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Get into Super Bowl spirit with team-themed recipes

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By Greg Summers

Sunday's Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants will have football fans from Taxahaw to Bell Town and Coats Crossroads to Pleasant Valley glued to their television set for hours.

When you count all of the "must-see" commercials and a halftime show that pulls out all of the stops, it's more than a football game.

It's an event.

According to CBS, last year's NFL championship game between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears, drew 93.15 million viewers, making it the second-most-watched Super Bowl of all time.

If you and some of your friends plan on getting together Sunday for a party to celebrate Super Bowl XLII, you are going to need some snacks to see you through.

You might not be a fan of either team, but here are two regional recipes that can get you into the theme of the game.

On a day when few are counting calories, this smooth, pearly white New England Clam Chowder will score a sure touchdown with your guests.

Made with bacon, minced clams, potatoes, onions and simmered in a broth of clam juice, it's an easy-to-make, hearty soup than can be cooked in advance and warmed before the opening kickoff in Glendale, Ariz.

The chowder base can be made the day before with the clams and half-and-half added just before the game and heated.

Then you can follow it with an extra point from this low-fat New York style cheesecake.

Made with Egg Beaters, non-fat cream cheese and non-fat vanilla yogurt, it gets its flavor boost from lemon juice and vanilla extract. It has sugar in it, but Splenda can be substituted for the sugar or mixed together using a quarter cup of each.

Splenda can also be used in the topping instead of sugar.

Whatever you decide to prepare for your Super Bowl party, the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) rule applies at Super Bowl parties.

Here are a few tips for pulling off the perfect Super Bowl party.

•The less fussy, the better – Choose foods that can be eaten by hand, or with as few eating utensils as possible. That helps eliminate trash and the post-game dishwashing chores.

•Traditional tailgating dishes work best – Chips, sour cream, cheese, guacamole and salsa dips are perfect snacks when paired with big sandwiches, cold cuts, vegetable trays, meatballs, pizza, chicken wings, chili and cheese balls.

•Stick with finger foods as much as possible – Treat it just like tailgating and make sure portions are in manageable pieces.

•Some like it hot – Drinks that need to be warmed up can be kept in insulated jugs and placed on the table, too.

•Have the room ready – Before guests arrive, move any fragile objects from the room. There's nothing worse on fine art than a room full of armchair quarterbacks leaping up and yelling in unison at the same time.

•Not all of your guests will care to watch the Giants and Patriots play – Set up another room in the house stocked with its own TV and VCR, along with games and treats that kids will enjoy.

•Have a designated driver – If alcohol is going to be served, it's your responsibility to make sure that everyone gets home from the game safe and sound.If you need to, offer a "free pick-up and delivery" service so that no one has to worry about drinking and driving.Keep in mind that in some areas a homeowner who has hosted a party can be held legally responsible for impaired guests should an accident or fatality occur. This should be an added incentive to be safe while having fun.

•Offer a wide variety of nonalcoholic drinks, like soda, water and iced tea – Play bartender and don't let guests mix their own drinks. Serving as bartender, you can vary the ratio of alcohol to mixer and tell guests when it's time to take a break.

•Close down the bar – Stop serving alcoholic beverages two hours before guests leave.

Low-fat New York-style Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 low-fat graham cracker pie crust

1/4 cup vanilla nonfat yogurt

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

16 ounces nonfat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup Egg Beaters egg substitute

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

4 ounces nonfat sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Lemon and fresh mint sprigs for garnish (optional)

Directions

•Combine yogurt and flour in a medium size mixing bowl; beat mixture with electric mixture at low speed until well blended. Add cream cheese; beat at medium speed until smooth.

•Add sugar, egg product, grated lemon rind, lemon juice and vanilla extract; beat well. Spoon into pie crust.

•Bake for one hour (the center will be soft, but will firm when chilled). Turn off oven, partially open oven door.

•Combine topping and spread over cheesecake. Let cool in oven for 30 minutes with door open.

•Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack. If desired, garnish with lemon and mint.

–Conagra

New England Clam Chowder II

Ingredients

4 slices bacon

1/2cup chopped onion

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup bottled clam juice

1 cup half-and-half

2 (6-ounce) cans minced clams, drained

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2cup heavy cream (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

•In a large saucepan over medium high heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels, reserving the bacon fat in the pan. Crumble bacon and set aside.

•In the same saucepan with the bacon fat, add onions and potatoes and saute for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir well to coat.

•Pour in clam juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

•Add the half-and-half and minced clams. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in heavy cream, if desired, and allow to thoroughly heat for about 5 minutes. Do not boil if adding cream.

•Garnish with parsley and crumbled bacon.

– www.allrecipes.com

Contact Greg Summers at 283-1156 or gsummers@thelancasternews.com