Winning Super Bowl party game plan requires the right dish

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 EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Whether your Super Bowl party crowd is rooting for the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers, one thing is for certain: They will be hungry. But since guests will be busy watching the big game and its popular commercials, the key to a good spread is to have quick finger foods on hand so they can get back to the action quickly.

Chef Ray Klein of Egg Harbor Township, who hosts a monthly cooking class through the township recreation department, presented his ideas to a class Wednesday, Jan. 23. A longtime chef at the Tropicana casino, Klein said he changed careers to have more time with his family. He now hosts the classes as a way to stay connected to his culinary interests and to share his knowledge with the community.

“He really has a passion for cooking and loves to teach others,” said his wife, Elizabeth, who along with their daughter Emma, 14, acts as his sous chefs during classes.

 Toni-Lynn Rispoli, a regular student in his classes, said all of the recipes he makes are accessible and delicious.

 “He gave us this chicken pot pie soup recipe that is to die for,” Rispoli said. “He makes you realize, ‘Oh, I can do this.’ He gives you a little more confidence in the kitchen.”

 His next class, Time to Cut the Fat, will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 and will explore modifying recipes to make them healthier. Classes are open to township residents only and cost $30. For information call (609) 272-8120.

For Super Bowl parties, Klein highly recommends his BBQ Buffalo Chicken Sliders.

Laura Stetser/BBQ Buffalo Chicken Sliders sizzle on the grill pan before being placed in the oven to complete the cooking Laura Stetser/BBQ Buffalo Chicken Sliders sizzle on the grill pan before being placed in the oven to complete the cooking

BBQ Buffalo Chicken Sliders

1 pound ground chicken

1 onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 cup hot sauce

2 cups lettuce, shredded

8-ounce package of crumbled blue cheese

8 slider-sized rolls

Mix hot sauce with barbecue sauce and set aside. In a bowl, mix chicken with 2 tablespoons of barbecue-hot sauce mix and the celery and onions. Form into eight burgers. Brush both sides of each burger with remainder of sauce and grill until cooked through. Place burgers on bun and top with lettuce and blue cheese.

Laura Stetser/Fresh cilantro is used to give depth to the guacamole Laura Stetser/Fresh cilantro is used to give depth to the guacamole

Guacamole

3 ripe avocados

1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of one lime

Salt and pepper to taste

1 bag tortilla chips

Mash avocado. Add cilantro and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips.

Laura Stetser/This cheese ball can be made ahead of time. Laura Stetser/This cheese ball can be made ahead of time.

Mediterranean Cheese Ball

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

8 ounce package crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened

10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Crackers or pita wedges

In a bowl, mix a half-cup of the almonds, feta, sundried tomatoes, garlic, cream cheese and spinach. Shape mixture into a ball and roll in remaining almonds and parsley. Refrigerate for two hours. Serve with crackers or pita wedges.

Laura Stetser/Taco soup can simmer while you prepare the other recipes Laura Stetser/Taco soup can simmer while you prepare the other recipes

Taco Soup

1 pound ground turkey

3 cans stewed tomatoes

1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes

28 ounces chicken broth

1 small can tomato paste

1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (powder)

1 package taco seasoning

1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 bag frozen corn

Brown meat in bottom of a stockpot. Add onions and peppers and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the seasoning packets (taco and ranch dressing) and stir. Add all other ingredients. Fill the 28-ounce tomato can with chicken broth and add it to the rest of the ingredients. Cook for about one hour, stirring occasionally and crushing the tomatoes with the back of the spoon.

Laura Stetser/A lighter take on salsa Laura Stetser/A lighter take on salsa

Fruit Salsa

2 ripe mangoes, diced

1 pint strawberries, diced

1 can crushed pineapple

1 red onion, finely chopped

1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Juice of one lime

2 tablespoons honey or other sweetener

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients. Tastes best if marinated overnight. Serve with tortilla chips.

Laura Stetser/Italian Hoagie Crostini await the oven so the parmesan cheese can melt Laura Stetser/Italian Hoagie Crostini await the oven so the parmesan cheese can melt

Italian Hoagie Crostini

1/4 pound Genoa salami

1/4 pound ham

1/4 pound provolone cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Half of a red onion, finely diced

1/4 cup banana peppers

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Loaf French bread

In a bowl, mix oil, vinegar and Italian seasoning. Combine with diced lunch meats and provolone cheese. Slice French bread and place on cookie sheet in a single layer. Place a spoonful of mixture on each piece and top with shaved parmesan. Melt in oven until cheese is slightly browned. Top each crostini with one banana pepper ring and half a grape tomato.


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