Game Day Grub: 7 Recipes Ready to Eat By Halftime
It’s about time to spice up your party menu with some tasty, football-friendly snacks. Of course, you can’t be slaving over the stove while your favorite team is taking to the field. This means getting creative with some baked or slow-cooked goodies that can be cooked up during gametime so you don’t have to miss a beat.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the average professional football game runs about 3 hours and 12 minutes (including halftime), so you’ll want to give yourself between an hour and hour fifteen minutes for baked dishes, while crockpot dishes can be prepared hours ahead of time and turned down low while your home team is duking it out onscreen.
With these 7 recipes, you’ll keep your hungry guests satisfied with hot and hearty food at halftime — without having to skip out on watching the game.
1. Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa & Sauerkraut
This recipe combining sausage, beer, and sauerkraut is as fitting for Oktoberfest as it is for football! Like most things cooked in the crockpot, the kielbasa in this dish will be irresistibly tender and juicy after it spends a few hours stewing in its beer and brown sugar glaze. Throw the kielbasa, beer, and brown sugar into the crockpot about 7-9 hours before game time to achieve optimal results — the longer it cooks, the more the flavors will soak into your kielbasa. This recipe from Brown Eyed Baker takes 10 minutes to prepare, plus 4-10 hours in the crockpot, depending on your preference. Recipe yields about 10 servings.
- 12 ounces beer (can or bottle)
- 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
- 3 pounds polish kielbasa
- 1 bag (or jar) sauerkraut (32 ounces), drained
Directions: Combine the beer and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts and the mixture is slightly thickened; set aside. Cut the kielbasa into links and place in a slow cooker. Cover with the drained sauerkraut. Pour the beer and brown sugar mixture over top. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Serve on its own or on your favorite sandwich roll.
2. Chipotle-Honey Baked Chicken Wings
What would football be without delicious chicken wings to accompany it? This recipe from Foodie Crush combines tender chicken with the tangy, zesty flavors of a homemade chipotle-honey sauce. Once you’ve glazed your wings, be sure to keep the leftover sauce for dipping — but bring it up to a boil for a few minutes first in order to cook out any possible contamination from the raw wings. This dish takes an hour to complete and yields about 16 wings.
- 1 pound chicken wings
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup ketchup
- 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Skin and clean the chicken wings, removing any extra fat or tendons and place in a medium size bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add ½ cup of the sauce to the chicken wings and toss to coat.
Lightly spray a baking rack with cooking spray and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the wings on the baking rack and baste the wings then bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the wings from the oven and baste with the remaining sauce. Raise the heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 5 more minutes or until caramelized. Remove and serve with additional sauce and Ranch dressing if desired.
3. Tender Crockpot Pulled Pork
Again, there is nothing quite like a meat dish cooked slowly in the crockpot. This method allows it to become incredibly tender, while also giving the flavors a chance to soak the meat through entirely. The results are always near to perfection. Better yet, you get to enjoy the tantalizing smells all day as a tantalizing precursor to that treat. This expertly seasoned recipe from the Reluctant Entertainer takes 10 minutes to prepare, and should be left to cook in the crockpot for about 10 hours. Yields 6-8 servings — depending how hungry you are!
- 3-4 pound pork shoulder butt roast
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 6-8 pressed garlic cloves
- 1 cup white wine
- 3-5 tablespoons (1.25 ounce) your favorite dry rub (or mix together 4-5 of these ingredients: brown mustard seed, chili pepper, black pepper, paprika, cinnamon, sea salt, brown sugar, garlic, onion)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Directions: Spray the bottom and sides of a crock pot with cooking spray. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and wine to the bottom. Cover the pork roast with spices, rubbing into the roast. Place on top of the onion mixture. Drizzle the top with Worcestershire sauce. Cover and heat on low for 10 hours.
Allow the meat to cool; pull the meat apart with 2 forks (discarding any fat). Serve shredded by placing strained onions back on top, or with rice, quinoa, pasta, farro, or use the meat for sliders or sandwiches.
4. Baked Cream Cheese Rangoon
Feeling inspired to give your football spread some Asian flair? This homemade cream cheese rangoon is a creamy taste of heaven — requiring just 5 ingredients (plus a dash of salt) to make. Simply prepare the ingredients as instructed, then pop them in the oven about 15 minutes before halftime so they’ll be hot and perfectly crisped as gameplay comes to a close. This vegetarian-friendly recipe from Domestic Superhero takes about 40-45 minutes total to complete and yields 24 rangoon.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ clove garlic, minced
- dash of salt
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 egg
- 24 square wonton wrappers
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, garlic, salt, and onions until well-mixed. Whisk egg until well beaten in a small bowl.
