When it comes to Super Bowl Sunday party eats, “simple, fast and delicious,” says Julie Zink of Minot, “is good.” Judging by her menu for the day of the big game, “delicious” is a sure win.

Though they’ve made New England home for more than a decade, Julie and her husband, Richard, grew up in Arkansas and spent the first 13 years of their marriage living in Alabama. With those deep Southern roots, the dishes they serve at their annual Superbowl party are flavorful and unique.

“Football is kind of a tradition down South,” says Richard, who, like Julie, speaks with a strong Southern accent. “When we moved up here, the Boston teams had not had a lot of success (but) since we’ve been here, it seems like Boston is the place to be.” And from the Celtics to the Sox, the Pats to the Bruins, both former Southerners are big fans.

The Zinks began their Super Bowl party tradition in about 2004. “When our son was motocross racing,” says Julie, “we invited the parents, and as our daughter got older we started getting to know the parents of her friends too.” Combine that with friends from Julie’s book club and their husbands, and friends who invited friends who then became new friends, “it’s a pretty big party. . . . We usually have about 50 people,” explains Julie. “One year we had 75!”

“Every year we cook one major Southern-style dish,” says Julie, as well as a handful of side dishes. Friends round out the menu with their contributions. In the past, says Julie, “we’ve made New Orleans-style gumbo, and last year we made barbecue. . . . This year, we’re deep frying a couple of 15-to-18-pound turkeys.”

“Julie picked up a turkey fryer at a yard sale this past summer,” says Richard. “She loves to do the lawn sale thing.”

Richard, who handles the main dishes and “cooks as much as I do,” says Julie, will deep fry each turkey individually in about 3 gallons of peanut oil – “enough to completely cover the turkey without overflowing the pot” – for 3 to 3.5 minutes per pound. “When it’s done, the turkey will float to the surface with a perfectly crispy brown skin. It should register 180 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer.”

“Most people inject the turkey with a marinade” before it goes into the fryer, says Richard. “We use a creole-style marinade that we found.” He also points out that “there are a lot of safety concerns when it comes to frying turkeys,” so do your research before you give this a try.

Richard is also in charge of the potatoes, cooked in “The Big Easy.” It’s like a big Fryolator “that you don’t use oil in,” explains Julie. “He puts vegetable oil on the potato and then rolls it in kosher salt” before it goes in the heavy basin of the cooker. “I don’t know how it works,” purrs Julie in her slow Southern style, “but they’re sooo good.”

“I make a cornbread casserole every year,” says Julie. “It’s my signature side dish.” Until recently, there was “one ingredient that I had not been able to find locally.” She had to bring it back with her whenever she visited family in Arkansas. “It’s a white self-rising buttermilk cornmeal,” she says, and “I found it at Save-A-Lot in Oxford!”

With a homemade cornbread as the base, Julie makes a sort of Southern style dressing — using celery, onion, chicken broth, eggs and spices — to go on top. “It doesn’t matter if it gets cold, but it’s better warm.”

“Most of our side dishes will come from our friends,” says Julie, and, by request, “some of our friends bring the same thing every year. . . . Everyone waits anxiously for the arrival of Sandy Therrien’s chili, and if you’re late you’ll miss out!”

The same goes for friend Colleen Quint’s spinach cheese bread. “Once it comes out of the oven, it never lasts long enough to get cold,” says Julie. And, on the sweet side, Gail Reid’s pudding-filled cookie cups, made with a chocolate chip cookie “crust,” score big every year.

Julie’s most requested recipe, however, is something she calls Scalloped Corn. Made with eggs, corn, Colby-Jack cheese and a package of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, it’s got the “simple” and “fast” categories that Julie talked about covered! As does her baked Vidalia onion dip; also a big hit each year.

Despite being a large gathering with lots of food, Julie notes that ““the party pretty much runs itself.” Which is a good thing, given that “I’m here for the game,” she adds.

Richard and Julie were hoping to see the Patriots play — “Our parties are so much better when the Patriots are in the game,” says Richard. Regardless, Southern-style flavors and hospitality will mix with the Northern comforts of February in New England as good friends and great eats come together at the Zinks’ on Super Bowl Sunday.

Easy-to-tackle Super Bowl recipes

The Patriots are out, but the show will go on.  And so will you, with help from these tried and true Bowl recipes provided by Julie Zink.

