Superbowl Sunday is just around the corner. Football fans are geared up and ready to go. This is also the time for having serious snacks close at hand. Tradition compels true football followers to be stocked with proper refreshments for the event.
Over the years, we’ve run the gamut at my house with snacks during Superbowl: chips and dips, hot wings, sub sandwiches, and the all-time favorite, pizza. Here are my suggestions for handling the food safely whether you’ve got just a few folks or several football devotees gathered at your home for the big event.
• For large crowds, serve lots of non-perishable foods such as nuts, chips and salsa, hard cheese and crackers, fruit trays, pickles and olives, or vegetable trays. Foods like this can sit out without concern for any time limit. This option frees up the hostess from having to monitor the safety status of the snacks.
• If you opt to serve perishable foods that must be kept hot, serve only small amounts at a time. This will ensure that the food is completely eaten and not left sitting at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Here’s why: After two hours, any potential bacteria on the food begin to increase. And when that perishable food is eaten, food borne illness can strike.
• Cold perishable foods abide by the same principle, so they must be treated similarly. Foods like devilled eggs and shrimp dip must be kept cold. After two hours at room temperature, their potential bacteria count becomes dangerously high.
• Order pizza. Statistics show that Superbowl Sunday is the biggest pizza delivery day of the year. And for good reason, it makes it easy on the hostess. It tastes great. And it’s easy to clean up. The best pizza choice for a trim athletic figure is thin crust with fewer meats and extra veggies.
Here’s a hearty, belly-warming dish you might like to try for the big game. It’s easy to prepare and simmers nicely over low heat until you are ready to ladle it up for your football fans. (Preparation hint: look for chili sauce on the same grocery aisle as ketchup.)
Quick Chicken Creole
1 pound chicken breast meat, cut into small chunks
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup chili sauce
1 large bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Spray bottom of deep skillet or Dutch oven to coat. Over high heat, cook chicken until chicken is cooked through. Add bell pepper and onion, garlic and basil and cook until onions are softened. Add tomatoes and chili sauce, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low, covered, for at least 8-10 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Serve along with crusty bread, corn bread or crackers.