| January 18, 2013

It's NFL Conference Championship Weekend, which means there will be lots playoff parties to attend.

Hosting instead?

READ: 5 Tips to Survive Football Season as a Couple

Here are four impressive recipes that feature foods associated with the cities looking for a chance to head to the Super Bowl.

When the Falcons take on the 49ers Sunday at 3:00pm ET and New England faces off against Baltimore at 6:30p.m. ET, make sure you're ready:


The Full Plate Blog
New England Patriots

For your Patriots party, try serving smoked salmon. Eila Johnson’s “The Full Plate Blog” features a quick and easy recipe that is bound to impress your guests.

Smoked Salmon Squares


  • Smoked salmon
  • Cream cheese or crème fraiche
  • Capers
  • Red onion
  • Fresh Dill
  • Bread squares (sold in packs)
  • Lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Toast bread slices in oven on a baking sheet, turning once, until golden for about 10 minutes.
  2. Spread cream cheese/crème fraiche evenly on each toast. Divide salmon, capers, and finely chopped onions among the toasts; season with pepper. Top each toast with fresh dill and lemon juice.
Baltimore Ravens

Crab cakes are a definite crowd pleaser — especially in Baltimore.  We came across a simple crab cake recipe on “Our Best Bites” blog  that you can whip up for your fellow Ravens fans in under 30 minutes!

Simple Crab Cakes with Remoulade
Lightly adapted from Cooking Light, April 2012

Crab Cakes:

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs, divided (more if needed)
  • olive or canola oil for pan


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of ground red pepper


  1. Mix all remoulade ingredients except lemon juice and red pepper.  Add lemon juice and red pepper to taste.  Store in fridge until ready to use.
  2. To prepare crab cakes, drain crabmeat on several  layers of paper towels.  Place crab meat in mixing bowl.  Add bell pepper, mayonnaise, pepper, onion, lemon zest and egg.  Toss very gently until combined and all ingredients are well distributed.  Add 1/4 cup panko and toss again.  Place remaining panko in a shallow dish.
  3. Divide crab mixture into 8 equal portions.  Form each portion into a patty about 3/4 inches high.  Dredge each patty in panko, on both sides, pressing bread crumbs in gently.
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.  When hot, add a drizzle of oil to lightly coat bottom of pan.  Place a few patties in the pan (spaced so that none of them touch each other) and cook for about 3 minutes.  Let patty cook for a full 3 minutes before flipping.  Flip patties and cook for another 3 minutes, until both sides are golden brown.  Repeat with remaining crab cakes and serve with remoulade.  Yields:  4 servings of 2 crab cakes each, and about 2 tablespoons remoulade.
Atlanta Falcons

Southern cooking! For a twist on some classic comfort food, try the barbecue chicken bites from Katie Farrell’s “The Dashing Dish” blog. At 45 calories per serving, enjoy them without the guilt!

Buffalo Chicken Bites


  • Cream cheese
  • Hot sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded chicken
  • Wonton wrappers


  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, hot sauce, mozzarella cheese and seasoning.
  3. Add the shredded chicken and stir until well combined.
  4. Begin filling the wonton wrappers by placing about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper. You could use a little more or less, just try not to over-fill them. To seal them shut, place your finger in the water, then trace the two corners with the water.
  5. Fold the wrapper in half to meet the two dry corners with two wet corners. Press to seal two sides together.
  6. When the wonton wrappers are filled, give them a light spray with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese over the top of each one if desired.
  7. Lay buffalo chicken bites on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown. Enjoy with hot sauce, or light Greek yogurt mixed with dry ranch seasoning!
San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco draws tourists to attractions including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, its cable cars, and…sourdough bread!  Historians claim the bread was a staple of gold prospectors, also called 49ers. As an ode to the city’s signature bread, here's the perfect appetizer for your 49ers party:  Spicy Spinach Dip in a Sourdough Boule from Marye Audet’s “Restless Chipotle” blog.


  • 1 (8 ounce) jar medium salsa (I used hot)
  • 1 pound chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 3/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup smoked cheddar, grated (divided use)
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, diced and softened
  • 1 15-oz can chopped black olives, drained
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or lime juice
  • 1/2 cup Panko crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large sourdough boule


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Cut a slice off the top of the boule and carefully pull out the bread leaving about a 1 1/2-inch thick wall and bottom.
  3. Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until it softens.
  4. Add the chopped onion, cover and turn down heat.
  5. Steam for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.
  6. Add half the smoked cheddar, Monterey Jack, salsa, cream cheese, black olives, and vinegar.
  7. Stir to blend.
  8. If mixture does not seem wet enough add up to 1/4 cup heavy cream.
  9. Spoon into the hollowed out bread bowl.
  10. Mix the remaining cheddar and Panko and sprinkle on the top.
  11. Place on a cookie sheet.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.
  13. Serve hot.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups