Are you ready for some football (foods)?

Viewing parties are the perfect time to try some new dishes that are ideal for sports seasons and beyond

It’s football season, a chance to gather family and friends to watch your favorite high school, college and professional teams play.

The key to a delicious football party is simplicity — lots of good food that doesn’t require too much prep time and isn’t too fussy. After all, who wants to mess with plates, silverware and special serving dishes during the game.

Don’t worry about putting together an elaborate menu. Instead, concentrate on items that can be prepared in advance, then heated for the crowd.

Spend your creative cooking energy on the best pot of chili or stew that you can manage. Add several dips for pretzels, potato chips, carrot sticks, green and yellow pepper strips and celery — and remember, vegetables for football fans should be raw. Crunching will help them work out their frustration.

Buffalo wings are a perennial favorite. But instead of the usual red hot sauce, try a variation, perhaps with a sweet-sour sauce. These sauces will also work on chicken drumsticks or thighs, which make meatier snacks than wings.

When it comes to desserts, think hand-held. Cookies, brownies and caramel corn leave people free to concentrate on the game. If you want to make a cake, try a rich pound cake that can be pre-sliced, drizzled with glaze and held like a cookie.

Consider an indoor tailgate party theme and have guests bring their own beverages and coolers. If you are short on seating, they can always pull up their cooler.

Following are a few recipes for foods that are ideal for game day from


Beer Caramelized Onion Dip


2 medium/large onions, thinly sliced

6 cloves garlic, unpeeled

Olive oil

3/4 cup beer

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

2 green onions, sliced, dark green parts reserved for garnish

4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded




Make a small foil pouch, place garlic inside, drizzle with oil, seal and bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Heat a little olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onions. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 35 minutes. Once the onions are golden brown, add the beer, cover with the lid slightly ajar and cook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze.

When garlic is cool enough to handle, peel and place in a medium bowl with cream cheese, a pinch of salt, some pepper and sour cream. Using a fork, mash the garlic into the ingredients until uniform.

Stir in the white and light green parts of the green onions, the cheese and the onions, reserving a small spoonful for garnish, if desired. Transfer to a small baking dish and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbling.

Serve topped with the reserved beer caramelized onions and green onions.




Baked Sriracha Glazed Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings


2 large Vidalia onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rings (do not separate rings)

3 tablespoons Sriracha

1-1/2 cups light brown sugar

16 slices of bacon

Wooden skewers, optional


Line a baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top. Lightly spray the cooling rack with cooking spray.

Place the brown sugar in a pie tin and sriracha in a bowl.

Gently separate the onion rings, leaving two rings together. For this dish, use the larger rings. Set the smaller, inner rings aside and use in another dish.

Take two strips of bacon and coat each side with brown sugar. Using a pastry brush or rubber tipped brush, brush sriracha on all sides of the onion rings.

Starting at one end of the bacon, snuggly but gently wrap the bacon around the onion ring, slightly overlapping itself. You should be able to get about half way around. Take a second piece of bacon, place one end over top of the previous piece and continue wrapping until you have completely wrapped the onion ring in bacon.

You can skewer the bacon in place if desired.

Place end side down on the rack and continue wrapping the rest of the rings. For the smaller rings, use 1-1/2 slices of bacon.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. Using tongs, gently flip over and cook another 15 to 20 minutes. If desired, broil for the last three minutes to give a charred appearance.

Remove from the oven and immediately plate and serve.




Walking Taco Burger Sliders


1 pound ground beef

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ancho chilli pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 cup queso cheese sauce

1/2 cup pickled jalapeno pepper

1/2 cup salsa

2 cups corn chips, crushed


8 pretzel slider buns


Place ground beef in a medium bowl and add salt, chilli pepper, garlic powder, paprika and cumin. Use your hands to mix the seasonings into the beef. Take about two ounces of the beef and flatten into small patties. You should be able to get 6-8 slider patties out of the beef. Repeat with remaining beef.

Heat a skillet on stove on medium heat. Place beef patties in the skillet and cook on each side for three to five minutes, until cooked. Remove from skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towel.

Slice buns in half. Place sliders on top of the bottom part of the buns. Pour about a tablespoon of the cheese sauce on top of each burger, a few jalapeno slices, a tablespoon of salsa, some crushed corn chips, lettuce and the top of the slider bun. Place a toothpick through the middle to keep the slider intact.



Bacon Wrapped Potato Bites


1 pound very small (1 to 2 inches) new potatoes

Olive oil

Lemon pepper

1 pound thin-sliced, center-cut bacon

Barbecue sauce


Scrub potatoes and cut each in half. In a small bowl, toss the potatoes with a bit of olive oil and generously season with lemon pepper.

Cut bacon slices into halves or thirds, long enough that the bacon can wrap around the potato piece and slightly overlap on the bottom. Wrap each potato with a piece of bacon and place, flat size down, bacon ends tucked under, on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake in s 350-degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until potatoes are tender and bacon is golden. Remove immediately from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack or paper towels.

Serve hot or warm with barbecue sauce for dipping.



Crispy Chickpeas


2 cups chickpeas, drained

About  2  tablespoons olive oil

For spice mix:

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1/2 clove garlic, crushed


Mix spice mix and place in a large metal bowl. Set aside.

Dry any residual liquid on the chickpeas with a paper towel, then toss with a good bit of oil. Place on a baking sheet and roast in a 450-degree oven about 10 minutes, until crispy and browned. You’ll know they’re done when you hear them make a clattering sound on the baking tray.

Toss chickpeas with the seasoning mix while they’re still hot, then serve.