Baked Vidalia onion dip

1 cup chopped Vidalia onions

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese

1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 clove minced garlic

Combine all ingredients together and place in a casserole dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.

Scalloped corn

(This is Julie’s most requested recipe.)

1 can cream-style corn

1 can whole-kernel corn

3 eggs (beaten)

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup sour cream

1 package Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

8 ounces shredded Colby-Jack cheese

Beat eggs and add the cans of corn, the butter and the sour cream. Stir, then add the muffin mix. Place in a buttered (or sprayed with Pam) 13 x 9 baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (or until the middle is done).

Southern cornbread casserole

This will be the signature side dish to go along with the fried turkey at this year’s Super Bowl party.


Previously prepared cornbread (If you can locate it, Martha White Self-Rising Buttermilk Corn Meal Mix [white] works best; just follow the directions on the back of the package to make an 8-by-8-inch pan of cornbread. A different option for the cornbread is to use any type of white cornbread mix.)

2 or 3 stalks celery (chopped)

1 small sweet onion (chopped)

1/3 stick butter

1 tablespoon sage

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

2 raw eggs and 2 boiled eggs

1 large box Swanson chicken broth

4 slices of crumbled white bread (2 slices toasted, 2 slices regular bread with crust removed on all slices)

Salt and black pepper

Directions: Melt butter in a small saucepan. Saute celery and onion with 1/2 cup chicken broth until soft. In a buttered 15 x 10 x 2 glass baking pan, crumble the prepared cornbread, the toasted and regular bread, sage, poultry seasoning, raw and boiled eggs, the prepared celery and onion, and the salt and pepper to taste. Add most of the remaining chicken broth until soupy. Place in a 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until done. Check occasionally and add additional chicken broth if it happens to dry out when it is cooking.

Sandy Therrien’s Super Bowl chili

According to Julie, everyone anxiously awaits the arrival of Sandy’s chili to their Super Bowl party. It’s well known that if you are late to the party, you will miss out on the chili.

1 pound hamburger meat (lean)

3 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

3 (14-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans

1 small onion

1 bottle chili powder (McCormick’s)

1/2 bottle Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce (or to your liking)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

Shredded cheddar cheese

Cook hamburger meat, onion, dash salt, dash pepper, dash chili powder. Drain and put in crock pot, add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 4 hours. If you like it spicy, simmer longer and add more chili powder and Frank’s RedHot Sauce.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Colleen Quint’s spinach cheese bread

This is always a party favorite. Once it is taken out of the oven, it never lasts long enough to get cold!

1 10-ounce package, frozen, chopped spinach (thawed, squeezed dry)

1 large egg, beaten to blend

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)

1/4 cup fresh white breadcrumbs

1 11-ounce tube refrigerated Crusty French Bread dough

Makes 2 loaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a heavy large baking sheet. Mix spinach, beaten egg, milk, mustard and garlic salt in medium bowl. Mix in three cheeses along with fresh white breadcrumbs.

Unroll dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough to a 13-inch square. Cut dough in half, forming two 13-by-6.5-inch rectangles. Use half of the filling to make a narrow strip lengthwise down the center of each loaf, stopping about half an inch from the edge of each of the short sides. Fold one long side of each rectangle over the filling; fold over the second long side, overlapping first side slightly. Enclose the filling by sealing the long seam of each loaf and the ends. Arrange loaves, seam side down, on prepared sheet. Using a small sharp knife, cut crosswise slits at 1-inch intervals through the top of the dough.

Bake loaves until golden brown, approximately 25 minutes. Run metal spatula under loaves to loosen. Transfer loaves to rack and cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Gail Reid’s pudding-filled cookie cups


Prepared chocolate chip cookie dough

1 package (3.9 ounces or any 4-serving box) JELL-O instant pudding, any flavor

Whipped cream, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make cookie cups: Divide cookie dough into 24 portions. Spray two 12-cup mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Place a piece of cookie dough into each mini-muffin cup. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until dough starts to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then create an indentation in each cookie “crust” by pressing down gently on each cookie with something such as the top of a clean, capped soda or water bottle to create a depression in the middle.

Carefully ease cookie cups out of pan using a knife and place on wire rack to cool completely.

To make pudding: Follow the pudding directions on the box. While still warm, pour into the cookie cups and allow to chill and firm.

Top the cups with a dollop of whipped cream or whipped topping!

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