This weekend is The Big Game (for those of you who actually care about the score), and it’s Bowl Food and Commercials!!! for all of the rest of us. Here is a list of some of my very favorite appetizers for the big day:
Bacon-Jalapeno Little Smokies: easy-peasy crockpot recipe with an enormous dose of flavor!
Chicken Enchilada Dip: warm and cheesy, this will disappear faster than anything on your table, serve with tortilla chips
Stuffed Mushrooms: fill with sausage, cream cheese, and spinach (if you need them to be “healthy”) and pop them in your mouth like candy!
Caprese Bites: Legit healthy appetizer, plus they are super cute
Veggie-Ranch Pizza: This is less “pizza” and more a perfectly open-faced veggie sandwich. It’s practically salad.
Spinach Dip (with fresh bread and/or veggies): One of my all time favorites, to make this stretch a little farther, add more spinach!
Like most of America, every year on Super Bowl Sunday I get together with a group of friends to watch two teams of men pummel each other. Unlike most of America (or at least a significant percentage?) I couldn’t care less which teams are playing, who wins, who performs at halftime, or what is the funniest/most offensive commercial. I am only there for the food.
For me, Super Bowl Sunday is just another excuse to plan a party, and I was surprised at what I was able to round up to put together a truly fantastic and sporty-looking buffet table. Now, I realize that many Super Bowl parties are more the “giant bag o’ Doritos and cooler of drinks” variety. But that is no fun for me whatsoever (either the menu selection or the set up), so I went all out instead.
Start with a tablecloth, this one is from IKEA a few years ago (this color no longer available), but there are dozens of plastic ones online or in any big box store. I anticipate lots of saucy, hot, and otherwise heavy food for Super Bowl Sunday, so I opted to use real plates and utensils.
I found these football bowls on clearance last year and they make the whole thing more festive, this particular set isn’t available anymore, but there are lots of options to choose from. The football-print napkins are from Target (this year). The paper lantern-like hanging footballs are an Amazon find, and I love how they make this all look (even though, again, I don’t particularly care about football).
If your parties are anything like mine, you will have tons of food to pick from, so I like making mini cupcakes so people will still have room for everything else. These little Game Day flags are just so cute. Can football and cute go together? I hope so.
Hold up! Heidikins is getting crafty! You can add these free printables to cola or soda or water bottles, here is the football one, and the green stripey one. I also made some free printable food table tents (print on to construction paper!) to help demystify your pot luck table.
An almond-shaped cookie cutter and some chocolate royal icing (sub 1/2-1 cup of powdered sugar for cocoa powder) make tiny edible football cookies.
A few pieces of white serving ware, small ramekins for sauces and spreads and dips (including these football-handle spreaders) and you are ready for game time!
Or, you know, if you are like me and don’t give a hoot about the actual game, it’s time to plan your next party. Go Sports!
On a gray January weekend I sometimes have to deliberately cheer myself up enough to get out of bed. Dreams of this grown-up Ramen were enough to get me up and chopping (although, it must be said, not enough to get out of my slippers). I’m sure this would be equally delicious with chicken, and you could add noodles or other veggies if you wanted to and your New Year’s diet resolutions allowed.
Spicy Beef, Cabbage, and Porcini Mushroom Soup
1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, broken into small pieces
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, washed well, cut lengthwise, and sliced very thin (white and light green parts only), then rinsed again to remove any remaining grit
1 pound steak, sliced thin
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or, to taste)
4 cups beef stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white cooking wine or sherry
1 head Napa cabbage, sliced into ribbons (about 2/3 from the tip to the base the frilly parts run out and you just get the firm stuff, stop chopping when you reach this point and discard the rest (or use it to make vegetable stock with your leftover leek parts)
Break up the mushrooms and pour boiling water over them, let stand for 15 minutes (or until the rest of the soup is at the point to add them)
Chop up all your veggies, make sure to rinse the leeks again to remove any leftover dirt, and slice up the steak. Heat oil in a large pot and toss in all the meat, stir until browned but not fully cooked, remove with slotted spoon and let drain. Add leeks, garlic, and ginger to the pot, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir until the leeks are softened a bit, 3-5 minutes. (You may want to add about 1/2-3/4 cup of water to speed this process along.)
Add the meat, mushrooms, stock, soy sauce, and cooking wine and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
Add chopped cabbage and let cook 5 more minutes until it is soft. Taste and season again with salt and pepper. If this is too vinegary, you can add a teaspoon of sugar to fix that right up.
I’ve not made much Indian food, but one night I was majorly craving a sweet and spicy sauce and Tikka Masala was it. To be fair, there is a Indian restaurant around the corner and the smells coming from that block were extra delicious. Spoon this amazing sauce on rice or roasted veggies.
Tikka Masala Sauce
2 tablespoon butter (or ghee, if you’ve got it)
1-2 chicken breasts or pork chops
1 onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 “knuckle” fresh ginger, minced (about 1″)
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon curry powder
16 oz. tomato sauce
1 large tomato, chopped
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas
1-2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream
sliced almonds, for garnish
Melt butter in large skillet and just brown the meat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and spices, stir about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and tomato, bring to a boil and add chickpeas, sugar, and whipping cream. Simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spoon over rice or roasted veggies (cauliflower or Brussels Sprouts are quite delicious) and top with sliced almonds.
Blue Danube is an old china pattern with quite the history ranging from production in Germany to Japan. On eBay you can find dozens of pieces for pretty decent prices. I really love this, and have since the first time I spotted it. After looking for a couple of months I found a fantastic deal on a set of salad plates with scalloped edges and free shipping. I snapped them up immediately and love mixing this traditional pattern with my cobalt Fiesta plates and some pineapple napkin rings.
Don’t worry. Eclectic-chic is totally a thing. Wink.
I started this setting with a white table cloth topped by a navy blue runner. I used silver chargers that I picked up for $0.50 each at Tuesday Morning and my beloved Cobalt Blue Fiestaware dinner plates.
After twelve years of daily use I have finally replaced my old flatware with these fancy modern pieces called Towle Living Wave. I love how sleek they are and the weight is just perfect in your hand. Bright green napkins and shiny silver pineapple napkin rings keep this from being too serious or too wintery. After days of gray gloom I couldn’t handle a fully winterized table setting.
Miniature pink calla lilies? Yes please, I’ll take two bunches. Simple and elegant in small bottles, these really help this table seem more spring-like.
White table cloth: gift from my grandmother
Navy table runner: IKEA
Silver chargers: Tuesday Morning
Cobalt Fiestaware dinner plates: Homer Laughlin
Blue Danube salad plates: eBay (similar)
Flatware: Towle Living Wave, Amazon
Green cloth napkins: Amazon (similar)
Pineapple napkin rings: eBay (similar here and here)
Calla lilies: Trader Joes
*no affiliate links