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Chef's Hat: Bring nontraditional snacks to Super Bowl party

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner. For some people it is about the game, but for a lot of people it is more about socializing with friends and eating elaborate snacks.

It may or may not surprise most people, but Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest food day (or holiday, depending on your point of view) of the year - right behind Thanksgiving, of course.

The numbers vary depending on whom you ask, but most sources agree that over $15 billion is spent on food on Super Bowl Sunday. That number breaks down to about $80 per person!

What types of foods are consumed? The top snacks for the day include:

• Over 1 billion chicken wings consumed.

• Approximately 278 million avocados eaten.

• Over 48 million pizzas ordered, keeping pizza restaurants hopping.

• Over 11.2 million pounds of potato chips munched.

• 3.8 million pounds of popcorn popped and eaten.

• 14 billion hamburgers served.

Add a little pizzazz to your Super Bowl party by forgetting those typical appetizers. With a little bit of shopping and prep time, you can bring a variety of new dishes to your get-together.

Shrimp Poor Boy sandwiches are a great alternative to hamburgers. There is some prep time, but the recipe comes together quickly. To save time, buy shrimp that is already peeled and deveined.

If you want the recipe with more kick, add more hot sauce. Just keep in mind, some of your guests might not care for the sandwich if it has too much of a bite.

Pigs in a Blanket seems like an ordinary dish. Make a grownup version of this dish by using sausage instead of plain hot dogs. This dish is served with a Cajun dipping sauce that can be made as hot as your guests desire.

If you're looking for a twist on traditional chicken wings, try popcorn chicken bites. These do take a bit of preparation as they need to be marinated at least 30 minutes before cooking. Remember to plan accordingly.

Get ready for some football by forgetting about those old standby snacks and trying new recipes. Happy Eating.

Shrimp Poor Boy

Adapted from delish.com

  • 1/2 cup milk, whole or 2 percent
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Small hamburger buns (or slider buns)
  • Lettuce and tomato slices, if desired

Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

In a large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, Cajun seasoning and thyme. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Dredge shrimp in the milk mixture, then toss in flour mixture and keep tossing until shrimp is evenly coated.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1 inch of oil until the oil is shimmering. Fry shrimp until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Do not overcook the shrimp or it will become rubbery.

To make the sauce: Whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, hot sauce and green onions.

If desired, buns can be toasted in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

To prepare the sandwiches: Spread sauce on bottom of buns. Top with shrimp. If desired, place lettuce leaves and tomato slices on top of the shrimp. Top with top of bun and serve.

Cajun Pigs in a Blanket

Adapted from delish.com

  • 1 can refrigerated crescent dough
  • 12 ounces Andouille sausage cut into 1-inch pieces (use an Italian sausage if you can't find Andouille)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Cajun spice
  • 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 green onion finely minced
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Unroll the crescent dough. Cut each segment into three smaller triangles. Place a sausage piece on the wide end of the dough triangle and roll up until the sausage is fully wrapped. The ends of the sausage will be poking out the dough.

Place on the prepared pan. Lightly brush the egg wash over the rolled up sausages. Place in oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.

While the sausage is cooking, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, parsley and green onion. Mix well. Place into small serving bowls.

Serve the sausages warm along with the bowls of dipping sauce. If your guests do not care for the dipping sauce, serve with yellow mustard.

Baked Popcorn Chicken

  • 2 pounds skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch nuggets (you can also use chicken thighs, if you prefer)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon jarred garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups finely crushed corn flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Blue cheese dressing, optional, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, garlic, oregano, thyme and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Add the cut up chicken and turn to make sure all pieces are coated. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator. Let marinate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Remove from refrigerator and strain into a colander. Let the chicken sit a few minutes to make sure the marinade drains off. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Spray a large cooking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the crushed corn flakes on a large plate. Dredge the chicken pieces in the corn flakes. Press to make sure pieces are coated. Place onto the cookie sheet. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the chicken pieces.

Place into oven and cook 15 to 20 minutes, just until the chicken pieces are golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the parsley over the top. If desired, serve with your favorite bottled blue cheese dressing.

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