Under-$20 Super Bowl Chowdown, 10 Ways
Here’s the deal: You’ve got 20 bucks to spend on vittles for Sunday’s big game on the big screen. Not a penny more. Whatever you decide to spend on booze, that’s your business. But when it comes to the chow, we’re going to keep it a budget-style affair. After all, who’s not pinching pennies these days?
Sure, you can head over to KFC and pick up a 16-piece bucket for $20.99. And I hear Domino’s is offering its “American Legends” pies for $12.99. But honestly, how will your chow-in-a-box taste by the fourth quarter? That’s what I thought.
Instead, have a look at what I’ve cooked up – 10 menu ideas with a festive flair, a cozy television hootin-and-hollerin’ vibe --- and with that under-$20 price tag. Of course, if you're feeding 20 people Sunday night, your budget will double or triple, but you get the idea. Your budget-minded suggestions, as always, are welcome in the comments section, and I’ll be checking throughout the day for your last-minute questions and concerns. Now let’s play ball!
1. Instead of picking up the phone, pick up a ball of dough. Making your own pizza dough is incredibly gratifying, definitely not scary and a hoot to make with a group of your pals. As host, you can make a few batches of dough and a pot of marinara sauce; tell your friends to bring one topping of their choice and various kinds of cheese, and you’ll really bring the cost down. Estimate ½ pizza per person. Tip: Make dough on Saturday, keep in fridge overnight until Sunday afternoon when you’re ready to roll.
2. If you’ve been giving some thought to the falafel recipe I shared with you earlier this week, now’s the time to strike. On Saturday, make the tahini sauce and soak the beans. Sunday morning, put the batter dough and set up, and about an hour before kick off, you can fry the fritters and keep in a low oven until you’re ready to chow.
3. For a party of four or less, roasting a chicken is fun to snack on and requires little mental energy of the cook. Here are a slew of your chicken-y tricks and tips from last fall.
4. Shucks, for the big game, I might even fry up some thighs and finish them off in the oven. Marinate Saturday night in buttermilk, then fry early Sunday so it can rest -- fried chicken is undoubtedly tastier a few hours after it's cooled. Half-time snack, anyone? To cut the fat on your tongue, consider, this quickie vinegar slaw, a terrific side which you can whip up in about 20 minutes.
5. If it’s cold where you are, consider cozying up to some curry. As many of you know, one of my all-time favorites is a chicken curry with cilantro, ginger, garlic and chiles. A pot of rice to go with, and you’ll be warm all four quarters.
6. Talk about a cheap trick -- fried rice is the ultimate in the cheap-and-good department, and it requires little forethought, except for cooking a pot of rice the day before so that it’s cold (and starchy) in time for Sunday. Use whatever you have on hand – a shallot, an onion, garlic, chilies, plus one or two fried eggs. Ham if you like, no worries if you don’t. Peas are nice, so are mushrooms and chopped cilantro. One of my favorite bowls of comfort.
7. You can’t get much cozier than soup and grilled cheese. You can have soup on the stove all night and make the sandwiches to order. Have a look at last year’s list of 20 ways to soup it up without leaving the house. You'll have enough leftover cash to buy pickles and chips!
8. If it were up to Mister MA, there’d be a veggie snack plate on the menu. There’s nothing that makes him happier than a plate of dips and edible scoops. Go figure. He now knows how to make hummus and with a little more training, he’ll be whipping up onion dip, hold the soup mix, in no time. If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm place, where zucchinis are in season, you must celebrate with a batch of zuke-a-mole.
9. For those who like to get ahead of the program, consider a tray or two of lasagna, all of which can be made the day before and simply reheated in time for the game. Make one with meat, one without, and everyone’s happy.
10. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention braised beans, i.e. vegetarian chili. Earlier this month, I shared the details for these red beans with a Jamaican jerk twist. Play with these or check out the other terrific ideas that your fellow readers have been kind enough to share. Definitely a do-ahead dish, and with all the extra time, why not make a quick batch of cornbread?
P.S.: Mighty Appetite correspondent Michael Corones threw an assist with this report.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups cornmeal, preferably whole grain, stone ground
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place butter in 9 or 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or baking dish) and heat in oven for about 10 minutes, or until butter just begins to smoke.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
In a large measuring cup, combine egg and buttermilk, whisking until blended.
Fold buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients, and combine until well blended (but don't much worry much about flour specks).
Remove heated skillet from oven and pour melted butter into batter. Quickly stir to combine, then return batter to hot skillet. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
Makes about eight slices.
By Kim ODonnel |
January 30, 2009; 4:00 AM ET
Cooking on a Budget
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