Super food

A big pot of chili, a fresh take on chicken wings, a hearty bowl of soup — one or all three are bound to score points with your Super Bowl party guests.

Let's talk chili first: When I make chili, I focus on the beef, spices and texture; it should be not too thin or too thick.

I use a big hunk of chuck, round or sirloin — whatever is on sale or tucked away in the freezer. But I avoid ground beef, which makes what I call hamburger soup. Cubed or diced beef is much better.

The key to cubing or dicing the beef with little effort is to make sure it's well-chilled. If the beef is too warm, it'll be too squishy and the pieces won't be even in size. To chill the meat, put it on a plate and stick it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Take it out and immediately cut it into strips and then into cubes.

Another key to a hearty, flavorful chili is using the right chili powder. Using a blend of different powders allows you to round out the flavor and more easily control the spiciness and heat. Check specialty markets for a wide variety of chili powders.

Wings are the ultimate football food, but our recipe for Guy Fieri's tequila-lime wings is a fresh take on an old idea.

They're easy to make and handle — perfect for a game-day bash. Grilling chicken wings helps keep them moist and juicy, whereas baking them can tend to dry them out. If weather permits, fire up the grill, by all means.

If you're a fan of traditional Buffalo chicken wings, slow-cooker Buffalo chicken soup just might be the perfect football-watching dish. It has the flavors of Buffalo wings with less fat, and it's a lot less messy to eat.

Finally, make everyone's favorite party dip, guacamole. Our recipe calls for making a big batch of pico de gallo, then stirring some of it into mashed-up avocado. You'll have plenty of salsa to put out in bowls around the room, and you get guacamole with lots of fresh vegetables.

Super Chili

This chili is best made a day in advance. Freeze any leftovers.

2 1/2 to 3 lbs. beef chuck roast about 2 inches thick, trimmed of fat

1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 large onion, peeled, diced

1 large red pepper, diced

1 large green pepper, diced

1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced, optional

1 can (14.5 oz.) fat-free, less-sodium beef broth

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) chili beans (medium or hot)

1 can (28 oz.) diced fire-roasted tomatoes or regular tomatoes

2 cups favorite Bloody Mary mix (spicy preferred)

Spice mixture:

1 tablespoon garlic powder

6 to 8 tablespoons favorite chili powder (a mix of mild and hot)

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Set the whole beef roast on a plate and place it in the freezer for 1/2 hour — this will make it easier to slice. Slice the meat into 1/4-inch-thick whole pieces. Stack several of the slices and cut them into strips and then into about 1/2-inch dice. Repeat with remaining meat. Pat the meat dry with paper towels.

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Working in batches, add the meat to the pot and brown on all sides. Remove browned meat using a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining meat, adding additional oil if needed.

Add the onion to the pot and saute about 10 minutes or until it's lightly golden. Add all the peppers and saute until just tender. Add the beef broth, chili beans, tomatoes and Bloody Mary mix. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Mix together the spice mixture and add half of it to the chili. Cover the pot and simmer on low 1 1/2 hours. Sprinkle in the remaining spice mixture and cook about 20 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with accompaniments such as sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced green onion, cilantro leaves and crumbled baked tortilla chips. Makes 16 cups.

Nutrients per 1 cup: 213 calories (42 percent from fat ), 10 g fat (3 g sat. fat ), 18 g carbohydrates, 14 g protein, 391 mg sodium, 38 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber.

The Wichita Eagle—02/02/11

Guy Fieri's Tequila-Lime Wings

3 lbs. chicken wings, split at the joint, tips removed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1/2cup fresh lime juice

1/4cup tequila

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon adobo sauce

1/2teaspoon kosher salt

1/2tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season wings with salt and pepper and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until just brown and crisp, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together lime zest and juice, tequila, agave nectar, cumin, adobo sauce, salt and pepper. Pour over the warm wings and marinate at least 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to high. Remove wings from the sauce, reserving the sauce. Grill the wings until marked, 10 to 15 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and cook until slightly thick, about 8 minutes (you can do this on the grill as well). Drizzle the wings with the sauce and serve. Makes 6 servings.

The Wichita Eagle—02/02/11

Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken Soup

You can double the recipe, but it's rich, so you won't need big servings.

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1/2large yellow onion, peeled and diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 to 3 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, or 2 to 3 cups cooked, diced chicken

4 tablespoons ( 1/2stick) butter

1/4cup all-purpose flour

3/4cup chicken broth

2 cups nonfat or reduced-fat milk

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2cup hot wing sauce, such as Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce, plus more for garnish

4 oz. Velveeta cheese, diced

Crumbled blue cheese (optional; garnish)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery and saute about 5 minutes, until vegetables are slightly softened but still crunchy. Scrape vegetables into the liner of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker and return skillet to heat.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet and add half the chicken, stirring and cooking over medium-heat until browned in spots and opaque. Add chicken to slow cooker and repeat with remaining oil and chicken. (If you're using cooked chicken, skip this step and just add it to the vegetables in the slow cooker.)

Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat until just foamy. Whisk in the flour to make a roux, stirring well to incorporate all the flour. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until roux is slightly golden. Scrape the roux into the slow cooker.

Stir in the broth and milk. Add the celery salt, garlic powder and wing sauce. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Stir in the cubed Velveeta about 20 minutes before serving.

Garnish with additional wing sauce and crumbled blue cheese if desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Adapted from "Make It Fast, Cook It Slow," by Stephanie O'Dea.

The Wichita Eagle—02/02/11

Pico de Guac

6 to 8 plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs.)

2 yellow onions

Large bunch fresh cilantro

1 to 2 jalapenos

1 lime

Salt to taste

3 to 4 ripe avocados

Tortilla chips

To make pico de gallo: Use a paring knife to cut the round stem end out of the tomatoes, but don't peel or seed them. Cut into 1/2-inch slices, then into 1/2-inch dice. Pile up on one side of your cutting board.

Peel and dice the onion into 1/2-inch dice. Pile up the onions until you have a pile about the same size as your pile of tomatoes. Chop enough cilantro (mostly leaves but some stems are OK) to make about the same amount as your pile of tomatoes. Combine tomatoes, onions and cilantro in a large serving bowl.

Cut off stems from jalapenos and cut in half lengthwise. Use the tip of a small spoon to scrape out the seeds and membranes. (If you like it hotter, leave in some of the membranes.) Mince jalapeno finely and add to the tomatoes.

Slice the lime in half and squeeze it over the pico de gallo. Add salt to taste and mix it all together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to make guacamole. (Can be made up to 24 hours in advance.)

Guacamole: Peel and pit avocados. Roughly chop the avocado quarters and place in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt and a little lime juice. Mash with a fork, potato masher or wooden spoon until it is mostly mashed up but still has lumps.

Stir in 1 cup or more pico de gallo. Stir together gently. Taste and add more salt and lime if needed. If you have to make it a little in advance, press plastic wrap into the surface to keep it from browning. Serve guacamole and unused pico de gallo with tortilla chips. Makes 6-8 servings.

Adapted from "The Pioneer Woman Cooks," by Ree Drummond.

The Wichita Eagle—02/02/11