Feed The Fans

By Susan Nolan

According to CBS, 96.4 million people watched Super Bowl LV last year, and just as many are expected to tune in this Sunday. Some will be using a streaming service. Others will watch on live TV. Some lucky souls will be cheering on the Cincinnati Bengals or the Los Angeles Rams from inside SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Those of us watching the game from our homes will likely do so in the company of family and friends. Super Bowl parties all over the Chesapeake region will range from glamorous soirees to casual get-togethers. Football, commercials, and great food will be at the center of all these gatherings.

Great food is no accident. It takes planning and preparation, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.

Chef Diane Fantone, owner of Grateful Spreads, an Annapolis-based catering company, advises party hosts not to get stressed out with an overly complex, time-consuming menu. “Don’t make everything over-the-top,” she says. “Focus on good quality food with one stand out dish or ingredient.” If you, as host plan to watch the game, she suggests you choose foods you can pop into the oven and replenish quickly. 

When choosing a menu, Tracey Arter, Catering Manager for Dream Weaver Catering and Café in Prince Frederick, reminds us to ask our guests about any dietary restrictions ahead of time. “It seems simple, but people forget,” says Arter. “You want all your guests to be able to enjoy the food.” Try to include gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Be aware of food allergies. 

Thematic menus can be fun. For Super Bowl LVI, Fantone suggests Cincinnati chili served with Moscow Mules, a drink first mixed in Los Angeles. 

Presentation is key. “The table has to look beautiful before the food can taste delicious,” Arter says. She recommends creating height and interest to your buffet by placing books, boards, boxes, upside-down bowls under your tablecloth and using these different levels as food stands. “Really, you can use just about anything because your tablecloth is going to hide it.”

Fantone agrees. “Use interesting bowls, platters and serving utensils,” she says. Even if you are serving story-bought items, taking them out of the package and placing them on an attractive platter can make a big difference.

Arter admits that when entertaining in her own home, she frequently prepares too much food. “Better too much than not enough,” she says. To avoid eating leftovers for the next week, she recommends having inexpensive containers on hand so you can send your guests home with doggie-bags. 

Layer Mediterranean Dip

Courtesy Diane Fantone of Grateful Spreads, LLC

Here is an easy appetizer you can make on the fly or make ahead for Super Bowl Sunday, very healthy and easy to make – enjoy 


•               1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese, softened 

•               1 Tbsp lemon juice 

•               1 tsp dried Italian seasoning 

•               3 cloves garlic, minced 

•               1-1/2 cups prepared hummus, plain

•               1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced 

•               1 cup ripe tomatoes, diced

•               1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, rough chopped 

•               1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, you can use herb feta as well

•               1/3 cup sliced green onions 

•               Pita chips, tortilla chips or celery and carrot stick


1.     In medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and garlic with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and combined. 

2.      Spread cream cheese mixture into a deep glass pie plate 8 to 9 inches or shallow serving dish. Evenly spread hummus on cream cheese layer. Top with cucumber layer then tomato layer then olives and top feta cheese, and green onions. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, great make ahead dish. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips or veggies.

Super Bowl Chili Skillet Bake 

Courtesy Diane Fantone of Grateful Spreads, LLC


·      2 Tbsp olive oil

·      1.5 lbs. lean ground beef

·      1 cup yellow onion, finely diced

·      1 red and green bell pepper, diced

·      3 cloves garlic, finely minced

·      1 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies*

·      1 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce

·      1/2 cup beef broth

·      2 Tbsp chili powder

·      1 Tbsp ground cumin

·      1 Tbsp sweet paprika

·      1/2 tsp ground coriander

·      1 tsp ancho powder

·      Pinch of sugar

·      Salt and freshly ground black pepper

·      1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

·      1 (15 oz) can light red kidney beans, drained, and rinsed

·      ½ cup white rice, cooked 

·      3 cups Mexican cheese, shredded (sharp cheddar or pepper jack works well too) 

·      3 jalapenos, sliced

·      1 bunch scallions, chopped (green parts only)

·      1 avocado sliced

·      10 to 12 cilantro sprigs

·      Tortilla chips


1.     Heat olive oil in a large and deep non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. 

2.     Add the beef and cook until browned, drain off any remaining oil. 

3.     Add more oil sauté onions until soft and translocate, add peppers cook for another 2 minutes, then add garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer.  

4.     Add beef back in and mix well, add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil.  Reduce to heat, top with cheese, sliced jalapenos and baked for 20 minutes in a 375-degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly. 

5.     Top with scallions the last 5 minutes of baking, serve with avocado slices and cilantro on top, arrange tortilla chips alongside for dipping, enjoy 

Dreamy Pizza Dip 

Courtesy Trish Weaver of Dream Weaver Catering & Café


·      16 oz cream cheese

·      2 tsp Italian seasoning

·      2 cup shredded mozzarella

·      1 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

·      2 cups marinara or pizza sauce 

·      4 tbsp finely chopped sweet pepper

·      4 tbsp finely chopped scallions


1.     Beat the cream cheese and Italian Seasoning together until smooth.

2.     Place in microwavable bowl or oven-proof dish. 

3.     Top with shredded cheeses, then sauce, then peppers and onions.

4.     Microwave or bake, covered loosely at 350 for 15-25 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Optional items: ground cooked sausage, chopped pepperoni, sauteed mushrooms, black olives

Serve with warm breadsticks or sliced French bread, toasted.

Hot Wings
Courtesy Trish Weaver of Dream Weaver Catering & Café 


·      Two bags of chicken wings, thawed

·      Olive Oil

·      Franks Hot Sauce

·      Cayenne Pepper

·      Garlic Powder

·      Salt


1.     Toss wings in olive oil.

2.     Sprinkle with Franks hot sauce, cayenne, garlic powder, salt to tasted.

3.     Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes and flip with a spatula and then bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked to 165 degrees.