In Queso Emergency

The Houstonian's Guide to Hosting the Perfect Super Bowl Party

Real life is not Pinterest — here's how to host a Super Bowl party sans made-from-scratch football field.

By Katharine Shilcutt January 26, 2017 Published in the January 2017 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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All anyone really wants in life is unlimited chips, queso and guac.

Image: Shutterstock

1. FORGET ABOUT CREATING AN EDIBLE FOOTBALL STADIUM. Real life is not Pinterest, and the little guacamole-covered field inevitably leaks out onto the table. Anyway, people just want unfettered access to their guac—and chips, and queso. Be sure you have plenty of all three on-hand. Get some pre-made guac (Kroger’s spicy version is a favorite) and save your effort for homemade queso.

2. SMOKE A BRISKET. If you can’t or don’t want to, buy one fully cooked from H-E-B. Your brisket can be turned into any variety of meals from here, but we suggest a build-your-own brisket-taco buffet with a Crock-Pot of refried beans, fresh flour tortillas from El Bolillo, and plenty of shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, cilantro and all the other fixin’s.

3. SUPER BOWL PARTIES AREN’T THE TIME TO BREAK OUT THE PUNCH BOWL. Buy a few cases of local beer instead. Saint Arnold Santo is a natural pairing with brisket, while Buffalo Bayou 1836 Copper Ale is the rosé of beers: a crowd favorite that goes with everything. Make sure to have some non-alcoholic options on-hand for designated drivers and/or people still trying to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. We recommend a few cases of LaCroix.

4. DID Y’ALL KNOW THAT TEXAS FIRECRACKERS—the addictive crackers baked here in Houston by Texas Fiery Snacks— now come in a cayenne-ranch flavor? Sprinkle a few bowls of these around the TV area, and folks may never leave the living room.

5. FOR DESSERT, you could always order cute football-themed cupcakes from Crave or football-topped bundts from Nothing Bundt Cakes, but we’ll be sticking with a classic crowd-pleaser: Texas sheet cake, topped with a layer of fresh pecans. 

Recipe: Chili con Queso a la Houston


  • One 16-ounce box of Velveeta
  • One 15-ounce can of Wolf Brand Chili (no beans!)
  • One 7-ounce can of Herdez Salsa Casera


Dump everything into a large Crock-Pot. Slow-cook on low until Velveeta is melted. Mix and serve. Serves 6 to 8. Scale up as necessary.

Texas sheet cake cr4nvj

Trust us, your guests would love some classic Texas sheet cake.

Recipe: Texas Sheet Cake

For the Cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease and flour a 13x9 baking pan.


  1. Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon in one bowl, and set aside.
  2. Stir together the remaining ingredients in another bowl.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry. Stir until you have a smooth, thin batter.
  4. Pour into your pan. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.

For the Frosting: 

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)


  1. Mix the milk and cocoa in a heavy saucepan. Add the butter and stir until it melts over medium heat. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the pecans.
  2. When the cake is just out of the oven, spread the frosting evenly on the hot cake.

Recipe adapted from Texas Cooking.

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