At the beginning of the lively football season we find ourselves anticipating the Sunday staples: wings, beer, pizza, and nachos. While there is certainly nothing wrong with these starting players, by mid-season we are seeking something with more flavors to get us through the playoffs without feeling like fair-weather fans. A few ideas before you call in the special teams during your game:
Get Down with Dips
There are few things better than sitting down to a game with a big bowl of dip. Un-fancy? Maybe, but dips allow you eat with one hand and hold a game-day brew in the other. Take your dip recipes from ordinary to extraordinary with a few extra touches, such as keeping dips warm in a crock-pot or fondue pot. Always top dips with a fresh herb, like gauc with cilantro, hummus with parsley, or bleu cheese dip with chives. They not only look nice, but they add bright flavor too. If serving bread as a dipper, toast or grill it! This makes for a complex flavor and helps the dip stay on better. No one likes soggy bread. Speaking of dippers, think outside of the chip bag when choosing your dippers. For an un-expected play, consider adding fruit to your favorite dips- salsas benefit from peach or mango, or add extra lemon or lime to crab, cheese, or bean dips. Our favorite tip on dip: Always make extra! Dips go fast during game time.
Kick Up Your Usual Game
Yes, we all have our standard game day favorites, but look to make them more interesting with a new game plan. Snack favorite nachos can be anything but beans and cheese– try Asian pork, Buffalo chicken, pizza nachos, or for a lighter flavor Greek nachos. Wings and football go together like a good quarterback and a wide receiver–you just have to have them to make the game great. While there is nothing wrong with traditional wings served with your favorite bleu cheese dip, we also like Bourbon glazed, or serving them with a spicy peanut sauce. Aside from hearty snacks, we like serving slow cooker tacos, sliders, hoagies, and on cold game days, chili; all perfect game day fare as they can be made-ahead and guests can serve and customize to their liking.
For fourth quarter sweets, serve something that can be eaten one handed for last minute cheers and high-fives. Bite size brownies, cookies, football shaped cake pops, or chocolate strawberries shaped like footballs are all fun additions to the final plays.
Cocktails for Completion
Of course every football party should have plenty of beer on hand. For a fun twist serve beers from the team’s state. Having a made-ahead fall cocktail is always a good idea for guests who may not be a fan of suds. The warm Sunday punch, with apple and brandy is ideal for intense-play sipping. For team spirit we also like the Battling Bronco. For early kick offs, Bloody Mary’s or Michelada’s are good for mid-day balling.
Final drink do: have plenty of water and soda on hand too—football games can go long and you don’t want your guests fumbling.