Millions of people watch the Super Bowl Game on TV; however, statistics indicate that only half are watching it for the game — the other half is really watching it for the commercials. No matter why one watches, it’s the food that adds to the enjoyment of the companionship and festivities. These can’t just be any foods — they must be foods that are very tasty, snack-like, yet filling. New surprises in recipes are usually a welcome treat.

Millions of people watch the Super Bowl Game on TV; however, statistics indicate that only half are watching it for the game — the other half is really watching it for the commercials. No matter why one watches, it’s the food that adds to the enjoyment of the companionship and festivities. These can’t just be any foods — they must be foods that are very tasty, snack-like, yet filling. New surprises in recipes are usually a welcome treat.

By the way, jarred salsa has zero fat and is a good source of lycopene, a cancer fighting nutrient in cooked tomatoes. Choose a lower sodium one and pair with unsalted chips. I used salsa verde in the 7-layer dish to keep the nice green color of the guacamole. The standard red salsa may be used instead, if desired.

Chicken wings are a must for most party people, and they can be made in a variety of ways: baked, barbecued, broiled, roasted, steamed and slow cooker style. Wings are considered to be an iconic party food. They can be sweet, hot, spicy, sweet and sour, simple or elaborate.

Here are a few of my favorites. The onion dip is oh-so-tasty; sometimes I make a double batch so there are leftovers. The white chili is a nice change of pace, and the chicken chunks add a good texture to the recipe. To make it thicker I mash one can of the beans and leave the second one whole and stir into the pot. The homemade taco chips are the perfect accompaniment. The guacamole dip is a little twist on the 7-layer dip, hope you enjoy it! The shortbread pecan cookies are a special treat and you can’t eat just one.


Seven Layer Dip

Regular salsa may be used in this recipe, if desired.

2     avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced

1 ½   tablespoons fresh lime juice

¼     cup fresh cilantro, chopped

¼     cup salsa verde (this green salsa keeps the green color of the avocado)

Garlic powder, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

1     8-ounce container sour cream

4     ounces chive cream cheese, softened

1     1-ounce package taco seasoning mix

1     16-ounce can refried beans

2     medium tomatoes, diced

2     cups shredded iceberg lettuce

4     green scallions

2     cups Mexican style cheese, shredded

1     cup black olives, drained and finely chopped

In a bowl mash the avocados, stir in lime juice cilantro, salsa verde, garlic powder, and pepper. Set aside.

In another bowl stir together sour cream, chive cream cheese, and taco seasoning, set aside.

In 9 x 13 -inch baking dish or serving dish, evenly spread the refried beans. Top with a layer of the sour cream mixture. Evenly spread on the guacamole. Sprinkle the shredded lettuce over this. Top with diced tomatoes, scallions, shredded cheese, and black olives. Serve with pita chips or roll into small soft tortilla shells.


Homemade Chili Tortilla Chips

6     cups or 48 ounces peanut oil

10    6-inch corn tortillas

1     tablespoon Kosher salt

¼     teaspoon garlic powder

¼     teaspoon chipotle chili powder

¼     teaspoon chili powder

Pour peanut oil into an oil fryer or a large stainless-steel pot . The oil must be at least 1-inch deep. Heat the oil to about 380 degrees, or almost smoking.

Cut the tortillas in quarters and add them in batches to the hot oil without crowding them. Cook for 2-3 minutes, turning once to brown evenly. Remove the tortillas with a flat wire strainer or tongs and place them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Continue cooking the chips until they are all fried.

In a small bowl combine salt, garlic powder, chipotle chili powder, and chili powder. While the chips are still hot sprinkle them evenly with the spice mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Onion Dip

A delicious dip with chips. It also goes well on a meat sandwich or grilled burger - meat or mushroom.

2     tablespoons EVOO, olive oil

1     tablespoon butter

1     large sweet onion, halved and sliced thin (yields about 3 cups)

Pinch of Kosher salt

½     teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1     teaspoon ground sweet dried basil

1     teaspoon paprika

1     teaspoon granulated sugar

2     ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

2 ½-3  cups sour cream

3     slices smoked bacon, crisply cooked and finely crumbled (Optional)

In a skillet over medium high heat cook the olive oil and butter, stir in the sliced onion cook until tender about 8-10 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, basil, paprika, and sugar. Lower heat to medium; cook and stir until onions have softened and caramelized, about another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a bowl mix together goat cheese and sour cream, stir the onions into the mixture.  Add bacon crumbles, if desired, and stir to mix.


Chicken Wings Sesame Teriyaki Style

Makes about 24 wing pieces.

2 ½   pounds chicken wings, split into pieces

Pinch of salt


This recipe may be doubled, if more sauce is desired.

3     tablespoons teriyaki sauce

2     tablespoons rice vinegar

1     tablespoon dark brown sugar

2     teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2     tablespoons sesame seeds   

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Sauce: In a large bowl whisk together teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.

Pierce chicken wing pieces all over with the tip of a sharp knife; pat dry. Place on a wire rack placed on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle wings with a pinch of salt. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until cooked through, turning over once. Broil for 7 minutes on high, turning once. Toss with sesame sauce and serve.


Chicken Chili with White Beans

This chili recipe is worth the try. Serves 8.

1     teaspoon EVOO, olive oil

1 ½   pounds skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes

1     large sweet onion, chopped (2-cups)

1     yellow bell pepper, chopped

1     red bell pepper, chopped

2     cloves garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1     teaspoon dried sweet basil, crushed

1     cup yellow kernel corn

3     tablespoons butter

¼     cup all-purpose flour

3-4    cups chicken broth, add more as needed for consistency

2     15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained

1 ½   cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, if desired

Chopped fresh cilantro

In a Dutch oven or a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat, add chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add salt, pepper, and basil to pan, stir then add onions, garlic and peppers, toss them in and cook, stirring about 2-3 minutes. Return chicken to Dutch oven, mix thoroughly.

In a separate saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a roux, stirring continuously and cooking for about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth in a stream, whisking, then bring to a simmer, whisking, and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir roux mixture into the sautéed chicken mixture.

Stir in beans and kernel corn and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. To serve, spoon chili into soup bowls. Top each serving with shredded cheese and chopped cilantro.

Helpful Hint: This tastes good served over Fritos or taco chips.


Crispy Roasted Kale Chips

This recipe can be made in advance. The kale is so healthy for you and this recipe is so delicious.

1-2    bunches curly ale

2     tablespoons EVOO, olive oil

Kosher salt and fresh ground back pepper

*** for garlic taste, add ½ teaspoon garlic powder to seasonings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange 3 oven racks evenly spread in the oven.

Lay each kale leaf on a board and with a small sharp knife, cut out the hard stem. Tear large leaves in half. Place the kale in a large bowl of water and wash well. Drain the kale and dry it in a salad spinner or with paper towels. Dry the bowl and put the kale back into the bowl.

Toss the kale with olive oil, salt and pepper. Divide the kale among 3 baking sheet pans or roast them in batches. Try to separate the pieces from each other for even roasting. If you put too much kale on one pan, it will steam rather than roast and will never become crisp. Roast for 12- 15 minutes, until crisp. Do not burn or overbake or the kale will taste bitter.


Pecan Caramelized Bacon Strips

This is a great hors d’oeuvre, and can become addictive. These can be made in advance and stored at room temperature.

½     pound thick sliced smoked bacon

½     cup pecans, chopped

½     cup light brown sugar

2     teaspoons Kosher salt

½     teaspoon ground black pepper

2     tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire baking rack on top.

In a blender or food processor combine brown sugar and pecans and process until the pecans are finely ground. Add the salt and pepper. Blend to combine. Add maple syrup and pulse again to moisten the crumbs, add more syrup if needed for consistency.

With a pair of kitchen scissors cut each bacon slice in half crosswise and line up the pieces on the baking rack without touching each other. With a small spoon evenly spread the pecan mixture on top of each piece of bacon, using all of the mixture.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-28 minutes, until the topping is very browned but not burnt. If it’s under-baked, the bacon won’t crisp as it cools.

While the bacon is hot transfer the pieces to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature.


Pecan Shortbread Cookies

1     cup pecan halves

2     cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided

½     teaspoon kosher salt

½     teaspoon baking powder

½     pound or 2-sticks butter, room temperature

½     cup turbinado sugar or granulated sugar or light brown sugar

2     teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1     teaspoon almond extract

24    whole pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the 1-cup of pecan halves on a baking sheet pan and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until toasted. Set aside to cool.

Place the cooled pecans plus ¼ cup flour in a blender or food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground. Place the mixture in a bowl and add the remaining 1 ¾ cups flour, the salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine.

In another bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, almond extract, and the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together.

Form the batter into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Place the balls 1-inch apart on a cookie baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press a pecan half into the center of each ball, pressing the pecan halfway down into the cookie. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cookies turn golden brown around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes then place on a wire rack and cool completely.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.