It’s almost Super Bowl Sunday. You’re excited for the game, but you’re feeling nostalgic of all of the typical gameday grub that you simply have no idea how to make. You make a mean bowl of ramen. Hell, you can even whip up some pasta and tomato sauce when you’re feeling ballsy. But chili? Homemade nachos!? Buffalo chicken bites!?!? Recipes!?!?!? That’s out of your league!
Not anymore. Real, homemade gameday food isn’t as hard as you might think. You can make it yourself. It will be delicious. Your friends will be extremely impressed. You’ll have a full stomach. Your Super Bowl party will be the best between University and Atherton. But how? How are you going to learn to cook a bangin’ chili in just three days? Aren’t buffalo chicken bites something that you can just find on LionMenus? No. Stop it. Cut it out. That’s where me and my esteemed colleague Catie Simpson come in.
The Easiest (And Best) Chili In The World:
Chili is an American classic, and there isn’t much that’s better than a hot bowl of chili on a cold wintry day — especially when there’s some football on television. Here’s my take on the meaty, spicy delicacy that is chili, adapted from a fairly popular recipe:
Two to three — let’s call it three — pounds of ground meat. You can be a Plain Jane and just get beef, but I say get some ground turkey and pork. Mix it up. Keep things interesting. Plus, the phrase “three-meat chili” really has a ring to it.
Beans. 30 ounces of them. I prefer to go half kidney and half pinto, but do your thing. Get the canned kind and drain and rinse them. Use a colander — yes, that thing you put pasta in after its done cooking.
Veggies: One large green bell pepper, diced. That means small squares, but not too small — that’s minced. One and a half large onions, diced. Get one extra. You’ll need more later. Also, get a jalapeno pepper. Or get two. Mince it. Use the seeds if you want it to be more spicy. Toss ’em out if you don’t.
Spices: 1 teaspoon salt. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin. 1/4 cup chili powder — preferably ancho chili powder, but generic will do. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano. 1/2 teaspoon sugar — yes, sugar in chili. It cuts the acidity of the tomatoes. 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Or use more if you’re into that sort of a thing. If you find some chipotle chili powder or something like that, toss a bit in. It won’t hurt. Experimenting is how you’ll develop from an amateur apartment chef into a professional apartment chef.
The tomatoes: 46 ounces of tomato juice and one can (29 ounces) of tomato sauce. Get a small can of tomato paste too. If the chili is too thin, toss half of it in and it will help thicken it up.
The cooking process is the easy part. Brown all of your meat in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Make sure its crumbled well. Break it up as it browns. Drain it in the colander you already used for your beans during prep — AKA the part where you chopped your veggies. Toss the meat and everything else into a large pot. Bring it up to a boil on medium-high heat. Once it gets there, turn the flame down to low and simmer the chili uncovered for as long as you want, stirring every fifteen to twenty minutes.
I suggest four or five hours. The longer you go, the deeper the flavor gets and the more tender the meat will be. You are the boss of your chili. If you want it for Super Bowl Sunday, make it the day before and refrigerate overnight covered in the same pot you cooked it in. Come game time, pop the pot back on the stove, heat the chili back up, and you’re good to go. If you want to impress your guests, buy some shredded cheddar cheese, slice up some baguette, and mince some onion to toss on top of your chili.
Beefy, Cheesy, Spicy Nachos:
Nachos. If done right, they are truly a magnificent thing. Here’s what you need:
One large bag of the tortilla chips of your choice. And by large, I mean the biggest one that they have. If the size of the bag of chips doesn’t seem unnecessarily gigantic, buy two of whatever they have. Get two different colors of chips if you want to go restaurant-style, but these will look incredible either way.
One jar of the salsa of your choice. You can go for some plain salsa. You can get a jalapeno-corn salsa. Just stay away from anything with mango or pineapple. That shit sucks.
One and a half pounds of ground beef.
Veggies: two to four jalapeno peppers, slices into rounds. Half a green bell pepper, diced, and half a red bell pepper, diced. One small onion, diced. About a quarter-cup of finely chopped cilantro. Black olives, roughly chopped — you want recognizable pieces of olive. A few cloves of garlic, minced. 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed — you know the deal, colander and all.
One container of sour cream. One bag of mixed shredded Mexican cheese.
And onto the cooking. Heat a skillet and/or pan on medium with a little olive oil. Add in your veggies (onion, garlic, peppers — not the olives) and saute them for a bit. Toss your beef in there and brown it, crumbling as you go, just like with the chili. Once its cooked, take it off the heat and throw in a little salt, a little pepper, and a little cumin. You have all of those left over from the chili of course. You don’t want to use a lot of salt — the chips are salty and so are the olives.
