By Annabel Cohen
Food Columnist

The big day is nearly here. Next Sunday, Feb. 3, Americans (and the world) will indulge in watching Super Bowl LIII. When the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams kick-off, hundreds of millions will tune in to the battle that determines which team is best.

Of course, we can’t watch the game on empty stomachs.

The Super Bowl is the perfect occasion to entertain without fuss. It is a football game, and it would seem silly to serve anything other than casual foods on disposable plates, right?
Well, mostly right. True, more pizza is served on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year (what’s easier than picking up the phone?). But, time out! Make your own pizza — so easy using French bread (baguettes).

The following recipes are quite casual and easy to prepare in advance. Your own chili. In place of creamy commercial coleslaw, a fresh, light and homemade slaw. And you’ll win extra points with homemade pulled brisket sliders. Read on for more yumminess.

NO-BEAN CHILI
This is a great chili to serve over hot dogs, with lots of chopped onions and yellow mustard.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 pounds ground chuck
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper,
or to taste
2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 bay leaf
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
with liquid
1 can (6-ounces) tomato paste
2 cups (or one 15-ounce can)
beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Traditional method: Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes more. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 1 hour. Remove cover and cook another hour until thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve. Makes 8 servings.

Instant Pot method: To make this in the InstantPot, saute the onions and garlic on the “Saute” feature of the pot (uncovered). Add the beef and saute, breaking up the meat as you go along. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on the “chili” setting. Allow to cool in the pot until you are able to open it (or release the steam), stir and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Photo via Getty Images

PULLED BARBECUE BRISKET
Although this is made in the oven instead of slow cooking on a barbecue, the flavor is sweet and spicy with a wonderful mix of flavors.
5 pounds beef brisket, most visible
fat removed
1 can (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
Garnish:
1-2 cups favorite barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce, such as
Tabasco (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place brisket in a roasting pan or disposable aluminum pan and add the remaining ingredients to the pan (around the meat). Cover the pan with foil and cook for 5 hours. Remove from the oven and cool completely (you may cook the beef up to a day ahead).

Use your fingers (or 2 forks) to pull apart or shred the beef with the grain to thin small pieces. Place the pulled beef in a pot with accumulated juices. Add all the sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until very hot and saucy. (Alternately, place it back in the roasting pan and keep warm at 200 degrees F until ready to serve). Keep warm until ready to eat. Serve the beef on small rolls or burger buns. Serve with mustard or other condiments, if desired. Makes 20 “sliders” or more servings.

Photo via Getty Images

EASY OPEN-FACED
FRENCH BREAD PIZZAS
French baguettes (as many as you like), the softer the better (you can always use hoagie rolls)
Your favorite Marinara sauce
Extra-virgin olive oil
Toppings of choice:
Fresh chopped or grilled vegetables (bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, kale, tomatoes, etc.)
Fresh chopped or caramelized onions
Fresh chopped or roasted garlic
Sliced or pitted olives
Fresh herbs: basil and dill are good choices
Pesto
Your favorite cheese or cooked proteins: ground beef, sausage, chopped chicken, etc.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Have ready a large rimmed baking sheet.

Cut the breads in half lengthwise. Spread with Marinara sauce (not too much!) and place the breads on the baking sheet. Top with your favorite toppings. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bread are golden. Drizzle with olive oil and serve hot or at room temperature.

Note: Loading up your pizza with topping is not a good idea; just a few sprinkled works best.

SIMPLY DELICIOUS COLESLAW
A little bit creamy, a little bit tart.
6 cups finely shredded green cabbage
2 cups chopped parsley
1 red bell pepper, minced
½ cup mayonnaise
2-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients (start with 2 tablespoons vinegar) in a large bowl and toss well (it’s most efficient to toss with your clean hands). Adjust vinegar and seasonings to taste and chill until ready to serve, up to a day ahead. Makes 8 servings.

TOFFEE PECAN BROWNIES
2 sticks (1 cup) butter or margarine
8 ounces good-quality, semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped toffee pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom only of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine butter and chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth (if the chocolate is not completely melted, cook for 30 seconds more and stir again).

Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla to the chocolate mixture, stirring with a rubber spatula until uniform. Whisk or stir in flour mixture, then stir in nuts and toffee. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan.

Bake for about 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before running a knife around the edge of the pan and turning the pan over onto a cutting board. Remove the paper from the brownies and cut them into 16-25 squares.

HARVEST PASTA SALAD
WITH BASIL VINAIGRETTE
The key to making this pasta the right “texture” is to slightly undercook the pasta.
As the pasta “sits” it will make the pasta “softer.”

Vinaigrette:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½-1 cup olive oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Salad:
12 ounces cooked pasta, cooked “al dente” (slightly undercooked) and tossed with a little olive oil
1 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese
4-6 cups chopped, fresh or lightly cooked or grilled vegetables, such as corn kernels, chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, etc.  
½ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted (or other nuts or seeds)
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Combine garlic, basil, vinegar, ½ cup olive oil and ½ cup Parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor or the pitcher of a blender. Process until smooth (if needed to blend smoothly, add the remaining olive oil in small increments). Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to use. (Can be made up to three days ahead.)

Place pasta in a large bowl. Add vegetables and nuts. Pour all the dressing over the pasta and toss to coat well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. To serve, sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve at room temperature. Makes 8 or more servings.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, ALMOND
& CHICKPEA SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into very small florets
Olive oil for roasting
2 cups or (one 15-ounce can) drained, rinsed, cooked chickpeas
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup lightly toasted slivered or sliced almonds
Optional ingredients as desired: kale, avocado, cucumber, fresh parsley, arugula, etc.

Dressing:
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Warm water as needed to thin the dressing

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Toss cauliflower and chickpeas with a very small amount of oil. Then spread the cauliflower out evenly on the baking sheet, roast for 5-10 minutes until charred on the edges, but still al dente. Remove from oven to cool completely. Add remaining ingredients and toss.

Whisk together dressing ingredients and whisk until combined. Add water, if needed to thin, and whisk again until combined. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Makes 8-12 servings.

 

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