Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone. This fact neither fills me with joy nor saddens me to the point of tears. In total and complete contrast with the estimated 109.7 million fans who viewed this year’s Super Bowl XLV, I view SBS as just another Sunday. However, this year was different.
While I do not have any vehement objections to the sport of football, 2011 saw my proclivities running a bit askew with the majority of America’s. I wanted all of the trappings of the Super Bowl . . . without the Super Bowl. To be more specific, I wanted the food and fun without having to watch The Big Game.
What’s a woman to do?
If you’re me, you throw a “Super Bowl Sunday Without the Super Bowl” party, invite a bunch of sports widows and ladies less inclined to engage in the fist-pumping action, and proceed to have a good time. And that’s just what I did.
Needless to say, the main focus was on food, and lots of it. Menu preparations began Saturday, the day before The Big Game. It commenced with one of my signature dishes, Bacon-Cheddar Deviled Eggs, a decadent concoction filled with the goodness of bacon (as I am not a lover of pork, I always use turkey bacon for any recipe that calls for bacon) and sharp cheddar cheese. It’s a dish that I am proud of, not only because it fits perfectly with my taste buds, but, without fail, it always elicits a “Can I have the recipe?” request from at least one person when I prepare it for parties.
Next on the list was a creamy Crab Dip. This dish could have gone either way as it was a first-timer for me, hence using my guests as veritable guinea pigs. Filled with two pounds of special lump blue crab meat, onions, celery, cheese and other accompanying ingredients, my initial foray into the world of seafood dips was a successful one. This crab dip and tortilla chips were born for one another.
Was I finished yet? Not hardly.
My plan was to prepare a total of six dishes for the big non-game event. My third dish was to be Barbeque Cola Meatballs, a recipe that I discovered from a website resource seven years ago and this dish has constantly been in rotation in my kitchen ever since. Bite-sized morsels of ground turkey (again, I utilize ground turkey for any dish that specifies beef) basted in a homemade BBQ sauce and simmered in a slow cooker for a little over three hours—delicious!
Somewhere in the mix, sleep had to prevail, so I saved preparing the remaining dishes for Sunday. Even though I got an early start, I was still in the kitchen for the better part of the day, and my tired and achy feet can attest to that fact. However, being the trooper that I am, I soldiered on. First up was an easy-to-make five ingredient Taco Dip. This is one of those dishes that tastes great on day one and gets progressively better by day two or three. The south-of-the-border flavors makes it a superb addition to any gathering.
Wanting to add another seafood element to the mix, I decided on Bacon Wrapped Maple Scallops. The sweet taste of maple-syrup-marinated-sea-scallops was enhanced by crisp turkey bacon and a dusting of brown sugar. As an appetizer, they are the epitome of finger food—just remove the toothpick, pop in your mouth and enjoy. Unfortunately, my guests and I were not the only ones delighting in the scallops. Feeling a bit frisky, adventurous and yes, naughty, my crafty canine somehow managed to snag a scallop or two from the serving tray while my back was turned. Although I was furious at his shenanigans, how could I fault my precious four-legged baby when he showed such apt appreciation for my cooking?
The very last culinary delight that I made were Chicken Eggrolls. This recipe is an amalgamation of various eggroll recipes that I’ve stumbled across over the years. After many trial-and-error experiments in the kitchen, I finally hit upon my perfect mad scientist “Ah-hah!” moment and settled on a myriad of ingredients that brought the dish to life.
As a bonus—and as if I didn’t have enough to do already—at the last minute I threw together balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, crafted a sweet reduction and mixed that with petite mozzarella balls, sweet salad tomatoes and fresh chopped basil leaves to make a Caprese Salad.
My husband calls me a glutton for punishment because I tend to go overboard in the kitchen, but acknowledges that I have adopted the “If you’re going to go half-way, then go home” attitude when it comes to entertaining. I put my all into it. So when seven women walked into my home bearing assorted munchies, smiles on their faces and rumbling tummies, I made it my mission not to disappoint.
For my efforts, I will give myself a pat on the back. By the end of the night, my arms were fatigued, my legs were done-in, my feet were sore, my face was tired . . . even my hair was pooped. But I had done what I set out to do. And had a good, albeit exhausting time, doing it.
I may make this an annual tradition. Only next year, instead of referring to it as “Super Bowl Sunday Without The Super Bowl,” I’ll take a cue from the one television show that we watched for the evening on Animal Planet: “The Puppy Bowl.”