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The Blonde Cucina: Time to start planning for the big game

by on January 08, 2015 8:36 AM

I know everyone was rooting for the Steelers on Dec. 3, hoping that they were going to crush the Baltimore Ravens because — let’s be real — there’s nothing better than planning a Super Bowl Party, especially when it’s for a hometown favorite.

Now, while I pause in a moment of silence to let you die-hard Steelers fans wipe away your tears again after a tough loss, I’m going to help you plan a Super Bowl Party that will help you focus more on the party, and less on who is or isn’t in the big game.

Super Bowl parties are one of the least elaborate parties you can throw all year long. You can go all out and you don’t have the extra baggage you did during the holidays. This is actually dynamite, because you can serve everyone’s favorite party foods and — guess what — you’re still just wearing a football jersey.

Remember, Super Bowl parties are not frilly — they're about football, food, friends and, I’m sure a lot of you are saying, beer. There’s no need to be overly elaborate in the decorating because people will be focused on the food and game.

Go simple! Place football-related items around, like pennants, football jerseys and footballs. Your game-loving partygoers will be happy that you didn’t distract from the TV.

As for your plates, cups, and napkins just pick colors — don’t purchase the themed napkins and plates.  For example, let’s say the big game is the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks. Pick up some paper items in purple and black and navy and bright green. (Yes, yes, I know how much everyone wanted to buy black and gold. Maybe next year, folks!)

Now, let’s discuss some super Super Bowl party food items.

First, remember that the food must be portable and it should not keep you locked in the kitchen all night. I’m not going to overwhelm you with tons of recipes, as well all know the basics of traditional football party food. But, here are three recipes for great things that I always serve: Simple Crockpot Beer Fondue, Ciara’s Homemade Buffalo Chicken Dip and Beer Brats.

 

SIMPLE CROCKPOT BEER FONDUE

Start to finish: 45 minutes

Servings: 20

1 1/4 cup beer

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

2 pounds processed cheese spread loaf, but into cubes

1/4 cup crumbled bacon

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Mix all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 40 minutes until cheese melts. Stir until mixture is smooth.

Turn heat to low. Stir occasionally to keep smooth and prevent sticking. Serve with pretzels, bread cubes or crackers.

CIARA'S HOMEMADE BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 8

4 pounds chicken breast, cooked and cubed

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

8 ounces sour cream

4 ounces whipped cream cheese

8 ounces Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce

Sauté cubed chicken in butter and oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Once cooked, put chicken and all other ingredients in a food processor. Turn on high and spin until chunky, yet smooth. 

BEER BRATS

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 6

2 tablespoons salted butter, divided

6 bratwurst sausages (or substitute hot dogs or other sausages)

1 teaspoon pepper

1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4-inch rings

6 ounces beer
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pasta pot on medium heat. Brown bratwurst sausages just until golden brown.  (To prevent drying brats out, use soft tongs or a plastic spatula when turning bratwursts so their skins are not punctured.) Remove sausages to a holding plate.

Add remaining butter, pepper and onions to pot. Toss the onions to coat with the butter. Cook onions, stirring frequently to ensure they become soft and golden.

Return the bratwurst sausages to the pot with the onions and add the beer. Continue to cook over medium heat for about 14 minutes, turning midway through, until beer has cooked down to a viscous sauce. (I use Yuengling in all my recipes, but if you want to use a dark beer, the flavor will be more dense and rich.)

That’s it folks!  Super simple and super yummy! Remember, I’m still taking recipes and questions to help you plan your Super Bowl extravaganza.  Drop them off at the Gazette office or email me at [email protected]



Ciara Semack is the owner of The Blonde Bistro in Bellefonte. She is the mother of one and a lifelong resident of Centre County. Her column appears every other week in the Gazette. Questions, suggestions and comments can be directed to [email protected]
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