Super Food for Super Bowl Sunday!

Super Food for Super Bowl Sunday - Dinner Is Served

As a born and raised and current resident of the Chicago area,  I technically belong in the “long suffering Chicago Bears Fan” group (1985’s Super Bowl XX aside).  If there is one silver lining to come out of this year, it has to be our hometown hero, Jake Elliott, the Eagle’s kicker who’s rookie season can only be described as a Cinderella Story.  Many of us in our tiny little suburb west of the city will be shouting “Fly Eagles Fly” next Sunday!

Super Bowl Sunday is also a day to celebrate food in the best of American traditions: chili, wings, nachos, beer.  To that end, I’ve assembled some of my favorite recipes on the blog over the years.  All well suited to a football cheering crowd.  Or maybe you’re just in it for the commercials or the Puppy Bowl?  No worries, these dishes go great with those as well.

Until next time…be well, eat well and love lots

  1. Weekend Slow Cooker Steak and Bean Chili – Chili and football: probably #1 food and sports pairing.  Using steak instead of ground beef and slow cooking all day takes your chili to the next level.  Just remember to unplug your slow cooker when done! (#ThisIsUs)2013-10-28-10-51-42
  2. Ultimate Chicken Enchiladas with Honey and Lime – Wow this dish was immensely popular on the blog and with good reason.  It’s one of our favorites!honey-lime-chicken-enchiladas5-dinner-is-served
  3. Emeril’s Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya – my most recent blog post. Great make ahead dish that’s satisfying and economical!Emeril's Andouille Sausage and Chicken Jambalaya2 Dinner Is Served
  4. Slow Cooker Pot Roast Sandwiches with Swiss Cheese and Thyme Au Jus Absolutely delicious and easier to eat while cheering on your teampot-roast-sandwich
  5. Sweet Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup – The first sentence in my post describes this as “guy soup” but for sure this is for EVERYONE soup.  Since this is one of my earlier blog posts, the photo is a bit dicey but trust me this soup is fantastic!photo-41
  6. Hummus with Parsley Oil and Pine Nuts – Ok, so not quite a traditional Super Bowl Sunday app but it’s such a crowd pleaser, I think it definitely deserves a place alongside your wings and guac 🙂 hummus-with-parsley-oil-and-pine-nuts-6-dinner-is-served


Spain-Inspired Dinner


One of the casualties of my returning to work full time a few years back was having people over for dinner.  Mostly because my dining room table became ground zero for all “work in process”: unfolded laundry, unpaid bills, school books and bags of chips that no one had time to put away.  I couldn’t even begin to think about entertaining as the task of organizing the chaos was overwhelming.

Towards the end of last year, I was feeling especially disconnected from friends.  And I realized how much I missed those dinner parties. I also realized it was about time I got a handle on the disorganization that had taken over my house, so I spent a few weekends cleaning and purging and FINALLY seeing my dining room table for the first time!20170211_185110500_ios

Then the planets aligned with a few other couples whose sons wrestled in high school with our son and we got a date to gather and wine and dine!  I thought a sunny Spain-inspired menu would be the perfect way to break up the mid-winter monotony.  For starters I put together this platter of traditional Spanish cheeses and charcuterie: Cana de Cabra (tangy goat cheese), Campo de Montalban (a 100 day aged cheese is a blend of cow, sheep and goat’s milk from La Mancha), prosciutto, sausages and my favorite Marcona Almonds.20170212_001516606_ios

Olives too!  Oh my…these Castelvetrano Olives Marinated with Rosemary, Red Chili, Orange and Paprika were spectacular: 20170211_191404314_ios-1

There are so many versions of paella, it was difficult deciding which one to make!  I ended up with this Chicken and Seafood Paella from Jo Cooks since it offers a bit of everything.  A little tweaking was necessary as I omitted the clams, added some chopped roasted red peppers and about one cup of peas at the end.  16/20 shrimp is the perfect size and andouille sausage can easily be substituted if chorizo is not available.  With the right equipment and best quality ingredients (see Resources section below), this dish was a knock-out:20170212_023654293_ios-1

Because I love wine and especially Spanish wine, there was plenty of it to go around as well. For red, I chose a silky Tempranillo : 2014 Hito Cepa 21 available locally at Binny’s Beverage Depot for just $13.99/bottle.  Be sure to decant this one about an hour before serving so all of its complex fruit and smooth tannins are at their best.  For white, I didn’t want to veer too far into anything floral, so opted for a 2015 Naia Verdejo, which had just enough straw and citrus to compliment the seafood and work with the more assertive saffron/smoked paprika elements in the dish.  Available at Binny’s for just $10.00/bottle.  It’s a great value!

We ended the evening with chocolate covered strawberries, other sweets and of course more wine!

To me this is what cooking is all about and I can’t wait to gather friends together for another meal to share.  Whether I can keep my dining room table cleared until then remains to be seen 😉

Until next time, be well, eat well and love lots!



PAELLA PAN – Do you HAVE to buy one to make paella?  Well yes and no.  The week before I gave the recipe a test run in a shallow Le Crueset pan and it was very good.   For my dinner party, I borrowed a more authentic paella pan from a friend and the paella was even better. The large surface area and dimpled carbon steel base allowed for even cooking and that wonderful authentic paella “crust” to form on the bottom.  Would also make a great pan for sauteeing vegetables and for other rice-based dishes.  At just $29.95 for a 15″ pan (large enough to make a paella for 8),  at Williams Sonoma, how can you resist!20170212_153824811_ios

SAFFRON – In addition to a paella pan, it’s worth investing in some good quality saffron for this dish, as it is truly the star flavor ingredient.  Unless you’re in a bind, I would not recommend supermarket saffron as it is typically grossly overpriced and has likely been sitting on the shelf for ever.  Instead, head to Amazon and purchase a bottle of this Mehr Premium All Red Saffron.  3 grams will run you around $20 and yes I know that is a lot of money but this is a generous quantity and will last you a long time.  And with this stunning silky gift box, think of it as a gift to yourself!20170208_000645233_ios

OLIVE DISH – Part of the fun of entertaining is digging through my shelves of serving plates, glassware, etc. It’s amazing how much I’ve accumulated over the years. This pretty ceramic olive bowl makes frequent appearances at parties. Mainly because I LOVE olives and serve them at almost every occasion.  One compartment for the olives, one for toothpicks and a third for pits.  And it just happens to have been made in Spain. Perfect!  Available online at La Tienda for $29.95 + shipping.20170212_151906702_ios