Whether you’re a die-hard fan of a New Year’s Six bowl team, or just socializing with friends over football, you’ll need serious snacks to munch on during the six games. This year, instead of focusing on the teams, give a nod to this classic New Year’s tradition by preparing recipes inspired by the names of the bowls themselves.
For the six games, we’ve compiled six rounds of peach/fiesta/orange/cotton/rose/sugar themed snacks. Let’s watch some college football.
The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
Airing at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time on New Years Eve, the Peach Bowl pits the University of Mississippi Ole Miss Rebels against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. No one really wants to eat rebels and horned frogs, so we’re going to get loyal with these peaches.
1. Chips and dip are, obviously, a must on game day. For the Peach Bowl, there is only one choice: peach salsa, like this one from She Wears Many Hats. Make this further ahead of time so all the components can meld during the pregame. This one is fairly mild, according to blogger Amy Johnson, so add more jalapeños if you like to bring the heat.
2. Why wouldn’t you make sticky, salty, sweet, spicy chicken wings like these Peach-Lacquered Chicken Wings from Gourmet via Epicurious? With peaches pretty much totally out of season locally, this recipe uses the concentrated flavor of peach jam with ginger, soy sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes for “finger licking” good wing sauce. Move beyond the buffalo sauce; honor the Peach Bowl. We think chicken is a particularly appropriate game day snack for the bowl sponsored by Chick-fil-A.
3. A nectarine is really just a fuzz-less peach. Use either to make this Nectarine Pizza With Fresh Basil and Balsamic from Alexandra Cooks. Making your own dough can happen while you’re prepping for other Bowls during the morning pregame, but feel free to buy raw pizza dough from your local bakery, pizza joint, or grocery store.
4. For a boozy drink, make these Bourbon Peach Shakes from Ezra Pound Cake. Blogger Rebecca Crump likes the bourbon here because the slight sweetness works with the peaches, but the booze also helps cut through the richness of a milkshake to make it more complex.
The VIZIO Fiesta Bowl
The second game of the New Year’s Six is a 4 p.m. face-off between Idaho’s Boise State Broncos and the University of Arizona Wildcats. It’s the Fiesta Bowl, and we’re in serious need of some Tex-Mex aperitivos para la fiesta.
5. Since we have six games over two days with endless snacking, no one has any time for seven layer dip. Instead, take the best layer and perfect it: the guacamole. Specifically, this Perfect Guacamole from Simply Recipes. Author Elise nails the secret to great guacamole: really ripe avocados and salt. The acidity and heat are the running backs, bringing it on home.
6. We’re not playing favorites. The fact that this Bacon Tot Jalapeño Popper from Oh Bite It has potatoes in it has nothing to do with Boise State and everything to do with how amazing it would be to stuff a jalapeño with cheese and a tater tot, wrap it in bacon, and roast them. Even Wildcats have to admit that this could not be bad luck.
7. We thought about making tacos with a slow cooker pork filling and, make no mistake, that would be great. But tacos are messy on a day you’re not cheering and reacting violently to a game, and no one needs that. There’s no time to clean up taco messes when there are four more games and many more snacks to be made. Infinitely better for game day cheering are taquitos, like these from Macheesmo. Choose between beef and veggie, or make both. Roll tightly for ultimate snacking.
8. Fire up the grill one last time for 2014 and break out the tequila for these Tequila-Grilled Shrimp from Martha Stewart. If you happen to spill a little lime juice and a little tequila into a cup, well, that just sounds like more fiesta.
The Capital One Orange Bowl
The Mississippi State Bulldogs in their red and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in their yellow come together at 8 p.m. for the third game, the Orange Bowl. In these four snacks, we’re seeing a lot of orange. Keep these bookmarked for Syracuse Basketball Season.
9. No one can trash talk a good cheese ball. This Zesty Apricot Pepper Cheese Ball from The Fresh Market gives a good kick, too, with both in red pepper flakes and jalapeño pepper, then giving way to some deeply flavorful cheese that gets its orange from apricot preserves. For an especially orange cheese ball, choose an orange cheddar or Colby-Jack cheese.
10. Make your french fries orange and use a sweet potato like these Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Mayo from The Pioneer Woman. The beta carotene in there might help you see the score better.
