January 27, 2014

Nothing says hunger like a bunch of rowdy football fans in your house. Keep those sports fanatics out of the kitchen by serving them plenty of tasty food as the Seattle Seahawks battle the Denver Broncos in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, Feb. 2.

Toasted Spinach Dip

Spinach dip is always popular at parties. This one does not contain mayonnaise, as most do. If you prefer a little crunch, chop up some water chestnuts and add them to the dip.

12 oz fresh spinach or 10 oz frozen spinach (1 pkg)

1 package whipped cream cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

1 small red onion for garnish

1 teaspoon salt and pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder (as desired)

Harvest Wheat or Buttercrisp crackers

Steam fresh spinach or cook frozen chopped spinach. Drain very well and chop if needed.

In a mixing bowl, combine spinach with cream cheese and sour cream. Season with garlic powder and salt and pepper, as desired.

Top a cracker with spinach dip. Garnish with small red onion ringlet or diced onion.

Bacon Pizza

I have seen a similar recipe to this one floating around on the Internet so I thought I'd give it a try.

If you're a fan of bacon and the sweet and salty flavor, you will like this recipe. After tasting it I thought it could almost be served at breakfast alongside eggs.

1 tube Crescent Rolls

1 lb bacon, semi-crispy

1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup maple syrup

1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray sheet with vegetable spray. Unroll dough onto sheet. Use a fork to prick dough all over.

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and cayenne pepper with a fork and set aside.

First slather the dough with half of the maple syrup using a brush. Next evenly spread bacon pieces on top dough and use the rest of the syrup to cover bacon. Then sprinkle bacon with brown sugar and cayenne pepper mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting into small pieces.

Crock Pot Ribs

If you have a request for ribs on the game-day menu, take the easy way out. Ribs in the crock pot could not be simpler. If you have a big crowd to feed, cook up another rack in a second crock pot.

1 rack Baby back ribs

1 bottle barbeque sauce

all-purpose seasoning such as Cookies

Season ribs with all-purpose seasoning or a mixture of paprika, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Place the meaty side against the wall of the crock pot. Pour 2-3 cups of bbq sauce onto ribs. Cover crock pot with lid and set crock pot to low setting. Cook for 4-5 hours or until meat is falling off the bone. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting between the bones. The extra barbeque sauce can be used as a dipping sauce.

Bacon-wrapped Crackers

These crackers were part of my Christmas appetizers column, but this is a different version. The first version used grated parmesan and this version uses brown sugar instead. Make a batch of each and see which one you like better.

The bacon-wrapped crackers can be cooled and then frozen in a resealable bag until game day. Heat them in the oven for 10 minutes at 300 degrees until warm.

1 sleeve Club-style crackers

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 pound thinly sliced bacon

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Lay the crackers face up on a large rack over a baking sheet (or broiler pan). Scoop about 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar onto each cracker. Cut the package of bacon in half (or cut pieces individually) and carefully, so the brown sugar doesn't fall off, wrap each cheese covered cracker with one half piece of bacon, completely covering the cracker. It should fit snugly around the cracker, but not be pulled too taut. Place the bacon-wrapped crackers onto the rack. Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 2 hours. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Tailgating Asian Wings

Chicken wings are sure to score a touchdown with football fans. Instead of traditional buffalo wing sauce, try wings with an Asian flair. Restaurant owner and cook Guy Fieri has perfected his recipe for wings with a zing.

1 lb chicken wings, cut into segments, tips removed and discarded

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

Asian Sauce:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

2 teaspoons lime zest

3 tablespoons lime juice, from 1 lime

1/4 cup orange juice, from 1/2 orange

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1 teaspoon chili garlic paste

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the wings with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken wings on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes.

To make sauce:

Combine all of the ingredients in a resealable gallon-size plastic bag and shake to combine or a large bowl and whisk well.

Remove the wings from the oven to a bowl and pour sauce over wings.

Note: If you prefer more of a glazed wing, toss them in the sauce and then bake them in the oven until sticky.

No-Bake Chewy Cookies and Cream Bars

If you need something sweet and simple to feed your NFL fans, try Oreo bars that are a light and crisp like Rice Krispie bars.

16 oz pkg Oreos

5 cups large marshmallows

4 tablespoons butter

Place Oreos in food processor and pulse until ground or place in a resealable bag and break cookies with a rolling pin. Melt marshmallows and butter in microwave until puffed, about 1 1/2- 2 minutes. Remove and pour in ground Oreo Cookies. Stir to combine then transfer to a foil lined 8×8 inch baking pan. Let bars set up for 10 minutes. Remove bars out of pan with edges of foil and cut into squares.