Easy Super Bowl food

What’s the perfect food for Super Bowl Sunday?

Most important, it must be food you can prep the day before and cook quickly on the day of, so you can relax and enjoy the gathering (and the game). Items that can be served at room temperature and perhaps without utensils are also high scoring. Lastly, food that pairs well with beer and soft drinks will win points.

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If you are watching the game this Sunday with friends, here are a few recipes for a winning game plan.

Skewered Chicken with Mushrooms, Peppers &Onions

If you like the no-utensils-required skewer idea, here’s one with distinct Chinese flavors, always great with beer. Recipe from “China Express” by Nina Simonds; makes 15 skewers.

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/3 cup light soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine or sake

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

15 small white boiling onions

15 medium button mushrooms, trimmed and cleaned

2 medium green bell peppers, rinsed, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

15 6-inch bamboo skewers

The day before: Trim chicken of any fat; cut into 1- to 1-1/2inch cubes. Place chicken in a bowl. In another bowl, combine soy, rice wine, garlic, ginger, sugar and sesame oil; pour over chicken. Toss lightly, cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 8-10 hours in refrigerator. Parboil onions for 2-3 minutes, until barely tender. Drain and cool. Trim ends and slip off skins; refrigerate overnight. On game day: soak skewers in water for one hour. When ready to serve, prepare grill or preheat oven to 450 degrees. Thread chicken, onions, mushrooms, and peppers alternately onto skewers; reserve marinade. Place skewers on grill about 3 inches from heat source or arrange in baking pan and place on top oven rack. Cook 5-6 minutes on each side, basting with reserved marinade. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Vinegar Bean Soup

This hearty sweet-and-sour soup uses canned beans and comes together quickly. Recipe from Sunset magazine; makes 7-8 servings as a main dish.

3 large onions, chopped

2 dried bay leaves

1 tablespoon olive or salad oil

4 cans (15-17 oz. each) butter or lima beans

3 1/2 cups (or 2 cans) regular-strength beef broth*

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons cider vinegar or rice vinegar

2 tablespoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup minced parsley

In a 5- to 6- quart pan over medium-high heat, combine onions, bay leaves and oil; stir often until onions are limp, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, puree two cans of beans and their liquid until smooth. Add to pan, along with remaining beans and their liquid, the broth, sugar, vinegar, mustard and lemon peel. If making ahead, cover and chill up to a day. Bring to a simmer on high heat, stirring often, when ready to serve. Place parsley in small bowl to serve alongside soup.

*If serving any vegetarians, substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth.

Liptauer Cheese

A perfect addition to any cheese and crackers offering, this tangy Hungarian cheese spread is great on crackers, celery, rye or pumpernickel bread. Recipe from “Real Beer &Good Eats” by Bruce Aidells &Denis Kelly, who suggest accompanying with a full flavored, hoppy pilsner-style lager.

1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 green onion or scallion, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons capers

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika

8 ounces cream cheese

1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 to 3 tablespoons Pilsner-style lager

With motor of food processor or blender running, drop the garlic, green onion and capers into feed tube. Process about 15 seconds. Remove lid; add remaining ingredients. Pulse several times, until everything is well blended and smooth. Add more beer, a tablespoon at a time, if mixture is too thick. Pack into a small bowl. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Cheese &Apple Bread

This is great with pork or chicken, as well as soup and beer. Recipe from “Pure &Simple” by Marian Burros; makes 1 loaf.

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup peeled, shredded apples

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1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine butter, eggs and dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl; blend well. Stir in apples and cheese. Turn into a well-greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven about 50 to 60 minutes, until center of loaf tests done. Cool thoroughly before removing from pan. Cover overnight.