#Super Bowl Round Up: The Best Appetizers

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With the Super Bowl airing this weekend, an arsenal of simple yet tasty recipes is a necessity for a successful viewing party.

I’ve put together a round up the most popular appetizers/dishes from the blog that are reliable crowd-pleasers (healthy or not)!

Don’t forget the prerequisite for this list: dishes must be easy to make and only require straight-forward ingredients to avoid going on market runs or bring glued to the stove while the game is on.

ENJOY.

Judy’s Baked Brie

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A deliciously warm and sweet appetizer to compliment any party. No one expects the “kick” provided by the honey mustard and ginger snap combination. Mom made this all the time and graduated from using little wheels of brie to one large wheel since it’s gobbled up so quickly. You can also top the brie with anything from brown sugar to raspberry jam. Make sure when you’re baking the brie, you place a cookie sheet underneath the cheese. If there are any holes in the crescent crust, the cheese will ooze out, making a mess.  So, best if you buy smaller wheels of cheese.

Click here for brie recipe.

Seven-Layer Dip

mexican bean dip

Offer a big bag of tortilla chips to help scoop up all seven amazing layers of this dip. There’s no heating or reheating involved, just add the layers and serve immediately. If you’re an olive fan, top it off with some sliced olives too!

Click here for seven-layer dip recipe.

Hot Crab Dip

Crab dip fresh from the oven.

Crab dip fresh from the oven.

A must for all crab lovers! This dish tastes best if you splurge for the lump crab meat– don’t used imitation pasteurized meat.   It’s best served very hot (until it’s literally bubbling in the oven) with Crostini rounds and lots of Old Bay spice sprinkled on top. Feel free to leave out the slivered almonds if you aren’t a nut fan. Bet you just can’t have one.

Click here for hot crab recipe.

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

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These Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs are not only easy to make, they’re not greasy and quite tasty too.

If you’ve made turkey burgers or chicken burgers, you’re in luck, you’ve essentially made a version of meatballs. I used ground chicken breast for the base and some generous portions of Panko bread crumbs combined with egg, butter to help bind the meatballs, and lots of hot sauce to help give it that KICK. Serve with Blue Cheese and they’re perfection.

Click here for Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs recipe.

Slow-Cooked Drunken Meatballs

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If you want to do as little work as possible—Slow Cooked Drunken Meatballs fit the bill. These meatballs are DELICIOUS and quite unique due to the addition of whiskey, which provides a nice lingering subtle smoky flavor (obviously reduce the amount if you’re serving minors). All you need is a slow cooker and you’re set.

These meatballs were gobbled up immediately. You’ll be surprised at how quickly 60 meatballs can vanish!

Click here for Slow-Cooked Drunken Meatballs recipe.

Jambalaya Stir

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Use the rice bowl as your canvas and allow your guests to add their own toppings.  This dish is perfect for a more filling and potentially healthier option. #CreateAStir!

Broccoli Cheese Dip

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My family loves Mom’s broccoli casseroles so I figured this would be another hit. It’s brilliantly cheesy with just a mild hint of broccoli. I serve the dip with pieces of sliced fresh Italian bread or flat bread.

Click here for Broccoli Cheese Dip recipe.

 Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken

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This recipe only requires a few basic ingredients that you should have in your stocked pantry and fridge.  And, you’ll also need a slow cooker to do all the work for you. All that’s required of you, the cook, is shredding the cooked chicken breasts and adding BBQ sauce; the hard work is up to your slow cooker. That’s it!  No culinary skill required— my favorite type of recipe.

Click here for Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken recipe.

Artichoke Squares

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The prep for this dish is very easy. And, the finished product tastes amazing, almost like an artichoke egg quiche. I added an ten minutes to the original cook time, and, next time around, I would definitely sprinkle breadcrumbs over top the mixture before baking. Otherwise, this recipe is near flawless and the squares are a perfect addition to your appetizer selection.

Click here for Artichoke Squares recipe.

Broccomoli

This broccoli dip uses light cream cheese and or/sour cream. If you’re looking for a guilt-free dip recipe requiring no culinary skill and minimal prep time, put this on your Super Bowl list.  But remember, even though it looks like guacamole, it tastes all broccoli!

Click here for Broccomole recipe.

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

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Our family fave! You’ll probably smile when you realize you literally don’t need to do ANYTHING except throw the ingredients into your slow cooker, put it on low and go about your day.  When it’s time for the game, you’ll have a chicken chili that’s against the norm, boasting cheese as opposed to the traditional tomato base.  Serve with some sourdough bread and you’re ready to root.

