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Hosting a Winning Super Bowl Party

Ah, February. A time when the night’s feel colder and the day’s seem shorter. With the Holidays officially behind us and the feeling as if summer will never come, the second month of the year can feel bleak. But have no fear! The good ole’ folks over at the National Football League have answered our seasonal-affective-disordered prayers. That’s right—we’re talking about the 2016 #Super Bowl. This year, it’s the Denver Broncos versus the Carolina Panthers, so naturally we’re serving up mouth watering football fare with a friendly nod from each city. If there’s one thing to know about the Super Bowl, it’s that the Big Game is synonymous with tasty ole' comfort grub— a là 7-layer dip & chips washed down with a frosty cold beer.... In other words, your diet starts tomorrow, so revel in it! Sports aside, the big game is a great excuse to entertain with friends and family, regardless of your knowledge of the pig skin (and no, it’s not an appetizer). So whether you’re throwing together a last minute gathering or planning a full on football feast soiree, here are some easy, fun ways to spruce up your gridiron get-together. For the Kick Off: I think we can all agree that a Super Bowl party is nothing without some old fashioned, finger-licking good wings. BBQ wings are a tried and true staple in both American fare and sports gatherings, but sometimes the typical buffalo style hot-wing can seem, well, been there done that. There’s nothing wrong with throwing together this classic, reliable appetizer—but serving this app at your Super Bowl party definitely calls for kickin’ it up a notch (and a touchdown, please!) Ultimately what’s great about wings is the versatility that comes with literally spicing things up. Instead of stressing out about how you’ll season your wings, go crazy in your spice cabinet and have fun mixing and matching. Think of yourself as a Super Bowl spice mixologist, and you’ll have your guests noshing on these throughout the first quarter. Below is a savory fan favorite—and the right kind of booze to accompany it. Enjoy!

Carolina Panther's Parmesan Cheese and Garlic Wings

zesty garlic parmesan chicken wings

To satisfy the cheese lovers of your group, (side note: is there anyone who doesn’t like cheese), we thought of a slight twist on our usual hot wing: slow-cooker parmesan garlic wings. We recently made these for a play-off party a few weeks ago and our guests could not get enough! The convenience of the slow cooker also makes meal prep a nonentity so that you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time watching the game with your friends. Simply whisk together all of the ingredients except for the wings in a large bowl. (2 tablespoons minced garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup light mayonnaise, 2 tablespoon corn syrup, 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, and a dash of salt and pepper). Next spray the slow cooker with nonstick spray and add half of the sauce to the bottom. Add the chicken wings and stir/fold to coat the wings. Now comes the waiting: cook on high for 3-4 hours. Finally pour the rest of the sauce and cook for another 15 minutes. Viola! – Ready to eat chicken wings for you and you guest. For this recipe I recommend two pounds of chicken wings (I prefer bone-in but you can also use boneless). Serve with a citrus, hoppy IPA, such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or my favorite, Dogfish Head’s “Namaste” craft beer.

Bronco Beer Short Rib Sliders:

Three cuban shredded beef, or vaca frita, sliders against a white background.

Next to wings, sliders are bar none the perfect Super Bowl snack. Our personal favorite this season calls for short rib since it makes for the most decadent burger! I recommend 3 pounds of meat, which will make for about 30+ sliders, depending on how many people you’re entertaining. First make sure to cut the short ribs into 1 1/2 inch chunks prior to cooking. Place beef short ribs on a large jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides), making sure to dry it with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large wide pot, melt 1⁄2 stick of butter over medium-high heat. Make sure to work in small batches, and cook beef until browned. (Usually about 5 to 6 minutes per batch). In the pot, add the shallots, (2 to 3, chopped) 2 large carrots, one onion, and sauté for 5 minutes. Next add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add 3/4 bottle of the beer, and definitely make sure to drink the remaining as you finishing prepping the meal. (Who says the party can’t start in the kitchen?) Next add 1⁄2 cup of vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire, 2 bay leaves, and one sprig of thyme. Finally, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Place the ribs back into pot, making sure they’re a single layer and cover. Lastly transfer the pot to oven and let cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Serve with Hawaiian burger buns, some sharp cheddar cheese, pepper aioli, tomato and lettuce for extra yummy-ness. Drink wise, nothing pairs better with a savory, winter dish than a classic Malbec. Our team recommends the 2009 Hacienda del Plata Zagal Malbec. Not only is it moderately priced at $12 a bottle, but it has a balanced and medium bodied taste-so it wont override your taste buds with too much flavor.

Coldplay Cake Pops:

Sweet cake pops isolated on white

Now comes the fun part. Most of us watch the big game for the halftime show, right? British alterna-pop band Coldplay and lead singer Chris Martin will be performing at this year’s Super Bowl and based on previous live performances will not disappoint. As an ode to pretty much everyone’s favorite modern music group, we’re whipping up the ultimate party provision: cake pops. Ever since the cupcake trend of the mid 2000s, cake and its various forms seem to be everywhere. Cake pops are a fun, crowd-pleasing but simple way to satisfy your sweet-tooth without going overboard—both in the kitchen and to your waistline. All this recipe calls for is one package of cake mix (Red Velvet or Funfetti seem to be everyone’s favorite nowadays), one cup of frosting, a bag of white or dark chocolate baking chips, and a package of cake pop sticks (these can be found at any grocery or party store). First, bake the cake as you would normally, and once it’s been fully cooled, transport to a large bowl and use your hands or a fork to crumble it so that the cake is entirely in pieces. Next, add one cup of frosting and mix together. Once completely mixed the “cake” should feel dough-like. Roll the dough into balls and freeze on a baking sheet for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, take one cup of chocolate chips and melt completely. Once the cake pops have cooled, dip each piece into the melted chocolate and set aside on parchment paper. To spruce things up you can add fun garnishes, such as extra cake crumbles, sprinkles or crushed up candy. It’s impossible to eat only one, so consider this your warning. For a boozy dessert drink, nothing sounds better on football’s biggest night like a fun Kahlua coffee drink. For some of us, the big game goes on way past our bedtime, so enjoy your sugar rush with a little caffeine buzz. Overtime anyone?

As always, it’s important to buy local, especially when it comes to produce, veggies and dairy. So remember, shop small for the big game, and have a ball with your friends, regardless of who wins! And if you’re still hungry after all of this, make sure to check out next week’s blog when we talk about all things Valentine’s Day, and how to celebrate love’s favorite day—single or attached!

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