Yep, it's Super Bowl time once again, which means newspaper food sections are scratching their heads trying to come up with new ideas. Well, some are; others, like the Washington Post, are throwing in the creative towel: today the Post seriously compares the nutritional value of Doritos and Utz cheese balls.
But it's possible to have a fun Super Bowl without spending a fortune or loading up on junk. Here are five snacks that can be easily and inexpensively made at home:
1. Fried cheese. Both of these recipes can be made in minutes and will deliver more flavor than a whole tub of Utz cheese balls.
2. Spiced nuts. We talk about these a lot because they are so easy and fast to make, and cheap if you buy nuts in quantities at places like Costco. Here are two good recipes.
3. Sunflower snappers. Easy, fast, delicious, and because you make them yourself, you control the salt.
4. Tapenade. You can spread this pungent olive paste on toast, scoop it up with vegetables, or add it to a salad dressing. Loads of flavor and little fat.
5. Kale chips. We're still getting grief over our many kale-chip recipes of a few summers ago. But kale is abundant in the winter, and these chips make a fine accompaniment to fried cheese. Don't knock them until you've tried them!
Now, what to drink? A Riesling would work well with salty snacks; look for Jacob's Creek Reserve Riesling, which can still be found for less than $10. And for a good red, you can't go wrong with the 2008 Red Diamond Merlot we discovered at last weekend's wine tasting. You can find it at Safeway and Trader Joe's, among other stores.