BY NEAL MALONE
Ok, don’t really forget the game. Any time Peyton Manning and Drew Brees go at it…quality television.
But if your team isn’t participating today, there are plenty of other things to ponder on Super Bowl Sunday…like food and drinks! So if your team didn’t even sniff the scent of the Super Bowl trail like my Chicago Bears, then enjoy my list of Super Bowl party essentials. I’ll countdown from 10…
#10 – Veggie Platter
Let’s face it, Super Bowl Sunday isn’t about watching your calorie intake. However, the veggie platter is classic. It’s so quick and easy. You can just walk up, grab a carrot or celery stick, dip it, and you’re done. If you get bold like me, maybe you dip both and get two for the price of one in your next bite. The veggie platter is also incredible because it’s naturally going to shut up any women at the party complaining about weight or health issues. I suggest carrot, celery, cucumber, cauliflower, or broccoli with ranch, bleu cheese, or french onion dressing/dip.
#9 – Pasta Salad
For me, pasta salad is always a star side dish. It gives you a nice contrast from all of the heavy, greasy food that you normally eat at a SB party or a tailgate. It’s usually a crowd pleaser, it’s really easy to make, and it usually even satisfies those “things” called vegetarians. I suggest using tri-colored pasta noodles with assorted veggies and cheeses and a oil and vinegar-based salad dressing.
#8 – Potato Skins
Now we’re getting into the real stuff. Potato skins are fantastic for a SB party. The combination of bacon, cheese, and potatoes leaves every customer satisfied. Like a lot of the items on this list, it pairs very well with beer. You can even use some of that signature chili that you made to put on top of the potato skins. Bake them until they’re crispy and top with shredded cheese, diced bacon, and some scallions.
#7 – Pizza
Yeah, pizza is pizza, but I can’t possibly leave it off the list. Everybody likes pizza, and if you live in a city/town where there are delicious pizza places on practically every corner, you can’t go wrong. It’s easy because you can pick it up or get it delivered. Pizza is a guaranteed hit, so if you’re looking for a safe pick, go with it! If you’re in my SB mindset, then you’re going to go greasy…we’re talking sausage, pepperoni, onion, and green pepper.
#6 – Chili Cheese Dip
Dips are the best. I don’t know what it is about them, but I love ’em…maybe it’s the simplicity or the actual dipping action. Chili cheese dip happens to be one of my favorites. It’s so easy a caveman could make it and yet it’s probably going to be the first thing cashed out at the party. Take some cream cheese and spread it on the bottom of a dish. Top the cream cheese layer with chili and then top it all off with tons of your favorite cheese. Heat it up and enjoy the melty goodness (geeze I sound like a friggin’ Domino’s commercial)!!
#5 – Chips, Salsa, and Gaucamole
Need I say more? If you’re going to add a Mexican flavor to your party, it might as well be with a good salsa and a guacamole. Homemade is better, but nobody is going to complain if you buy it. I can think of a few friends right now that would stick to this option for the whole duration of the party…some people just can’t get enough chips, guac, and salsa.
#4 – Sliders
This is probably the X-factor on the list. You may only see sliders at 5-10% of parties, but I absolutely love the idea. If you have a few extra minutes on your hand, then sliders is a great way to “wow” the crowd. Simply grill some miniature-sized burgers and let people choose their favorite toppings. If I were you, I would have tons of options available…like several cheeses, bacon, caramelized onions, assorted raw veggies, and your favorite condiments. The best part about sliders is that they aren’t overwhelming in size, so you can enjoy as much or as little as you like.
#3 – Beer
Of course with all this food, you’re going to need to wash it down with something. Beer is synonymous with football, so when it comes to the Super Bowl, you had better be ready to drink. It’s also no coincidence that most of these foods I’ve listed go great with beer. It’s definitely a building block for a SB party, so make sure you offer a wide variety of ales, lagers, and stouts.
#2 – Chili
The game isn’t the only Bowl for the day…how about some good, hearty chili? On a cold February afternoon, nothing is better than diving into a warm bowl of chili in front of the game. It offers such a satisfying combination of ingredients. Make it in a big pot on the stove and have people go through buffet-style…it’s sure to be a huge hit. Also, make your chili serve a secondary purpose by putting a spoonful on top of your potato skins or dipping your chips right into your bowl. I suggest topping your bowl of chili with some shredded cheese, oyster crackers, and chopped onion.
#1 – Chicken Wings
Hey, I love everything else on the list, but #1 was an absolute no-brainer for me. If there is one thing I’m going to have during a football game, it’s chicken wings. The messiness of tearing through a dozen wings plays right into the manliness and physicality of football. Cool down the spicy flavor with an ice cold beer…man, there is nothing better. Although the classic buffalo sauce is most common, I’m always down to try a different type of wing flavor, so feel free to get creative. And if you don’t want to make them yourself, then of course catering dozens of wings is just fine. Serve your wings with some bleu cheese or ranch dressing and you will not be disappointed!
So there you have it…a top 10 food countdown, Super-Bowl style! Whatever you choose to eat or drink today, I’m sure it’ll be awesome. So enjoy the game (and the commercials)…I know I sure will.