Game Changing Super Bowl Eats

Okay, here it is, a real-life confession:  I LOVE food.  So when it comes time for the Super Bowl, I’m excited but also completely overwhelmed by all of the food possibilities! I love food so much that I have a hard time deciding what to take to a friend’s party. This year, we are hosting and I am still struggling.  Do I want to come up with a theme which will help inherently limit my ideas but still give me plenty of options?  Should I go with an Italian theme where I have a variety of Italian appetizers (e.g. Italian meats and cheeses, pizza, bruschetta, Italian meatballs, etc.)?  I’m still not sure, because I also love all the random varieties and I’m not sure I want to give up my boneless hot wings or queso dip in the name of a theme.  Here are just a few of my favorites that - whether you are hosting or taking a dish or two to a friend’s Super Bowl party - might just be as memorable as some of the commercials.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

No Super Bowl party is complete without some kind of buffalo chicken something or other be it wings, pizza, or a dip.  I made this dip for the first time last year and it was a hit.  Pair it with celery, tortilla chips, crackers, or baguette slices (my favorite).

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup cooked chicken breast (I use a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (e.g. Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1/2 cup ranch or blue cheese salad dressing
  • 2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

Here’s where you have to make some choices:  You can actually layer this dip or mix it all together.  If layering, spread cream cheese on the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish, add chicken, then buffalo sauce, salad dressing, and cheese.  If mixing, which I think I prefer, combine all ingredients minus one cup of the cheese.  Spread mixture on the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish and sprinkle cheese on top.  Whether layered or mixed, bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.  If you prefer a gooier top not as brown and crispy, cover with foil before baking.

Jalapeno Poppers

My husband and I are obsessed with these and you can make a variety of types.  Be sure to double or triple your recipes because these will go quickly!

  • 12 fresh jalapenos
  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 12 strips bacon

Wash jalapenos and then slice in half long (aka hot dog style).  Clean out seeds and then stuff each with cream cheese.  Wrap each with a strip of bacon (you may need a toothpick to hold bacon in place).  You can place these on a rack over a baking sheet with sides (to catch grease) to bake at 375 degrees or grill them on the barbecue grill with low heat until bacon appears to be cooked (usually 20-30 minutes)—delicious either way.

Optional: Brown some sausage to mix in with cream cheese for extra flavor.  You can still wrap with bacon, go without the bacon, or mix it up and have a variety of the three possibilities (bacon only, sausage only, or bacon+sausage).

Smoked, Pulled Pork Sliders

The process for this one is fairly simple, but it does take some time due to the smoking. Get out the Traeger, Bradley, or whatever smoker you have and put it to use! 

  • 3 pound pork loin or pork shoulder, smoked, pulled
  • 20 ounce BBQ sauce (homemade or your favorite kind)
  • 2-3 packages of slider buns

Again there are some variations of this dish:  You can use your favorite rub for the meat and a homemade BBQ sauce or your favorite store bought BBQ sauce.  Toss the sauce in the meat and put it all in a crock pot to stay warm.  Let people make their own or make only a few at a time and serve immediately so the bread does not get soggy.

Rotel-Tortilla-Cream Cheese Pinwheels

I was first introduced to these in Texas just before a Cowboys game.  If you are expecting a big crowd, I would double this recipe.

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tortilla shells
  • 1 can (or 16 oz) Rotel diced green chiles and tomatoes
  • Optional:  Side of salsa

Mix cream cheese and Rotel.  Spread evenly on tortilla shells.  Roll shells tightly.  Slice through the roll every ¼ inch to create the pinwheels.  Serve with a side of salsa for extra dunking.

These are some of my top picks, but of course, you can never go wrong with just about any dip include spinach-artichoke, and the typical dishes like lil’ smokies or pigs in a blanket, meatballs, chili/taco soup, nachos, smoked ribs, or brisket, and so many others.  It can be a hard choice to narrow it down so to help with your selections, consider the size of your group and if kids will be attending.

about the author...Ashlynn is wife, mom of three littles, and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Rocky Mountain College.  She is an introvert who is uncharacteristically social and loves family, learning, travel, animals, and all things Montana.