Football ‘skins’ make a great Super Bowl party treat

Robin McDaniel
Using classic potato skins as a base, use your imagination to create a host of Super Bowl party treats. These toppings include pimento cheese with bacon; ham, pickles and brown mustard; steamed Brussels sprouts with Alfredo sauce; feta cheese, red peppers and black olives; Kielbasa sausage with sautéed onion, red pepper and garlic; and broccoli and cheese.

Using classic potato skins as a base, use your imagination to create a host of Super Bowl party treats. These toppings include pimento cheese with bacon; ham, pickles and brown mustard; steamed Brussels sprouts with Alfredo sauce; feta cheese, red peppers and black olives; Kielbasa sausage with sautéed onion, red pepper and garlic; and broccoli and cheese.

With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, it’s time to be creative with football-friendly food choices. Whether you are a football fan, or a fan of the Super Bowl commercials like me, a variety of good finger food helps make any gathering a success -- whether it is just a couple of friends enjoying the evening or a full-blown Super Bowl party.

I went to our Scripps partner, the Food Network, for some ideas and found this clever paring of NFL teams with “tater toppings.” The cooks at Food Network paired the teams with regionally-inspired toppings, and we decided to try them on potato skins to make them a true finger food for Super Bowl weekend.

In addition to the NFL Skins, Kirk Jr. and I came up with some of our own favorites, which are pictured. We liked pimento cheese and crisp fried bacon; deli-sliced ham, sliced dill pickles and brown mustard; steamed Brussels sprouts with creamy Alfredo sauce; feta cheese, sautéed red peppers and black olives; sautéed onion, minced garlic, kielbasa sausage and sautéed red pepper; and broccoli and cheese.

Good luck to both the Pittsburg Steelers and Green Bay Packers fans, and here’s hoping for great commercials for the rest of us!

Classic Potato Skins

Pierce 4 large russet potatoes with a fork.

Bake directly on the oven rack at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool, then quarter lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4 -inch shell.

Brush both sides with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.

Bake, skin-side up, at 450 degrees until crisp, about 15 minutes.

Add your favorite team toppings.

(For cheesy skins, flip the baked shells over before topping, sprinkle with 1 cup grated cheese and bake an extra 5 minutes.)

Pittsburg Steelers Steel City Sausage Potato Skins: Top with Sautéed onions and kielbasa, sauerkraut and grated Swiss cheese

Green Bay Packers Wisconsin Beer Brats Potato Skins: Top with a Beer cheese spread, sliced bratwurst and brown mustard

Dallas Cowboys Texas Chili Potato Skins: Top with Chunky chili, grated longhorn cheddar, chopped onion, sour cream and hot sauce

Tennessee Titans Nashville Side Potato Skins: Top with creamy macaroni and cheese

Atlanta Falcons Georgia Peach Potato Skins: Top with peach preserves mixed with yellow mustard, cubed ham and canned fried onions on cheesy skins

Cincinnati Bengals Five-Way Chili Potato Skins: Top with Cincinnati-style chili, kidney beans, chopped onion, shredded cheddar and oyster crackers

New England Patriots Maple-Bacon Potato Skins: Top with Apple butter, crisp bacon and maple syrup on cheesy skins

Detroit Lions Coney Dog Potato Skins: Top with Sliced hot dogs, chili, diced onions, shredded cheddar and yellow mustard

New York Jets Deli Pastrami Potato Skins: Top with deli-sliced pastrami, Russian dressing and dill pickle slices on cheesy skins

For more -- the Food Network has 32 different toppings -- go to www.foodnetwork. com.

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