February 3, 2010 9:41:00 AM
Jan Swoope - firstname.lastname@example.org
With four days to go, the rumble of Super Bowl XLIV is reaching fever pitch. Colts and Saints fans have proudly lined up behind their teams, and many who won''t be in Miami for the showdown are busy planning their ritual gathering around the television.
Whether for just a few friends or a whole sideline, a Super Bowl party is probably the most unpretentious party you can host. Hallmark Cards Inc. tells us they are the top at-home theme party events of the year. Casual and festive, the focus is on the TV screen and food. With just a little thought -- and hopefully some of the food and party suggestions shared below -- game time can be fun for diehard and so-so fans alike.
While the stand-by chips and dips have a place in the party menu, there are enough interesting recipes to be found online to last a lifetime of championships. Any general search for "Super Bowl recipes" or "Super Bowl Party food" will do.
Choose hearty, easy-to-serve foods. As entertaining.about.com says, "Men take the lead at this party, and their tastes have set the tone for the snacks as well as the entertainment."
For Sunday''s game, carry your team''s banner right into the menu. For Saints fans, how about Cajun crawfish dip? Colts'' followers can indulge in a rich, creamy Indiana sugar cream pie. Both recipes are included today.
Po'' boys, gumbo, barbecued beans or easy ham sandwich melts might all fill the bill. Stiletto Sports even has recipes for team color-coordinated cocktails, as well as numerous foods (http://www.stilettosetsports.com/super-bowl-xliv-gameday-recipes-colts-saints).
Get creative, without designing a menu that keeps you in the kitchen. To reduce stress and clean-up, go with disposable plates, napkins and cups. Shops like Party and Paper in Columbus have fun, football-themed supplies to fix you up.
About.com offers some tips to pump up your Super Bowl party:
n Plan simple, portable foods. A buffet is usually the best option. Nobody wants to be sitting down at a table to eat when they''d rather be screaming at a television set or two.
n Keep foods close to the game. Don''t make guests choose between eating and watching the action.
n Set up as many televisions as you have available around the party area.
n If you can, have one room set aside without a television, for partygoers who aren''t interested in the game and would like a quieter place to talk.
n Likewise, set up one room with a television for serious football fans who don''t want to be distracted by idle chatter.
n You may want to remove fragile or cherished bric-a-brac from the game area, just in case of collateral damage. (It wouldn''t hurt to have a little extra cleaner and plenty of paper towels around for sudden messes.)
n For fun, have everyone write down their prediction before the game and award a prize afterward.
Whichever team you pull for and whatever the final score, make the party one friends and family will want to come back for next year.
And remember -- ahem -- don''t spend your Sunday Manning the oven; may these tips and recipes help make your festivities a Brees.
INDIANA SUGAR CREAM PIE
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cups all-purpose white flour
11/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
One egg, beaten
One open pie crust
CAJUN CRAWFISH DIP
1 cup butter
Two bunches green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 pounds peeled crawfish tails
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Two egg yolks, beaten
One (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
One (1 pound) loaf processed cheese food, cubed
Salt and black pepper to taste
Hot pepper sauce to taste
BOURBON STREET BUFFALO WINGS
Prep time 20 minutes; 40 minutes total
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
One large shallot, chopped
Two garlic cloves, chopped
2 ounces bourbon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon ancho chili, finely chopped (or chipotle peppers)
8 ounces chili sauce
8 ounces barbecue sauce (Jack Daniels)
3 ounces hot sauce
For the wings:
Oil, for frying
50 chicken wings
Blue cheese dressing, for serving
BACON CHEDDAR POTATO SKINS
Four medium baking potatoes, scrubbed (more, as needed)
Two shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
7 ounces bacon, rind removed, cut into sticks
Scant 1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.