“Super Bowl is often about hearty, comfort food and spicier items,” says Denelle. “Chili is always a favorite, but so, too, are wings, nachos and dips.” 

The owner of Cooking with Claudia suggests keeping your menu simple and delicious. “I’m a big proponent of homemade cooking, but make things easy on yourself, especially if you're cooking for a crowd” says Denelle. “If you’re making a homemade buffalo chicken dip, then get the prepared rotisserie from the supermarket. You want to have time to watch the actual game and have some fun, too.”

Here, Denelle shares her take on Super Bowl foods and passes along that popular chili recipe—a two-time winner of the Chili Cook-Off at Alumni Day!

Work in the Veggies

Denelle has a stromboli on her Super Bowl menu. “I roast broccoli, onions, red peppers, garlic and onion, then add some mascarpone cheese and sprinkle with pecorino and fresh tarragon. Roll it all in a pizza dough and bake according to dough instructions,” she says. “The tarragon has a nice mild flavor to it.” 

New Twist on Shrimp 

Place frozen peeled and deveined shrimp in a plastic bag with fresh garlic, tarragon and black pepper, to taste. “As it defrosts, the wonderful flavors develop,” says Denelle. Place the marinated shrimp on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for 4 minutes then turn the shrimp over and cook for 3 minutes. “It doesn’t even need a sauce,” she says. “It’s good on its own.”


Claudia's Chili Recipe

3 lbs. meatloaf mix
1 large onion, diced
½ lb. bacon lardons
1 can tomato paste (preferably no salt) with 1 can of water
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp basil leaves
1 tsp oregano leaves
3 tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
3T olive oil
1 28 oz can diced canned tomatoes with ½ _can water
1 16 oz can each of red kidney beans, cannellini beans, and black beans

Directions: 1. Preheat your Dutch oven. 2. Put olive oil in large Dutch oven on high heat. 3. Add the bacon and brown. Remove to use later. 4. Add the ground meats to the bacon drippings and brown thoroughly. 5. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 3 or 4 hours over low heat, covered. At the halfway point put cover ajar, if the chili is too loose. 6. Test for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

Cooking Mantra

Denelle, who teaches daily cooking lessons and hosts cooking camps for kids, tells her students, “You are the boss of these ingredients. Have confidence and don’t be timid.” She explains that the key is first knowing what flavors you prefer, so you can season your food accordingly. “What is in something you really like? Salt, pepper, fresh herbs. It’s all just ingredients, so understand what you like.” As Denelle's company slogan states, "Happy cooking! Happy eating!"

A Way of Life 

A business major at Stonehill, Denelle went on to earn an MBA at Suffolk University. Throughout her life, cooking has remained her passion. “My earliest memories are in the kitchen—dragging a chair over to the kitchen sink to help peel potatoes,” she recalls. “I learned by watching my mother and grandmothers.” Denelle opened Cooking with Claudia in 2008, a family-owned and operated, full-service catering business, where she also teaches children and adults cooking skills from how to use a knife to lessons in flavors. Last November, Denelle shared her expertise with alumni during “Stress-Free Holiday Hosting,” a virtual event presented by Stonehill’s Alumni Council Programming Committee. “Cooking is how I live my life,” says Denelle. “I love food!”