By Suzanne Corbett

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To score big this Super Bowl weekend all you need is a game plan. Make that a menu plan. It’s not too late to make a menu play list that will make your . It just takes a little teamwork and prep to pull off a winning game day bash. Here are five entertaining tips along with three recipes that put a twist on classic Super Bowl fare. Each will help you your get together score big without having to put in any overtime in the kitchen.

1: Scatter the refreshments. Help direct movement and traffic flow by setting up food stations. Using different rooms or areas helps prevent congestion and encourages guests to mingle. Try placing finger foods and other appetizers in a couple of locations, beverages in another area and desserts in yet another space.

2: Embrace variety. Take into account taste preferences and dietary needs, and have an assortment of food and drinks available. Offer spicy options along with less seasoned dishes, both indulgent and better-for-you treats, plus an array of beverages for drinkers and non-drinkers alike.

3: Build your roster. If your party is a potluck, encourage guests to sign up for dishes so you don't end up with multiple versions of the same thing.

4: Don't forget the dips. While Queso, salsa and onion dips are ranked MVPs, consider quick easy pour dips using bottled salad dressings that make great dunks for veggies, especially wings, which wouldn’t be the same without ranch or bleu cheese dressing to temper their heat.

5: Expand on tradition. After 51 years Super Bowl has established it’s own time-honored food traditions such as hot wings and pizza. Both fan favs but don't be afraid to put new flavors into play by tweaking those recipes. Score extra points by kicking up the flavor on hot wings. Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings is a good example where Asian flavors add zest to the classic.

Play Maker Buffalo Chicken Dip
Joshua Johnston, sous chef, 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel (Clayton, N.Y.)

(Shown at top of page)

2 pounds chicken breast
8 ounces cream cheese
1 pound shredded cheddar blend
8 ounces hot sauce/buffalo sauce
10 ounces extra chunky blue cheese dressing
Garnish: diced tomato and scallion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1: Place chicken in a medium to large sauce pot and cover with water just enough to fully submerge the chicken. Bring to a simmer for about 8-10 minutes. When the chicken is done, it should pull apart very easily. Remove, cool and shred chicken using a fork.
2: In a microwave-safe bowl, cube the cream cheese and toss with half of the shredded cheese. Cover the bowl and microwave for about a minute.
3: To assemble the dip place a large mixing bowl, shredded chicken,. Fold in the melted cheese blend, hot sauce, and blue cheese until fully blended.
4:Place dip in oven-safe dish and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake towards the top of the oven to allow for better browning. Bake for 10 minutes, garnish, and serve hot.

Bacon-Infused Popcorn

Darren Sylvin, executive chef, Aloft Boston Seaport (Boston, Mass.)

1 lb. bacon
1 cup popcorn kernels
½ cup coconut oil
Pinch of salt
1:Rough cut bacon into 1-inch cubes and place in a deep and wide soup pot, render bacon under low heat/flame until completely crispy (about 20 minutes).
2: Remove bacon and drain on paper towels and reserve. Strain the bacon drippings through a fine strainer.
3: Return to medium heat/flame with all of the reserved bacon drippings and coconut oil to a clean soup pot. Add popcorn kernels and a pinch of salt. Stir until kernels are fully coated.
4: Put lid on pot and begin to vigorously shake pot back and forth over flame until kernels begin to pop. Continue to shake until the popping fades. (Not shaking will result in burnt popcorn.)
5: Once popping has stopped or reduced significantly remove from heat/flame and stir in remaining bacon pieces. Place in bowl and serve.

Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings
(Recipe courtesy Lighthouse Foods)

1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
20 chicken wings
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon dehydrated chopped garlic*
3 tablespoons water, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
sliced green onions, for garnish
sesame seeds, for garnish
celery sticks (optional)
Ranch and Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing

Heat oven to 400 F.

1:1n large bag, combine flour and salt. Add chicken wings and shake to coat. Discard any leftover flour.

2: Line baking sheet with foil and spray with pan spray of your choice. Place wings in single layer on baking sheet. Bake wings 40-45 minutes, turning halfway through.

3: In saucepan over medium heat, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, 2 tablespoons water and brown sugar. Whisk together remaining water and cornstarch, and pour into sauce. Bring to boil then simmer until thickened.

4: When wings are done, toss with sauce, garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with celery sticks, ranch and bleu cheese dressing. Serve 4

* Editors note: Lighthouse Foods recommends using its dried fresh garlic seasoning. If you prefer to use fresh garlic I recommend using 2-3 fresh cloves that have been minced. 

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