Fried, grilled, baked or slow-cooked, game day dishes come in all flavors and textures so everyone comes out a winner. Try these classic ideas and new spins to take your home-gate to the next level.
- Chicken Wings – Bone-in or boneless, skin on or skin off, buffalo or barbecue-glazed, chicken wings are chef’s choice for a handheld party pleaser. With nearly endless ways to prepare them, they’re a game day staple for parties of all sizes.
- Pizzas – While delivery (or carryout) from a local restaurant is likely to be more common, creating a homemade pizza is as simple as rolling out dough, layering sauce and cheese then finishing with personalized toppings. If you’re in charge of a smaller, more manageable group, you can even try personal-sized pies for maximum customization.
- Barbecue – Ribs, pulled pork, brisket and slow-smoked barbecue of all varieties may take more preparation but almost always ends with a happy fan base. Keep in mind that you’ll need to plan further in advance for longer cook times, but larger cuts of meat like pork shoulder help feed larger groups.
- Veggie Trays – Not every game day dish has to include heavy foods or sticky fingers. An assortment of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and more paired with ranch or blue cheese dressings makes for a more nutritious appetizer ahead of the main course.
- Dips – If you’re looking for help from attendees, look no further than chips and dips for ways guests can lend a hand. Because they’re usually simple to make and easily portable, your fellow fans can bring along any combination of their choosing from buffalo chicken dip and tortilla chips to crackers and hummus.
- Sliders and Sandwiches – The combinations are just about endless for sliders with many variations of meats, cheeses, spreads and more. Keep your menu simple by choosing one type of bread, 1-2 meats and 1-2 cheeses to avoid going overboard. Guests can always add their own touches when it’s time to dig in.
- Walking Tacos or Nachos – Another personalized snack, walking tacos are an easy crowd-pleaser – all they take are taco shells and tortillas along with an assortment of your usual toppings: meat, cheese, sour cream, beans, guacamole, black olives, jalapenos and anything else your guests desire. Just line up the ingredients in separate bowls for DIY dining, and for a secondary option, provide tortilla chips to create nachos instead.
Find more game day recipes and ideas at Culinary.net.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features) Most parents know the first few weeks of school season and new daily routines can be hectic. From stocking up on school supplies to finishing up homework, there's few unused minutes in the day.
One thing that's particularly easy to forget in the mad dash to catch the bus or make it to morning drop-off is a well-balanced, protein-packed breakfast. According to a No Kid Hungry study, when students have a balanced breakfast in the morning, they are more likely to attend school and perform better on standardized tests.
Start the school year off right by giving your kids a breakfast they'll love that also provides the protein they need to kick-start their day. Recipes like Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches or Baked Eggs in Avocado can be ready in minutes and provide fuel long past the first morning school bell.
As a simple time-saver, Smithfield offers pre-diced, cubed and sliced ham that can make breakfast a breeze any day of the week. Incorporate it into a simple breakfast sandwich for a protein boost you can enjoy on-the-go. Served crispy or chewy depending on your preference, Thick Cut Bacon also puts a savory spin on nearly any breakfast plate, whether paired with eggs and avocado or a simple side of toast.
For more information and breakfast ideas, visit smithfield.com.
Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 8 frozen prepared waffles, toasted
- 8 ounces Smithfield Anytime Favorites Quarter Boneless Sliced Ham, any flavor
- 4 large eggs
- 4 slices cheddar or American cheese
- maple syrup (optional)
- Prepare waffles according to package directions; keep warm.
- In nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook ham slices until lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side; keep warm. In same skillet over medium heat, fry eggs until desired doneness.
- Lay out four waffles and top each with sliced cheese, ham and fried egg, topping with remaining waffles to finish. Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired.
Tip: Try spreading fruit jam on your sandwich for a change of pace.
Baked Eggs in Avocado
Cook time: 10 minutes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 large avocados
- 6 eggs
- 4 strips Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
- 1 cup blue cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- Heat oven to 450 F. Spray baking sheet or glass baking pan with cooking spray. Cut avocados in half. Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of avocado to create well for eggs. Place avocados flesh-side up on prepared baking sheet or glass pan.
- Gently crack one egg in each avocado well, making sure to keep yolk intact. Bake 10 minutes, or until eggs reach desired temperature. Remove.
- Top with bacon pieces, blue cheese and cilantro.
(Family Features) When the clock ticks down toward game day and you’re putting together a snacking plan of attack, turn to recipes like these that you and your guests can savor for all four quarters of action.
With different choices to draft from, there’s no need for a superstar main course at the center of the meal. Instead, rely on options like customizable brats and pulled pork sandwiches, baked chicken wings and game-day dips for winners all around.
Find more recipes for hosting game day at Culinary.net.
Top Your Tailgate
Take your tailgate or home viewing party to the next level by setting up a topping station with a variety of both traditional and unexpected condiments and garnishes to let your fellow fans customize their grilled fare. Include options such as:
- Ketchup and mustard (with flavor variations for added zing)
- Sauerkraut or cole slaw
- Chopped fresh and grilled onions
- Chili (homemade or from a can)
- Pickle spears and relish
- Barbecue sauce
- Assorted shredded and crumbled cheeses
- A variety of peppers
A Game-Day Winner
Game time is no time to mess around when it comes to fast, savory snacks. Crispy and light, tangy and bold, these wings have you covered for all your game-day needs. These spicy hot wings pair perfectly with Litehouse Chunky Blue Cheese or Homestyle Ranch Dressing and may result in another game day rivalry: blue cheese vs. ranch. Whether you’re hosting the game-day party or bringing a dish to a friend’s bash, these wings can make mouths water from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. Find more game-day recipes at litehousefoods.com.
