Throw A Super Bowl Soirée In No Time, On A Dime

If you're hosting a Super Bowl party this year, a few things are guaranteed: People are going to get hungry, thirsty, and loud—and not necessarily in that order. The best way to stay ahead of the game? Serve simple, pre-made dishes that don't break the bank, have someone else bring a dessert or side, and make sure to tell 'em all it's BYOB.
For your part, you can't go wrong with chili and rice. There's a reason why that's such a go-to for events like these: no service! Just provide the ladle and some garnishes, and guests can dish it out themselves. These treats are tops for a gaggle of famished sports fans with any kind of palate, and when homemade ice cream sandwiches are involved, everyone scores.
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Chipotle Pale Ale Chili
Ready in three steps and even better on day two, this smoky, meaty, and slightly spicy chili is perfect for a crowd on game day. Slow cooking means cheaper cuts of meat become deliciously tender, so it not only pleases your stomach, but your wallet too. And if you're not keen on red meat, try a lighter take with turkey instead.  

Ingredients for 8-10:
2 lbs chuck or sirloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb ground sirloin
1 bottle pale ale or IPA
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 16 oz can refried beans
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon worcestshire sauce

Brown all of the meat over high heat so it gets nice and seared. Put the meat in a pot, and add the cumin, salt and pepper. Stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Add all of the other ingredients, and season with another few pinches of salt and pepper. Let simmer over medium low heat for at least an hour, or until reduced to chili consistency. Keep tasting and seasoning with salt, pepper, and more adobo sauce from the chipotles. Enjoy!

Photographed by Claire Thomas.
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Mexican Brown Rice Tabbouleh
Delicious on its own, this bright and zesty rice is perfect for soaking up the juices from the chili. The kick of lime and fresh cilantro cuts through the rich and savory flavors of the chili. You can also switch out the brown rice for quinoa, if you want a higher-protein side.  

2 cups brown rice
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped mint
Salt and pepper

In a pot, cover the brown rice with 4 cups of room temp water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Bring it down to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed. Take the pot off of heat, and let it stand for 10 minutes. In small bowl, combine the lime juice, red onion, oil, and some salt and pepper. Add all of the ingredients to the rice, and dress with the red onion mixture.  Add salt, pepper, and lime to taste, et voilà, the yummiest rice yet!

Photographed by Claire Thomas.
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Dad's Guacamole
We prefer lots of cilantro, chunkier red onion, and lots of hot sauce and salt. It doesn't make the guacamole spicy — it just contrasts the bland creaminess of the avocados with a nice smoky, background heat.

6 ripe Haas avocados
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Pico Pica hot sauce (to taste) 
Salt (to taste)
Cracked pepper (to taste)
1/2 lemon, juiced

Directions: Halve the avocados and remove the pit. This is done easiest (though not safest, be careful!), by hitting the sharp edge of your knife into it and pulling back--it usually pops right out. Using a large spoon, remove the creamy content into a large bowl. Then add the onion, cilantro, lemon juice, and hot sauce — mixing with a spoon to mash up the avocado. Taste and adjust. Add the salt and pepper liberally, taste, and adjust again. Bon appètit!

Photographed by Claire Thomas.
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Smoky Salsa
Salsa seems to be one of those unobtrusive additions that you don't notice as being good until a really good one is tingling its way to your belly. With tons of savory flavors, smoky heat from chipotles, and fresh acid from tomatillos, pale ale, and red onion, this salsa is balanced but with a bite. It lasts in the fridge for a while too, so make a batch and go at it again and again.

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 12 oz can whole tomatillos
2 chipotle peppers in abodo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 a red onion
8 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
2 teaspoons pico pica sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Pale Ale
Salt (to taste)

Place the garlic, onion, and cilantro into a food processor. Blitz for a few seconds. Next, pour the liquid in the can of tomatoes, plus 4 tomatoes, 4 tomatillos, and 1/4 cup of the pickling liquid into a food processor, then two chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Add everything else. Blend the whole thing and taste. It should be on the liquid side rather than the "Pace Picante" side. Personally, we like salsa that's either near liquid, or in complete chunks — not that weird marinara-esque in-between. Salt to taste and there you go, a super simple, easy salsa that will keep them coming back for more.

Photographed by Claire Thomas.
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Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
These are the ultimate plan-ahead dessert. Bake some cookies, stick a little ice cream between them, and leave them in the freezer until you want to eat them. Add toppings for texture and an extra pop of flavor, and you've got an upscale version of a crowd-pleasing favorite.

Dark Chocolate Cookie Ingredients for 12 sandwiches:
8 oz butter, room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup grated or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Ice Cream Sandwich Ingredients:
1 quart of your favorite flavor ice cream
Toppings of your choice

Preheat oven to 350F. With a mixer, blend together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Sift together the dry ingredients, and put your mixer on a low speed.  Add the vanilla and chocolate, and blend until the dough becomes a rich, dark brown. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness, and using a cookie cutter, cut out individual cookies. Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, then top with sugar crystals if you like.  Bake for 15 minutes and cool completely on a rack.

You can make the ice cream sandwiches ahead and freeze them, or make them to order. Just pick your favorite flavor, scoop out about a 1/2 cup, and press onto the cookie (softened ice cream works best). Top that half with another cookie, and roll the sides in your favorite topping (nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, whatever!).

Photographed by Claire Thomas.

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