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Big game eats


Top left: Mini Philly cheesesteaks, photo from Bottom right: New England street corn, photo from

Top left: Mini Philly cheesesteaks, photo from Bottom right: New England street corn, photo from


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Shrimp roll toast sandwiches

Shrimp roll toast sandwiches
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Philly mashed potatoes

Philly mashed potatoes
Photo by:



Jan Swoope



Without a team in the fray, my personal zeal for Super Bowl LII is idling on the sidelines. No Cowboys, Packers, Steelers (No. 78) or Saints to cheer for. But still, it's the Super Bowl -- and the last occasion of the season for a pigskin party. With the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots set to face off Feb. 4, I thought it could be interesting to look at some party-friendly recipes that represent each team's home base -- Pennsylvania's Philly and America's northeast. 




Regionally-inspired eats 


Super Bowl menus could feature mini Philly cheesesteaks from Allrecipe's "Chef John." These miniaturized sandwiches are made with classic cheesesteak ingredients, but in open-face form on slices of baguettes. (There's even a video online at  


Philly mashed potatoes -- made with eggs, cream cheese and French-fried onions -- are an upgrade on standard spuds and packed with flavors. (This recipe sounds so good, I want to make it for Easter family dinner.) 


New England is pretty famous for seafood, especially lobster and clams. Feel free to go that route if you're feeling whole-hearted, but for a twist, how about shrimp roll toast sandwiches with bacon and Ritz cracker topping? 


Food blogger Dara Pollak at likes them on buttery potato bread (her chosen brand is Martin's). She butters and grills the bread, flattening it with a spatula as it cooks so it gets a little crispy. 


"You obviously don't have to cook them this way, but I think the flattened bread actually tastes great -- chewy and crisp at the same time -- with the cool shrimp mixture. Oh, and the shrimp has Old Bay seasoning in it, which may be one of the best seasonings ever created," she writes. 


The bacon and Ritz cracker topping is optional, but it makes a nice salty and crunchy addition.  


John Santos at is a huge fan of Mexican street corn but was inspired by flavors and ingredients of New England to put a northeastern spin on the classic corn. In a September 2017 post, he shares a tip: "Smearing the corn with a mayo is an easy way to boost its flavor and help make all the seasonings stick." 


Whether you're pulling for Patriots or Eagles (or couldn't care less), one of these recipes may interest you -- and they can play almost any position: Memorial Day picnic, Fourth of July feast or poolside party.  


For football fans like me, who lost their teams along the way but still want a reason to feel invested in the game, the Eagles' Fletcher Cox, (No. 91, hometown Yazoo City) is a former Mississippi State Bulldog. Drafted by the NFL in 2012, Cox, a defensive tackle, becomes the 35th different Bulldog to reach the Super Bowl, according to  


The Patriots' roster includes former Rebel, running back and Super Bowl veteran Brandon Bolden (No. 38, Baton Rouge) and cornerback and former West Alabama player Malcolm Butler (No. 21, Vicksburg).  


That's what I needed -- some Mississippi connections. 






Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes 


Servings: 12 




2 tablespoons butter, or as needed 


2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or as needed 


1 cup cold milk 


2 ounces shredded provolone cheese, or more to taste 


1 pinch ground nutmeg 


1 pinch cayenne pepper 


Salt, to taste  


1 12-ounce skirt steak 


Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided, or as needed.  


1/4 cup water 


1/3 cup diced onion 


1/3 cup diced sweet peppers 


2 baguettes, or as needed, cut into 48 1/2-inch slices 


1/4 cup shredded provolone cheese, or as needed  




  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheets with aluminum foil. 


  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk flour into hot butter and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is pale and flour taste cooks off, about 1 minute. Pour milk into flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is hot and thickened, 3-6 minutes. Add 2 ounces provolone cheese, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and salt; stir until cheese is completely melted. Remove from heat. 


  • Season steak all over with salt and ground black pepper. 


  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Cook steak in hot oil, turning occasionally, until meat is slightly firm and pink on the inside, 5-7 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate. 


  • Return skillet to heat and pour water into skillet; bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour liquid from skillet over steak. Cool steak to room temperature; dice meat and place meat and accumulated juices from the plate into a large bowl. 


  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; saute onion and peppers in hot oil until softened and slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. 


  • Stir peppers and onions mixture into diced meat; season with salt and pepper. 


  • Spread bread slices out on prepared baking sheets and drizzle remaining olive oil over the top. Turn slices over so the oiled-side is facing down. Spread a thick layer of cheese mixture onto each slice. Spoon meat mixture over cheese. Sprinkle provolone cheese over the top of each slice. 


  • Bake in preheated oven until browned and cheese is melted, 12-15 minutes. 


    (Source: Chef John, 






    Prep time: 20 minutes 


    Cook time: 5 minutes 


    Servings: 4 




    For maple mayo:  


    1 cup mayonnaise 


    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 


    2 tablespoons pure Vermont maple syrup 


    Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 




    For bacon jam: 


    1/2 cup applewood smoked bacon, cooked and minced 


    1/2 cup Spanish onion, minced 


    1 clove garlic, minced 


    1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 


    1/2 cup black coffee 


    2 tablespoons pure Vermont maple syrup 


    2 tablespoons cider vinegar 


    2 tablespoons brown sugar 


    Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 




    To cook and serve: 


    4 ears corn, shucked 


    1 cup crumbled farmer's cheese 


    1 cup maple mayo (recipe above) 


    1/2 cup bacon jam (recipe above) 


    1 jalapeno, very thinly sliced 


    2 tablespoon minced chives 




  • For maple mayo: In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 


  • For bacon jam: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all the ingredients. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the mixture is a jam-like consistency. 


  • To cook and serve: Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill corn until nicely charred and fully cooked. Spread maple mayo all over the corn and top with the bacon jam, crumbled cheese, sliced jalapeno and chives. 










    1 pound medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined 


    1/4 cup mayonnaise 


    1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning 


    1 teaspoon red wine vinegar 


    1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice 


    1/4 teaspoon ground mustard 


    Pinch of dill weed or 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill 


    2 stalks celery, chopped 


    3 strips bacon 


    8 Ritz crackers, crushed 


    6 potato rolls 


    Salt and pepper, to taste 




  • Fry up that bacon. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and fry away. Drain on paper towels and set aside to cool. 


  • Leave bacon fat in the skillet and add shrimp in batches so they're in one single layer in the pan. Cook for a minute; the shrimp will be cooked through when they start to turn pink and curl up. Flip once and cook for another minute. Remove and let cool, repeat process until all shrimp are done. 


  • Make the mayo mixture. Take a medium-sized bowl and add the mayo, lemon juice, vinegar, ground mustard, Old Bay and dill. Add the chopped celery. Mix together to combine. 


  • Chop shrimp into small pieces and add to mayo mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, just so flavors meld together and it gets nice and cold. 


  • While that's in the fridge, chop bacon into small pieces and mix with crushed Ritz crackers. Set aside. 


  • Butter those rolls. Split them open and butter on both sides. Grill the bread and flatten with a spatula. We want those nice grill marks if we can get 'em. But feel free to do this in a skillet if you don't have a grill or grill pan. 


  • Take shrimp mixture out of the fridge and add a few tablespoons to each potato bread disc. (It's kind of a disc at this point, right? You'll see.)  


  • Top with some of the bacon and Ritz topping, a little sprinkle more of Old Bay, and finish with another potato bread disc. Enjoy and marvel at how versatile potato bread can be. Also, feel free to add some sriracha. I loves me some spicy. 


    (Source: Dara Pollak, 






    Total time: 55 minutes 


    Servings: 4 




    4 potatoes, chopped 


    1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 


    1 small onion, finely chopped 


    2 eggs, beaten 


    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 


    1/4 teaspoon salt 


    1/8 teaspoon pepper 


    1/2 (6 ounce) can French-fried onions, crushed 




  • Preheat oven to 300 F. 


  • Bring large pot of salted water to boil, Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. 


  • In large mixing bowl, combine mashed potatotes, cream cheese, onion, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. 


  • Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for several minutes. Spoon mixture into 1 1/2-quart casserole dish and top with crushed fried onions. 


  • Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.  


    (Souce: Kimber,


  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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