Great for the Super Bowl, spicy sausage meatballs also work at more formal meals.
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Great for the Super Bowl, spicy sausage meatballs also work at more formal meals.

Super Bowl food: Down! Set! Snack!

By Alison Karmel and Elizabeth Karmel
The Associated Press

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Before the kickoff, the first thrilling touchdown run or the rally-ending interception, Super Bowl fans will be cheering for the cooks preparing the annual pre-, during- and after-game feast that goes with the ultimate football contest.

The football crowd won’t be looking for a sit-down dinner. (Who can balance a full plate on a lap when fans have to leap from chairs to cheer for the Seattle Seahawks or Denver Broncos?) No, most of the food has to be as conveniently managed with fingers or a toothpick as with silverware.

A premium also is paid for high taste. And there has to be a balance of tried-and-true recipes alongside those that are new, novel or both.

To fuel your fans for the Feb. 2 game – the kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. on Fox – here are three recipes for party-convenient foods.

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APPETIZER

Spicy Sausage Meatballs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 pound loose spicy sausage meat

2 eggs

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, butter, garlic and cayenne. Set aside.

In a second large bowl, use your hands to mix together the cheese, sausage and eggs until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix for several minutes to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Pinch off about 1/4 cup of the mixture and roll into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Yields 36 meatballs.

(Recipe by Elizabeth Karmel of The Associated Press)

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APPETIZER

Seven-Layer Potato Skins

8 medium potatoes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 large yellow onions, diced

Salt and ground black pepper

8 ounces loose sausage meat, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 scallions, sliced

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then coat with cooking spray.

Poke the potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave on high until tender, 10 to 12 minutes depending on the wattage of your microwave. Allow to cool until easily handled.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onions and cook until softened and browned, 15 to 18 minutes.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half. Scoop out and reserve the insides, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick wall of potato flesh on the skin. Arrange the halves skin sides down on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the potatoes with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crisped and browned.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together the reserved potato flesh and the sausage. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and garlic. Set aside.

Once the potato skins have baked, start layering them. Spoon a bit of the caramelized onions into the bottom of each shell. Top with the sausage-potato mixture. This should mostly fill the shell. Sprinkle crumbled bacon over the potatoes, followed by cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes. Top with a dollop of the garlic sour cream and sprinkle with the scallions. Serve immediately.

Yields 16 servings.

(Recipe by Alison Ladman of The Associated Press)

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APPETIZER

Chili Cornbread Pie

For the chili

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

16-ounce jar salsa

1 chipotle pepper, minced (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt and black pepper

For the cornbread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup corn meal

3 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1 egg

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3 scallions, sliced

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (optional)

1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapenos, lightly chopped

For serving

1/2 cup guacamole

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a deep 9-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the beef until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, salsa, chipotle, adobo, chili powder, cumin and paprika. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then spoon the chili into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

To make the cornbread topping, in a large bowl stir together the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and the egg. Add the melted butter, whisking as you add it. Gently stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Fold in the scallions, corn (if using) and jalapenos. Spoon the cornbread mixture over the chili and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Spoon into bowls and garnish with guacamole, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Yields 10 servings.

(Recipe by Alison Ladman of The Associated Press)