Super Bowl XLVII Entertainment: Tips on Food and Fun

Super Bowl Sunday will inspire 7.5 million home parties and 43.9 million partygoers, according to the National Retail Foundation. Hallmark says it is the top occasion for parties at home, even topping New Year’s Eve. Based on those statistics alone, there’s a 1 in 7 chance you’ll be heading to someone’s house this Sunday, if not hosting an event yourself. With that in mind, I’d like to make a couple suggestions to help make your party extra memorable (or cement yourself as the best party guest ever).

Green Apple Guacamole:

I’ve brought this crisp, refreshing dip to just about every get together I’ve attended in the last couple years, and I’ve gotten more compliments for this simple little gem than anything else I’ve ever served. If you’ve got a sharp knife at your disposal (there’s a lot of chopping involved and it’s pretty taxing with a dull knife… believe me, I’ve tried), it’s a piece of cake! I first discovered the recipe from Martha Stewart’s

  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 4  tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 2  tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (possibly a little more, to taste)

It’s a little time intensive to get all the ingredients together. I chop each of the above ingredients in order and add them to a large bowl one at a time, mixing each new ingredient. It’s best to throw in the avocado and apple last, as they’re the touchiest ingredients. The citrus juice from the lime will keep the avocado and apple from oxidizing and turning an unappealing brown color. Funny fact about cilantro: there is a small percentage of the population for whom cilantro tastes like soap. It’s a genetic mutation. If you love cilantro and know guests attending feel the same way, feel free to add it, but if you’re concerned about how it might go over, the dip is still tasty without it. It goes well with pitas toasted and cut into small triangles or, of course, a simple bag of tortilla chips.

Aunt Kate’s Cheese Dip:

This recipe is courtesy of my dad’s oldest sister, my wonderful Aunt Kate (for whom I, Kimberly Kathleen, am named). It’s not necessarily for the calorie conscious, but let’s be honest. If you’re attending a Super Bowl party, you might want to consider a day off from dieting:

  • 1 8oz package cream cheese (non-fat cream cheese, or “Neufchatel cheese”, is a low cal alternative)
  • 1.5 cups mayo (or Miracle Whip)
  • 4 oz shredded Swiss cheese
  • 8 strips of bacon, fried crisp (or real bacon bits)
  • 1/2 cup crushed RITZ crackers (approximately 12)
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, finely diced

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix cheese, mayo and bacon in a pie plate. Cover with crushed RITZ crackers and bake for 15 minutes or until warm. Believe it or not, this dip goes extremely well with crudite, including celery, cucumbers, broccoli and carrots. Might make your guests feel a little less indulgent.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake: 

I’m a big fan of the chocolate chip cookie cake. To make the cookie cake, just buy a bag of Toll House semisweet chocolate chips and follow the recipe on the back of the bag. I usually add an eighth- to a quarter teaspoon of baking powder to the mixture to ensure a fluffier, risen cake. Spread the dough into a disposable foil pizza pan and bake the cookie at 375 for 20-25 minutes, or until evenly golden brown on top. If you’re rooting for a particular team, buy some premade colored frosting and decorating tips to decorate the cookie to your heart’s content. (Yes. My family and friends have seen more than their fair share of black and gold cookie cakes in our day.)

Crispy Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies:

Not everyone loves chocolate, though I’m inclined to think those people are, frankly, a little weird. BUT. Williams and Sonoma has a terrific recipe for an oatmeal cookie. It has cinnamon and nutmeg in it, making it a perfect cookie for the winter. And with melted butter in the recipe, there’s not even any of that arm-exhausting mixing required:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract / essence
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 finely chopped walnuts (I never add the walnuts, but I’m not a huge nut person)
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, then remove from the heat. (If you’re in a bit of a hurry and have a glass microwave safe ramekin or liquid measuring cup, just pop it in the microwave for 8-10 seconds at a time.) Using a wooden spoon, combine the granulated and brown sugars with the melted butter in a large bowl until evenly mixed.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat again until the texture almost appears fluffy.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together into a bowl.  (No sifter? No worries. Just vigorously whisk together the ingredients. No whisk? Use a big fork. Won’t be 100% as well sifted, but it’ll be good enough.) Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture, then stir in the rolled oats and walnuts.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Use this hour to get ready. Or, you know, to mix up your guacamole.
Generously grease two baking sheets.  Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared pans, spacing the cookies at least two inches apart. Use a fork to flatten each round drop into a little disc.
Bake the cookies until golden brown, 12-15 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Get Your Competitive Juices Flowing:

