The Super Bowl Party Spread

It was kind of a last-minute decision to host a small Super Bowl party. But I’m nothing if not resourceful in the kitchen, so it came together in a snap. So, without too much planning or investment, we’ll whip up a Super Bowl Party with a menu of fast, easy recipes dictated mainly by what’s on hand.

First, I took inventory of things in the fridge and pantry that could be used – vegetables for a veggie tray paired with the Tastefully Simple Fiesta Party Dip Mix, pickles and cream cheese (we’ll get to that combo later), salsa, hummus, pretzels, nuts and crackers – and lots of beer, liquor and wine.

To make this a true Super Bowl Party, though, we still needed a trip to the store. On the list: wings, mayo for the Fiesta Party Dip, chips, shrimp, lunch meat, and such. Only when we walked into the Dollar Store to get some extra wine glasses, as ours keep breaking for some reason, did we realize the list also included lots of snacky-snacks and candy. Pixie Stix and wax sodas would make a good addition to the Rolos and chocolate-covered mints I had, and the Twizzlers we loaded up on at Quaker Steak the night before.

That combination became a super-frugal Candy Buffet when guests first entered the living room.
The Snacky-Snacks came together on a platter of pretzels, 
iced animal crackers, pistachios and Fiddle Faddle caramel popcorn.
OK, now what’s any party – especially one centered around a game – 
especially one especially for The Big Game – without the Ultimate Snack: Chips & Salsa
So, in a handy serving platter spotted at the Dollar Store:
the salsa from the pantry with blue tortilla chips and, by request, Cool Ranch Doritos. 
On the Veggie Tray: green peppers, celery and carrots that needed to be used up anyway. 
I filled the last quarter of another Dollar Store platter 
with French Bread slices from the grocer’s bakery.
 The Tastefully Simple Fiesta Party Dip is, as you’d guess, pretty darn simple to whip up: 
2 tablespoons of the spice blend stirred with
1/4 cup mayo and 3/4 cup sour cream. 
After much internal debate, I agreed to also share the Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus,
thinking an extra dip could help cut down on the expanding cracker collection in my cupboard.

Now, this isn’t a common Super Bowl Snack; 
in fact, it’s not really a common combination of foods at all.
I’m not sure what to call it other than my uncle’s nickname of “Amish Sushi.”
You start by spreading cream cheese onto a slice of ham 
(the softer the first and the thicker the latter, the better.)
(Sorry, but that calls for a: “That’s what she said.”)
If I haven’t made this dirty enough already, you slap a pickle on that.
Wrap the whole thing up – like sushi – then slice off sections.
Maybe it still sounds strange, but once you try one, you can’t stop.
And now, the Star of the Super Bowl Spread: The Wings.
Not sure what to call the sauce other than 
“Special Super Bowl Sauce,”
but I can show you how it started:
That’s some A-1 Steak Sauce, Sriracha, Open Bit BBQ, Worcestershire, Apple Butter, 
Mango Chutney, Teriyaki Marinade, horseradish, Fish Sauce, minced garlic, 
and – what you don’t see – plenty of additional spices and seasonings and salt and pepper.
As if that wasn’t enough food, we also thawed some shrimp 
and stirred up some cocktail sauce of ketchup and horseradish.
Then I started baking Peanut Butter Cookies, a family favorite of my BF
and his brother, who would be there. All in all, we put together quite a spread.
In the center sat my little splurge of a centerpiece: a $2.99 mini daffodil.
Nacho, unsure what to think of this sudden surge of cleaning, cooking and company, 
hides under the table until he recognizes a friend he can snuggle up to on the couch.

 And let’s not forget the liquor to wash it all down. The list was quite extensive, 
since we were playing a Super Bowl Drinking Game, so we made our own Drink Menu.

Super Bowl 2013 Drinking Game:
During the Super Bowl, drink when:
1. You hear the name “Harbaugh” – which is any mention of either head coach.
2. Either team scores any points.

3. Colin Kaepernick does his “Bicep Kiss”
4. You see a half-naked girl on a GoDaddy commercial.
5. Ray Lewis is seen praying, crying, or screaming (for any reason)

And, as an eco-friendly reminder for any party – especially one with a drinking game:

Sunday Eve Picnic: Mini Wine & Cheese Party

Today became “Use Up All the Gift Cards Weighing Down Your Wallet” Day.
Fueled by a scrambled egg/bacon/English muffin breakfast from The Shore Restaurant followed by a couple of West End Tavern Bloody Marys, we headed to Great Northern Mall.
First stop: DSW, where I stretched a $25 gift card (and then some) into two pairs of brown heels on clearance.
Next: Best Buy, where I lumped three gift cards toward a Magic Wand scanner.
Then: When starting to feel almost shopped-out, a quick stop by Starbucks cleared out the few dollars left on my Starbucks gift card with a Skinny Vanilla Latte. For the record, the taste difference between this and the Caramel Macchiato is as massive as the caloric gap.
Last stop: A tour through World Market, where a gift card more than pulled together a mini wine & cheese party for a Sunday evening picnic on the rug.
For less than $12, we present: Smoked Salmon Pate ($3.99); Sesame Water Crackers ($1.49); Sweet Mustard ($1.99); Spicy Sausage ($1.49); Tomato & Basil Cheese ($1.49); and Jalapeno Jack Cheese ($1.49). Paired with a $16 bottle of Cline Cashmere wine.
What a spread! The only thing I’d do differently is buy two of everything and turn a snack into a feast.
I noticed that the can of salmon pate didn’t expire for another 4 years, and the other foods were equally packaged to last, no refrigeration required. My plan is to restock, and prepare the classiest supply of long-term, protein-packed survival food you’ve ever seen.
Forget tuna and beef jerky – I’m going out in style, like this: