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Make your menu with super bowls

Remember bowls? They're those handy receptacles for filling with warm, festive winter food, easy stuff to eat when your attention is on the Big Game. Nice to team with other edibles.

Here are suggestions for your menu, to pile into bowls with hand-to-mouth extras for toppings. They are not one-occasion recipes, by the way. They're good for plenty of other hungry times of year.

From Cooking Light magazine comes a winter dinner from which two items stand out for our bowls: a crunchy snack mix and a beef stew with a Mediterranean flavor.

The stew can simmer in a slow cooker for dipping into as desired or can be served over mashed potatoes.

Crisp and Spicy Snack Mix

2 cups crisscross-type corn and rice cereal, such as Chex

1 cup tiny pretzel twists

{ cup reduced-fat wheat crackers

{ cup reduced-fat Cheddar crackers

1{ tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon ginger stir-fry sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

\ teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Combine the crisscross cereal, pretzels, wheat crackers and Cheddar crackers in a bowl. Combine butter, stir-fry sauce, chili powder, cumin and salt; drizzle over cereal mixture, tossing to coat. Spread mixture into jellyroll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes or until crisp, stirring twice.

Makes 4 cups (serving size { cup).

Nutrition information per serving: 117 calories, 9g fat (1.7g saturated), 2.2g protein, 18.5g carbohydrates, 0.8g fiber, 6mg cholesterol, 368mg sodium.

Beef Stew

1{ teaspoons olive oil

1{ pounds beef-stew meat cut into 1-inch pieces

3{ cups halved mushrooms (about 8 ounces)

2 cups diagonally cut carrots

1{ cups coarsely chopped onion

1{ cups sliced celery

2 garlic cloves, minced

1{ cups water

1 cup dry red wine

{ teaspoon dried thyme

1\ teaspoons kosher salt

\ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Two 14{-cans no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained

2 bay leaves

2\-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

\ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Add mushrooms, carrots, onion, celery and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return beef to pan. Stir in water, wine, thyme, salt, pepper, tomatoes and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Stir in olives and cook for 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaves. Stir in vinegar. Sprinkle with parsley.

Makes 6 servings (serving size 1 cups).

Nutrition information per serving: 288 calories, 10.3g fat (3.3g saturated), 25.2g protein, 20.1g carbohydrates, 5.7g fiber, 584mg sodium.

Source: Recipes from Cooking Light magazine, January 2004.

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