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

January 26, 2011 10:58:00 AM

Jan Swoope - jswoope@cdispatch.com

 

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:

 

 

(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 

 

 

 

(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 

 

 

 

(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 

 

 

 

 

 

MARINATED CRACKERS 

 

 

 

One box of saltines 

 

3/4 to 1 cup canola oil 

 

2 tablespoons red pepper flakes 

 

One package ranch dressing mix (dry) 

 

 

 

(Source: Courtesy of Carla Guyton)

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.