There’s a lot of attention on the action on the field these days—but if I’m honest, I’m more interested in the action in the kitchen. And trust me, the pride and preparation that goes into planning an awesome game-day spread can be every bit as intense as anything that’s happening in the game. When everyone’s focus is on the play-by-play and the funny commercials, I want my meatballs and slow-cooker rib sandwiches to be so incredible that guests break out of their football trance to say, “Hey, these are amazing. You made them?”
That’s my goal. (Field goals on TV are somehow less fulfilling.)
So here’s my all-star lineup. The key players I’m setting out to win fame and accolades and recipe requests. Some are saucy. Some are cheesy. All are deserving of a spot on your game-day buffet, should you choose to draft them.
Mom’s Best Bite-Size Meatballs: You know those meatballs that look saucy and delicious on the outside, and then you bite in and they’re even better? That’s these. Chicken-flavor stuffing mix gives these meatballs an incredibly moist and tender texture, and the sassy sauce coating its exterior? That’s a super-easy, two-ingredient combo of cranberry sauce and BBQ sauce.
VELVEETA Queso Blanco Cheese Sauce Fundido: Looking at this skillet of molten deliciousness, you wouldn’t expect it to be four-ingredient easy…but it is. You could seriously start browning the chorizo 20 minutes before your guests arrive, and you’d be pulling this pool of sausage-y goodness out from under the broiler as they walk in the door. It’s THAT simple.
Beef & Cheese Foldover: I should post this recipe on my fridge for those last-minute moments when I need one more dish for the spread and I’m tempted to order pizza. This gooey, flavor-packed foldover is ready in about the time it would take for delivery, and did I mention it’s WAY better? But since the meat topping is flavored with steak sauce and ketchup, its savory flavor explosion really isn’t all that surprising.
Slow-Cooker Short Rib Mini Sandwiches: Everyone loves slow-cooker ribs at a game, and I like to switch mine up a little just to keep guests on their toes! After a nice long simmer in a ginger-spiked BBQ sauce, I spoon the tender short-rib meat out of the slow cooker and nuke it with a little extra sauce. After that, guests can assemble their sandwiches—be sure to keep some creamy broccoli slaw handy for topping!
A.1. Chili: It’s quite possible your guests will recognize the telltale bold flavor of this chili’s signature ingredient at first bite—and that’s a very good thing. I love the savory boost it brings to this chunky chili; its zippiness ties all the other flavors together. Set out a few toppers, if you like—sour cream, shredded cheese or crackers are popular choices. But I eat mine just as it is!
Looking for more ways to jazz up your football spread? Check out our Game-Day Favorites.