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Plan a winning Super Bowl party

One food trend is to create “stadiums” out of food. (Special photo)

One food trend is to create “stadiums” out of food. (Special photo)

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Super Bowl-themed snacks can get your guest into a winning spirit. (Special photo)

The teams have finally been decided, and now it’s time to prep for the big game. Whether you watch the Super Bowl for the football, commercials, or halftime show, it’s safe to say that millions will be tuning in to judge what works and what doesn’t.

And where there’s football, there’s football parties.

No matter what team you root for, (if any), or if you are simply looking for a good time with family and friends, there are lots of ways in which you can prepare for a fun night filled with festivities.

If you’re the host, it’s best to plan ahead, so you can enjoy the night along with your guests. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to contribute; chances are, they’re just glad you’re offering their house so they don’t have to. One woman notes that her party prep is to, “Ask everyone to bring something!”

And really, what is the real reason people go to Super Bowl parties?

The food. Delicious, indulgent, cheesy food.

Most Super Bowl party often includes pizza, nachos, and buffalo wings, but here’s a few ideas for sprucing up those recipes a little bit, and giving your guests something to cheer for besides touchdowns. At the end of the night, you’re sure to be the MVP of your party.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Strips with Blue Cheese Dip

Yield: Serves 8

Cost per Serving: $2.41

Crunchy chicken strips make a nice alternative to traditional buffalo wings, and this recipe is complete with an easy-to-make homemade blue cheese and dipping sauce.

Ingredients

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 1/2 cups plus 1/2 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup hot sauce

1 cup sour cream

5 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

8 ounces Ritz crackers (2 sleeves)

3 tablespoons Buffalo wing seasoning mix

4 tablespoons canola oil

6 large celery ribs, cut in quarters lengthwise

Preparation

1. Cut each chicken breast into 4 strips, lengthwise, and place in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups buttermilk and hot sauce until blended. Pour over chicken; mix until chicken is coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Make dip: In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, 1/2 cup buttermilk, blue cheese, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk to mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mist 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray. In a food processor, pulse crackers until crushed. Add seasoning mix and pulse to combine.

4. Spread cracker mixture on a large platter. Remove chicken from marinade and carefully dredge each strip in cracker mixture.

5. In a large skillet, warm 2 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of chicken and cook, turning, until brown and crisp on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken.

6. Place baking sheets in oven and bake until chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve chicken hot with celery and blue cheese dip.

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Super Bowl “Man Dip” tastes great hot or cold, so it will be good the entire game. (Special photo)

Super Bowl “Man Dip”

This hearty recipe isn’t called “Man Dip” for nothing. Full of cheese, hot sauce, chicken and Ranch flavors, this tailgating party food is like buffalo wings and yummy cheese sauce combined. The dip tastes great hot or cold, so it will be good the entire game.

Ingredients

2 large cans of chicken breast

2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese

1 envelope dry Ranch dressing

16 ounces sour cream

12 ounces bottle wing sauce

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese plus 1 cup for top

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together canned chicken and dry Ranch dressing.

Stir in cream cheese, sour cream, wing sauce and 2 cups shredded cheese.

Use a hand mixer to blend everything together.

Put mixture into a 9 x 9 square or round casserole dish.

Top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.

Bake at 350’ for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve with tortilla chips, corn chips, or for a healthier option, celery and carrots.

Transformed Pig in a Blanket

Yield: 24 servings

With football, there will definitely be pig skin on the field, but it can be a tasty staple for your guests as well.

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Transformed Pig in a Blanket (Special photo)

Pigs in a blanket are often a staple party recipe. This recipe offers a twist on this classic for a bite that’s a bit more elegant, but still packs the same great taste as the original it turns to for inspiration.

Ingredients

3 jumbo hot dogs

1 sheet puff pastry

1 Teaspoon dijon mustard

1/2 Cup shredded cheddar

1 whole egg

Directions

Place the puff pastry out on your counter. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on the right side. Fold the left side over the right side so the pastry is folded in half and gently roll it out.

Combine egg and dijon by whipping them together. Brush the combination onto the pastry. Roll each hot dog with the dough leaving the ends exposed.

Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 6 minutes. Turn them over and continue to bake for approximately another 2-4 minutes. Allow them to cool. Cut them into 1/4-1/2 inch diameter disc shapes. Skewer them and serve.

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This easy chicken enchilada recipe features the convenience of rotisserie chicken, a jar of salsa, and canned green chiles.(Special photo)

Chicken Enchiladas

Yield: 8 Servings

Cost per Serving: $2.35

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño chili, seeded and minced

4 cups cooked, shredded skinless chicken (from one 1 1/2-lb. rotisserie chicken)

2 cups coarsely shredded sharp Cheddar

1 16-oz. jar salsa verde

1 4-oz. can diced mild green chilies, drained

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

16 5 1/2-inch corn tortillas

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Warm oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

2. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, chicken, 1 cup cheese, 1/2 cup salsa and mild green chilies. Stir until well combined.

3. Pour broth into skillet and heat until almost simmering. Working one at a time, dip a corn tortilla into broth, taking care to work quickly so tortilla doesn’t become too soft, then transfer to a clean workspace. Spoon about 2 Tbsp. of chicken mixture down center of tortilla. Roll tortilla around filling like a cigar, and transfer, seam side down, to prepared dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Pour remaining salsa over top of enchiladas, spreading to coat. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.

4. Bake enchiladas, uncovered, until cheese is melted and enchiladas are hot throughout, about 20 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with cilantro.

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Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies (Special photo)

Don’t forget the desserts! Even after indulging in football fare, there’s always room for dessert.

And if it’s shaped like a football, even better.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Cost per serving: $1.38

Ingredients

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use all natural) $

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature $

5 large eggs, at room temperature $

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil; mist foil with cooking spray. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate with 2 sticks butter, stirring until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.

2. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, cream peanut butter, brown sugar, cream cheese and remaining 1/2 stick butter until well combined, about 3 minutes. Beat in 1 egg.

3. Whisk 4 eggs, sugar and vanilla into bowl with melted chocolate; mix well. Stir in flour and salt. Pour batter into baking pan. Spoon reserved peanut-butter mixture on top and use a sharp knife to swirl mixtures together. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.

4. Stir 1 to 2 tsp. cold water into confectioners’ sugar until mixture forms a thick, smooth paste. Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip. Using a 1- to 2-inch cookie cutter, cut 12 football shapes out of brownie. Pipe laces onto brownies and allow to set before serving.

So whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, visiting one or watching the game at home with your family, you’ll want to have plenty of snacks to keep the fans happy through all four quarters (and the commercials).

There are lots of other possibilities available. Maybe you’d like to create a taco bar for your party - it’s a simple prep that will allow you to enjoy the game with everyone. Or for the truly creative, maybe you’d like to create a football stadium entirely out of game day snacks.

However you spend the night, remember: It’s only a game. Have fun!