachos. Lay chips in a single layer, sprinkle shredded mozzarella and bits of feta all over. Then, add kalamata olives, green onion, and shredded chicken. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, just until cheese is oozing and chips are toasted. Remove from the oven, add chopped tomatoes, lettuce all over the top. Serve with a side of tatziki dressing for dipping.
- And because no football feast is complete without chips and dip let’s jazz that up too. Homemade dip is so much better than store bought and not that much effort. I love making clam dip. Before you shutter, try it. It’s amazing! Grab a package of cream cheese and mix with a few large dollops of sour cream to a dip friendly consistency. Add 2 cans of chopped clams (right near tuna fish in the grocery store); drain one can and add the juice from the other. A few splashes of Worchester sauce and you have a dynamite dip. I love it with Cape Cod potato chips.
- And finally, everyone loves a bowl of chili on game day. I make mine in the slow cooker so that by the time the game starts, everyone can grab a bowl and dig in. You can even make a chili bar. Place the slow cooker full of chili at one end of the table, and a bunch of bowls with shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips. Let everyone customize the chili with his or her favorite topping. I make some mini jalepeno corn breads to serve along side. That’s just Jiffy corn bread mix with one chopped jalepeno baked in mini loaf pans. Easy and delicious.
I can’t tell you who is playing in the game but what I can guarantee is that if you make a few of these delicious recipes, all of your guest will be well fed and happy regardless of who scores the winning touchdown
Super Slow Cooker Chili
Serves 4 to 6 so double it up if you are expecting a big crowd
4 to 5 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
½ medium white onion, chopped, medium dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped fine
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped fine
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 to 2 canned adobo chilis, adjust to your spice level
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb ground beef, 90% lean
8 oz diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese for serving
In a large skillet, fry bacon until softened. Add onion, garlic, red pepper, cilantro, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until all ingredients are soft and onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add chilis, honey, black beans and mix to combine. Empty pan into the slow cooker and wipe clean. Add olive oil and ground beef and cook over medium heat, breaking up the meat for even browning. Once meat is no longer pink, and spices, tomatoes and sauce.
Empty meat mixture into slow cooker and mix with the beans and vegetables. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.
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Anna is working on a cookbook featuring recipes from around the world. She cooks with immigrants to translate their favorite and best recipes to paper for generations to come. If you have a Nonna who would be interested in cooking with Anna, please reach out via email: [email protected]