September brings a lot of things: Fall, cooling temperatures (though it’s still been in the eighties and nineties here in Tennessee), in-season apples, and….football. I’ve actually started watching football (though not fanatically) the last few years but I have to admit that the Facebook deluge (around here’s it’s “Go Big Orange” everywhere) can be a little bit daunting at times. While we are casual spectators who don’t generally go to many football viewing parties, I have to admit that party snacks are one of my favorite things. Here’s a list of top game day recipes (with a recipe at the end). What’s your favorite?
All right, game day snacks don’t usually revolve around sweets, but you have to have something to satisfy your sweet tooth after downing all the salty snacks, right? Brownies are perfect for the job: baked in one pan, hand-held, solid, substantial. I can’t think of a better game day dessert. If you make this recipe from Joy the Baker, you can have your beer and your brownies!
Okay, pizza might seem like “the easy way out” for game day, but why not? Pizza is a crowd pleaser. Whether you’re topping your own, throwing out a couple of homemade gourmet pizzas (try my baked potato, white, or BLT pizzas), or just picking up a couple of Hot & Ready pies, you know that everyone is going to leave happy.
To me, there’s no recipe that defines Fall like a gigantic pot of chili. While I know that people in some parts of the country believe that chili is meat in a rich red sauce, but in these parts we put beans in ours. At any rate, you must serve your chili with Fritos, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Green onions and jalapeños don’t hurt either. I’ll be sharing my favorite recipe in a few weeks.
7. Jalapeño Poppers
Whether they’re fried, grilled, or baked, stuffed with cheddar cheese, cream cheese, or even pineapples, wrapped in bacon or not….jalapeño poppers are a perfect one-bite snack. If the jalapeños aren’t too spicy, I can eat a ton. You can buy them frozen or make them from scratch, and either way they’re fantastic. These “jalapeño thingies” from Pioneer Woman are making my mouth water as I type this.
6. Cheese Dip
You could stop at your favorite Mexican restaurant and pick up a vat of white queso dip and some fresh tortilla chips, or you could pick up some Gordo’s dip at the grocery store. Honestly, though, my favorite cheese dips are thick with melted cheddar or even Velveeta, with tomatoes and chilies and maybe some seasoned ground beef. Sometimes I even like to have this cheese dip for dinner (in fact, it’s on the menu tonight). Recipe tomorrow!
5. Spinach-Artichoke Dip
Spinach-artichoke dip was my first love on the appetizer menu. When my friends and I started hanging out at TGIFriday’s (this makes me laugh) in college I fell hard for their spinach-artichoke dip, made with creamy alfredo sauce and just a little bit of spice. These days, of course, I like to make my own so that I can chop up the artichokes just the way I want and put in as much cheese as humanly possible. I could eat spinach-artichoke dip every day. I also love the cold spinach dip made with Knorr vegetable soup mix. Here’s a copycat recipe of the TGIFriday’s spinach-artichoke dip that first reeled me in.
The great thing about nachos is that you can pretty much put anything on top of them. What’s in the fridge? Ground beef? Chicken? Beans? Leftover vegetables? Cheese dip or grated cheese? It doesn’t matter. Throw it on the nachos. You can assemble your nachos on the plate or carefully arrange toppings on each chip before baking…whatever you like. Nachos are a have-it-your-way kind of snack. I like these chicken chili nachos from Lucinda Scala Quinn.
3. Buffalo Wings
Admittedly wings are not my favorite. I like the flavors, but I find them to be a little cumbersome. I don’t mind messy food, but I can’t ever get much meat off of the wings. Also, I’m a little bit of a spice wuss so I have to have über-mild wings. Still, Buffalo wings rated pretty high on a survey that I did of my Facebook followers. Served with celery sticks and cooling ranch or blue cheese dressing, Buffalo wings are a game day classic.
2. Chips & Salsa
Chips & salsa are so obvious. If you need a quick game day snack, you can just buy a bag and a jar and there you go. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can chop up your own ingredients or whiz them up in your blender (which is my MO). A few years back salsa surpassed ketchup as the number one condiment on tables in the US, and I’m sure that chips and salsa are by and large the top use for salsa. While I usually make my salsa “classic” (with tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños), I also love tomatillo or pineapple salsas. With plenty of cilantro, always. What’s your favorite salsa? Here’s my favorite salsa (forgive the terrible pictures)!
1. Buffalo Chicken Dip
Hands-down, without a doubt, Buffalo chicken dip was the number one favorite among my Facebook followers. All the flavors of a Buffalo wing (and then some) without the mess or the unwieldy bones? Yes please. I’ve done a baked version before, but for today I wanted to throw out an easy slow cooker adaptation. The entire recipe can be made in your Crock-Pot, and with three cheeses this recipe is rich, just spicy enough, and perfect on a chip or a celery stick. Here’s a version of Buffalo wings from Simply Recipes-you can always count on Elise Bauer for great recipes!
15 minPrep Time:
5 hrCook Time:
5 hr, 15 Total Time:
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
- salt and pepper
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- ½ cup hot sauce (I used Texas Pete)
- Preheat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken for two minutes on each side (this step is optional but definitely adds flavor to the chicken).
- Place the chicken into a 2-4 quart slow cooker. Cook over 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Drain away the liquid and shred the chicken.
- Mix in the cream cheese, ¼ cup blue cheese, ½ cup cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, and hot sauce. Stir until well combined. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and blue cheese over the top. Cook on high for one hour or low for two hours. Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers, or carrot/celery sticks.
The cook time listed is for high heat. If you cook on low heat, the cook time is 10 hours.