Tailgating with Joe Drozda: Semi-Homemade Super Bowl Food

Semi-homemade dishes are easy to make and will have guests coming back for more. (Submitted photo)

Semi-homemade dishes are easy to make and will have guests coming back for more. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Joe Drozda and Bob Bley

Counterprograming is what it’s called when TV networks try to steal some of the broadcast audience from a giant event like the Super Bowl. If 2016 is like the previous few years it would take nothing less than the latest Star Wars movie to have the force to affect the viewer numbers for the football extravaganza. Our advice for Super Bowl season is to not fight it, but join in.

When planning food for such a gathering, it would be a great mistake to try to remake yourself into a Cordon Bleu chef. If you do, you’ll only have your feelings hurt when guests pick up food and leave the area to eat it in front of a television. If your food is good and plentiful you only receive compliments when people return to your buffet table for more helpings, when they depart for the night, or in a rare thank you note. So how can you avoid the chef work and still have good food?

There is a Food Network show called Semi Homemade that is successful because the host, Sandra Lee, shows how to take ready-made foods and combine them with your own touch to make them delicious and affordable. Here are a couple ready-made dishes that can be baked in the oven and served with special sauces that will have your guests returning to your buffet more than once.

One of our easy, delicious choices is Jim Beam Boneless Breaded Chicken Wyngz with Honey Bourbon Sauce. You bake these chicken tenders in the oven and then sauce and serve them. Use toothpicks and have extra sauce for additional dipping. Our second great semi-homemade dish comes from Johnsonville and it’s called Party Meatballs. These are also baked in the oven and then simmered in a neat hot/sweet sauce. Then they are served on toothpicks with extra sauce for dipping.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 package (24 ounces) frozen Johnsonville Italian, Three-Cheese Italian


1 12oz. can jellied cranberry sauce.

1 12oz.bottle chili sauce

Preparation: In a large saucepan, combine cranberry and chili sauces and cook over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Add baked meatballs, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Watch your guests enjoy!


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