Crispy Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- 4 pounds chicken wings
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- nonstick cooking spray
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
- 1/2 cup Litehouse Chunky Blue Cheese or Homestyle Ranch dressing
- 1/3 cup Litehouse Blue Cheese Crumbles
- Lay wings on rack on rimmed baking tray and let dry in refrigerator overnight, or pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat oven to 250° F. Put one oven shelf in lower quarter of oven and one in top quarter.
- Place wings in large re-sealable bag. Add baking powder and salt. Shake bag to coat wings evenly.
- Line tray with foil. Spray rack on baking tray with nonstick spray. Place wings skin side up on rack. Bake on lower shelf 30 minutes.
- Move tray to higher shelf and turn oven up to 425° F. Bake 40-50 minutes, rotating tray halfway through. Wings are done when they are dark, golden brown and skin is crispy.
- While wings bake, whisk together butter and hot sauce; keep warm.
- Remove wings from oven and toss with hot sauce; sprinkle immediately with blue cheese crumbles. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing, carrots and celery sticks.
Dip into Game Day
Game day is about huddling up with friends and family, and feeling good about the food you share. Kick off the big game with Sabra, the official dip of the NFL, and help the crowd go wild when you put a twist on traditional hummus by topping it with bruschetta. Available in more than a dozen flavors, Sabra Hummus is made with fresh chickpeas, a touch of garlic and smooth tahini, making it a wholesome and delicious accompaniment for your favorite game-day chips, crackers and veggies. Find more big-game recipes at sabra.com.
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 2 cups multi-colored cherry tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional (optional)
- salt, to taste
- container Sabra Classic Hummus (10 ounces)
- To make bruschetta: Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters or eighths, if large. Place in small mixing bowl. Stir in garlic, basil and olive oil, and season with salt, to taste.
- Scoop hummus out of container and swirl onto serving plate. Top with bruschetta and drizzle with touch of olive oil, if desired. Serve with fresh vegetables or pita chips.
A Heaping Handheld
Snack like a champion during the big game with recipes that please palates without overfilling like these Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Since guests can pile their sandwiches as high as they like with sweet pork and optional toppings, there’s no need to worry about serving sizes. Find more honey-infused recipes for tasty meal solutions at honey.com.
Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Honey Barbecue Sauce
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (4 pounds)
- 2 cups hickory chips
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- 1 cup ketchup
- 8-10 rolls
- chopped jalapeno peppers (optional)
- chopped onion (optional)
- chopped pickles (optional)
- To make Pork Rub: Stir together sugar, chili powder, paprika, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cumin, pepper and cayenne pepper.
- Massage Pork Rub over surface of pork and let stand 30 minutes.
- Soak hickory chips in water; drain well. Wrap chips in foil; punch holes in foil and place on top of gas grill set on high. When chips begin to smoke, place pork on grill and cook until well browned on all sides with lid closed, about 30-45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 300° F.
- Remove pork from grill and place in turkey-size oven bag set in large, shallow baking dish. Add water and seal well; pierce bag several times with small knife. Cook 3-3 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender and pork bone can be removed easily. Remove from oven. Remove bone and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Shred meat into small pieces, removing fat. Add juices from cooking bag, skimming off excess fat.
- In separate saucepan, stir together barbecue sauce, honey and ketchup, cooking until hot and honey has dissolved. Stir most of sauce into shredded pork and mix well.
- Serve on rolls and drizzle with remaining sauce. Top with jalapenos, onions and pickles, if desired.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Brats and Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches)
(Family Features) Ease your way into a busy new school year with easy dishes you can prepare and serve in minutes. Time-saving and delicious dinners allow you to enjoy valuable family meals without sacrificing precious time in the kitchen.
One smart way to pull together flavorful meals when you’re pinched for time is to keep versatile ingredients on hand that you can use in a variety of ways. For example, pre-sliced pepperoni is perfect for quick snacks, but it’s also great for do-it-yourself pizzas, casseroles and even a fresh take on grilled cheese sandwiches. An option like Armour Turkey Pepperoni can brighten up any appetizer or dish with 70 percent less fat and 25 percent less sodium than the Original variety.
Another “A-plus” idea: keep frozen meatballs handy, but think beyond traditional spaghetti. Not only do fully cooked meatballs save plenty of time, they make for a fun way to add protein and bring great flavor to kid favorites like macaroni and cheese.
Find more easy recipes for family meals this fall at ArmourMeats.com.
Cheesy Mac and Meatballs
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 12 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 1 package (14 ounces) Armour Original Meatballs, thawed
- 12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup milk
- shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Cut meatballs in half.
- In large saucepan over medium heat, combine shredded cheddar cheese and milk, stirring until smooth. Stir in meatballs; cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until meatballs are hot.
- Drain macaroni; stir into meatball mixture. Top with cheddar cheese, if desired.
Grilled Cheese and Pepperoni Sandwiches
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 8 slices white or whole-grain bread
- 8 slices cheddar or American cheese
- 32 slices Armour Original or Turkey Pepperoni
- 1 cup roasted red pepper strips or 4 thin tomato slices (optional)
- Spread butter over one side of each piece of bread. Put four slices of bread on sheet of waxed paper, buttered-side down.
- Top each slice of bread with one cheese slice, eight slices pepperoni, 1/4 cup peppers or sliced tomato, if desired, and additional cheese slice. Top sandwiches with remaining bread, buttered-side up.
- Heat large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add two sandwiches; cook 4-5 minutes per side, or until cheese is melted and sandwiches are golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
Alternate preparation tip: Cook sandwiches in two batches in heated panini maker or well-oiled waffle iron 3-4 minutes.