Every year I think I might run out of ideas for this space -- this is our fourth Super Bowl Spread edition -- and every year I wind up with more ideas than I need, which means two things: First, I can pick the best ones, and/or save some for next year; and second, I'm full and probably gained 10 pounds over the weekend transforming Mikey's Kitchen into Mikey's Test Kitchen. But hey, we do what we have to do, right? Anyway, I hope you enjoy trying these as much as I did – the meatballs and skins in particular came out better than anticipated. Each recipe serves 1-4 people, so you can figure out the number of guests and extrapolate out accordingly. Or just multiply by 10 and feed yourself for a week.
1 pound frozen meatballs (I used beef, but I would guess turkey meatballs would taste fine here)
24 oz. Velveeta
1 to 1.25 cups prepared salsa (the spicier the better)
Cook/heat meatballs according to package directions. Meanwhile, cube the cheese into small pieces and place in a medium saucepan. Add salsa to cheese and warm over medium-low heat until cheese melts. Adjust cheese and salsa to taste, then add cooked meatballs. Warm for about 5 minutes or until flavors are blended. Serve with toothpicks (or be savage and stick your face right in the bowl).
Ham, Avocado and Corn Tostadas
4 pre-made tostada shells
2 medium ripe avocadoes
1 lime or lemon
Salt and pepper
1 small ham steak
1 cup thawed frozen corn (I love Trader Joe's fire roasted corn kernels and you will too)
Roasted red pepper slices (optional)
You can buy corn tortillas and fry them, but when you can buy these shells already cooked and crispy (like a giant tortilla chip), this is the way to go. Lay the shells out on a work surface. Meanwhile, cut avocadoes in half, discard pit and scoop flesh into a bowl. Mash with the juice of half a lime or lemon, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mashed avocado on each tostada. Meanwhile, heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Fry the ham steak about 3 minutes on each side or until heated and browned. Cool slightly and cut into small cubes. Nuke corn kernels for 30 to 45 seconds. Sprinkle corn kernels and ham cubes onto tostadas. Add a few slivers of roasted red pepper if desired (I preferred mine without even though I like roasted peppers), and hot sauce to taste. Use a pizza cutter to divide each tostada into quarters. Inhale.
Pizza Potato Skins
4 small baking potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 link hot Italian sausage (I used turkey sausage)
1 jar or squeeze bottle pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons slivered sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
Rinse potatoes, pat dry and poke with a fork several times. Bake in an oven or toaster oven at 450 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool about 15 minutes. While potato is cooling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, remove casing from sausage and crumble sausage into pan – cook until browned and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Cut potatoes in half and scoop flesh out – reserve for another use (such as easy homemade mashed potatoes). Spray skins with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to oven and roast skins for 5 minutes. Remove and fill shells with crumbled sausage, a tablespoon or so of pizza sauce, 2 tablespoons of mozzarella, the sun-dried tomato slivers if using (2-3 slivers per skin half), and a dash of oregano. Return to oven or toaster oven and bake at 450 (or broil) for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Easier* Italian Beef Sandwiches
16 oz. sirloin, NY Strip or beef tenderloin steaks
Salt and pepper
1 can beef broth
1 cup canned French fried onions
1/2 cup or so hot Giardiniera
4 hoagie or sub rolls
Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper, and let stand for a few minutes. Heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add steak and sear for about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a large carving plate and tent with foil for a few minutes. Pour broth into a large saucepan and warm on medium heat. Then slice steak as thin as you can and place slices into pot with simmering broth for a few minutes. Slice rolls, and fill with some steak, 1/4 cup French fried onions and 1-2 tablespoons Giardiniera (to taste). If you like, you can serve with some broth on the side to dip sandwich into as you eat it, like a French Dip.
*NOTE: I said “easier” because typical Italian beef requires several hours to cook and/or making Giardiniera from scratch.
Grill & Chill Buffalo Poppers
8-10 medium fresh (not jarred or pickled) jalapeno peppers
1 cup whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup or so Buffalo style hot sauce
Heat grill pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Also spray the peppers and grill for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred and starting to blister but not until they explode. Set aside and let cool. Meanwhile, combine cream cheese and wing sauce in a bowl and spoon into a large zip-lock bag. Slice ends off peppers, and remove seeds and membranes carefully using a thin paring knife (or cut them in half lengthwise if you prefer). Cut the tip off the bag and pipe some cheese mixture into each pepper. If using halved peppers, pipe onto each half and re-assemble carefully. Serve as is or chill for an hour or so.
See more of Mike's work at Mikey's Kitchen!