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By Sherri Richards, Published January 22 2003

Snack while they snap

Super Bowl entertaining is as easy as a 20-yard field goal, unless you're Steve Christie.

After all, the entertainment is already there -- big men in tight pants running around on the gridiron.

But to score a touchdown with your guests, the food has got to be good.

Rick Nymark, owner of Tailgators Sports Cafe, says wings, nachos and chili are big sellers on game day.

"For us, they're very popular items with any game," Nymark says. "The finger foods fit the mold for three hours of entertainment, instead of having a full-course meal."

Appetizers can be eaten over the course of the game, instead of all at once, and shared among a group.

Andy Johnson, co-owner of Coach's Sports Pub in Moorhead, says the restaurant will be offering a 40-foot buffet filled with tailgating fare.

"Corn dogs are huge here. Nachos are huge," he says. "The snacky foods are the best, finger foods, anything they can eat while watching the TV."

Karen Brown, author of "The Dinner Party Cookbook" (Meadowbrook Press, 1999), agrees that simplicity is key.

"Football parties, just by their very nature, make it easy and casual," she says. "Definitely, it's gotta be a buffet."

But, she says, with a 5 p.m. kickoff, hosts should offer something of more sustenance.

"If people are coming out at that time, they are expecting a meal," Brown says.

In her book, Brown suggests a meal of warm crab dip with chips, sliced beef tenderloin on crusty rolls, a relish tray, including radishes and pickles, and caramel brownies for dessert.

All finger foods should be cut into bite-size pieces for ease in serving and eating. A wide array of condiments, such as spicy mustards and horseradish, should be available for sandwiches.

A wide array of beverages should also be on hand. Brown says a good non-alcoholic choice is hot cider.

Brown says hosts should take advantage of deli offerings and takeout.

"Everything doesn't have to be made from scratch," she says. "Do as much as you can ahead of time."

Bowl 'em over

For this year's Super Bowl, here are three recipes to line the buffet. Each can be served in bowls, so break out the football- or helmet-shaped serving ware.

In honor of Oakland's wide receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, serve a steaming bowl of Brown Rice Royal.

Wings are always a hit, but with the Buccaneers on the field, Parrot Wings would be the fowl of choice.

And no game would be complete without chips and dip. This Big (as in super) Bowl Cheese Dip has a bit of a kick, perfect to kick off the big game.

(Tim) Brown (Jerry) Rice Royal

(Serves six)

2 cups (about 8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms

½ cup thinly sliced green onions

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 cups cooked brown rice (cooked in beef broth)

Cook mushrooms and onions in oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until tender. Add rice. Stir until thoroughly heated.

For microwave preparation, combine mushrooms, onions and oil in 2-quart microwave-proof baking dish. Cook on high 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice; continue to cook on high 3 to 4 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Recipe from www.ricecafe.com

Parrot wings

(Makes 24 to 30 individual pieces)

2½ pounds chicken wings

½ cup hot sauce

1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

Split wings at each joint; discard tips. Place wings in foil-lined pan. Bake one hour at 425 degrees until cooked and crispy, turning halfway.

Combine hot sauce and butter. Dip wings in sauce to coat completely. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing. Recipe from www.bhgpr.com

Big Bowl Cheese Dip

(Serves 20)

½ cup diced onion

1 cup regular or non-alcoholic beer

8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

8 ounces shredded Pepper Jack cheese

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1½ tablespoons taco seasoning

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

1 cup sour cream

Tortilla chips or roasted potato wedges for dipping

Place onion and beer in a heavy medium-size saucepan. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 3 to 4 minutes.

In a large bowl combine cheeses, flour and taco seasoning. Slowly add handfuls to hot beer until melted. Repeat until all of the cheese is used. Stir in chipotle pepper and sour cream. Recipe from www.midwestdairy.com

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5525