My wife, Michelle, and I like to entertain.
We enjoy having friends over for birthdays, sporting events or just for the heck of it, really.
We also enjoy cooking, experimenting and eating.
Healthy dishes, not-so-healthy dishes, lay-off-me-I’m-trying-my-best healthy-ish dishes – we love it all.
So, when events like the Super Bowl roll around, we’re more than happy to open our home to friends and family.
I get especially giddy about cooking for friends and family.
On Sunday, our friends and family who joined us also provided some great food. It was fun to try what everyone brought.
The game was great. It had a historic ending. It was one to remember – and so was the food.
I hope you try our variations on some classic party dishes. Just speaking in terms of sports events, there are plenty of chances ahead to enjoy some gameday grub. There’s the NCAA tournament. Pitchers and catchers report in less than a week! NASCAR kicks off Feb. 26. The NHL playoffs will be here before you know it.
There will always be more chances to tinker with your recipes or tackle a new one entirely.
My wife handled the guacamole and her awesome potato salad. Per a special request, she even whipped up a few deviled eggs.
I played it safe with one of my staples: chili. Earlier on in the weekend, I prepared a homemade ginger honey sauce for wings, but we didn’t even get to make them when Sunday rolled around. There was a lot going on in the kitchen. Frying wings on the stove and then baking them in the oven didn’t really fit as the gameplan unfolded.
Plus, there was so much food! We had summer sausage, cheeses, crackers. From our guests, there was another batch of chili, lasagna, meatballs, cheese dip, cookies. I’m full just thinking about it. Wow. I have this sudden urge to run 3 miles and do 100 crunches.
This kinda works out nicely, though, because now I can cook the wings sometime this week, and I will share the experience in next week’s Food section.
These dishes are what I call “weekend fare,” and they should be enjoyed with the ones you love and a smile on your face. None are ones you’d want to make all of the time, but every once in a while, you deserve it!
Makes: Filled-to-the-brim 6 qt. slow cooker or almost full large chili pot.
Note: I never cook my chili exactly the same, but in general, these are the ingredients I use. I like to look at my life as a never-ending quest to create the greatest bowl of chili ever made.
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground turkey
2 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
2 10 oz. cans of original Rotel
1 12 oz. can of tomato paste
2 12 oz. jars of chili sauce
2 15 oz. cans of dark red kidney beans
1 15 oz. can of light red kidney beans
4 yellow, red and/or orange peppers, diced
2 green peppers, diced
3 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced, or a tablespoon of minced garlic
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 squares of a dark chocolate bar
2 tablespoons of sriracha
To taste (pretty heavily): cumin, Cajun seasoning, red pepper flakes, pepper, salt, chili powder and garlic powder.
Using these also gives it a great taste: thyme, oregano, Worcestershire sauce and sugar (I sometimes use brown sugar)
1. Empty cans of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and jars of chili sauce into the pot.
2. Drain cans of diced tomatoes, Rotel and chili beans, and add them into the pot.
3. Dice peppers and onions. Add to the pot.
4. Cook meats in separate pan. Season them with salt, pepper, Worcestershire, or some of your favorite spices. Drain and add to the slow cooker.
5. Add chocolate and/or brown sugar, and season to taste. I like to check back with the seasonings every few hours. You can always add more if you need to.
6. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. I prefer to cook the chili to a boil, let it simmer for a bit, and then let it cool, and refrigerate. The next day, I put the chili back in the slow cooker or on the stove, and slow cook it again. If you have time, I recommend this approach with any chili.
7. Serve with crackers and your favorite blend of shredded cheese.
PAULEY POTATO SALAD
Makes: Around 15-20 servings
1 whole bag of small red potatoes
5 hard boiled eggs
1 cup red onion, diced small
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
12 strips of bacon
Spices: salt, pepper, dill weed, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning and chili powder
1. Peel and dice potatoes into small cubes. Place potatoes into water and place into boiler on high. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes can be pierced easily with fork. Remove from heat, drain, and place on large baking sheet to cool.
2. While potatoes are being boiled, cook eggs. Peel eggs and cut in half. Place yolk into small bowl and egg whites into large bowl, diced.
3. Cook bacon and chop.
4. Mix egg yolks and add vinegar, mayo, mustard, and spices.
5. Mix potatoes with onion, bacon, and mixture. Cool until ready to eat.
MICHELLE’S DEVILED EGGS
Makes: 10 deviled eggs
5 boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon sweet relish
1/4 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 tablespoon cayenne or Cajun seasoning
1/8 tablespoon salt
1/8 tablespoon pepper
1. Hard boil eggs and cut them in half.
2. Mash yolks in bowl. Add all ingredients expect paprika. Spoon mixture into small zip-close bag and cut bottom corner to form a pastry bag.
3. Fill eggs with mixture and sprinkle paprika on top.
Makes: Way too much. Invite a lot of people over or you’ll have leftovers if you make this much. No regrets.
Note: While grabbing some supplies, we found some gourmet tomatoes at Felker Foods in Byron, and they added a nice touch. Feel free to substitute with regular, run-of-the-mill tomatoes. We usually do.
6 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 of a yellow onion, chopped
1/4 of a red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 10 oz. container of gourmet tomatoes from Red Sun Farms, seeded and diced
Juice from 1 lime
Seasonings: Cajun or cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic powder
1. Slice open avocados, remove pits and spoon out flesh. Cut flesh into smaller pieces, making them easier to mash in a big bowl.
2. Dice onions, tomatoes and jalapeno, and add them to the bowl.
3. Add seasonings, lime juice and mix.
4. Take a chip and dip!