Some people go to the bar for the booze; some go for the games. Others, however, go solely for the food, and we don’t blame them. Fries, nachos, nuts, and pretzels are fun snacks we don’t get to eat everyday, but as long as you have a few recipes under your belt, there’s no reason you can’t. Bar foods aren’t hard to make, and if you have the appropriate beverages to go with them, you really can’t go wrong. Next time you don’t want to pay double the amount for beer and food at your neighborhood bar, check out these seven recipes for bar snacks you can whip up right in your home. These dishes are classic and simple, and they won’t keep you in the kitchen while the game is on.
1. Bar Nuts
If you need a simple snack to sneak handfuls of in between plays, make these nuts with a recipe from Saveur. Eating bar nuts at home is a much healthier and more hygienic way to play the game. You control what goes into your snack mix, and you also control whose hands dip into the bowl. Instead of trading germs for stale nuts that are coated with who knows what, serve your nuts at home and get down with this simple recipe that will take you 15 minutes or less.
- 1½ cups unsalted cashews
- 1½ cups unsalted pecans
- 1½ cups unsalted walnuts
- 1½ cups unsalted hazelnuts
- 6 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put 1½ cups each shelled unsalted cashews, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts onto a large baking pan.
Toast in oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Toss with 6 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons coarse salt, and 3 tablespoons melted butter.
2. Loaded Pub Fries
You’re going to want to take a bite out of this next recipe. Say hello to loaded pub fries, and say goodbye to your self control. This savory dish from A Family Feast is downright decadent as the homemade fries are topped with bacon, two types of cheese, sour cream, and garlic powder. There’s no reason to go to the bar when these are accessible to you at home — just make sure you invite friends over so you don’t have this plate of pub fries staring at you for all four quarters.
- 12 slices bacon, cooked crisp (reserve 1 tablespoon bacon fat)
- 2 pounds all-purpose potatoes
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces Manchego cheese, shredded
- 2 medium scallions diced
- Sour cream for garnish
Directions: Cook bacon crisp and rough chop. Set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut potatoes into wedges. Since all-purpose potatoes vary in size, try to keep the wedges uniform. You may get 8 wedges from one but 16 from another. Place potatoes in large bowl and add bacon fat, melted butter, salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Toss well to coat.
Pour out potatoes onto a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Flip and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
Mound the potatoes into four piles. Cover each pile with the Machego cheese, then bacon then the cheddar cheese. Place the pan back in the over for 2 to 3 minutes to melt the cheese. Alternatively, keep the fries in a single layer and cover with both cheese types and bacon, and again place back in oven for 2 to 3 minutes to melt cheese.
3. Homemade Soft Pretzel Twists
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can always try these homemade soft pretzel twists from Just a Taste. The savory snacks enlist yeast, but pretzel dough is surprisingly simple to make, and as long as you have some patience, you should be good to go. These soft pretzel twists require that you plan ahead because the dough needs time to rise, but this is still a fun food project you can start early on Sunday and enjoy later during the game. The fruits of your labor never tasted so good.
- 1½ cups warm (110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Vegetable oil
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Directions:In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar, and kosher salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or until it begins to foam.
Secure the hook attachment to the stand mixer, then add the flour and butter to the bowl and mix on low until the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with vegetable oil.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and position the oven racks in the middle two positions in your oven. Line 2 sheet trays with lightly oiled parchment paper. Stir together the 10 cups of water and the baking soda in an 8-quart pot. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
While the water comes to a boil, turn the dough onto your work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Applying even pressure, roll out each piece of dough into an 18- to 20-inch rope. Fold each rope in half, twisting the 2 pieces around one another and pressing the ends together. Twist the bottom end around the top, feeding it through the top hole and pressing to secure. Return the twists to the cookie sheet.
