Looking for something other than the familiar hot wings and pizza to add spice to your Super Bowl Game watching this year?
If you're interested in hearty menu choices that require only slightly more time in the kitchen, but that will score winning points with your guests, try the following menu:
* Oven-Smoked Brisket -- You need to marinate the beef the night before serving; other than the timing, it couldn't be simpler. Serve it straight from the over, thinly sliced for DIY sandwiches on a choice of fresh breads or rolls. Offer a choice of condiments, or a selection of good mustards. It's been a family favorite for decades.
To prepare: Trim some of the fat from a 6 to 10 lb. brisket. Rub all sides with celery salt, garlic salt and onion salt; Wrap with heavy duty foil, fat side down, and pour a bottle of Figaro Brand Liquid Smoke over the meat. Seal tightly and marinate overnight.
The next morning, pour off most of the liquid smoke and rub the meat generously with freshly ground pepper. Pour a bottle of Worcestershire Sauce over the brisket, and reseal the foil. Place in 250 degree oven. Total time required is about six to seven hours; after about three hours, turn the oven down to 200-225 degrees. Adjust the start time based on your desired serving time; but don't fret -- it won't hurt to let it go longer. Or, you can turn the heat off, and simply let the brisket stay warm in the oven until time to slice it.
* No-Fuss Chile -- Spend 15 minutes in the morning to prep; and then let it cook on low all day in the crock pot. The bonus will be how good the house will smell -- a sure appetite booster! Variations of this basic recipe have taken cook-off ribbons throughout the country. Your family and guests will love it, too.
You'll need 2 pounds of groud beef (or 1/2 beef and 1/2 sausage, or even ground turkey, for a lighter taste); 2 yellow onions, chopped; 2 regular cans of whole tomatoes (or diced, if you prefer); and 2 cans dark red kidney beans, 1 drained. Brown the meat in a fry pan, adding 1 pkg. of Williams Brand Chile Seasoning; add chopped onions at the end, just to coat with the seasoning.
Transfer all ingredients to the crock pot (or let simmer on low on top of the stove); Serve with ready. Flavors mix as it bubbles and simmers. But if you're short on time, you can turn the setting to "high" and be ready to eat in less time. Guaranteed good as is -- or serve with Jalapeno slices, chopped green chilis, extra hot sauce, chopped green onions, grated cheddar and sour cream as possible add-on choices.
* Herbed Cheese & Cracker Bits -- Courtesy of Paula Deen -- Once you've tried them, you'll want to keep them on hand in your freezer. They keep well in zip-lock freezer bags, and take only minutes before they can be served.
* Surprising Creamy Dip & Wheat Thins -- Surprise ingredients, only five, are a hit with almost everyone -- even the kids. You could also serve it with crisp veggie sticks as lighter fare. Again, it's best if you make it beforehand, allowing time before serving for the flavors to meld.
Combine the following: For each pkg. of softened cream cheese, add 2-3 finely-chopped green onions, green ends included; 2-3 tsps. real bacon bits, 2-3 tsps. apricot jam, and garlic powder (or garlic salt) to taste. Mix well and chill.
* "Too-Good" Five-Layer Bars -- Also from Paula Deen -- Not for dieters; but way too good to refuse.