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Host a winning Super Bowl party with tips from SIU “food nerd” and expert

 Niki Davis prepares mini mint-chocolate cupcakes
Photo provided
University Communications and Marketing
Niki Davis prepares mini mint-chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting and crumbled Thin Mint cookies

CARBONDALE, Ill. — No matter whom you root for, the food at your Super Bowl party should be as big and flavorful as your love for your favorite team, and the menu should be easy enough to ensure you can spend your time watching the game and socializing rather than in the kitchen, said Niki Davis, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s hospitality, tourism and event management program manager and professor of practice.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with food, however,” Davis said. “Why not wow your guests with a snack lineup centered on your team’s hometown? It’s easy to set the theme for your celebration with theme menus.”

Barbecue kicks off a KC gathering right
Kansas City Chiefs fans can build a menu around the city’s love of tomato-based barbeque sauce. Pulled pork or chicken tossed with BBQ sauce makes an easy slider sandwich. The meat can be made ahead of time or purchased already cooked to make party prep less hectic. Mix the meat and sauce, place a heaping scoop on a slider bun, top with bread and butter pickles and keep warm in the oven until time to serve.

You can serve the sliders with traditional macaroni and cheese and baked beans or twist things around and serve buttery mac and cheese bombs and baked bean dip with salty potato chips. Both recipes can be made from scratch or with convenient time savers such as store-bought rolls and canned baked beans.

No party is complete without something sweet, and one favorite to complement the barbecue theme is banana pudding shots. These are the perfect mini-sweets to indulge your guests. If your guests are all over legal drinking age, add a little banana liqueur to the pudding. Prepare the pudding a day or two ahead, assemble the shots Super Bowl morning, and refrigerate until time to serve. Use 2-ounce clear disposable plastic glasses for easy cleanup or your collection of shot glasses for a more sustainable option. Spoon the pudding into the glass, top with whipped cream and crushed vanilla cookies. Slide a mini dessert spoon into each shot glass.


Cheer on the Eagles with Philly cheesesteak and more
Philadelphia Eagles fans can’t go wrong serving small Philly cheesesteak hoagies. Just like with barbecue sliders, the meat can be purchased already prepared or made up to five days ahead and refrigerated until game day. Then, assemble the sandwiches early and keep them warm in the oven until your guests arrive. Use small hoagie buns instead of slider buns for a more traditional Philly feel.

Thanks to early German settlers, Philadelphians also love their soft pretzels with mustard. This is an easy snack to serve either in the traditional pretzel shape, sticks or pretzel balls. You can purchase soft pretzels in the freezer section of most grocers. Check the bakery section, too; shopping local is always a great way to serve yummy, fresh treats. Serve warm with a variety of good mustards and even a little beer cheese for the cheese lovers on your guest list.

Super Bowl Sunday just happens to coincide with Girl Scout cookie season, which is a bonus for Eagles fans. While the Girl Scouts organization began in Oklahoma, it was the Philadelphia council that first decided to sell cookies as a fundraiser in 1932. You can easily display a variety of the cookies on a tray for your guests, but they can also be used to make unforgettable desserts. Mini mint-chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting and crumbled Thin Mint cookies may be decadent enough to make you forget the game altogether!

 Niki Davis frosts cupcakes
Photo provided
University Communications and Marketing
Niki Davis frosts cupcakes

The outcome of the Super Bowl is always uncertain, but with a little planning and advance preparation, you’re sure to have a winning game day with delicious food. If your team wins, celebrate with an extra dessert. If your team doesn’t claim the winners’ rings, you can always console yourself with an extra dessert and patiently await next season.

Here are a couple of recipes to kick off a tasty menu.

Baked Bean Dip
Yield: about 5 cups
Time: 30 minutes


  • 6 slices hickory smoked bacon
  • 1 container (7½ ounces) chive and onion cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 cups leftover or canned baked beans
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • ½ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions

Directions: Fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon and let cool, then crumble. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease. Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl with the reserved bacon grease, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and chili powder. Use a mixer to blend the ingredients together until smooth. If the cream cheese is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk or water to help thin it out. Add the baked beans to the mixing bowl and gently mix everything together. You may mash some or all the beans as you mix, based on your own preference. Incorporate the crumbled bacon and half of the cheese then pour the bean dip into a casserole dish. Layer the remaining cheese on top of the dip and bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and browns along the edges. Garnish with the chopped scallions and serve with salty potato chips.
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Time: 1 hour

Cupcake ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Frosting ingredients:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 4½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2-3 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 12 thin mint Girl Scout cookies

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a bowl. Mix until smooth and set aside. Cream together the butter, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl then add the mint extract and mix until incorporated.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, alternating with the chocolate.

Scoop the batter into lined muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove and let cool before frosting.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting by creaming the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, peppermint extract and food coloring; mix until combined. Add milk by the tablespoon until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.

Frost each cupcake and nestle a Thin Mint cookie into the frosting. Or crumble the cookies and sprinkle the crumbles on top of the icing.


Christi Mathis — student affairs; diversity, equity and inclusion; business and analytics; education; health and human sciences; psychological and behavioral sciences; innovation and economic development; international education.

SIU News is produced by University Communications and Marketing - 618-453-2589. Twitter: @SIUCNews
SIU News is produced by University Communications and Marketing - 618-453-2589. Twitter: @SIUCNews
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