Pull-Apart Pretzel Skillet With Beer Cheese Dip


For pretzels:

1-1/2 cups warm water

2-1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

4-1/2 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup baking soda

8 cups water

1 whole egg, lightly beaten,

Kosher salt

For dip:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 teaspoon ranch seasoning packet

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

1/3 cup beer

1 green onion, chopped, optional


In a large bowl or bowl of a countertop stand mixer, combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Let sit five minutes or until it gets a bit foamy. If it doesn’t get foamy, the yeast might be bad.

Stir in 3-1/2 cups flour, kosher salt and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Slowly add more flour, a bit at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky and pulls away from the edges of the bowl. You may use the entire amount or a bit less.

Lift dough from the bowl and spray the bowl with nonstick spray. Place the dough back down, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise one hour, until doubled in size.

Line a pan with parchment paper and spray your skillet or baking dish with nonstick spray.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.Cut into 16 equal-sized pieces. Take each piece and shape into balls by pulling each corner toward the middle and pinching together. Place pinched-side down on the parchment paper lined sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise for 15 minutes.

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, slowly add the baking soda. Put the rolls, one to three at a time, into the water, pinched side down. Boil 30 seconds, then flip and boil the other side for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pretzel rolls place back on the baking sheet to cool. Continue until all of the pretzels have been boiled in the baking solution.

Arrange the pretzels around the outside of the prepared skillet, squeezing them together so they fit snugly. If you can’t fit all of the pretzels, bake the remaining ones separately.

Cover rolls and let sit five minutes.

Combine cream cheese and ranch seasoning in a medium-sized bowl using a handheld mixer. Slowly add  beer and shredded cheese as you blend. Scoop the dip into the center of the skillet.

Brush the pretzels with the beaten egg, and then sprinkle with kosher salt. Using a sharp knife, cut X-shapes into the top of the pretzel rolls. Bake in a 425-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pretzels are deep golden brown and the cheese has browned on top. Sprinkle dip with chopped green onion and let cool five minutes before serving.




Baked Sweet Potato Chips With Blue Cheese Sauce, Bacon And Green Onion


1 pound yams, sliced thin on a mandolin

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup hot milk

4 ounces gorgonzola

3 green onions, sliced thin

4 slices bacon, cooked and roughly chopped


Toss yams with canola oil, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. Place two cooling racks on top of two cookie sheets. Spray with non-stick spray. Place yams on cooling racks in one even layer, making sure they aren’t touching. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes, until they start to curl up on the edges. Watch carefully as they burn easily. Turn the oven off and let sit for 25 to 30 minutes.

In a small skillet, melt butter over a medium heat, then whisk in flour. Cook one minute. Turn heat off and very slowly whisk in milk, making sure there are no lumps. Bring to a simmer and cook one to two minutes, until thickened. Crumble in half the blue cheese. Whisk until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place half of chips on serving platter. Drizzle with some of the blue cheese sauce. Place remaining chips on top and drizzle with more blue cheese sauce. Sprinkle with bacon, green onions and remaining blue cheese.

Use remaining sauce to dip chips, if desired.




Turkey Pepper Jack Roll Ups


8 ounce can crescent rolls

8 slices deli turkey

4 ounces shredded or sliced pepper Jack cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds


Stir mustard into melted butter and set aside.

Fold a slice of turkey in half and place on the wide end of a crescent roll. Top with about a tablespoon of shredded pepper Jack cheese. Roll up the roll and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining rolls. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 11 to 13 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove roll from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Brush with butter and mustard mixture, then immediately sprinkle with poppy seeds. Work in batches of two or three so the butter does not begin to harden before you add the topping.

Serve warm.



Korean Fried Chicken and Waffle Skewers


For sauce:

8 cloves garlic

2 inch piece peeled ginger

5 tablespoons soy sauce

5 tablespoons Korean chile paste

2-1/2 tablspoons rice vinegar

1-1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil

1-1/2 tablespoons honey

For chicken:

1 cup flour

1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

Canola oil, for frying

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks

For waffles:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

1-1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup melted butter or oil

1 teaspoon vanilla


To make chicken, whisk flour, cornstarch, and water in a medium bowl. Add chicken and toss. Set in refrigerator.

Place sauce ingredients in a food processor and process. Heat over medium heat in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring, until it turns a little darker in color. Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water if sauce is too thick. Set aside.

Place two inches of oil in a large pot and heat over medium-high heat until a thermometer reads 350 degrees.

Whisk all waffle ingredients together and set aside.

Working in batches, fry chicken in hot oil five to six minutes, until golden. Drain on paper towels. Bring heat back up to 350 degrees after each batch. Toss cooked chicken in sauce.

Brush vegetable oil over both sides of a hot waffle iron, then pour batter into iron. Cook until golden brown. Lift waffle out of iron and repeat. Cut waffle into four pieces unless you used a mini waffle iron.

Put one piece of chicken on a skewer, then a waffle piece, followed by another piece of chicken and another waffle. Finish with another piece of chicken at the top. Serve with melted butter and syrup to dip waffle in.




Jalapeño Poppers


12 large jalapeno peppers, 3 to 4 inches long

4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs




Slice jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and the ribs. Wear rubber gloves when handling hot peppers.

Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy.

Place cream cheese in a medium bowl, along with garlic powder, scallions and cheddar cheese. Once the bacon is cooked, spoon pieces into the bowl, leaving most of the bacon fat in the pan. Mash until smooth.

Spoon filling into each jalapeno pepper half, pressing it down a bit.

Place melted butter in a small bowl, then stir in the panko. Sprinkle over each pepper.

Bake, uncovered, in the top third of a 400-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, then season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cool for a few minutes before serving.



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