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Six easy, delicious snacks for your Super Bowl party playbook

Super Bowl? More like Snack Bowl!

And although this might not be the year you throw your biggest and most extravagant Super Bowl party, at least you can treat yourself to some tasty big game snacks without sentencing yourself to hours of hard labor in the kitchen.

After all, the Super Bowl is a ready excuse to go off the post-holiday diet — temporarily, of course.

And, yes, you could simply microwave some store-bought freezer snacks and call it a day. But these homemade treats are much tastier and easy to make. Snacks for the championship game should be super, not stressful.

Try a few of these to add variety to your menu. Each recipe serves two to four people.

Teriyaki Wings

Skip the mess of deep-frying in oil and try this oven-baking method. This easy hack uses baking powder (NOT baking soda) to produce the crispy skin.

As soon as they’re golden brown, toss them with the sauce to get the party started. Or enjoy sans sauce with or without ranch dressing for dipping.

2 pounds chicken wings or drumettes

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup bottled teriyaki sauce

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Toasted sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Chopped chives or green ends of scallions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the wings and pat dry with a paper towel. In a large plastic bag, add the baking powder, salt and pepper. Shake to mix. Add wings to bag and shake vigorously to coat the wings.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or aluminum foil), place a baking rack on top, and coat rack lightly with cooking spray. Arrange the wings on the rack, not touching, and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the wings and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

In a small saucepan, whisk teriyaki sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce, and (optional) the red pepper flakes for a little heat. While wings are finishing, simmer sauce on medium-low heat for 15 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, toss the oven-baked wings in the sauce and serve with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and chopped chives (or green ends of scallions).

Meatballs on a Stick

I first made these meatballs for a pasta dish. For an appetizer, just make smaller meatballs. Serve them on toothpicks with Bolognese or marinara sauce. Freeze the leftover meatballs and sauce for a quick weeknight spaghetti dinner. The orzo and ricotta cheese make the meatballs tender and moist.

1 large shallot, minced (or 3 tablespoons minced onion)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large egg

1 pound ground beef (80-20)

1/4 cup orzo pasta (uncooked)

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 (24-ounce) jar marinara or Bolognese sauce

Grated Parmesan cheese

Chopped parsley

Toothpicks

In a medium bowl, whisk the shallots and egg. Add the meat, orzo, ricotta, basil, water, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands, but don’t overwork.

Bring sauce to a simmer in a 12-inch skillet. Form the meat mixture into heaping 1-teaspoon balls. Drop them into the simmering sauce, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Spoon some sauce on a small plate, add several meatballs, each stuck with a toothpick, sprinkle with grated Parmesan, garnish with parsley, and serve.

Indian Peanut Dip

Try this delicious recipe for guilt-free dipping. Great with carrot and celery sticks, jicama and cauliflower florets. It’s a firm dip, so if you want to include a chip, make it a sturdy one. Or add your favorite snack cracker to the tray. The recipe is modified from a Jane Brody cookbook published decades ago.

1 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup minced onion

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients and blend for about a minute until they’re mixed well and smooth. If it’s a little too firm for your taste, add a splash of lemon juice and soy sauce and blend for several more seconds. Yields about a cup. Serve at room temperature.

Sausage Stuffed ‘Shrooms

Forget the breadcrumbs. You won’t miss them in these mouth-watering stuffed mushrooms with sausage and cheese.

1/4 pound bulk sausage

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 garlic clove, minced

4 tablespoons cream cheese spread

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan, divided

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons grated cheddar

8 large button mushrooms (or 6 very large)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a melon baller or grapefruit spoon, carefully remove mushroom stems and hollow out a pocket for the stuffing. After cutting off any tough parts of the stems, chop them finely.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, chopped mushroom stems, onion and garlic (adding garlic about halfway through so it doesn’t burn). When onion is tender and sausage is browned, break the sausage into crumbles.

In a small bowl, mix drained sausage mixture with cream cheese, cheddar, parsley and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan.

Spoon a generous mound of the sausage-cheese mixture into the caps and press some of the remaining grated Parmesan into the top of each stuffed mushroom. Place in baking pan greased with cooking spray and bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve. Garnish with more parsley.

Parmesan Party Mix

This is a cheesy take on the popular Chex party mix with Parmesan adding a luscious note to the savory blend. If you can make your favorite Chex mix with half your brain tied behind your back, skip the recipe and just sprinkle a quarter cup of Parmesan over the mix before you bake it.

2 cups Corn Chex

1 cup pieces of Triscuit crackers

1/2 cup pretzel sticks

1/2 cup cashews or mixed nuts

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, shelled

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. In a large bowl, combine Chex, Triscuit pieces, pretzels, peanuts and nuts.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the soy sauce, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Pour over the snack mix and stir to coat evenly. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes or until well toasted. Cool completely in the pan and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Shrimp Cocktail

One of the best things you can keep in your freezer for “emergencies” is a bag of frozen, raw, easy-peel shrimp. I always have a bag on hand of jumbo size (16-20 count per pound) — great for a quick pasta meal, seafood salad,or shrimp tacos. You can quickly thaw them in a bowl under running cold water.

Don’t buy precooked shrimp. Poach your own for a succulent treat that’s moist and tender with loads of flavor — so delicious with your favorite cocktail sauce. And they couldn’t be easier to make.

1 pound raw, thawed shrimp

6 cups cold water

Handful of parsley leaves

12 whole black peppercorns (see note)

1 large lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

Cocktail sauce

Peel the shrimp, leaving tails on. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add water and the aromatics — parsley, peppercorns, juice of the lemon and the two squeezed lemon halves, salt and garlic. Bring to a boil. Add the shrimp, cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for five minutes. Shrimp will be opaque and bright pink.

While the shrimp are poaching, fill a bowl with water and lots of ice. Drain poached shrimp in a colander and immediately submerge in the ice water, leaving the aromatics behind. When chilled, drain and refrigerate for later, or serve immediately with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.

NOTE: If you don’t have whole peppercorns, you can substitute a teaspoon of ground pepper.

You can reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.

These sausage- and cheese-stuffed mushrooms with a crusty Parmesan topping are a mouth-watering Super Bowl snack. Photos by Jim Flint
This Indian peanut dip with lemon juice and soy sauce is great with crudités or your favorite snack cracker.