Sunday, Super (Bowl) Sunday
Super Bowl Sunday is just a few days away. Believe it or not, it is the number 2 biggest “eating day” in America, second only to Thanksgiving. Although it is not a national holiday, I have no doubt plenty of football fans would be happy to see it included. The middle of winter begs for a celebration other than the Valentine hearts, flowers and romance. We need something that everyone can relate to. And even if you are not a football fanatic, there is always a giant halftime extravaganza, a slew of clever commercials that debut and, of course, the snacks. Oh the snacks!
According to the folks that tabulate these tidbits, Americans will consume over 1.3 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s Billion with a B and that’s a LOT of wings! 11 million pounds of potato chips and 140 million pounds of avocado, smashed into guacamole, will be served alongside. Pizza, popcorn, peanuts and more will be part of the game day spread. Here is a number that boggles my mind---hold on to your helmets, people. It is estimated that the AVERAGE American household will purchase 6000 calories of Super Bowl goodies per person. PER PERSON! That averages out to be almost 3 times the total recommended daily calorie intake! I’m tempted to throw a penalty flag on that one.
Now I love a chicken wing as much as the next Southern Yankee, but I’ve got an alternate game plan this year. Chicken and cauliflower have little in common, but once you coat them in Buffalo Sauce, the only one that will know the difference is your waistline! Check out my SRIRACHA BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES. Make them as hot as you dare! And what could be better at halftime than a big, warm bowl of homemade chili? VEGETARIAN CHILI FOR A CROWD will satisfy even the hungriest fans and you will have thousands of calories to spare.
Now for the big question. Who is going to win on Sunday? That is a dilemma for a Southern Yankee. New England? Atlanta? I have loyalties to both worlds. One thing I can tell you is that I will be enjoying my Super Bowl snacks and, as always, pulling for those magnificent Clydesdales. Go Team!
SRIRACHA BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES
Makes 6 servings
1 large cauliflower (or enough to make 8 cups), cut into florets
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons prepared hot sauce (Frank’s RedHot, Texas Pete, etc.)
1-2 Tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 425°. Coat a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, or cover with foil or parchment paper.
Toss cauliflower, olive oil and salt in a large bowl and spread out onto the prepared baking sheet. (Reserve the bowl) Roast cauliflower until it is just starting to soften and brown a bit on the bottom, 12-14 minutes. You do not want to cook the cauliflower to the completely soft, tender stage.
While cauliflower roasts, combine hot sauce, sriracha, melted butter and lemon juice in the reserved bowl. Add the roasted cauliflower and toss to coat. Return cauliflower to baking sheet and put it back in the oven until hot, about 3-5 minutes more. Serve with blue cheese salad dressing and celery sticks, if desired.
VEGETARIAN CHILI FOR A CROWD
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil (or enough to cover bottom of pot)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (optional)
1-2 carrots, peeled and grated or shredded
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles (optional)
2 (15 ounce) cans peeled tomatoes (diced or crushed)
1 (15 ounce) can plain tomato peree
3 (15 ounce) cans beans (garbanzo, kidney, pinto or black beans---mix and match to your taste)
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 Tablespoons cumin
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1-2 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with cumin, oregano, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green and red bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and carrots. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles if using. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
Stir the tomatoes and tomato sauce into the pot. Season with chili powder, smoked paprika and unsweetened cocoa powder. Add cayenne pepper to taste, if using. Drain the canned beans and add to the mixture. Bring all to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with your favorite accompaniments: tortilla chips, shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream, etc.