This Sunday is the biggest football game of the year and the traditional foods served can sometimes leave a lot to be desired. Take the Seven Layer Dip and chip dips like Ranch or French Onion – all of them contain so many unpronounceable ingredients. Add those dips to all the giant submarines, chicken wings, pizza, chips and beer and you’re dosing your system with a Super Bowl-sized amount of preservatives and chemicals.
I don’t want to kill all the fun by banning junk and asking you to serve salads and water to your guests, but there has to be a way to get a little balance into the equation.So many Super Bowl classics are pre-made, very little is made fresh at home. Think about that. You know how to make pizza, subs, wings, and dips – anyone can make a dip – so let’s take some of the classics and re-invent them in your home kitchen.
Seven Layer Dip calls for some fresh ingredients sure, but then asks for a package of taco seasoning, canned re-fried beans and those sad little olives come that from a can. Make your own re-fried beans, all you have to do is soak some beans, then boil them and fry ’em upThat sounds like a lot doesn’t it? But those are three fairly passive (set it and forget it) steps you can do and in the end you have beans for dip AND for chili. Besides, if you have only ever had re-fried beans from a can you should make them fresh just to taste the unbelievable difference.
Buy nice olives from a deli or gourmet shop, they taste a million times better than pre-pitted, pre-sliced olives from a can. As for the taco seasoning, mix up your own, here’s a good recipe that uses only the spices and seasonings you’ll find in your kitchen, no preservatives or fillers. Make sure that the layers of tomato and lettuce are substantial, they shouldn’t be an afterthought – the veggies give this heavy dip some lightness and life. You can even add some cucumber, red pepper, chopped radish and green onions to up the fresh vegetable content.
What about the wings, the subs and the pizza?!?! First of all, put down the phone, instead of ordering these items from a chain with over five thousand locations, why not make them yourself? Buy a nice fresh round of focaccia, slice it in half to create two large circles, then add some toppings – including fresh peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and spinach, then add shredded cheese, maybe some chili flakes and fresh grated parmesan – and pop in the oven. You get fresh baked pizza in minutes with no added fats or salts.
Deep frying is not the only method for making wings. Here is a great recipe for baked wings that amps up the flavour without resorting to a bubbling fat jacuzzi. Instead of the bottle of squeezable Ranch you usually go to for dip, why not try yogurt and mint and maybe add in a crumble of nice blue cheese? This cooling dip is perfect with spicy wings.
As for submarines, go out and buy some nice, toothsome sub buns that can be stuffed with lots of fresh veggies – lettuce, tomato, peppers, avocado, sprouts, fennel – and cured veggies – olives, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, pepperoncini. In a town filled with amazing artisanal charcuterie you can easily load up on sexy salumi instead of generic salami.
With these tips and ideas you can make a Super Bowl spread that will outshine the halftime act. Everything will taste great and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that what you’re eating and feeding your guests is made with the best possible ingredients.
Added bonus – all those healthy, homemade dishes mean you don’t have to feel guilty ab out all the beer you’re going to drink. If you don’t feel like hosting you can head to 99 Sudbury for their annual Super Bowl Tailgate Party featuring food from Fidel Gastro’s, Hogtown Smoke, the Food Dudes and more.
Wherever you are, enjoy the Super Bowl while partaking of some of Ontario’s fine microbrewed beers and – don’t drink and drive.