3 Simple Super Bowl classics

Football-shaped cheese spread is a Super Bowl favorite.

Football-shaped cheese spread is a Super Bowl favorite. (Jan. 18, 2012) (Credit: Marge Perry)

Marge Perry

Newsday columnist Marge Perry Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts,

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For a houseful of hungry football fans, hearty fare is in order. Here, Marge Perry looks back at some of her classic Super Bowl recipes.

TIP: The football-shaped cheese spread can be made a day in advance and refrigerated.

GAME TIME CHEESE SPREAD 

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, divided

24 ounces Port wine cheese spread

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Combine 6 ounces of the cream cheese, Port wine spread, Worcestershire sauce and mustard in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and thoroughly combined.

2. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes, or the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, until the mixture is cold.

3. Transfer the cheese mixture to the serving plate. Dampen your hands and pat it into a 10-inch-long by 5-inch-wide football oval. Press the walnuts evenly over the surface.

4. Place remaining 2 ounces of cream cheese in a small plastic bag or a pastry bag. If using a plastic bag, snip a tiny hole in one corner. Squeeze the cream cheese onto the surface of the football to form laces: start about 1 1 / 2 inches in from the end and make 2 straight lines about 7 inches long right next to each other. "Draw" equally spaced 1 1 / 2-inch-long lines across. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Makes about 40 (1-ounce) servings. 

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BUFFALO CHICKEN SANDWICH 

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 cup light or regular mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, divided

4 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce

2 to 3 dashes Tabasco sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

2 pounds thin-cut boneless chicken breasts

1 pound long-loaf Italian or French bread, halved horizontally

12 romaine lettuce leaves

Decorative toothpicks

1. Combine the blue cheese, mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of the Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Combine the butter, hot sauce and Tabasco and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium high. Add half the chicken and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until chicken is nearly cooked through. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken. Return all the chicken to pan and add butter-hot sauce mixture; cook 1 to 2 minutes, turning chicken once to coat.

4. Spread bottom half of the bread with about half the blue cheese sauce and top with a layer of lettuce leaves. Layer chicken over lettuce and spoon hot sauce from skillet over chicken. Top with remaining blue cheese sauce. Brush remaining hot sauce on cut side of top of loaf and close sandwich. Secure every inch or so with decorative toothpicks. Slice just before serving. Makes 8 servings. 

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SHRIMP AND AVOCADO QUESADILLAS 

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 cups thinly sliced onion

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon sugar

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

1 avocado, thinly sliced

1. Toss shrimp with chili powder and salt.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, nonstick pan over medium high; add shrimp and cook until opaque, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.

3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Add onions, oregano and sugar; cook until onions are golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

4. Sprinkle 1 / 4 cup cheese on half of each tortilla. Top with onions, avocado and shrimp. Top with remaining cheese, and fold empty half of tortilla over filling.

5. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel and place over medium heat. Add two quesadillas at a time and cook until lightly browned and cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Allow quesadillas to stand 2 to 4 minutes before cutting each into 4 wedges. Makes 8 servings.