Jana Stocks Brown
So pretty. So hungry... The pepper and fruit are pretty, but the bacon is the star.

My family members have been fans of the Super Bowl for years. However, we've never been as concerned about who is playing as we are about what we're eating.

Growing up, my favorite Super Bowl snack was a thick seven-layer dip with homemade salsa and colored tortilla chips. Then I met my sweetheart, who introduced me to his sweet and savory bacon-rapped water chestnuts.

I'd seen bacon-wrapped treats before — usually chicken bits, hot dogs or dates — but I'd never seen bacon applied to a water chestnut. Usually water chestnuts are a second-rate crunch added to stir fry, but in this application they become sponges for flavor while adding a crunch to the whole thing. I admit it was love at first bite!

This snack tops our list as the best Super Bowl food, right up there with hot wings and braised ribs. How can you beat warm, caramelized bacon wrapped around a crunchy, slightly sweet water chestnut? We always make a huge batch, and all that's ever left is a pile of chewed toothpicks.

Caramelized Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

1 cup homemade ketchup (recipe below) — Low-sodium store-bought ketchup will work in a pinch

1 cup raspberry jalapeno fruit spread (can be found with the sauces or jams in many local stores)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Two or three 8 ounce cans of water chestnuts

16 ounce package bacon strips

Mix ketchup, fruit spread, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar together and set aside. Cut bacon strips into thirds and set aside. Cut water chestnuts each in half, except for small ones. Wrap each water chestnut piece in one bacon piece and secure with a toothpick.

Set wrapped water chestnuts on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, making sure pieces do not touch. Broil on high for 5 minutes on each side, then liberally coat with prepared sauce and broil an additional 5 minutes or until caramelized.

Spicy Ketchup

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup diced red onion

Eight large roma tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

½ teaspoon chopped fresh dill

Pinch each of Real Salt, ground black pepper, ground allspice, celery salt

Two pinches of ground mustard seed

1 tablespoon Ultra Gel instant thickener (if needed)

Heat oil over medium heat, then add onions and sautÉ until caramelized. Reduce heat to medium low and add tomatoes and garlic. Simmer for one minute to tenderize, then add all remaining ingredients except for Ultra Gel. Mix, then reduce heat to maintain simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and add mixture to blender with Ultra Gel. Pulse blender 10 to 15 times to reduce to mostly smooth paste. Store the unused portion in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Jana Brown is a writer, cook, wife and mother. She is a dedicated foodie and enjoys both cooking and eating. She blogs at cornabys.wordpress.com. Twitter: Cornabys