Food and football always a winning combination

Heights Herald /M. Clare Haefner

By M. Clare Haefner

Cooking with Clare

Super Bowl coverage kicks off Sunday in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

For those keeping score, the Green Bay Packers are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers.

An avid football fan, I'll watch every snap Sunday, even though I don't care who wins the game.

During the regular season, I usually take a break during halftime or commercials to prepare food. But the Super Bowl is a different story. The commercials are just as interesting as the game.

That means I have to make sure all the snacks I'll need for family and friends are ready before the coin toss.

When serving a large group of people, variety is usually the best option.

This year, I'm setting up a salsa bar.

I'll have salsas with different levels of heat as well as a seven-layer dip and a queso blanco supplemented with a variety of tortilla chips.

All my dips are easy to make ahead of time. Plus, they are easily served at room temperature or kept warm in crock pots, which means the only thing I'll have to worry about during the game is refilling empty serving bowls and drinks.

If you prefer a bigger meal during the game, a taco bar would be easy to add. Just prepare some ground beef and fajita chicken strips, grab some flour and corn tortillas and extra toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese and guacamole, and you'll have even more food for guests to fix themselves. Top it off with something sweet and you're sure to enjoy the big game.

Contact Clare Haefner at or (254) 501-7551.

Seven-layer dip ingredients

1½ pounds ground beef

1 (16 ounce) can refried beans

4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 (8 ounce) container fat-free sour cream

1 cup guacamole

1 cup salsa

1 (2.25 ounce) can black olives, chopped

½ cup chopped tomatoes

½ cup chopped green onions


In a large skillet, brown ground beef. Set aside to drain and cool to room temperature.

Spread the beans into the bottom of a

9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of beans.

Add the beef on top of cheese then spread the sour cream over it. Next add the guacamole, then pour the salsa on top and spread it evenly.

Top with the remaining cheese, black olives, tomatoes and green onions.

This dish can be served immediately or refrigerated overnight.

Serves: 12 to 15 people.

Simple corn salsa


1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chiles, drained

½ cup white onion, diced

½ cup corn kernels

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


Combine ingredients in food processor until blended to desired consistency.

Makes about 2 cups.

Spicy salsa


1 bunch cilantro, including the stems

1 medium onion, quartered

3 medium jalapeño peppers (use more or less depending on how hot you like it)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

5 teaspoons lime juice

Two 26-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed (fresh tomatoes work, too)


Combine cilantro, onion, jalapeño, garlic, cumin and lime juice in a food processor and chop fine.

Add tomatoes and puree until they mix in.

Serve with your favorite tortilla or corn chip.

Option: Instead of using tomatoes, use two pounds of tomatillos that have been boiled in water until color changes from green to brown.

Makes about 4 cups.

Queso blanco


1 cup shredded Asadero cheese (can substitute with Monterrey Jack)

1 medium poblano pepper, deveined and julienned

¼ cup half and half

2 tablespoons onion; finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon salt


Combine ingredients in crock pot over low heat until melted, stirring occasionally.

Makes about 1½ cups.

Game-time guacamole


3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled

1 lime, juiced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne

½ medium onion, diced

2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 medium jalapeño pepper, diced (remove seeds for less heat)

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced


In a large bowl, place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain and reserve the lime juice after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice.

Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve with tortilla chips.

Makes about 3 cups.

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