Lisa Abraham


For a quick and easy Super Bowl party, just belly up to the bar.



No, not for drinks (although you probably will have those, too) but for pizza, tacos, burgers, baked potatoes or even salads.



A bar, otherwise known as a make-your-own buffet, is always a crowd pleaser at parties. Because it’s make-your-own, not only do the guests do much of the work, but also everyone is happy because they can make their food exactly how they like it.



For the party host, all of the work can be done in advance. Just put out the spread on game day and let everyone be as creative as they want.



Tailor the menu to your guests. Have lots of kids in the crowd? Consider a taco bar or individual pizzas. If it’s all guys, have burgers with a slew of toppers. Baked potatoes are family-friendly fare, and if it’s just the girls, a salad bar may be the way to go.



Here are some fun ideas for putting together a make-your-own bar for the game on Sunday.



Taco Bar



Kids can make plain tacos with meat, cheese and lettuce, while adults can indulge in macho nachos with hot peppers on top. The weight watchers in the group can skip the chips for a salad dressed with salsa, and the vegetarians will enjoy the bean and cheese options.



Start with: Seasoned taco meat (ground beef or turkey or shredded chicken).



Add: Tortilla chips, taco shells, flour tortillas.



Dress it up with: Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, diced onion, black olives, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, refried beans or black beans, queso dip, jalapeño slices.



Pizza Bar



Pepperoni and green peppers, chicken and spinach alfredo, fresh tomatoes on whole wheat — the choices are endless.



Have two sheet pans handy and your oven preheated. These pizzas bake in just eight minutes. Put in two sheets at a time, but just remember whose is whose.



Start with: Pre-made pizza crusts in white and whole wheat.



Add: Tomato sauce, alfredo sauce or garlic and olive oil.



Top it off with: Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, pepperoni, chopped green peppers, baby spinach, fresh sliced tomatoes, sliced cooked chicken breast, crumbled cooked Italian sausage, any other vegetable of your choice.



Burger Bar



Everyone loves a good burger. If the weather permits, grill them outside. If not, a sheet pan in the oven or broiler will do, as will a skillet, indoor grill or panini maker. Consider making them slider-size so that folks can try different combinations.



Start with: A platter of grilled burgers of your choice — beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, veggie.



Pile it on: A selection of buns — white, wheat, even pumpernickel.



Then add: Cheese — Swiss, cheddar, hot pepper, provolone, bleu, and of course yellow American.



Top it off: Bacon, chili, sauteed mushrooms, onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles and peppers.



Condiment me: Yellow and spicy brown mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, steak sauce, salsa and barbecue sauce.



Potato Bar



Why settle for loaded potato skins when you can eat the whole potato? An hour or two before the game, throw the potatoes in the oven so they’re baked and ready to eat when guests arrive. For something really different, make a big batch of mashed potatoes and keep them warm in a slow cooker for folks to top.



Start with: Butter and sour cream.



Pile on: Steamed broccoli, cheese sauce, chili, shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon.



Top it off: Diced onions or chopped chives.



Salad Bar



Everyone still likes a good salad, especially a big one with lots of stuff in it. Guests can make them as skinny or decadent as they choose.



Start with: Lettuce and other salad greens that have been torn up, washed and spun dry.



Add some protein: Sliced grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, tuna flakes, hard-cooked eggs.



Layer on veggies: Tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, carrots, celery, beets, broccoli florets, green peas, onions, berries, chickpeas, olives.



Make it decadent: Shredded mozzarella or cheddar, crumbled bleu or feta.



Finish it off: Bacon bits, seeds, nuts and of course, a variety of dressings.



Lisa Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or at labraham@thebeaconjournal.com. Find me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @akronfoodie or visit my blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/lisa.