One by one, carefully place each twist into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove each twist from the water using a large slotted spoon or spatula and return it to the cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the twists with the egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake the twists until golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, then remove the twists from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
4. Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
For some meat on your plate, serve up these baked buffalo chicken wings from Food & Wine. They save your arteries from the fried variety but are still finger-lickin’ good, boasting a fresh homemade buffalo sauce and a spicy kick. Serve these wings with blue cheese and celery, and you’ll enjoy eats that are even better than what’s on the menu at the bar. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit because it’s time to get cooking.
- 4 pounds chicken wings
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1¾ teaspoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons cayenne
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ¼ pound blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 2 scallions including green tops, chopped
- 5 teaspoons vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
- 8 ribs celery, cut into sticks
Directions: Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine the wings, oil, garlic, 1½ teaspoons of the salt, and the cayenne. Arrange the wings in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Bake until just done, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, blue cheese, scallions, 1 teaspoon of the vinegar, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and the black pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the ketchup, the remaining 4 teaspoons vinegar, and the Tabasco sauce. Add the wings and toss to coat. Serve the wings with the celery sticks and blue-cheese dressing alongside.
5. Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos
Next, we’re coming at you with a classic recipe with a twist. Nachos can be made healthier, and this recipe for loaded sweet potato nachos proves that the healthy spin on the snack food doesn’t have to compromise on taste. Two Peas and Their Pod has a recipe for the epic superfood snack, and the big substitution comes as you swap your sweet potatoes in and your greasy nachos out. Instead of coating your white carbs with beans, cheese, and avocado, pile the good stuff on sweet potato rounds instead. You’ll notice that the snack is just as good, if not better, than the original, and it’s even on the healthy side, too.
- 3 large sweet potatoes, washed and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 large avocado, pit removed and diced
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the sweet potato rounds on a large baking sheet. You might need two baking sheets if you run out of room. You don’t want to overcrowd the sweet potatoes. Toss the sweet potatoes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the sweet potato rounds. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are crisp.
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle cheese and black beans over the sweet potatoes. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and top with green onions, cilantro, avocado, and sour cream or Greek yogurt. Serve immediately.
6. Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips
But if you do want to stick with the white carbs, we can accommodate that craving too because luckily, calories don’t count on Sundays. Instead of dipping your hands into potato chips at the bar or bags at home, make your potato chips homemade via this recipe from Martha Stewart. Homemade salt and vinegar chips are a lot more satisfying and hearty than the flaky crumbs you find in bags, and once your guests learn that you’re making them at home, there’s no way they’ll opt to sit on bar stools rather than your couch. The ingredients list for these homemade potato chips is short, and the cook time is minimal. Preheat your oven, grab your malt vinegar, and get ready to go.
- 4 medium Yukon Gold, or red potatoes (about 2½ pounds), scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Malt vinegar, for drizzling
Directions: Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 2 baking sheets, preferably nonstick, in the oven, and let heat for about 10 minutes.
Slice potatoes into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and arrange potato slices on sheets in a single layer. Bake until potatoes are golden on the bottom side, about 30 minutes. Turn potatoes over, and bake until they are golden brown all over, about 15 minutes more. Remove from oven, drizzle with vinegar, and serve immediately.
7. Baked Onion Rings
Last up is your favorite guilty pleasure in slightly less sinful form. You can’t beat classic fried onion rings, but if you don’t want to get down with your deep fryer, this recipe from Damn Delicious for baked onion rings is your best option. Bring the bar to you by breading your onions with flour, Panko, and parmesan and then baking them in the oven for 25 minutes or less. You can serve them plain or with any dipping sauce you like, and you can enjoy a few more rings than usual while still avoiding heartburn.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 1½ cups Panko
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 2 onions, sliced ½-inch thick and separated into rings
- 2 large eggs, beaten
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour and creole seasoning; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine Panko and Parmesan; set aside.
Working in batches, dredge onion rings in flour mixture, dip into eggs, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat. Spread onion rings in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet; coat with nonstick spray. Place into oven and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes.