Super Bowl’s Best Appetizers


Super Bowl parties are on the horizon. Planning one is never easier. Finger foods and dip recipes are in order. I bet you have the hot wings covered, so lets move into the end zone with some more winning ideas.


Seriously, it’s not a party unless there is dip. Right? Here is my spicy new spin on the Middle Eastern chickpea puree known as hummus. It takes all of 5 minutes to make in the food processor and really tastes even better if made a day in advance. It can be served with the classic pita chips or if you want to get extra healthy and fancy serve it as a finger food stuffed into those cute little mini peppers. Using the harissa avocado mayo from one of my favorite brands, Chosen Foods, eliminates the need for several other ingredients like oil and spices.

Harissa Hummus

1 clove garlic

1 (15 oz.) can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained, liquid reserved (aka: aquafaba)

¼ cup Chosen Foods Harissa avocado oil mayo

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons sesame tahini

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

With food processor fitted with metal blade and running, drop garlic through the feed tube. When garlic is finely chopped turn off machine. Add chick peas; process about 30 seconds or until coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients including 1 tablespoon of reserved aquafaba. Process mixture until smooth scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add additional aquafaba to thin mixture to desired dip consistency. Stored covered in refrigerator. 


Since we all need balance on the field and on the table let’s go from super delicious healthy to super delicious decadence. Let’s face it. Decadence makes us happy. You need this in case your favorite team failed to make the play-offs, so dig in and enjoy yourself.


Can you say Touchdown! These crispy chili beef spring rolls will have your friends coming over whether they like to watch football or not. Make a batch of your favorite chili. Enjoy some for dinner and set a cup or two aside to cool overnight in the fridge in preparation of these hand-held delights. I love this chili recipe from certified angus beef.


Spring roll shells (NOT egg roll wrappers) are a must for a light crispy texture. Do you fear deep-frying? If so, the rolls can be shallow fried just by turning them to insure an even golden brown on all sides. Remember to roll them tightly and seal them well to keep all the beef chili goodness inside.


Crispy Beef Chili Spring Rolls

Make at least 2 per person. For each spring roll you will need:

  • 1 spring roll shell
  • 1 tablespoon shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cold beef chili
  • vegetable or peanut oil for frying

Lay spring roll shell down on flat surface with a point towards you. Follow photo below for spooning cheese and chili on top. Fold point over filling and roll tightly sealing ends and sides with a bit of water. Heat oil to 350F. Fry until golden on all sides, about 2 minutes. Serve with your favorite salsa, sour cream, and guacamole for dipping. 


See how super thin they are compared to egg roll wrappers?

Will’s Art & Super Bowl Recipe

IMG_7286William was a wonderfully creative boy, but it isn’t anything he would have ever admitted to nor would he approve of me writing about it. Being “artistic” was definitely a word he associated more with his sister than himself and unless forced he would have never signed up for an art class.


A rare photo of William doing something artsy with best buddy Brian at cub scout camp

Luckily, (for me) he was required to take at least 2 art classes in high school. As a freshman football player he chose “dance for athletes” and ceramics.


a boy dancing around a camp fire

His ceramic pieces are so precious and give great insight into who he was. I am grateful to his teacher who allowed such expression in these beautiful tiles. Hunting, camp fires, the woods….he lived these scenes.


On the hunt

Morning, noon and night. Winter, spring, summer and fall. The boy was creative and artistic and I suppose always longing to be in the woods rather than in school.


In his sights

Wish I had understood that better back then and I wish I wasn’t telling this story now.


Another successful day in the woods

Is this football season? I don’t follow sports, but it seems to me that after New Year’s Eve and the Rose Bowl parade that most folks set their sights on the Super Bowl or at least recipes for the big game day party. So, here is an easy, yet, creative ( if you Will) recipe for a salty-sweet treat that any boy or sports enthusiast will love. A one bite treat that won’t break the calorie bank either. IMG_7334

Chocolate Covered Salted Caramel & Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls

  • Servings: 2 to 3 dozen
  • Print

½ cup crushed salted pretzels

¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup salted caramel peanut butter spread

1-tablespoon soft butter

½ cup chocolate melts (Ghirardelli brand recommended)

½ tablespoon coconut oil

fleur de sel

Mix pretzels, powdered sugar, peanut butter spread and butter; chill . Shape into 1-inch round balls or footballs. In small bowl, in microwave, melt chocolate and coconut oil, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Dip balls to coat and place on wax paper to set. Sprinkle immediately with salt. Decorate with fondant laces, if making footballs.



What If? & Another Game Day Recipe-NOT Wings

My winning recipe as photographed in Taste of Home Magazine

My winning recipe as photographed in Taste of Home Magazine

What if I had called him that day? What if he had accepted the invitation to visit his aunt, and cousins who were in Wilmington? What if he never elected to his extend his stay in the military? The questions come fast and furious following my son’s death in a car accident. What if it could have been prevented? There will always be more questions than answers and that is what makes the loss and the grief journey so prolonged.

Every griever has their own unique set of questions. Of course the answer I search for is that he would be alive. He’d be home and hanging out like usual. He was supposed to be done with the navy in March 2011. Trust me I tried to convince him to not extend his stay, but he, like always, came up with a good defense. “It’s like this mom. My brothers are going to be deployed one more time and I need to be with them. If anything ever happens to them and I am not there I could never forgive myself.” He makes me so proud to be his mom. And for the friends and brothers who knew him you could not have a more loyal and committed player on your team.

DSCN2396 IMG_0156 Keys and the boys at shirgazay

This Sunday is the Super Bowl. It’s the biggest game day ever for all kinds of chicken wing recipes and Buffalo this or that. But “what if” you arrive at the grocery store to find chicken wings selling for $4.69/pound (highway robbery) versus boneless/skinless chicken thighs and breasts for $1.99/pound? I’ll tell ya in our house we ain’t havin’ no wings—no questions asked.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Rolls

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves pound to a 1/4-inch thickness

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons blue cheese (or any good melting cheese you like)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 cup red pepper sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)

2 cups crushed cornflakes

Heat oven 400F. Lightly grease a foil lined baking sheet. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place 1-tablespoon blue cheese on the center of each chicken breast. Fold in sides and roll chicken around blue cheese. Secure with wooden picks. Mix mayonnaise and red pepper sauce. Brush each chicken roll with mayonnaise mixture and roll in cornflakes to coat. Place chicken rolls on prepared baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 

Remove wooden picks before serving