Countdown To Super Bowl XLVIII… For The Food!

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Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day of food consumption in the United States after Thanksgiving, according to Wikipedia. Although it has never been made an official holiday, several sports commentators refer to it as a holiday due to the way it causes families and friends to gather and celebrate together. Many Americans who are not typically football fans will still gather and watch the game. For true football fans, Super Bowl Sunday has been characterized as a “holy day.” AMEN!

Stores are often empty during the game, particularly in the regions represented by the two teams playing in the Super Bowl. Water usage drops during regular play and increases during halftime and postgame…hmmm, wonder why! For those hosting Super Bowl parties food is served buffet style as opposed to a sit-down meal. We enjoy and appreciate the grab-and-go food so we don’t miss a single play, replay or call.

We Americans love our football, our food, and, easily, we spend more than $50 million annually stocking up on the essentials for the big game. We crave:  comfort food, soul food, greasy, healthy, sweet, salty, spicy, oh so sloppy, and, don’t leave out full-on-flavor. Huddle around and read through these sensational game day food statistics provided by FOX NEWS!  

•  Move over bleu cheese. Almost 57 percent of Americans who eat chicken wings say they like to dip their wings in ranch dressing, according to a new national Chicken Council poll. Only about 35 percent go for the bleu cheese dressing…unless you live in the Northeast, where it’s nearly 50 percent.

•  Super Bowl Sunday is the busiest day of the year for pizza restaurants, according to the National Restaurant Association. In fact, chains like Papa John’s, Pizza Hut and Domino’s will sell twice as many pies as they do on any other day.

•  Wings and chips are the two most popular Super Bowl snacks, but, potato chips are close behind. About 11 million pounds of chips are expected to be consumed on game day, as well as an estimated 4 million pounds of pretzels and 2.5 million pounds of nuts.

•  Love the Super Foods! Approximately 69.6 million pounds of avocados are consumed during the Super Bowl, according to the Hass Avocado Board. Now, if you could avoid eating all those chips, but, they do complement one another and it is game day!

•  Pop, pop, pop! We will indulge in about 3.8 million pounds of popcorn while watching the big game, according to the Calorie Control Council. If you skip the butter, it could be one of the day’s healthiest snacks.

•  Very surprising is that Super Bowl weekend is the second biggest to the 4th of July in GRILLING. Count ‘em…14 billion hamburgers will be served up at parties across the country.

•  Could there be anything that goes along more smoothly with football than beer? NOT LIKELY! Just about 49.2 million cases of beer are sold every year on the day of the Super Bowl. Is it any wonder that 6 percent of Americans call in sick to work the day after…I hope my two bosses don’t read this.

The game and the halftime show aren’t the only hits during the Super Bowl! Try these recipes and Peyton Manning won’t be the only one shouting “OMAHA!”


Herbed Cheese Sticks

You will need:

·       1 pkg (6 ½ oz.) pizza crust mix

·       1 ½ t. garlic powder

·       1 T. olive oil

·       1 cup (8 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

·       ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

·       1 t. Italian seasoning pizza sauce

1.     Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix pizza dough according to pkg. directions, adding garlic power to dry mix. Cover; let rest 5 minutes.

2.     Knead dough 4-5 times or until easy to handle. On a greased baking sheet, press dough into an 8-in. square. Brush top with oil; sprinkle with cheese and Italian seasoning.

3.     Bake 6-8 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Cut in half; cut each half crosswise into eight strips. Serve with pizza sauce.


Loaded Baked Potato Dip

You will need:

·       2 cups (16 oz.) sour cream

·       1 cup (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

·       8 center-cut bacon or turkey bacon strips, chopped and cooked

·       1/3 cup minced fresh chives

·       2 t. Louisiana style hot sauce

·       Hot cooked waffle fries

1.     In a small bowl, mix the first five ingredients until blended; refrigerate until serving. Serve with waffle fries.