Arrange your chips in a baking pan (one of those flimsy foil things — you know what I mean). Put the beef over it first. Then put a ton of that shredded cheese on. Toss it in the oven at 325 until the cheese is melted to your liking, which should take just a few minutes. Take it out. Throw the olives on top. Throw some salsa on top. Put a few dollops of sour cream on that bitch. If you want to garnish, buy some green onion or scallion or whatever they call those and chop it up. And you’re done. Beefy, cheesy, spicy nachos.
I’ll let Catie Simpson take it away from here.
Pizza Stuffed Breadsticks:
Sure, you COULD just order pizza. But seriously, even children can make homemade pizza (it’s true I’ve witnessed it personally) and the results are 100x better than anything you’re going to get delivered in a box. Also have you ever tried to eat pizza while watching TV? It gets more than a little cumbersome. To make these sleek pizza stuffed breadsticks you’re gonna need:
One package of store bought pizza dough. (See I told you this was easy you don’t even have to make the dough!) Just make sure you set it out on the counter about a half hour before you want to start cooking (or a couple hours if it’s frozen).
One jar of marinara sauce. This doesn’t have to be fancy. But, make sure you don’t get something labeled “pizza sauce”. I don’t know why but whatever they do to make the pizza sauce smooth definitely effs up the taste. If you wouldn’t put it on your pasta, don’t put it on your pizza. Go for a nice marinara or spicy diavolo sauce. Who cares if it’s a bit chunky?? It’s all going to the same place anyways.
One package of shredded mozzarella. You could get a ball of fresh mozzarella if you’re feeling extra show-offy, but the pre-shredded stuff is just fine.
One large egg. NO SHELLS.
Two tablespoons milk.
Two tablespoons parmesan cheese. You don’t actually have to measure this though, because there is no such thing as “too much cheese”.
2 cloves garlic, minced. Or pounded flat with your bear hands.
Three quarters of a teaspoon dried basil.
Three quarters of a teaspoon dried oregano.
You are ready to go.
To start, make sure you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Finishing your creation and then realizing you forgot to start the oven is a bitch, so don’t forget.
While the oven is heating up take your pizza dough and split it in half. Roll out one of the halves into a rectangular shape, then go ahead and do the same with the other. The shape should cover the bottom of the tray you plan to cook it on (really whatever you have on hand). Grease that tray up, and put your first slab on the bottom. It doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s how people know it’s homemade.
Now it’s assembly time. Spoon your sauce onto your pizza dough. Try to get it in an even layer. Don’t over do it, or your finished breadsticks will fall apart.
Sprinkle mozzarella all over.
Take your second half of pizza dough, and put it on top like a pie. Pinch the seams together with your fingers the whole way around. When you’re done, cut the dough into breadstick shapes, making them any size you want (although on average you should get around 20 individual breadsticks).
Next, mix up your egg, milk, parmesan, garlic, basil, and oregano in a little bowl or mug. Use a brush (or your fingers) to place a thin layer of this stuff all over your breadsticks. This is what’s going to make them toasty brown. The best part about a good breadstick is licking that powder off your fingers when you’re done eating.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it gets bigger in size, is golden brown, and the entire kitchen smells like an Italian grandmother’s.
Buffalo Chicken Biscuit Poppers:
If the name alone doesn’t scream “SUPER BOWL” then there might be something wrong with you. The word “poppers” should only be brought out for sporting events, so now’s your chance! To make these you will need:
One cup chopped precooked chicken. You can use grilled leftovers from the other night, or just buy a whole precooked chicken at the grocery store. Those things aren’t very expensive, and can keep you fed for a week.
A quarter of a cup chopped carrots. Cut them as small as you can.
A quarter of a cup chopped celery.
A quarter of a cup red onion.
Two to three tablespoons (or more let’s be serious) buffalo sauce. I prefer Frank’s, but I’ve known people to get really aggressive over their buffalo sauce preferences, so just choose whatever you want. I’m not going to force you into anything.
Half a teaspoon of lemon juice. The kind out of a plastic lemon is ok. No one will know.
Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
One tube of large biscuits. Pillsbury is definitely the way to go, just make sure you get the large size.
Now you’re ready to construct the “poppers”.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. DON’T FORGET. And grease up your baking tray while you’re at it.
Grab a bowl and mix together the chicken, carrots, celery, red onion, buffalo sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Basically put everything into the bowl.
Pull apart your biscuits and flatten them out into thin round shapes. Use a regular spoon to portion out your filling into each individual biscuit. Fold up the sides and shape it into a ball.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they turn golden brown. If you want to get really fancy, serve these babies with blue cheese or ranch dip.
You are now ready for the Super Bowl.
Link for breadsticks: http://www.onceuponacuttingboard.com/2013/01/pizza-stuffed-breadsticks.html
Link for buffalo poppers: http://snappygourmet.com/2013/01/25/buffalo-chicken-biscuit-poppers/
Catie Simpson contributed to this post.