Elote en Vaso (Mexican Street Corn in a Cup) Photo courtesy Ann Beth Strelec
Elote en Vaso (Mexican Street Corn in a Cup) Photo courtesy Ann Beth Strelec

Naked Epicurean: Winning Super Bowl party dishes

(Disclaimer: Any opinion in this column belongs to the author.)

Thinking about hosting a Super Bowl party? I say YES, do it! It’s truly one of the easiest parties to throw! You need not fret over a fancy menu or seating arrangements or table settings or riveting conversation. The focus is on the 55-inch-plus screen, whether it’s the clashing titans, the über expensive commercials or the over-the-top half-time show with whispered promises of wardrobe malfunctions. This is a low-pressure gathering of kindred spirits.

Your Host-With-the-Most menu should be simple yet varied, featuring

  ✔️   something sweet 

  ✔️   something salty   

  ✔️   something gooey 

  ✔️   something wing-y.

And of course lots of bevvies to wash it all down.

Grilling a brisket is always a tasty idea, as is a lineup of slow cookers full of chilies and soups. Asking your friends with crockpots to bring their favorite soups while you simply provide condiments and bowls is genius.

Here are other winning ideas to keep things yummy yet simple.

Say so to Queso

Queso Dip is a football party staple that never disappoints. Googling queso dip recipes will set you into a tailspin of overwhelm, so give this melty cheese + chorizo + beer queso a try, either on the grill or in the oven. 

Grilled Queso

Grilled queso fixin’s. Photo courtesy Ann Beth Strelec

▪︎¾ block Velveeta blanco cheese

▪︎1 block pepper jack 

 ▪︎4 oz cream cheese 

▪︎1 lb loose chorizo 

▪︎1 can Rotel with chillies

▪︎¼ C red onion, diced

▪︎1 bunch cilantro, chopped

▪︎6 oz of your favorite beer 


▪︎chips or vegetables for serving

Preheat grill or oven to 200⁰F. Add all ingredients to a disposable 9×13 pan. Cook 90 to 120 minutes (until cheese is bubbling), stirring every 30 minutes during the cooking process. Don’t worry if the beer doesn’t incorporate into the cheese right away. Once the cheese is fully up to temperature, it will mix in nicely. Remove from heat and serve.

What’s a Super Bowl Party without wings?

Wings are always crowd-pleasers, no matter the style or sauce. Their cute little handles make them easy to pick up and easy to eat. Just be sure to provide lots of napkins. These Dragon Wings are my “house wings.” Their heat comes from Gochujang, a fiery Korean spice unlike any other. If you are unsure about the heat, err on the lesser amount in the recipe. One tablespoon is plenty to make a statement, while three tablespoons is for people who like to deliciously punish their mouths.

Spicy Dragon Wings

▪︎2-3 lbs chicken wings, drumettes and/or flats

Spicy Dragon Wings. Photo courtesy Ann Beth Strelec

▪︎3 cloves garlic, minced

▪︎1-3 Tbsp Gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste) 

▪︎½ tsp Gochugaru (Korean chili powder)

▪︎2 Tbsp soy sauce

▪︎½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

▪︎2 Tbsp sugar

▪︎2 Tbsp water

▪︎1 tsp sesame oil

▪︎ freshly ground S&P
▪︎white sesame seeds

▪︎chopped scallions

1.Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the wings in a single layer on the parchment. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Bake skin side up for 40 – 45 minutes, until crisp.

2. In a large frying pan, add all remaining ingredients (except sesame seeds and scallions). Heat on low heat, whisking to mix well. When it thickens, remove from heat.

3. Toss wings in the sauce, coating well. Garnish with the sesame seeds and scallions. Serve hot.

For the grill: Grill wings at 350⁰F for 40-45 minutes, flipping halfway through. Crank up the heat to 400⁰ for the last 5 minutes to crisp them up. 

Vegetarian pleasers

Mediterranean hummus. Photo courtesy Ann Beth Strelec

Perhaps some of your guests prefer meatless snacks? I got ya! Serve this beautiful and deceivingly simple Loaded Mediterranean Hummus. Start with store bought hummus; then add all the colorful toppings. Easy peasy, nice and easy.

Loaded Mediterranean Hummus 

▪︎1 tub of your favorite store bought hummus (I like Sabra)

▪︎feta cheese (do not buy it crumbled;buy a block and do it yourself)
▪︎Kalamata olives
▪︎cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
▪︎fresh parsley, chopped
▪︎additional chickpeas

▪︎quality EVOO

▪︎sumac or za’atar, if you have it on hand

Scrape the hummus onto a platter. Top with other ingredients including a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkling of spices. 

