(By Suzanne Corbett, StLSportsPage.com Travel/Food Editor)

Before the Big Game kicks of in the Crescent City the action will have already begun at tailgate parties and living room watch parties across the country. Fans can expect to enjoy mountains of chicken chickens and bottomless bowls of dip and chips. After all, besides the action on the gridiron Super Bowl is all about the food.

Super Bowl Sunday is now ranked second to Thanksgiving as the day we eat the most. Considering this year’s Super Bowl is in New Orleans, a renown food destination, it’s only fitting to create a menu that Nawlin’s inspired. Zatarain’s, who’s been producing authentic Creole-style products for over 120 years has a few suggestions to help jazz up your menu. All are easily stirred and cooked, which makes this a winner and prevents any unnecessary overtime in the kitchen. (Recipes courtesy of Zatarain’s)

Red beans and rice dip. (Photo courtesy Zatarain)

Red Bean and Rice Dip

3 cups water

1 package Zatarain’s Red beans and Rice

1 cup salsa

2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers

2 packages cream cheese, softened

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare Rice mix as directed on package, using 3 cups of water instead of 3 1/4 cups.

Stir remaining ingredients into rice mixture and transfer to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.  Place in a serving bowl and garnish with extra shredded cheddar and parsley, if desired.  Makes 3 1/2 – 4 cups.

 

West Bank Wings. (Photo courtesy Zatarain)

West Bank Wings

3 pounds chicken wings, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoon Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup Zatarain’s Creole mustard

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

chopped fresh cilantro

sesame seeds

 

Preheat over to 450 degrees. Toss chicken wings with oil and Creole seasoning. Arrange on a foil lined baking sheet/ Bake 35 minutes or until wings are cooked though and sin id crisp. Mix remaining ingredients together except for cilantro and sesame seeds. In a large skillet bring to a boil over a high heat. Reduce to low and simmer 15 minutes or until sauce is reduced by a third and sauce is of syrup consistency. Toss wings in sauce, place on serving platter and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro. Makes 10 appetizer-sized servings.

 

Zatarain’s king cake cupcakes with root beer filling and frosting.  (Photo courtesy Zatarain)

King Cake Cupcakes

1 1/4 cup cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

3/3 cup milk

 

Creole Cream Cheese and Root Beer Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/4 teaspoon root beer extract

Heat over to 350 degrees. For cupcakes mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Beat butter ina  large bowl for about 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk and mix until smooth. Spoon batter into lightly greased or paper lined cupcake tins. Fill 3/4 of the way full and bake for 12 –15 minutes or when done when tested. To test insert a toothpick  in cupcake center and remove. If it is clean it’s done. Cool cupcakes.

 

To make frosting whip together all ingredients until fluffy, then spend over top of cupcakes.  For fun you can insert a fava bean or a small “ Mardi Gras baby” in each cupcake before frosting. These items are not to be eaten.