Easy Game Day Eats

Do you watch football?

For NFL lovers, this is an important time of year- it’s wildcard weekend. Games get exciting. It’s “do or die” for a handful of teams who need to WIN to get to the playoffs! No matter which team you root for (Go Pats), it’s going to be good football.

Football, friends/family, and food– they just GO together. If you’re hosting the big game at your house, I’ve got a few crowd-pleasing recipes that your guests will love. I made them all for our holiday party last month, and each was a hit! Bonus: you can make three of them ahead of time! On the menu: bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, spicy Asian turkey meatballs, hot Asiago spinach dip, and a layered Greek dip. Hungry yet?

DSC04085 DSC04101

Jalapeño poppers are classic sports-watching food. I’d never made them before and was surprised at how easily they came together!

P1120410 P1120411

It’s easier to make a lot of these little guys if you set up an assembly line with the ingredients. The process is simple: cut a whole jalapeno in half; scrape out the seeds; smear a spoonful of cream cheese in each half, followed by a sprinkling of pepper jack cheese; wrap in bacon; and secure with a toothpick. Done.

P1120415 P1120416 P1120417 P1120418 P1120412 P1120419 P1120421 IMG_8344 P1120420 P1120422

Then, you just arrange them on a baking sheet and cook ‘em up until the bacon is crispy. Scrumptious! You can also freeze the wrapped jalapenos and have them on hand to bake as needed.

P1120425 P1120426

Next up: meatballs. These were a little more time-consuming to make, but everyone loved them! First, combine the ground turkey with sesame oil, ground ginger, a couple of eggs, some minced garlic and onion, Panko breadcrumbs, and sesame seeds. Roll out little one-inch meatballs and place them on a baking sheet. While they bake into golden deliciousness, start on the sauce!

P1120381 P1120382 P1120383 P1120384 P1120387 P1120385 P1120386 P1120389 P1120390 P1120391 P1120392 P1120393 P1120395

In a bowl, combine hoisin, rice vinegar, plenty of Sriracha, minced garlic, soy sauce, ground ginger, and sesame oil. Adjust the heat to your liking. When the meatballs have cooled, put them in a big bowl and pour the sauce right over them! Carefully stir the meatballs so that each one is coated in sauce. At this stage, you can serve them right up- or pop them in a freezer bag and freeze them until game time. Heat these saucy meatballs in a skillet and you’re good to go!

P1120397 P1120398 P1120399 P1120400 P1120401 P1120402 P1120403 P1120406 P1120407 P1120408 P1120409

Who doesn’t love spinach dip? I’ve been making this unique version for years, using various cheeses and hearts of palm. It’s a guaranteed hit and perfect for game day.

P1120493

Start by thawing frozen chopped spinach. Squeeze as much moisture out of the spinach as you can. Chop up some garlic and drained hearts of palm. In a big bowl, combine shredded mozzarella and Asiago cheeses, sour cream, the garlic and hearts of palm, the spinach, fat free cream cheese, and some garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese (I use Boursin).

P1120494 P1120496 P1120497 P1120498 P1120499 P1120500 P1120502 P1120505 P1120503 P1120504 P1120506

Spoon the dip into a greased baking dish, sprinkling plenty of Asiago cheese over the top. You can cover and freeze the dip at this stage, or pop it into the oven until the cheese is hot and bubbly and browning on top. Serve it with good tortilla chips and watch it disappear!

P1120507 P1120517

Last, everyone loves a classic Mexican 7-layer dip. I found a Greek version that was fresh and delicious!

P1120591

This is the only appetizer that I’m sharing with you today that really should be made the day of the big game- you want the ingredients to be crisp and fresh. The “hardest” part of the recipe is making the cream cheese mixture. Combine whipped cream cheese, lemon juice, dried Italian seasoning, and minced garlic- that’s it! Spread the mixture on the bottom of your serving dish.

P1120594 P1120595 P1120593 P1120596 P1120597 P1120598

Next, spread prepared hummus over the cream cheese mixture. Continue adding the ingredients in layers: chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and crumbled feta cheese. I chopped up some fresh mint and sprinkled it over the top. Serve this dip with pita chips for a healthier alternative to the traditional layered dip. Yum!

P1120599 P1120600 P1120601 P1120602 P1120603 P1120604 P1120605 P1120606 P1120607

Hosting a crowd can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. I love finding recipes that I can make ahead, so I can enjoy time with my friends (instead of being stuck in the kitchen). These appetizers let you simultaneously be a good hostess and a good football fan!

Who’s hosting the big game at their house? What are your go-to crowd-pleasers? Share with me!

Here are the recipes I shared today (thank you!):

Bacon-wrapped Jalapeños from Better Homes

Saucy Asian Meatballs from Gimme Some Oven

Garlicky Spinach Dip with Hearts of Palm from Cooking Light

Layered Greek Dip from Garnish with Lemon

**One year ago: Sunshine, candles, and the wisdom of a Ferris wheel.

Hungry for more? Check out the FOOD BLISS link above!

12 replies »

  1. The pup is eyeing the BACON – ha! Great Spread – thanks for sharing. Watched the 49ers and the Packers yesterday – pretty good game – brrr cold, but those guys played. Happy Monday:)

  2. Hi there! I am planning a dinner party and would like to make your spinach artichoke dip – it looks amazing. Though it looks like it makes quite a bit (I will only have 30 people) and I can’t tell from the picture exactly what quantities of ingredients to use. Do you have your exact recipe available?

  3. I just have to say that I just discovered you and I am so excited!!! I LOVE your site! Your pictures are so detailed and I love the step by step. You put so much time and effort into your recipes and I am so grateful. Thanks so much for the amazing job you do. Oh, and I’m heading to the store now to get ingredients for your yummy sounding spinach dip. THANK YOU!

    • Wow, Laurie! Thanks so much for commenting such kind words! I love to cook, and I love to eat, and I love to take pictures…it just works out together. Be sure you check out the FOOD BLISS link at the top of the site- tons of recipes to try. Let me know how the spinach dip goes! It’s one of my favorites.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Don't miss a post! Enter your email address to have The Usual Bliss delivered right to you.

Follow on Bloglovin

Archives

%d bloggers like this: