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Right bites: These appetizers can score big at any Super Bowl party

 

From left, Martha Bozeman, Sandra DePriest and Carla Guyton are pictured with three quick-and-easy appetizers suited to everything from a Super Bowl bash to an engagement party. The Columbus cooks share their recipes and tips today for mini tomato tarts, marinated shrimp and stuffed mushrooms.

From left, Martha Bozeman, Sandra DePriest and Carla Guyton are pictured with three quick-and-easy appetizers suited to everything from a Super Bowl bash to an engagement party. The Columbus cooks share their recipes and tips today for mini tomato tarts, marinated shrimp and stuffed mushrooms. Photo by: Kelly Tippett

 

Jan Swoope

 

Here it comes -- Super Bowl XLV. The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are deep in preparation for the NFL''s big bash Feb. 6, but so are plenty of football fans who enjoy having friends and family over to enjoy the season''s grand finale.  

 

For many, the game''s the thing. For others, it''s the socializing. But either way, most Super Bowl parties are fueled by game day food that''s tasty and snackable. When planning a menu, select easy-to-eat items that allow you to enjoy the camaraderie. Don''t get stuck slaving in the kitchen. 

 

Three accomplished Columbus cooks share their suggestions today for appetizers that fill the bill and easily complement any cold-weather main course, from homemade chili to grilled meat. 

 

 

 

Easy does it 

 

"These marinated shrimp are so easy, you feel guilty when asked how you made it," laughed the Rev. Sandra DePriest about this wonderfully simple way to serve a perennial party favorite. When in the kitchen, the Episcopalian priest usually enjoys baking pies and cakes, "so I''m always looking for shortcuts when it comes to appetizers, and this is a perfect one."  

 

There are plenty of more time- and ingredient-intense marinade recipes out there, but this one uses Paul Newman''s Own olive oil and vinegar dressing to deliver distinctive flavor. Frozen cooked shrimp work for this, but if cooking your own, Sandra recommends adding Old Bay Seasoning and lemons. Her steps are outlined in the recipe included. 

 

 

 

Tomato, to-mah-to 

 

Martha Bozeman enjoys serving mini tomato tarts. 

 

"They''re so simple, just four ingredients in the filling," she said. For this Patty Roper recipe found in Mississippi magazine''s 2010 bridal issue, Martha uses original flavor Rotel tomatoes, but notes anyone wanting more kick might opt for a spicier version.  

 

She prefers Hellman''s mayonnaise and, when it comes to bacon bits, uses hickory smoked and avoids the overly-large bits, which make the filling a little chunky for the mini phyllo cups. 

 

"Remember, the cheese will melt down, so don''t be skimpy when filling the cups," said this good cook, who also tips the mushroom tart appetizer recipe found in the Grand Heritage cookbook. "I may put a little chopped basil in the tarts sometimes, for a little extra flair," she added. 

 

 

 

Man, oh man 

 

Carla Guyton''s stuffed mushrooms with pork sausage and cream cheese suit just about any occasion. 

 

"But if there are a lot of men in attendance, you better plan to double or triple the recipe, because they love them!" she smiled. "I''ve made these for the guys at the ''Man Cave'' several times and never seem to prepare enough," she said, referring to a private Columbus gathering spot famous for food and fellowship. 

 

Mushrooms can be stuffed with such a variety of fillings, including bacon, shrimp, crabmeat, different cheeses or bread crumbs, noted Carla, who was startled to see more than 500 recipes come up on the Internet one day when she looked up stuffed mushrooms. 

 

"Occasionally, I''ll prepare an assortment to serve," she explained. "That way, you''re covered in case you have a vegetarian or someone with food allergies." Carla also shares her recipes for buffalo chicken dip and marinated crackers, two other quick fixes that are easy snacks, whether it''s third-and-long or during the big game''s much-hyped commercials. 

 

Remember, hosts don''t have to go overboard to make guests feel entertained. A gracious welcome, good friends and good food are the ultimate ingredients really needed in a recipe for making Super Bowl Sunday memorable. 

 

 

 

MARINATED SHRIMP 

 

Serves 8-10 

 

 

 

30-40 large or extra large peeled and deveined shrimp, cooked 

 

One bottle Newman''s Own olive oil and vinegar dressing 

 

 

 

Cooking the shrimp:

     

     

  • For uncooked shrimp, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add Old Bay Seasoning and lemons.  

     

  • Drop washed shrimp into the pot and boil approximately 10 minutes or until shrimp are red and curled up slightly. Do not rinse the shrimp, but when cooled, peel and devein. 

     

    (Bags of frozen cooked shrimp work fine. Run cold water over the frozen shrimp until soft. Pop the tails off and drop them in boiling water for about five minutes. Cool slightly before covering with dressing.) 

     

  • Cover the cooked shrimp with the Newman''s Own dressing and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Serve, with toothpicks, in a bowl or on a bed of red-leafed lettuce.
 

 

(Source: Courtesy of Sandra DePriest) 

 

 

 

MINI TOMATO TARTS 

 

Makes 45 

 

 

 

Three packages of mini phyllo cups (15 to a package) 

 

One 10 1/2-ounce can Rotel tomatoes (original, drained) 

 

1 cup grated Swiss cheese 

 

1 cup mayonnaise 

 

One 3-ounce package bacon bits 

 

     

     

  • Mix drained tomatoes, cheese, mayonnaise and bacon bits and fill phyllo cups with a generous spoonful of the mixture. (The cheese will melt down, so don''t skimp.) 

     

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. When done, garnish with a sprig of parsley or half a tomato cherry, if desired.
 

 

(Source: Courtesy of Martha Bozeman and Mississippi magazine) 

 

 

 

STUFFED MUSHROOMS 

 

Makes 40-plus appetizers 

 

 

 

1 pound mild pork sausage 

 

8 ounces cream cheese 

 

1 1/2 teaspoons thyme 

 

1 teaspoon grated or finely chopped onion 

 

Some of the mushroom stems (chopped) 

 

Two large boxes of whole mushrooms 

 

Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce, optional 

 

     

     

  • Clean and stem mushrooms.  

     

  • Cook sausage in skillet until done. (Drain excess grease.) Mix into other ingredients. 

     

  • Spoon a little of the mixture into mushrooms and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot. (You may sprinkle soy sauce or Lea and Perrins over tops for a little added kick.)
 

 

(Source: Courtesy of Carla Guyton) 

 

 

 

BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP 

 

 

 

Two cans white chicken breast (drained) or boiled chicken breast (cut into small pieces) 

 

8 ounces cream cheese 

 

12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese 

 

One small bottle of Frank''s hot sauce 

 

     

     

  • Mix all, heat, and serve with scoops or marinated crackers (recipe below).
 

 

 

 

MARINATED CRACKERS 

 

 

 

One box of saltines 

 

3/4 to 1 cup canola oil 

 

2 tablespoons red pepper flakes 

 

One package ranch dressing mix (dry) 

 

     

     

  • Put saltines in large container with tight fitting top. 

     

  • Mix oil, pepper flakes and dressing. Pour over crackers and shake to coat. 

     

  • Turn container a few times to coat all the crackers. (These will keep well in a zip-lock bag.)
 

 

(Source: Courtesy of Carla Guyton)

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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