Brandon’s Pizza Nachos

You will need:

·       Tortilla chips (your favorite)

·       Pizza sauce (your favorite homemade or store bought)

·       Mozzarella cheese

·       Monterey Jack cheese

·       Pepperoni

·       Bacon

·       Mushrooms

·       And/or any other of your favorite pizza toppings

1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.     Place tortilla chips on oven safe plate or cookie sheet

3.     Load with all the toppings

4.     Bake for 15-20 minutes


Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Apricot Ginger Dip

You will need for the bacon wrapped shrimp:

·       1 (16 oz.) bag of shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined (about 32 shrimp)

·       16 pieces of bacon

·       16 toothpicks

You will need for the apricot ginger dip:

·       1 jar (9 ½ oz.) apricot spreadable fruit or preserves

·       1 t. cider vinegar

·       2 t. fresh ginger, grated

·       ½ t. thyme

·       ½ t. garlic powder

·       2 T. warm water

1.      Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.     Cut bacon in half, lengthwise. Wrap a piece of bacon around each shrimp and secure with a toothpick. Place on sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is crisp.

3.     Combine the fruit spread, vinegar, ginger, thyme, garlic powder and water. Mix well. Add a little more water if too thick.

4.     Serve with the bacon wrapped shrimp.


Popcorn and Pretzel Chicken Tenders

You will need:

·       1 ½ lbs. chicken tenderloins

·       1 cup buttermilk

·       2 t. garlic powder

·       1 t. salt

·       1 t. onion powder

·       ½ t. pepper

·       ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (fat-free is fine)

·       ¼ cup peach preserves

·       1 T. prepared mustard

·       4 cups miniature pretzels, crushed

·       2 cups air-popped popcorn, crushed

·       Cooking spray

1.      In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients; toss chicken to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 30 minutes. In a small bowl, mix yogurt, preserves and mustard; refrigerate until serving.

2.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large shallow dish, combine crushed pretzels and popcorn. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Dip both sides of chicken in pretzel mixture, patting to help coating adhere. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; spritz with cooking spray.

3.     Bake 20-25 minutes or until coating is golden brown and chicken is no longer pink.

4.     Serve with sauce.


Yvonne’s Macaroni and Cheese (passed along by her Grandmother)

You will need:

·       6 cups milk

·       1 block of Velveeta Cheese

·       8 oz. cream cheese

·       1 lb. of butter

·       1-1 ½ boxes of elbow macaroni

·       Pepper to taste

·       Salt to taste

1.      Pour milk in to a large pot. Cube Velveeta and drop in to milk as it warms, stirring constantly. Cube cream cheese and add one stick of butter. Add 2 sticks of butter intermittently until gone.

2.     While macaroni is boiling, continue to stir the milk and cheese mixture. It will not thicken right away, keep stirring on low.

3.     Drain macaroni once tender and add to milk/cheese mixture. This will thicken as it continues to cook.

4.     Add pepper. Add last stick of butter and salt.

5.     Serve warm. Serves many!


Soft Beer Pretzels

You will need:

·       1 bottle (12 oz.) amber beer or nonalcoholic beer

·       1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast

·       2 T. unsalted butter, melted

·       2 T. sugar

·       1 ½ t. salt

·       4 – 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

·       10 cups water

·       2/3 cup baking soda


·       1 egg yolk

·       1 T. water

·       Coarse salt

1.      In a small saucepan, heat beer to 110-115 degrees; remove from heat. Stir in yeast until dissolved. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, 1 ½ tsp. salt, yeast mixture and 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

2.     Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic; about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

3.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide and shape dough into eight balls; roll each into a 24-in. rope. Curve ends of rope to form a circle; twist ends once and lay over opposite side of circle, pinching ends to seal.

4.     In a Dutch oven, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels, two at a time, into boiling water. Cook 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain well on paper towels.

5.     Place pretzels 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk and water; brush over pretzels. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.

Sources: Wikipedia, Fox News 2013, Taste of Home, Cooking.com. Contribution by: Joan Butcher, Athens, Ohio. Recipe ideas shared by: Yvonne Lowery, Blue Ash, Ohio and Brandon Mohammed, Athens, Ohio.