Stretch before you eat, drink on Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday ranks second only to Thanksgiving in terms of marathon eating and snacking -- even for those sad football fans whose teams didn't make it into the playoffs. Nachos, chili, pizza and wings are perennial favorites (plus beer, lots of beer) for those watching the game, but we also like stuff you can dip a chip or cracker into. The ooey-gooier, the better.

Actually, any food you can eat while simultaneously cheering or jeering the teams on is a winner. And if it packs up well to travel to a friend's house, that much the better.

Mexican Chorizo and Cheese (Queso Fundido con Chorizo)

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Who can resist hot melted cheese, especially when it's paired with spicy sausage? You can find authentic chorizo at Reyna Foods in the Strip District. I served this dip with homemade tortilla chips.

  • 5 ounces Mexican chorizo, casings removed

  • 1/2 cup sliced white onion ( 1/2-inch strips)

  • 1/2 cup silver/blanco tequila

  • 12 ounces quesadilla or asadero cheese, shredded

  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

  • 6 corn or flour tortillas, warmed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an oven-safe iron skillet, cook the chorizo on your stovetop until almost done, about 15 minutes. Drain excess fat.

Add onion to chorizo and cook until browned. Remove pan from heat.

Carefully add tequila. Return to heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 seconds or until most of the tequila has dissipated. Remove from heat.

Stir in cheese and combine well. Place skillet in oven and bake uncovered for about 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and slightly golden brown on top.

Sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve with corn or flour tortillas.

Makes 6 servings.

-- "Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor" by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith and Evangelina Soza (Hippocrene, Oct. 2012, $22.50)

Homemade Tortilla Chips

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These are so incredibly easy, and so much tastier (not to mention so much cheaper) than bagged chips. Store any leftovers (yeah, right!) in a plastic bag.

  • 20 yellow or white corn tortillas

  • Olive or vegetable oil

  • Coarse salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut tortillas in half, and then again into thirds or quarters. Place in a large bowl, and drizzle with oil. Toss to thoroughly coat, then sprinkle to taste with salt.

Place tortilla pieces in a large roasting pan and bake, stirring occasionally to separate the chips, until lightly browned and crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite dip or salsa.

Serves a bunch.

-- Gretchen McKay

Codzitos (Crispy Rolled Little Tacos)

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These are so good that my daughters' friend, who as a model doesn't very often splurge on fried food, couldn't resist eating a few -- I had to make a second batch.

Be sure to use toothpicks or the tacos will quickly unroll in the pan. Drain on paper towels, and serve with sour cream and salsa.

For chicken filling

  • 2 tablespoons canola of safflower oil

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion

  • 1/2 pound tomatoes (about 1 large or 2 small), chopped

  • 2 chiles serranos, stemmed and coarsely chopped

  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the codzitos

  • 12 corn tortillas, 4 inches in diameter, warmed if not freshly made

  • 1/2 cup canola or safflower oil, divided, plus more if needed

  • 1 cup salsa

  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or shredded

  • Monterey Jack cheese

Make filling: Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in onion, tomatoes and chiles and fry until all are softened, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and salt and continue cooking for several more minutes until mixture is almost dry. The filling must be warm when it is wrapped in tortillas, so if not using immediately, reheat just before using.

Assemble codzitos: Spoon a line of chicken mixture down the center of each warm tortilla, roll up the tortilla and then slide a toothpick horizontally into the roll to secure it in place. If making unstuffed codzitos, simply roll up each tortilla as tightly as possible and slide a toothpick horizontally into the roll to secure it in place. It is important to do this while the tortillas are warm or they will break apart.

Heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the rolled tortillas into the hot oil and fry, spooning the hot oil over the tortillas so they color evenly, until crispy, less than 1 minute. Using a slotted spatula or tongs, lift out the codzitos and keep warm on a heatproof platter in oven while you fry the second half. Add more oil to skillet if needed.

Pile the codzitos on several small plates. Drizzle with salsa, sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

-- "La Cocina Mexicana" by Marilyn Tausend with Ricardo Munoz Zurita (University of California Press, Oct. 2012, $39.95)

Gretchen McKay:, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.


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