11. For a vibrant orange fruit that doesn’t involve supreming a basket of oranges, turn to in-season persimmons. This Spiced Persimmon Salsa from Cooking Light via My Recipes features peeled persimmons, mint, cilantro, lime, and ginger for a fresh salsa to serve with steak or with brie and crackers.
12. For any leftover bacon you have after making the jalapeño poppers, green onions from the persimmon salsa, and any orange cheese left from the cheese ball, grab a can of Pillsbury crescent rolls for these Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels from, yes, Pillsbury.
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl
The Michigan State Spartans and Texas’s Baylor University Bears come head to head first on New Year’s Day for the Cotton Bowl at 12:30 p.m. Generally, eating cotton is frowned upon. Cotton candy isn’t exactly a household item. Creativity comes into play for these apps, relying on snacks with fluffy, white, and often ball-like features.
13. Ricotta is a pretty fluffy, cotton-like cheese. In this Crostini with Ricotta, Honey, and Lemon from Food52, it floats on a charred, crusty toast for a slightly tangy, slightly sweet snack.
14. More shaped like a cotton ball than feeling particularly cotton-like is bocconcini, small balls of mozzarella. Here, the bocconcini are marinated in herbs and oil, courtesy of Chow.com. They pair particularly well with cured meats, if you’re into that sort of thing.
15. Fluffy rice in the form of creamy risotto can be shaped into balls and fried into the Sicilian appetizer, arancini. In this recipe from the Food Network, the arancini get a bit molten in the center, surrounded by a crisp crust.
16. Also ball-shaped and fluffy from the grated parmesan it’s topped with, cruciferous cauliflower inside are these Parmesan Cauliflower Bites from Damn Delicious.
The Rose Bowl Presented by Northwestern Mutual
Roses are edible. The petals and the hips (seed pods) are often consumer, as is an infusion in the form of rose water. You could absolutely buy a bag of dried rose petals and make all manner of delicate, floral snacks for game day.
But this is football. There aren’t many hearty rose petal snacks out there, and delicate just doesn’t do it on the field. Instead, make some red, rose-colored appetizers for the game, and if you’re a University of Oregon Ducks fan, argue that the color has nothing to do with the Florida State Seminoles. If anyone challenges you, hand them a bag of rose petals and make them snack on that.
17. A steak, cooked rare, has quite the rosey interior. These Steak Bites from Rachel Ray are sliced to display that rosey interior, sitting atop a multigrain baguette and dolloped with horseradish sauce.
18. Make a bouquet of these Flower Crisps with Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Pesto from Hungry Happenings by cutting flower shapes out of egg roll wrappers and baking them over the cups of an inverted muffin tin.
19. To make these Ricotta and Chive Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes from the Food Network, take a cherry tomato, which almost looks like a rose bud, and cut two perpendicular slits in the top. Fill it with ricotta.
20. A good strawberry should be a deep, rose red all the way through. These Strawberries with Mint Yogurt Dip from Southern Living via My Recipes enhance the flavor of a winter strawberry that’s maybe less of a rosey red than it is a rosey pink. Hulling the strawberry and placing them point-up on a mint sprig makes them look a bit more like rose buds than the cherry tomatoes.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl
The final New Year’s Six bowl game, The Sugar Bowl, airs at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, with the Ohio State Buckeyes facing the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Break out your bags of sweet stuff for this game, because the New Year’s Six Series is capped off with a round of salty and sugary snacks.
21. Use a bag of non-buttered microwave popcorn for this 3-minute Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn recipe from Real Simple. Use the non-buttery popcorn because in order to get the cinnamon sugar to stick, you’re going to have to butter it yourself.
22. Maple Candied Bacon. Sweet, salty, and a little spicy, this recipe from The Clever Carrot is probably going to be your new favorite dessert bacon. You do have a favorite dessert bacon, right?
23. Following the salty-spicy-sweet trifecta, these Mexican Spiced Chocolate Nuts from Serious Eats turn pecans into chocolate covered can’t-stop snack bombs. It’s well worth it to use almost your whole spice cabinet, here.
24. This recipe from Wilton for Sugar Cookie Bowls is almost too perfect. Fill them with fruit or with ice cream topped with the nuts and bacon from above. How can you not make sugar cookie bowls for the Sugar Bowl? Use a muffin tin if you, like most people, don’t have an Ice Cream Cookie Bowl Pan.