Something you might not have thought of

Mexican Street Corn, or esquites (meaning “toasted corn”) is referred to as elote en vaso when served in a cup. Individual servings of this creamy + tangy corn are perfect for mindless eating in front of a blaring, giant TV. 

You can make these elote cups ahead of time by assembling the corn salad and storing it in an airtight container fridge. Spoon the corn mixture into cups and add the Fritos + the rest of the toppings right before serving, layering the Fritos, if desired. 

Elote en Vaso (Mexican Street Corn in a Cup) Photo courtesy Ann Beth Strelec

Elote en Vaso (for 4-6)

▪︎3 C frozen corn or drained canned corn

▪︎3 Tbsp mayonnaise

▪︎3 Tbsp sour cream

▪︎4 Tbsp cotija or feta cheese (save some for garnish)

▪︎1 tsp chili powder, plus more for garnish

▪︎1 tsp garlic powder

▪︎½ lime, zested + juiced

▪︎3 green onions, sliced (save some for garnish)

▪︎3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped (save some for garnish)


1. Char the corn by tossing it into a hot, dry pan over medium heat until it thaws and starts to brown. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 Tbsp of cotija, chili powder, garlic powder, lime zest + juice, 2 green onions, and 2 Tbsp cilantro. Mix well.

2. Spoon the corn mixture into 4-6 individual cups. If you’re serving them right away, you can add a layer of Fritos in the middle, like a parfait. Otherwise, add the Fritos on top.

Top the cups with the remaining cheese, cilantro, green onion and add a sprinkle of chili powder. Serve with a fork or large, sturdy corn chips for scooping.

A bevy of bevvies

It’s likely that you’ll be serving beer + wine at your Super Bowl Party. And it’s likely that someone will crave something just a little bit different. The Strawberry Wine Spritzer and the Mango Michelada are sparkling options using the alcohol you’ll have on hand. Their hint of sweetness complements the salty and spicy snacks on the table. And they are easy enough for your guests to make themselves.

Strawberry White Wine Spritzer 

A bit fancier than wine and definitely a burst of beautiful color. Serving this cocktail makes perfect sense because the fruity sweetness is a welcomed complement to salty snack-y football party foods. ALSO, you might have already had wine on your grocery list, so this pretty little trick is just a wrist’s flick away from popping a bottle. 

AND…it is easy to make by the pitcher so you’re not missing your favorite commercials by being strapped to the kitchen while mixing cocktails. 

(for 1 cocktail)

Strawberry Spritzer. Photo courtesy Ann Beth Strelec

▪︎3 ounces Sauvignon Blanc

▪︎1 ounce vodka

▪︎¼ C frozen strawberries

▪︎1 Tbsp agave nectar

▪︎1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

▪︎1½ ounces soda water

▪︎fresh strawberries + herbs for garnish

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries, lemon and agave. Add ice, wine and vodka; shake well. Strain over ice into a wine glass and top with soda water. Garnish and enjoy!

Make a pitcher at a time by mixing all ingredients except the soda water. Add the soda water to the top of each glass you pour.

Fruity bevvy

Mango Michelada (Mango-lada) for 2

These fruity + fizzy mango-ladas pair perfectly with game day snackaroos. And since you maaayyy already have a cooler full of adult bevvies for your soiree, sneak a couple of those over to your cocktail-making station to toss together these tasty sippers.

Mango Michelada (Mango-lada). Courtesy Ann Beth Strelec

▪︎12 ounces Mexican beer, extra chilly

▪︎1 lime, halved

▪︎10 ounces Sarah’s Homegrown mango agua fresca or juice (nectar is too thick but can be watered down)

▪︎1 Tbsp kosher salt

▪︎1 Tbsp Trader Joe’s Chili Lime spice blend or Tajin

▪︎agave or honey 

▪︎2 dashes hot sauce 

▪︎sliced jalapeños and limes for garnish

Combine salt + chili spice in a shallow dish. Pour agave/honey in another shallow dish. Rim 2 tall glasses with agave/honey, then press the rims into the salt-chili mixture to coat. Fill glasses ⅔ full with ice. Add mango juice and squeeze limes. Add in a few drops of hot sauce if desired; stir to combine. Top with beer. Garnish and serve.

Heading for the goal line

Here’s the bottom line: no one wants stress while entertaining, so do as much as you can beforehand, especially your shopping and cleaning. That way, when your guests arrive you can be the graceful and gracious domestic deity you are meant to be. As the convivial host who has gathered friends and family together, you are already a winner. 


Ann Beth Strelec is known around town as Naked Epicurean, but this cocktail connoisseur also has mad skills in the kitchen and on the grill.

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