The Super Bowl — a time for shameless gluttony and rooting for a game you barely understand. Well, at least that’s my experience. Honestly, I don’t know much about football, but any chance to cuddle up with some buffalo chicken wings and watch the latest pop star belt it out at half-time seems like a good enough excuse to join in on the national pastime. Oh, and then there’s the commercials; I’m a sucker for anything with the Budweiser horses.
Amid the excitement of the day, it’s tempting to order a pizza or a bucket of wings from your local haunt. But often what you end up with is over-priced, greasy, and food that takes hours to be delivered. This year why not start a new tradition of cooking simple, kosher homemade football snacks. Baked, butter and oil-free, Buffalo wings make the task a little less daunting. Want to really impress your game-watching pals? Add some guac and sweet potato fries, and you’ve practically got a balanced meal.
My own Super Bowl traditions came about a little unconventionally. As it happens, Super Bowl Sunday is also my dog’s birthday, which provides yet another reason to justify spending a whole day lounging, snacking, and cheering. Cold beer, fiery chicken wings, twice baked potatoes, and a special doggy birthday treat have become family tradition on the country’s biggest night in football.
This year I’ll be rooting for whichever team wins (sorry football fans, I know it’s a terrible way to choose your team), celebrating my pup’s 9th birthday, and noshing on some deliciously light tailgate snacks. Play ball?
Baked Buffalo Wings
Two ingredients, no butter, no oil. Yes, these baked Buffalo wings are equally, if not more, delicious than the greasy, fried restaurant-version.
2 ½ pounds kosher chicken wings, skin-on
One 12-fluid ounce bottle Buffalo sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo or Texas Pete’s Buffalo
Celery, cut into 3-inch pieces, for serving, optional
Your favorite dipping sauce, such as blue cheese or ranch, for serving, optional
1) Mix the wings with ¾ cup Buffalo sauce in a large bowl. Combine well, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
2) Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. You may want to turn on an overhead fan during cooking, as things tend to get smoky. Try to resist checking on your wings and letting heat escape from the oven.
3) Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Place the wings in a single layer on the sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until slightly crispy on the outside and the chicken is white when you cut into it.
4) Serve with celery and your favorite dipping sauce. These wings are so flavorful you may find they don’t need any additional dipping sauce.
Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges
Like fries, it’s impossible to eat just one. Chili powder and cinnamon kick up the flavor of ordinary sweet potatoes. The health benefits aren’t bad either: sweet potatoes pack in vitamin B6, C, and D while chili powder and cinnamon provide digestive aid and lower cholesterol.
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), cut into quarters
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Ketchup, for serving, optional
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Place the potato quarters cut-side-down on a cutting board and cut each quarter into 3 to 4 wedges.
3) Place the wedges in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, chili powder, cinnamon, and paprika. Combine well.
4) Lay the potatoes flat on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the potatoes and bake for another 15 minutes, until a sharp knife slides easily through the thickest part of a wedge. Serve with ketchup if desired.
The simpler your guac, the better. Forget the messy tomatoes and crying over red onions; one jalapeno, some fresh lime juice, and a handful of cilantro have all the heat and flavor you need.
3 large avocados, pit and skin removed
One 3-inch jalapeno, finely diced, with seeds
Juice of 1½ limes (about 4 tablespoons)
Handful chopped cilantro, about ¼ cup
Kosher salt, to taste
Mash the avocados with a fork or mortar and pestle. Mix in the jalapenos, lime juice, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt.
*Emma Rudolph writes nevernothungry.com, a food blog for healthy and simple college cooking on a budget, including origina