Super Bowl Snacks On A Budget

Did you know that Americans spent over $1 billion on snacks for the Super Bowl in 2012? Over a billion dollars! On snacks! For one afternoon! Yes, it’s fun to have special snacks while you watch the game, but it doesn’t have to be that expensive.
The specials on groceries aren’t great this week (except for the ham and I’m tired of it!), so I’m going to do something different. Instead of presenting recipes and menus for inexpensive dinners using meats that are on sale, I’m going to give some ideas for making less expensive Super Bowl snacks.
But first, this week’s specials.
IGA has ground chuck for $2.69 a pound in 3-pound packages. 8-ounce packages of shredded cheese are 3 for $5.00, or $1.67 each. That’s $3.33 per pound. Canned tomatoes are three 14.5-ounce cans for $2.00, or 67 cents each. 28-ounce cans are 99 cents each. Tomato juice is 10 for $10.00, or $1.00 per can. These prices are good through Sunday, January 26.
Marsh has regular ground beef for $2.49 a pound in the family packs. Hormel Cure 81 Spiral Sliced Hams are $1.27 a pound, which I think is even better than it was around the holidays. Turkey thighs are $1.79 a pound. I don’t know if that’s a good price, but it should be mostly meat with little bone, so I’m guessing it’s not bad. Prices should be good through Wednesday, January 29.
I don’t know what it is with Aldi and pineapples, but they’re still 99 cents each. Cantaloupe are $1.89 each this week, and avocados are still 49 cents each. Cherry tomatoes are 99 cents a pint, celery is 89 cents a head, and baby carrots are 69 cents a pound. Prices are good through Tuesday, January 28.
Kroger has split chicken breasts for 99 cents a pound (that’s bone-in and skin-on). Eggplant is 10 for $10.00, or $1.00 each, which is probably a good deal, depending on the size. Select varieties of cheese are $3.29 each, for 12 to 16 ounces. 24 ounces of cottage cheese is $1.79.
I don’t know what you traditionally eat while you watch the game, but sandwiches, Buffalo wings (or wings of other flavors), chili, nachos, and chips and dips seem to be pretty standard. I’ll work with those. And I know you don’t want to be stuck out in the kitchen while the game is on (on the other hand, maybe you do!), so I’ll keep things simple and with as little last minute work as possible.
Let's start with sandwiches. Ham and cheese are both on sale, which is handy since HAM AND CHEESE SANDWICHES are usually popular with everyone. You can easily make a few without the ham for any vegetarians who may be watching with you. In fact, you might want to leave a few without the meat just in case.
Wings used to be practically given away, until someone came up with the idea of marketing them as special snack food. Now they’re often more expensive than boneless, skinless chicken breast! But they are traditional for a lot of Super Bowl parties, so let’s see what we can do with them. It’s going to be cheaper to make your own than to buy them ready made. I’m sure that doesn’t come as any surprise to you. Here are a couple of fairly easy recipes that don’t require a lot of last minute work. FYI, you should figure on about 15 raw wings per pound, or about 30 wing segments, plus the wing tips you should save to make CHICKEN STOCK or BONE BROTH. And another FYI – you can do something fairly similar with drumsticks or with strips of chicken breasts (99 cents a pound for bone-in, skin-on breasts, and don’t forget to make GRIBENES (baked Chicken Crisps) with the skin and to save the bones to make CHICKEN STOCK or BONE BROTH).
I think Buffalo Wings pretty much started the wings craze, but they're usually fried which is messy and time consuming. UNBELIEVABLE BAKED BUFFALO WINGS are baked (duh!) instead of fried but still come out nice and crispy. Much easier and tidier!

Another kind of baked wings is SWEET HOT MUSTARD CHICKEN WINGS. They're not particularly messy to make but, because the sauce is added at the last minute, they are messy to eat. And the sauce may get flung around the room with an exciting play! They are, however, very good.
I’m not going to give you a recipe for Chili. I assume you have your own favorite recipe. Instead, I’ll tell you where to get some of the ingredients on sale. IGA has ground chuck for $2.69 a pound, and regular ground beef is $2.49 a pound at Marsh. IGA has tomato juice, canned tomatoes, and tomatoes sauce on sale. Avocados are 49 cents each at Aldi. Three 8-ounce bags of shredded cheese are $5.00 at IGA, and 12 to 16 ounce blocks of cheese are $3.29 at Kroger. Sour cream isn’t on sale this week, but it’s usually cheapest at Aldi. These same ingredients are used in making Nachos, too. Add the COPY CAT FRITO LAY BEAN DIP to your Nachos.
Chips and dips are popular, too. Chips of all sorts, and dips of all sorts. I’ll give you recipes for SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP and COPY CAT FRITO LAY BEAN DIP. They’re both ridiculously expensive if you buy them pre-made. Or try one of the other dips posted here, like PESTO, HUMMUS, or CREAMY WHITE BEAN DIP. Don’t forget raw veggies as alternatives to chips. Aldi has 1-pound bags of baby carrots for 69 cents, celery for 89 cents a head, and grape tomatoes for 99 cents a pint.
You can make your own chips, too, if you want. They’ll probably be cheaper and will definitely be healthier. (I know – “healthy” isn’t necessarily a priority for watching the Super Bowl.) PITA CHIPS, TORTILLA CHIPS,  and FRENCH BREAD CHIPS are all super easy to make. Or, for a change of pace, how about serving GARLIC BREAD as a base for the dips, and spread it on the bread instead of dunking it?
So there you have it – a plentiful spread for Super Bowl Sunday, and for way less than a billion dollars!