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Puttin' on The Mitts: Savory snacks for the Super Bowl

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I love gathering with friends for the Super Bowl but not for the reason you'd expect. The game itself is OK but I love the food. Oh, and of course, the commercials.

While looking at Pinterest over the weekend, I discovered I had pinned this recipe for Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers but hadn't tried them yet. Since I needed a snack recipe for this week, I figured now was the time to try them. Plus, I had some of the ingredients on hand.

These were so delicious. The sweetness of the pepper and the bacon and cream cheese filling were a great pairing. I think these would also be tasty if you didn't bake them but stuffed them and put them in the refrigerator to let the mixture set up a bit. The coolness and crispness of the pepper would be pleasing to the palate as well. Either way, this recipe is a touchdown in my book!

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Found on the blog From Which Things Grow.

1 pound mini sweet peppers (about 22-24 peppers)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used about ½ cup of bacon bits)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Slice off the tops/stems of each pepper and clean out the seeds and ribs inside. Mix cream cheese, garlic powder, seasoned salt, bacon and cheese. Spoon the mixture into each pepper and place them into the muffin tin. Put them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, plate and serve.

- DeLynn

As a Vikings fan, there is not a whole lot to be excited about for this year's big game - except for the food, that is. Add the Super Bowl to the long list of days us Americans have designated as an excuse to overindulge, whether it be chicken wings, nachos or a pale ale or two (or five).

If I'm being honest, dip - of almost any kind - is my favorite food. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be dip. The chips or crackers that go along with it are merely a vehicle with which to move the dip from the bowl to your mouth.

Now when you start talking hot, cheesy artichoke dip, my self-control zooms right out the window. My goal with this week's recipe is an appetizer your Super Bowl guests also won't be able to resist: a traditional-ish artichoke dip with a smoky twist.

Slather it on a warm slice of focaccia bread, buttery crackers, tortilla chips or whatever suits your fancy. Just make sure you don't get penalized for excessive celebration once you've given this dip a taste!

Smoky Chipotle Artichoke Dip

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup half-and-half

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon salt

4 scallions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced

3 chipotle peppers in adobo, seeds removed, chopped

1 14-ounce can quartered artichokes, chopped

2 tablespoons parsley

½ cup shredded smoked mozzarella

½ cup shredded monterey jack cheese

To finish:

A handful of both shredded cheeses

A pinch of chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, half-and-half, garlic and salt. Mix until smooth.

Fold in the scallions, chipotle peppers, artichokes, parsley and cheeses. Mix until well combined.

Lightly coat a pie plate or shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the dip evenly in the dish.

Bake for about 25 minutes and then sprinkle the handful of shredded cheese across the top. Bake for another 10 minutes. Before serving, garnish with chopped parsley.

Allow to cool for five minutes before serving. Serve with focaccia bread, your favorite crackers, vegetables or anything dippable.

Note: If you'd like your dip spicier, keep the seeds in the peppers and add a little extra adobo sauce to the mix.

- Chelsey

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