Super-Duper Snacking

I have to admit that, until a few minutes ago when I looked it up online, I had no idea who was playing in this year’s Super Bowl. Ravens and 49ers, huh?

In recent years, football has taken a back seat to beer brewing on Sunday afternoons. And we’ve discovered that life is much more peaceful without getting all worked up about a game. We’re still Vikings fans at heart. We just don’t pay attention most of the time.

Even though I wasn’t aware of the contestants, I did do some homework last week in preparation for the big game. I spotted an appetizer idea online that sounded yummy, so I whipped up a batch and served them alongside some soup on one of our recent cold nights.

For Hubby Bryan and me, of course, I used just one can of the refrigerated biscuits, but if we end up going to or having some sort of Super Bowl soiree, the full batch will be on the menu. They were easy to put together and satisfyingly gooey.

One note: The biscuits called for in this recipe are the basic small ones, not the jumbo size. I used a store brand that was on sale for 70 cents a can with good results.

Pizza Balls

Using three cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 per can), separate biscuits and flatten each out into a circle. Place 2 pieces pepperoni (I used turkey pepperoni) on top of each biscuit, then top with a 1-inch square of your favorite cheese (I used a combo of sharp cheddar with Velveeta for melting). Gather the biscuit dough around the filling and press firmly together to seal. Line up the balls in a 9- by 13-inch pan sprayed thoroughly with cooking spray.

Beat 1 egg and brush over top of the rolls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Serve with pizza or spaghetti sauce on the side for dipping.

After we sampled a similar appetizer at a restaurant in the Twin Cities, Hubby Bryan came home and made his own rendition of bacon-wrapped sausages, served with a maple-syrup tinged barbecue sauce. They were scrumptious, but I think this version with a beer-cheese sauce might be just as good. The secret, according to Bryan, is cooking the wrapped sausages at a low temperature for a longer time in order to get crispy bacon.

Bacon Weenies with Beer Cheese Sauce

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Using a 14- to 16-ounce package of beef cocktail wieners and 12 to 16 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into thirds, tightly wrap each wiener with a piece of bacon and secure with a wooden toothpick. Place on a large baking sheet. Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, until bacon is brown and crispy. Place cooked wieners in a slow cooker on low setting.

Meanwhile, in saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add 1 cup finely chopped onion and 2 cloves garlic, minced; cook until onion is tender. Stir in 1 cup beer, one can condensed cheddar cheese soup or ¾ cup cheddar pasta sauce, 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce and ½ teaspoon chili powder. Pour over top of wieners.

Here’s a variation on a football food classic — spinach-artichoke dip. I haven’t tried this, but the addition of bacon and blue cheese can only make it better, right?

Bacon & Blue Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Cook 4 slices bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels and crumble.

Cook 1 cup onion, chopped, in 1 tablespoon bacon drippings until tender.

In a slow cooker, combine onion with two 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped; one 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained; 1 cup chopped red sweet pepper; 1 cup light mayonnaise (do not use regular); 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes; 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled; 3 cloves garlic, minced; and ½ teaspoon dry mustard. Stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low setting for 3 to 4 hours, or until cheese melts and mixture is heated through. Stir in bacon. Serve with crackers or French bread slices.

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