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Super Bowl Snack Time : Make-Ahead Finger Foods Are Great for Self-Service

January 28, 1988

On Super Bowl Sunday, no one, not even the cook, will want to stray far away from the television set. An easy solution is to prepare as much of the food as possible ahead of time and rely on the supermarket service deli for the main ingredients. Then, arrange both food and beverages as close to the action as possible for convenient self-service.

Hearty finger foods are easiest to eat and guaranteed to keep a team of armchair quarterbacks satisfied through the final play. Top nachos with wedges of spicy pepperoni, use turkey breast instead of ground beef to make mini tacos or add julienne strips of hard salami or pepperoni, grated Parmesan and melted butter for popcorn with pizazz.

The appetizer suggested here is Cheesy Pepperoni Bites. These bite-size corn muffins are zipped up with diced pepperoni, green chiles and Jack cheese. Mix and fill muffin pans just before game time, cover and refrigerate. Or, bake them ahead and reheat before serving.

CHEESY PEPPERONI BITES

1/2 pound sandwich pepperoni, unsliced

1 cup flour

1 cup cornmeal

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1/4 cup oil

1/2 cup shredded Jack cheese

1/4 cup drained diced green chiles

Remove five 1/8-inch thick slices from pepperoni package. Cut each slice into eighths and set aside. Cut remaining pepperoni into 1/4-inch cubes.

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in large mixing bowl. combine eggs, milk and oil and fold into dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in cheese, chiles and diced pepperoni.

Spoon batter into greased mini-muffin pan cups, filling almost to top. Top each muffin with one wedge of reserved pepperoni, pressing slice halfway into batter. Bake at 400 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately and serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen snacks.

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