Get ready for the Super Bowl

by Leanne Ely (The Dinner Diva)

The Super Bowl cometh, as all self-respecting football fans know. And if you’re having a few folks over to watch the big game, that means you get to supply the food as well as the tube. This means, too, that you will be entertaining. Does that freak you out?

The very word “entertaining” can be hugely intimidating, conjuring up images of lavish spreads, immaculately appointed homes and other visions of magazine living. It is time to get a reality check and get to the heart of the matter.

First off, let’s chuck the word “entertaining.” What I’m talking about today isn’t about doing the Martha thing at all — it’s about hospitality. Hospitality isn’t something one is talented in and another is not — it is something that is cultivated, much like a plant. All it takes is a welcoming home, a good meal (I can help you with that) and a warm and welcoming attitude (that’s your department). Oh, and for the Super Bowl, a nice big TV screen!

If you’re going to practice hospitality, you need to keep your perspective — don’t invite people over who are going to scare you if you’re a newbie at this. You need allies at this time — comrades, amigos. You don’t need to be intimidated as you take your first baby steps at hospitality.

The first rule is to keep it simple. I would suggest a big crock-pot filled with some terrific chili, a big green salad, some cornbread and of course, the right set of friends to enjoy it all. The kind of friends that you ask to bring dessert — that’s the type of guest you want for this kind of party.

Set your buffet table with a red and white checkered tablecloth, grab some flowers and throw them in a pitcher for a country effect. Wrap the silverware up in the napkins (I’d use paper napkins), toss the wrapped silverware into a basket, stack the bowls next to the chili, with a stack of larger dinner plates, so the salad and corn muffin can go on the side of the plate. The plate will act as a tray for the bowl and the rest of the food will go on the “tray.” Make sense? I hope so — this is an easy way to do this menu:

Have fun with your party and may the best team win!

REALLY EASY MIXED BEAN CHILI – Serves 6 (easily doubled to serve more).

  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 jar salsa — your favorite
  • 1 package frozen corn — 10 oz.
  • 1 sweet potato — cubed (this makes the recipe special)

Dump it all into a crockpot, set on low and cook for 6-8 hours. Mix well before serving. How hard is that?

NUTRITION: Per serving: 283 calories; 1g fat (3.4% calories from fat); 15g protein; 55g carbohydrate; 15g dietary fiber; 0mg cholesterol; 584mg sodium. Exchanges: 3 grain (starch); 1/2 lean meat; 1/2 vegetable; 0 other carbohydrates.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and some green onions for on top of the chili. Add your favorite cornbread (make or buy) a great big salad and dessert (if your friends don’t bring it, how about make-you-own ice cream sundaes?).

For more help putting dinner on your table check out Leanne’s website or her Saving Dinner Book series published by Ballentine. Copyright 2006; Leanne Ely Used by permission in this publication.

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