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Super Bowl 2012: It's All About the Food

Hot and spicy super snacks for a festive party

Super Bowl party foods: chicken wings

Chicken wings are a staple of Super Bowl party fare. — Photo by: Batista Moon Studio/Getty Images

For a large percentage of Americans, the Super Bowl is an all-American opportunity to shout at the TV, express hometown pride, share beers with friends and chow down on some superlative snacks. Whether you're hosting a Super Bowl party, looking for something to bring as a guest, or just gathering your family on the sofa, you know that people will expect the classics: chicken wings, blue cheese, crunchy fried goodies and Mexican-inspired favorites. Here is a selection of recipes sure to keep everyone cheering.

See also: Super snacks for a Super Bowl party

Sesame Chicken Fingers by Steven Raichlen: Far lower in calories and fat than their deep-fried counterparts, these baked skinless chicken breasts pick up loads of flavor when you marinate them in soy sauce, rice wine, honey and garlic for hours. Recipes are also included for honey-soy and Vietnamese dipping sauces.

Seven Chile Texas Chili by Lisa Fain: Ancho, pasilla, guajillo, chipotle, chiles de arbol, pequin and cayenne! Phew, that's a lot of chiles! Other ingredients in this recipe include bacon, beer and coffee, so the touchdown-counting crowd should be impressed.

Date and Blue Cheese Ball by Diane Morgan: Face it; cheese balls were popular (and have come back into fashion) because they're great party food. This one is sweet with dates, tangy with blue cheese and lemon zest, and crunchy with walnuts. Serve alongside pita chips, bagel chips, crostini or crudités.

Spicy Garlic Peanuts by Steve Poses: This make-ahead treat is perfect to munch by the handful during sporting events, and a lot more palate-pleasing than salty cocktail peanuts out of the tin.

Raw Vegetable Salad With Blue Cheese Dip by Ken Haedrich: Bite-sized veggies shine here, paired with a dip that includes parsley, onion and horseradish. As for your produce selection, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and carrots are good year-round bets. Remember that this will only be as good as the vegetables you buy, so go for fresh and high quality!

Oven-Barbecued Chicken Wings by Lora Brody: This easy version of chicken wings can be made ahead, and you can feel free to adjust the level of spice as desired.

Sauteed Beer-Batter Shrimp With Tartar Sauce by Sara Moulton: Sara suggests that you consider this dish "a kind of American tempura," in part because beer batter creates a light and airy coating. Serve with tartar or soy sauce.

Barbecue Ribs by Rocco DiSpirito: These lower-calorie and lower-fat ribs can be made in your oven – no need to order out!

Southwest Layer Dip by Debbie Gore: This layered dip consists of a guacamole-like avocado mixture, bean dip and a seasoned sour cream layer, topped with cheddar, chopped tomatoes, black olives and green onions. The only challenge will be making sure you get all the layers on one tortilla chip.

Little Peppers Stuffed With Garlic, Shrimp and Oaxaca Cheese by Deborah Schneider: These peppers may be little, but they pack a big explosion of flavor, particularly in the mango habanero salsa served alongside.

Hot Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip by Didi Emmons: This dip can be made with low-fat or nonfat cream cheese and mayonnaise, while the goat cheese adds a unique source of creamy texture and tangy flavor. Serve with homemade chips, bruschetta or crackers.

Beer & Food Pairing Tips:

Carbonation cuts through fatty and fried fare, so when you're choosing beers to go with super bowl food, it's often the bubblier, the better.

Spicy foods match well with stronger, fruitier beer flavors, like those in ales, Hefeweizens, and wheat beers.

When grilled meat is on the menu, a caramelized beer such as a porter, a dark lager like a Dunkel, or a brown ale will match well.

Beer and cheese go together like — well, like TV and football. Try a German Hefeweizen with goat cheese, sharp cheddar with an IPA, or Roquefort or Stilton with a Belgian Dubbel.

You might also like: Potluck parties: What should I bring?

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