Click here for the Chicken Chili recipe.

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

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Another terrific traditional beef-based chili recipe that won’t disappoint.  After hours of slow cooking, you’re set for the big game.  Add some shredded cheese, hot sauce, sour cream or any other topping and serve with a side of bread.

Click here for the Beef Chili recipe.

Roasted Eggplant

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I’ve enjoyed eggplant slices roasted on the grill, as the “meat” of a vegetarian sandwich, pureed into a silky, smooth dip and as the main course in Eggplant Parmesan. Admittedly, I’ve only been served these dishes.

However, much like my recent love affair with avocados, I never actually prepared eggplants for myself or my family—I was completely intimidated and merely courted them in the aisles of the supermarket. It was finally time for me to take this egg-shaped glossy purple fruit into my own hands.

So, last night I [Read more…]

Banana Honey Bran Bread

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For years I automatically (naively) assumed that because of its syrupy consistency and supreme sweetness, that honey was not nutritious and had no real benefits.  In fact, I’d default to sugar whenever and wherever I could.  However, the more time I’ve spent in the kitchen, working through various recipes and educating myself on their ingredients, the wiser I’ve become.

First and foremost, honey is a natural sweetener that contains minerals and vitamins. It has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that aren’t present in sugar and has a lower Glycemic Index (GI) than sugar.  In layman’s terms, the lower the GI, the more gradual and healthier the digestion process. In addition, milk and honey are often served together as both these ingredients help in getting a smooth soothing skin.  And, honey contains nutraceuticals, which are effective in removing free radicals from our body. As a result, our body immunity is improved.  I was amazed.

Since Mom’s Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf is one of her most-celebrated desserts, I was a bit skeptical that her Banana Honey Bran Bread could even measure up. But, I was willing to give it a try.  And, at the very least, I knew the combination of honey with the bran – a probiotic food (meaning it has natural antibacterial fighting properties)- would be a winning nutritious combination.

But, what about its taste?  Any time I’ve ever eaten bran, I’ve found the foods taste dried out.

I was curious to see how the bread would turn out after its hour in the oven.

It is obviously grainier and certainly not as sweet and moist as the banana chocolate chip loaf.

Its consistency is dense due to the bran but, it as a nice subtle flavoring of bananas and nuts and honey.

When polled, my kids definitely opted for the Banana Chocolate Chip Load simply because they said it was sweeter and tasted more like a dessert bread.

However, the bran bread is the perfect side to any breakfast meal.

Next time I would definitely add in 1 cup of dried fruits (probably cranberries or raisins).  I would increase the amount of honey from ½ cup to a full cup.  Additionally, there’s no harm in adding in more mashed bananas for a fruitier taste.

But, mentally, just being aware of the amounts of fiber and healthy honey sweetness in the loaf allowed me to appreciate the bread even more.

Korean-Style Short Ribs

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My slow cooker has been on over-drive the past two weeks and I’m not ashamed.  I’m actually impressed that each night (and sometimes in the mornings) I’ve managed to churn out a meals that still pique my kids’ interest while hearty and flavorful to boot!

It’s hard to imagine that three years ago I was intimidated by slow cooking and now, I can’t stop.  Slow cooking is like the most wonderful science experiment that’s so easy. How often can you dump ingredients into an appliance, leave that appliance, and then come back hours later only to have a cooked meal waiting to be served?

Last night’s meal was a HOME RUN, and possibly one of the BEST dishes I’ve made in the slow cooker since the Chicken Chili and Beef Chili which we eat at least twice a month.

If you adore sweet meats, like brisket, then this dish will literally make you weep over your plate.

The Korean-Style Short Ribs recipe is sweet and succulent.  After only a few hours of slow cooking, the meat is so tender, it shreds at the mere touch of a fork.  And, the sauce, OH MY!  The powerful combination of soy, and brown sugar, and vinegar transports you to the best restaurants in Korea-town.

I was lucky to have found and bought boneless short ribs (although they are a lot more expensive).

IMG_3820wholly meat…..

But, don’t fret.  If you have bone-in ribs, you’ll get the same results and your tender meat will fall off the bone after hours of slow cooking. Or, if you’re looking for the most inexpensive option, you can also use stew meat.  Once the meat has been cooking for a few hours, you’ll be greeted by this when you open your slow cooker:

 

I served this dish with roasted red potatoes and they were dwarfed by the meat’s intensity. This dish is best-served with a heaping side of rice to help absorb the rich flavors.  However, one friend raves about enjoying the meat in soft corn tacos.  One thing’s for sure, any way you decide to prepare this meat, you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy!

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