Dean shares easy Super Bowl appetizer ideas

Cooking with Dean

On his weekly cooking segment, WGN Entertainment Reporter Dean Richards shares easy appetizer recipes for Super Bowl Weekend.

Toaster Oven Pizzas


  • 2 pitas or pre-made pizza crusts 
  • 1 tablespoon, olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 4 tablespoons, jarred pasta sauce (4-cheese is perfect)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon, dried oregano
  • 12 small pepperoni slices (pepperoni pizza)  -or-
  • 3 thinly sliced fresh tomatoes (margarita pizza)  -or-
  • Topping of choice, or none.  
  • ¼ cup romano cheese


Preheat a toaster oven to 375 degrees F and position a rack in the center.

Meanwhile, place the pitas/crusts on a toaster oven baking sheet. Brush (or spray) the olive oil all over each pita/crust.

Spread 2 tablespoons of the pasta sauce on top of each the pita. Evenly sprinkle each surface with 1 cup of the cheese. Sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of the dried oregano then arrange the pepperoni slices/tomatoes on each pizza.

Bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the toaster oven and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Cut each pizza into 4 pieces and serve. 



  • One pound deveined, shelled, tailed uncooked medium or jumbo
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper to taste 


Clean the shrimp. Remove shells and veins.

Mix oil with seasoning in a small bowl.

Brush shrimp with seasoning mixture.

Arrange shrimp in air fryer basket or rack.

Cook for 8 minutes at 375 degrees.  (no need to turn them).


Caramelized Onion (or Guacamole) Phyllo Cups

Caramelized Onion Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 pounds sweet onions (about 2 large), thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 2 cups), divided
  • 2 (1.9-oz.) pkg. frozen mini phyllo pastry shells (15 cups in each pkg.)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onions, salt, sugar, and pepper; cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown and very tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in sherry, parsley, and thyme; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 3/4 cups of the cheese; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place phyllo shells on a baking sheet, and fill each with about 1 tablespoon of the onion mixture; top each cup with some of the remaining cheese. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Place on a serving platter, and sprinkle with chives. Serve hot. 


  • 24 mini PHYLLO shells
  • 1 container GUACAMOLE or mix fresh avocado with chopped onion, tomato and garlic (jalapenos, optional)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes


Open filo shells package and transfer to a platter. Fill each one with avocado mixture. 

Top with feta and chopped tomato. 

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