Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Super Sunday!

by Sheila Connolly

If you're into football, you know what today is. If you're not,
just go on about your business and ignore those people shrieking at the television set.
It's Super Bowl Sunday. I almost went to a Super Bowl once, when it was held close to where I lived AND I had connections through which I could have gotten tickets. The thing of it was, I was seven and a half months pregnant, and I thought spending the day fighting crowds and jumping up and down in a football stadium was not a wise thing to do under the circumstances. As a result, I missed watching Joe Montana kick Dan Marino's butt live at Super Bowl XIX. Yay, Niners! I'm sure my daughter appreciates my thoughtfulness.

But cheering is hungry work, either at the field of battle or sitting in front of your television (and hey, you get a much better view watching on television). So I offer you two recipes for football-watching sustenance. The first is a recipe for Swedish meatballs, from my Swedish-born step-grandmother (it's complicated). Make them small (under an inch), hand people toothpicks or skewers, and you're good to go.

Grandmother Johnson's Meatballs

½ lb. ground pork
1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tblsp butter
1 cup moist (not dried) bread crumbs
1 egg yolk
½ cup water
½ cup milk
salt and pepper (you can also add herbs such as thyme or parsley if you like)

Sautée the onion in butter until soft but not brown.

Mix all the ingredients together, and form small meatballs (about a teaspoon each).

Bring a pot of water or broth to a boil. Drop the meatballs in, a few at a time. When they float to the top, remove and drain.

Sautée the parboiled meatballs in a combination of butter and oil until brown. Serve warm, with whatever dipping sauce you like (barbecue, horseradish, etc.). These may be made ahead and sautéed immediately before the game (just don't miss kick-off–or any of those expensive commercials!).

And now for something completely different...Nacho Layer Cake (courtesy of my mother's bridge club in West Chester, Pennsylvania)

1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
1 package (8 oz.) Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
1 container (8 oz.) sour cream
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
2 fresh ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
4-5 scallions, chopped
Taco seasoning

Use cooking spray to grease an 8" or 9" spring form pan with a flat bottom.

Spread the refried beans over the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle some taco seasoning on top.

Combine the cream cheese and sour cream, and spread over the layer of beans.

Drain the chiles and scatter over the cream cheese layer, then sprinkle the chopped tomatoes, the grated cheese, and the green onions.

Chill for 1-2 hours, then remove the sides of the pan (and admire the lovely layers–it'll get messy fast, but it looks nice at the beginning). Serve with sturdy corn chips to dig in.

Don't be afraid to experiment–you can add a meat or guacamole layer if you like. Just don't make the mix too goopy, or it will collapse in a messy but tasty puddle when you take the mold off.

See? Another recipe you can do ahead so you can sit down and enjoy the game.

Go, um...whoever is the better team (since neither one is the Patriots).


  1. Swedish meatballs would be perfect for the game! I've got to bring something to a friend's house this evening and just didn't want to do a dip again....this might be the alternative I've been looking for. :) Thanks!

  2. A great blend of cultures today, Sheila! I love anything that's made ahead, especially Swedish meatballs. These sound very tasty. Thanks!

  3. I'm just watching for the half-time show (BTW, who is the featured act?) and the commercials.

    The Swedish meatballs and nachos are simple treats.

  4. My mother used to make wonderful Swedish meatballs for parties. We always looked forward to them. I'm intrigued by the fact that these are dropped in water. One more recipe that I just have to try!

    ~ Krista

  5. Sheila, too funny, but those appetizers are exactly like something my mom would lay out for a football frenzy. Nacho Layer Cake is one of my favorite things, though my mom had another name for it. It's so delicious, I can never keep it around, even if I've only invited two guests!

    And yes, Go Niners! But hmmm, suspiciously, they are not in today's game. Now, why is that????


  6. I grew up with Swedish meatballs on the menu almost every week! Same recipe, too but I'd not heard of parboiling them first. Sounds great and can't wait to try it. Thanks!

  7. This will be great to try tonight for the big game thanks :).