Once you’ve got your goodies all prepared and the party has begun, it’s time to come up with a few extra entertaining games for your friends to enjoy during the game. I’ve played most of these games in the past and have found they’re a fun addition to Super Bowl festivities, and don’t require any particularly deep sports knowledge, so as not to alienate any casual fans present. WARNING: Some of these games aren’t particularly inviting to, say, those in the under-21 crowd. 

1) The squares game. Create a 10 X 10 graph on a piece of paper, numbering the squares 0-9 on the top to represent Baltimore and one of the sides to represent San Francisco. That will leave 100 squares. Offer each guest the opportunity to purchase squares for a designated amount of money (I’d recommend $.25 to $1.00) and have them write their name in each square they’ve purchased. At the end of each quarter, whoever’s name is in the square represented by the last last two digits of the current score will win. (If the score is 7-3 Baltimore, the winner would be the person on 7 for Baltimore and 3 for San Francisco; if the score is 15-28 for San Francisco, the winner would be the person on 5 for Baltimore and 8 for San Francisco) How you parse out the prize money is up to you, but I recommend the prize increasing with each quarter.

2) Player name drinking game. Write the name down of players expected to impact the evening’s proceedings and have each guest pick a name from a hat. Each time your designated player makes a play, take a drink. You can choose the contents of your drink. (If you’re not drinking alcohol, there are other ways to respond to player recognition!)

3) Prop bets. As with the squares, you can decide the amount of money required to participate in prop bets or how much to allocate per bet (this is a task I leave up to other, more mathematically-inclined party guests). Here are a handful of prop bets for this year’s Super Bowl:

  • Alicia Keys’ National Anthem Performance: Over/Under 120 Seconds
  • Alicia Keys Flubs The Lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner
  • Ray Lewis Shots During National Anthem: Over/Under 4
  • Opening Kickoff Is Returnable: Yes or No
  • A Punt or Kickoff Will Be Returned For A Touchdown: Yes or No
  • First To Throw A Challenge Flag: Jim Harbuagh, John Harbaugh, or No Challenges
  • Jack and Jackie Harbaugh Shots Throughout The Game: Over/Under 9
  • References to Ray Lewis’ First Career Sack (Which Came Against Jim Harbaugh): Over/Under 2
  • Mentions of the Phrase “Hey Diddle Diddle, Ray Rice Up The Middle”: Over/under 1
  • Shots of Alex Smith On The Sideline: Over/under 3
  • Mentions of Colin Kaepernick’s Tattoos: Over/under 1
  • Number of Times Phil Simms and Jim Nantz Say The Word “Elementary” (Occupying CBS’ Post-Super Bowl Slot): Over/Under 8
  • Beyonce’s Halftime Hair Will Be: Curly, Crimped or Straight
  • Jay-Z Will Join His Wife Onstage: Yes or No
  • Destiny’s Child Will Be Reunited: Yes or No
  • Color of Gatorade Dumped on Game-Winning Harbaugh: Blue, Yellow, Red, Orange
  • Length of Post-Game Harbaugh Hug at Midfield: Under/Over 6 Seconds

That’s by no means an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.

Super Bowl games can definitely add to the excitement of the game, and can serve to keep all partygoers invested in the evening’s proceedings. But it’s always a good idea to cater activity level to your surroundings. If, for example, most of your friends are fans of the teams on the field, don’t expect them to participate as freely in nonsensical prop bets. But if most people in attendance aren’t fans of either team playing or, worst of all, supported a team beaten by either San Francisco or Baltimore this postseason, it’s probably best to add some extra levity to the occasion. And what better way than cookies, dip and absurd prop bets?

Any great Super Bowl recipes or games you swear by?  Share them in the comment section below.

Enjoy the game!