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Comfort Fest: Pick Your Slider Stuffing for Super Bowl

Garlicky Meatball Sliders

Both comforting and game-day friendly, hand-held sliders make the perfect party food. Pick your favorite stuffing, be it meatballs, chicken or even tuna, and let the crowds go wild.

1. Garlicky Meatball Sliders (pictured above)

This ground beef and bacon meatball gets garlic flavor in two forms: from chopped, lightly pungent cloves baked into the meatballs, and also from sweet, earthy roasted garlic that’s incorporated into a creamy spread.

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Dinner Rush! Caprese Sliders

If you’ve tuned into Food Network at some point in the nearly 20 years it has been on the air, you’ve probably heard (more than) one of the chefs talk at length about the importance of using high-quality ingredients in your cooking. “Only select the freshest” they decree from their perfectly lit and styled flat screen stages. Curious thing is, they’re right.

I suggest a classic caprese salad for consideration — basil, mozzarella, tomatoes and olive oil. Four ingredients — maybe throw on a dash of salt — and it’s done. There’s not a lot of room for rock star ingredients to make up for the stragglers there, so take just a couple of minutes as you’re working your way through the grocery store to pick the best ingredients you possibly can. Reach for the ripe red tomatoes. Spend an extra dollar or two for a fresh, fruity olive oil. Don’t buy basil unless it smells like a Sunday Italian supper.

What those Food Network stars are getting at is what Dinner Rush! is all about: quick and easy dinner plans that come together as delicious dinner creations using a short list of very tasty ingredients. The more delicious your starting point, the more satisfying and effortless your slide finish into dinner time will be.

Caprese Sliders

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Game Day Eats: Barbecue Chicken Sliders

There’s an unspoken rule in our house that when there is pork butt, it had better be smoked. And pulled. By a man. And while I think I have a pretty great recipe for oven pulled pork, it often gets scoffed at by the self-declared pit master I reside with. Problem is, I have barbecue cravings during the 50 weeks he’s not out back drinking beers and worshiping fire. So I found a loop hole. (Apparently the “pit master” doesn’t have any beef with me cooking chicken.)

It took a few tries, but I think I perfected my barbecue chicken recipe—a bold statement—but just ask my fiancé. He gave it his hard-earned seal of approval, which I gladly accepted. The secret is not really in the braise (although it helps) but in what comes next. To get the blackened, crispy ends that you expect from a barbecue joint, you’ve got to throw the chicken under the broiler. As for the results? You could fool anybody that’s not in on your scheme.

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Bring On the Bar Snacks

Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Fondue

Elevate your bar snacking with Michael Symon's homemade potato chips and blue cheese fondue.

With the one-two punch of March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day, chances are you’ll be spending some time in a bar this weekend. In addition to a well-poured Guinness, it’s always a treat when the establishment’s snacks go beyond peanuts and pretzels that have been sitting around for who knows how long.

The rules for great bar snacks are simple: No knife and fork required. Easy to share. Salty and/or spicy to encourage more drinking. And no matter how virtuous we are in our daily meals, we usually indulge when it comes to bar food — so it better be worth the splurge. Michael Symon gets this, so he’s making his own bar snacks on Symon’s Suppers tonight. Once he whets your appetite, you might want to start cooking and move the weekend reveling and game-watching to your place.

Michael visits Iron Chef buddy Marc Forgione at his eponymous restaurant in New York to check out Marc’s gourmet bar food specialties, like pig’s head sliders on house-made potato rolls, brushed with a little melted lard for good measure. Michael’s verdict: “It’s dirty good, in such a good way.”

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Super Bowl Sandwiches and Sliders

Cajun Shrimp Po Boy

Believe it or not, a sandwich might just be the perfect game-day food. It’s, generally speaking, pretty uncomplicated, allows for a limitless number of meat/veggie/spread combinations, and comes in a handy, hand-held, nothing-left-over format.

With Super Bowl coming up this Sunday, we’re pulling out the best Cooking Channel has to offer between two buns.

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Big-Game Party Pick: Sweet and Sour Pork Sliders

Ching's Sweet and Sour Pork Sliders

Today we’re pulling up a chair — i.e., grabbing a seat on the couch in front of the TV — for a virtual pre-Super Bowl party hosted by Food Network (#pullupachair). To spice up this all-American game day with a little international flair, we’re bringing Ching-He Huang’s take on sliders, made with Asian-style sweet and sour pork meatballs. Easy to eat and packed with flavor, these two-bite snacks do the pigskin tradition proud.

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