So, it’s Super Bowl Sunday, which is sort of like a holiday for some people – whether they’re fans of the football, the food, the commercials or just the good company.  Planning a menu for this night is almost on par with planning for Thanksgiving!  So, we’re sharing some yummies that can be served whether you have a houseful of guests or just your own little family.

The first favorite:  Halftime Chili, from a years-and-years-ago issue of Bon Appetit magazine. This can be made a day or two ahead and re-heated, and it’s a perfect and simple chili that should appeal to everyone!

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Halftime Chili
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 C chopped onion
8 large garlic cloves (chopped)
3 # ground chuck
5 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
28 oz crushed tomatoes w/puree
14.5 oz can low-salt chicken broth
12 oz bottle of beer (optional!  really!)
6 oz tomato paste
15 oz can prepared chili beans

Heat oil in a heavy, large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic.  Saute until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add chuck and saute until browned, breaking up the meat with the back of a spoon.  Add chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano and thyme.  Stir 2 minutes.   Mix in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, beer and tomato paste.  Simmer till thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.  Mix in beans and simmer 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.  Yum!

(Now if you look on my stove while this is cooking today, you’ll see another small pot simmering sadly on the back burner.  This is filled with a delicious but non-Super Bowl-worthy Kale and Bean Soup, for the health nut in our house.  But I’m not going to include that recipe here, because there is no room, I repeat no room, for kale in anything served at a Super Bowl party.)

Next…. the ribs.

Who DOESN’T like ribs?  Seriously.  There is just something about that smoky yummy taste……But if you’re like me you don’t really have the time or inclination to stand in front of a smoker or grill for hours to make it happen.  Maybe you’re also like me in the fact that you don’t want to pay too many dollars for that smoky goodness from a “to-go” kind of place.  Here’s your answer then. These ribs are really really tasty…you can get them ready the evening before and just start the crock pot before you leave for church that morning.  And please….do NOT be intimidated by the idea of making ribs.  This is waaaaaaaay easy. I promise. And another bonus? It smells incredible, so your family and guests will think you spent painstaking hours slaving away to make their Super Bowl dreams come true!

4 lbs baby back ribs
1/2 c seasoned salt (pick your favorite)
1.5 c prepared BBQ sauce (I use a honey one)
3/4 c brown sugar
6 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c molasses
1 c sweet chili sauce (found in the Oriental/Asian section…can substitute salsa, but add another 2 Tbsp brown sugar if you do!)
1 c ketchup
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 orange cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 400.  Separate ribs into chunks small enough to fit in your crock pot.  Rub ribs with salt and put on a baking pan (covered with aluminum foil to minimize mess).  Bake for about 10 minutes on each side….until browned. Put in crock pot.  Mix everything else (except oranges) and pour over ribs.  Add oranges to the top.  Cook on low 8-9 hours.

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Continuing in our high-protein and meaty theme here, you have gotta try this one from Pioneer Woman.  It is truly so EASY and QUICK.  I was the hero at my house last week when I made it.  It’s perfect for football.  Steak Bites can be found here!

And finally, a little something sweet:

Tuxedo Brownies
1 pkg fudge brownie mix
1/2 C flaked coconut
1 C chopped nuts (optional)
3 C powdered sugar
1/3 C butter (softened)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare brownies as directed, stir in coconut (and nuts if you choose).  Bake as directed, then cool.

For the topping:  Mix powdered sugar, 1/3 C butter and vanilla.  Stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it is ‘spreading’ consistency. Spread over brownies.  Refrigerate till topping is firm, about 30 minutes.  Then, heat chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter until melted.  Drizzle evenly over the topping in whatever pretty drizzle pattern you choose!  Refrigerate till firm, about 15 minutes.  Store in refrigerator but serve at room temperature.

Enjoy the game!

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