Sports are a big part of American culture, and when it comes to big games, there's no denying that the Super Bowl is one of the biggest: the pomp and circumstance behind it all are second to none, with 14 weeks of buildup to the big showdown, with music, dancing, memorable advertising, and even some football. Sometimes the game seems secondary to all that's going on around it.

Regardless of which team you're rooting for, it can be a lot of fun sitting down with family and friends to watch the big game. Whether it is at a party or simply sitting down in the comfort of your living room, you can spend an enjoyable evening watching the two teams vie for the Lombardi trophy, and a big part of that of that enjoyment is eating. This year the Super Bowl will be played in Arizona, making it a good opportunity to serve foods with a Southwestern flair. The key is to make them fun and easy to eat, and of course, tasty.

Here are some of our favorite Super Bowl foods. The recipes are enough for a family of four, but you can scale it up as necessary.

Ground Beef Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t fresh black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • diced tomatoes, salsa, grated cheese
  • 1 package of taco-sized tortillas. If using corn tortillas, cook them in a shallow pan of hot oil for about 10 seconds on each side.

Method

Place cooked ground beef in a skillet and add the remaining ingredients except ketchup. Turn stove on high and mix meat with spices and liquids until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, mixing regularly, until onions are tender and most of the liquid is boiled off. Add ketchup and mix thoroughly. When most of the liquid is gone, turn off heat and cover until ready to eat. (reserve ½ cup of meat for quesadilla)

Black Bean Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ onion
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • ½ cup milk, or rice/soy milk
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ cup grated cheese, cheddar or jack
  • tortilla chips

Method

Saute onions and bell peppers in a two-quart saucepan until tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and add beans, milk and salt. Blend beans until smooth using a blender or immersion blender. Pour beans back into the pan, mix in cheese, and cook over low heat until cheese is completely melted. Serve warm with tortilla chips. Save ⅓ cup for quesadilla.

Ground Beef Quesadilla

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg large flour tortillas
  • 1 cup grated cheese, cheddar or jack (or both)
  • ½ cup of taco meat (see above)
  • ⅓ cup black bean dip (see above)

Method

Place one tortilla on a broiler pan and spread bean dip on one side. Add meat and cheese and place second tortilla on top. Place broiler shelf on the second highest level. Fire up broiler and cook quesadilla until it nicely browns. Take it out, flip it over, and broil the other side until it browns and cheese is melted. Let cool for five minutes and cut into wedges and serve with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ lime
  • 1 plum tomato, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro (optional)

Method

Peel avocado and dice into small ¼ inch squares. Place in bowl, add lime juice, and mash with a fork until you have a coarse paste. Add remaining ingredients, mix thoroughly, and cool in fridge for one hour. Serve with chips and quesadilla.