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Ask A Philadelphia Expert: Top Recipes For The Big Game

Watching football goes hand and hand with food and drinks. If you are hosting your favorite group for the Big Game this year and need some ideas for what to serve. Here are some tips on recipes for your next party from Philly Chefs Jose Garces and Mark Vetri, owners of several successful Philadelphia restaurants.

Mark Vetri
640 North Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA. 19130

Chef Mark Vetri owns some popular restaurants in Philly including Osteria, Vetri and Amis, and just completed a deal with Urban Outfitters to take over some of their operations. Vetri grew up in South Philly and is an expert on making meatballs for his Italian-styled restaurants. This stems from frequently being on "meatball duty" when growing up.

Meatballs Are An Easy And Well-Loved Food For Parties

This is because they are filling and portable. You can eat them on a plate or in a sandwich. As the host you can whip up meat balls that are served in a crockpot for ease of both you and your guests since they can fill up on them whenever they like. You, of course, can buy them frozen, but they are fairly simple to make if you want to have something extra special.

"Good meatballs are made with equal parts veal, pork and beef," says Vetri. You will get about 20 one-ounce meatballs per pound of meat. The rest of the recipe is as follows: for each pound, you will also need one slice of bread, 3/4 cup of milk and one egg, seasonings salt, pepper, garlic and shredded parmesan to mix in and top. You will also need about 1/2 cup of flour and 2 tbsp. of oil (for frying).

Mix up your meat, bread, mixture (all ingredients except the oil and flour) roll it into balls then dip in the flour before frying. Cook Meatballs in the oil for about 8 -10 minutes.

Marinara Sauce For Your Meatballs And Other Appetizers

Vetri recommends serving with a simple marinara sauce, which is nothing more than a can of tomato puree simmered with salt. It's just as simple as buying a jar of sauce, but much better for you. You can use this also as a dip for for mozzarella sticks, broccoli bites and similar appetizers.

Mozzarella Sticks

Fried breaded cheese is a fan favorite across the country and can be made by simply breading and frying chunks of whole mozzarella, or if you don't have the time or money, try using string cheese (the peel and eat mozzarella snacking sticks). Bread (simple egg and bread crumb mixture) and dip into a deep fryer for about 30 seconds. If you don't have a deep fryer, you can use a heavy pot (like a five quart) with several inches of oil. Oil should be heated to about 350 degrees.

Related: How To Throw An Eagles Game Day Party

Chef Jose Garces
217 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA. 19106
(215) 625-2450

Iron Chef Jose Garces is the owner of several Philly restaurants. His lineage goes to Ecuador, so many of his recipes have a lot of spice to them. Spicy foods are something that is enjoyed by many during a lot of sporting events. But you don't have to just serve up wings or jalapeno poppers. Garces offers a recipe with some spice that is easy to make and enjoy for the Big Game. (Or any time really).

Shrimp and Chorizo Flatbread Pizzas

This is a simplified version of Garces' recipe; he recommends substituting pita pockets instead of making your own bread. This recipe makes four servings, so you may wish to double up if you are having a large group.

1/2 cup hummus
2 ounces or half of a cup of thin sliced chorizo
1/2 pound or 8 ounces of shelled/de-veined shrimp
1 cup shredded Manchego Cheese
4 pocket-less pita breads.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees, place pitas on cooking sheet. Spread on hummus and top with the chorizo, shrimp and cheese. Cook for about four minutes (so the shrimp is cooked and cheese is melted). The shrimp should be opaque and pink when cooked. Top with tomato dressing.

Tomato Dressing

14 ounce can of drained diced tomatoes (reserve about 1/4 cup of the juices)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
Seasonings to your preference- Thyme, Shallot, Garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper.

Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here

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