Football season is at its peak around here, with the Giants dominating the NFC. Having the right kind of food when you have friends over to watch the playoffs - dare I say Superbowl? - is essential for the ultimate game watching enjoyment. Football games are serious commitments - the games are hours and hours, and people come and go. Food needs to sit for hours without getting brown or smelly.
Planning is important, and having good food to nosh on is too. Your friends may not remember the score or who kicked what (unless they pull a wide right type of near miss) but I can assure you they will remember the corn dip and ask you for the recipe. Here are a few suggestions for game day food beyond chips and salsa.
Westfield Corn Dip - This is my favorite cocktail party recipe. Corn, Cheddar, Jalapeno, Mayo, Onion and Fritos. That's it - it takes minutes, costs pennies and everyone loves it. It is a crowd pleaser to top all crowd pleasers. I actually have to make it for certain get togethers. It's expected. It's so freaking good. And the best part: no cooking required!
Buffalo Chicken Wings - You can't watch football without wings, unless it is a girl only party. In which case I still recommend you read this link because there are good recipes for salads, wraps and spicy grilled chicken that chicks dig. Click the link for my recent article all about wings, how to make them or where to get them.
Pigs In a Blanket - This party favorite is so easy, my first grade daughter can make them! I get mini-franks and Pillsbury Pie Dough - if you are making the baked brie this is an excellent use for the second roll. Roll out dough, slice in 1.5 inch strips and then slice strips into thirds. Roll mini-franks in dough and put on foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes until golden brown and serve with a variety of mustards (yellow, brown, spicy, honey). If you are so inclined, get some must-a-kraut - it's mustard with the sauerkraut built in.
Stuffed Mushrooms - fill white button mushroom caps with Boursin Cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. 'Nuff said.
Stuffed Peppadews - fill these spicy-sweet beauties with goat cheese or cambazola and follow directions above. Serve with the mushrooms - pretty!
Brie - So easy, everyone goes crazy over this one. Get a Pillsbury pie dough - comes in a rectangular red box sold near the prepared cookie dough section in your favorite supermarket. Get a round brie - I like Stop & Shop's in-house brand "Simply Enjoy" because it's the best shape and it's not too gooey or stinky, it's firm and light. Unwrap cheese and slice off top layer of rind. Place cheese in the middle of pie dough round. Slather brie with your favorite preserves - I like raspberry but you can try apricot, orange, grape - whatever you like. Bring together pie edges to make a beggar's purse, making sure it is completely sealed. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, spread a thin layer of preserves on top, and add coarsely chopped roasted, salted almonds. You can use any type of nut, but almonds work best. Bake for another 15 minutes just prior to serving. It's the best.
Veggies & Dip - if you can't stand to watch people double dip, make it easy for them. Use clear plastic cups that you might serve wine in. Fill about half an inch with some dressing and add uniformly-sliced veggies like carrots, cucumbers, celery, jicama, zucchini or squash. Everyone gets their own cup, they can replenish veggies at their own rate, and nobody is putting their whole mouth in the bowl.
Now it's a party. Order some pizzas at half time and keep your fingers crossed for the Giants!