Super Bowl Sunday is February 5, but now’s the time to plan your party menu. These recipes can be prepared ahead of time, so you can relax and enjoy the party (and you won’t miss any of the commercials!).

Nachos and dip are a natural. This recipe is courtesy of Rev. Jan Redman, First United Methodist Church, Redwood Falls, Minnesota. A big hit with youth groups, staff, and friends, it’s a perfect make-and-forget dish for a football party. Leftovers (if any) are great for enchiladas.

Sister Jan’s Slow Cooker Nacho Magnifico Dip

2 cans refried beans (pinto or black)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 or 2 cans chopped green chilies (depending on desired spice level)
1 envelope 40% less sodium taco seasoning
2 packages Mexican Velveeta, cubed
1 c. finely shredded Mexican cheese blend

Tortilla chips to serve

Mix first 5 ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring to melt the cheese. Serve with tortilla chips. Dip holds on low for up to 2 hours. Makes 72 servings. Can also be halved for a mini crock.

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I made these calzones for a Super Bowl party a few years ago, and people still remember them. Refrigerated dinner rolls take the anxiety out of making your own bread, and with two different fillings, you can satisfy your vegetarian friends as well. Your guests will ooh and aah when they come out of your oven. You can make these up to two weeks ahead, put them in the freezer, and bake them on game day.

Quick Calzones (Sausage or Spinach/Ricotta)

1 11.3-oz. can refrigerated dinner rolls. Makes 8. Bake 16 Minutes at 450 degrees.

Sausage Filling

1 lb. bulk spicy Italian sausage

1 medium onion

½ large yellow and ½ large red bell pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

¼ grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

 

Fry sausage. Add onions and peppers, sauté until tender. Stir in garlic. Cool to room temperature. Add cheese.

Spinach Filling

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion

1 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Heat oil. Add onions, sauté until golden. Add drained spinach, garlic and nutmeg. Cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put in bowl, add ricotta. Cool, then add cheeses.

 

To make the calzones:

Roll out biscuits to 7-inch circles. Fill with ½ cup of either filling, fold over and seal. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Freeze, or brush with olive oil and bake. Serve with warm marinara sauce.

 

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Chili is a Super Bowl favorite. My daughter, Elizabeth, devised this recipe for a chili contest. This award-winning chili puts an Asian spin on the food. Like all chilies, the flavor is better the day after you make it. You can purchase the more “exotic” ingredients at Shuang Hur Oriental Market, 2710 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis. One batch will make about 6-8 servings, so extrapolate if you have more guests.

Red Dragon Chili

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 16-oz. can Vietnamese beef soup

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. spicy Hmong sausage

1 medium onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

2 tbsp. chopped garlic

2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger root

Thai chili peppers

1 small can crushed pineapple (optional)

Peel the casing from the sausages and fry the meat. Fry the ground pork. Add the other ingredients.

 

Note: Do not chop the chilies. I did this and the chili was so hot it was inedible! Crushed pineapple reduced the heat and gave the chili a slightly sweet/hot flavor. Tie the chilies in cheesecloth and place them in the kettle with the rest of the ingredients. Remove the bag before serving.

 

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Chicken wings are a favorite football-watching food. If you place them under the broiler or brown them in a cast-iron frying pan before putting them in the crockpot, they’ll have a nice crunch.

 

Honey-Garlic Chicken Wings (from CrockpotLadies.com)

 

3 lbs. chicken wings, cleaned and halved

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup honey

½ cup low sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp. vegetable oil (if frying)

2 cloves minced garlic

 

Season chicken wings with salt and pepper to taste and brown. Place in crockpot. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

 

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Looking for an easy dessert? This easy, make-in-advance recipe from Martha Stewart will be a hit with peanut butter-and-chocolate lovers.

 

Easy Peanut Butter Cups

 

4 oz. white chocolate, chopped

½ cup smooth peanut butter

12 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 tbsp. unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped

 

Line two 12-cup mini muffin pans with paper liners; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine white chocolate and peanut butter. Microwave, until almost melted, 1 to 1 ½ minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool slightly.

 

Meanwhile, place semisweet chocolate in another micro-wave safe bowl. Microwave, stirring once or twice, until almost melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

 

Dividing evenly, use a spoon to layer semisweet chocolate and peanut butter mixture into liners, beginning and ending with chocolate; sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Place muffin pans in freezer until peanut butter cups are firm, about 15 minutes. To store, place in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.

 

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Nothing goes better with beer than popcorn, so have plenty on hand. If you don’t feel like popping it yourself, make a visit to Tom’s Popcorn Shop, 4708 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis. There you’ll find flavors such as Chocolate with Sea Salt, Pina Colada and Bubble Gum as well as Cheese, Caramel and good, old-fashioned popcorn with salt and butter. Hours are 2-9 p.m. weekdays and Noon to 9 p.m. Fri.-Sun.

 

By Cynthia Sowden