Place one teaspoon of cream cheese mixture into the center of one wonton wrapper. Dip your finger into the beaten egg and lightly coat the outer edges of the wonton wrapper. Bring all the corners of the wonton together up to the center and pinch. Slide your fingers all the sides together to to form an “X” or star appearance, and make sure they are sealed (or else the filling may come out). You can add more egg wash if needed. Place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat for remaining wontons.
Lightly spray the tops of the wontons with olive oil spray. Bake for 7-12 minutes or until tops are golden brown in color. Check after 7 minutes to ensure they don’t burn. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, out of the oven.
5. Jalapeño Popper Cheesy Pretzel Bombs
Every word in that name sounds even better than the one before it. Soft and chewy pretzels alone are tempting enough — but packed with gooey cheese, bacon, and jalapeño, this dish contains almost too much tastiness to handle. Although the recipe calls for beer, milk or water can be substituted in its place. This recipe from the Slow Roasted Italian takes 50 minutes to complete and yields 36 servings. Simply prepare the ingredients ahead of time and pop into the oven shortly before halftime for a piping hot and hearty snack.
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 12 ounces warm wheat beer (110-120 degrees Fahrenheit, can be heated in microwave)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting counter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more for pretzel tops
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 2 cups water
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (or cheddar cheese)
- 1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeños
- 12 ounces bacon, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour beer into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (see the cook’s note if you do not have a stand mixer), sprinkle yeast over top, add sugar, and stir. Allow yeast to bloom for 5-10 minutes. Once it is nice and foamy, it is ready. *It should look like the ‘head’ of a beer poured too quickly and smell yeasty.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine cheeses, bacon, and jalapeños. Mix together. You may need to use a wood spoon to get it well mixed. In a small bowl, beat egg and set aside. Sprinkle clean counter top with ¼ cup flour. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Set aside. Add flour and salt to stand mixer. Knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough comes together in one ball. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed if bread is too sticky to come together. Dough should be tacky when you pull it out of the mixer, not sticky.
Place dough on floured counter top and knead in flour until it is no longer tacky, just a minute or two. Form dough into a ball. We are going to cut this ball into 36 even pieces. First, quarter the ball of dough. (I used a bench scraper, but a butter knife would work too.) Roll each quarter into a fat log. Cut that into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a log and cut into 3 pieces. When you are done, you will have 36 pieces.
Fill a medium bowl with 2 cups of hot water and add baking soda. Place baking sheet, baking soda water, and cheese mixture on the counter that you are working on.
Roll each dough piece into a ball and then flatten it into a circle. Add 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture in the center. Carefully pull each side over the cheese to create a “cheese package,” pinching the edges closed. Roll the dough into a ball. Be careful to make sure you can not see the cheese through the dough. Tap fingers in flour, pinch any tears and roll again. Set aside and repeat until you have 3 stuffed dough balls. Transfer 3 stuffed dough balls to hot water mixture and allow to set while you prepare the next 3. Prepare the next 3 dough balls. Remove dough balls from water with a slotted spoon and place on prepared baking sheet. Place 3 newly prepared balls into the water and prepare 3 more. Repeat until all dough balls are on the cookie sheet.
Arrange all pretzel balls on parchment so they are not touching. Brush egg wash onto each one and sprinkle with course salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops are browned.
6. Spicy Slow Cooker Beef Chili
Need we again argue in favor of the glory that is slow cooking? Here’s another great dish that can be prepared ahead of time, then added to the crockpot for 6-8 hours to create a perfect, complex blend of vegetable, spices, and seasonings. Chili is one of football season’s finest dishes. For a vegetarian take on this recipe, simply omit the beef and enjoy a hearty vegetable chili. This dish from Chow takes 45 minutes to prepare and should be left to cook in the crockpot for 6-8 hours. Recipe yields 6 servings of chili.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
- 1 medium red bell pepper, medium dice
- 6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped pickled jalapeños or green chiles, drained
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Sour cream
Directions: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and bell pepper, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and measured salt and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the beef is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, add the diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, and beans, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the chili thickens and the flavors meld, about 8 hours on low or 6 hours on high. Stir in the jalapeños or green chiles. Taste and season with salt as needed, and serve with the cheese, scallions, and sour cream.
7. Slow Cooker Spicy Bacon Corn Dip
Here’s one more fantastic use for your crockpot during gametime. If there’s a better combination in this world than cream cheese, Monterey jack, sour cream, garlic, bacon, and onions, then we don’t want to hear it. Okay, so maybe it won’t be doing your breath any favors — but you’ve got to live a little! This recipe from Foodie With Family takes about 20 minutes to prepare, plus 2-3 hours sitting in the slow cooker. Recipe yields 10-12 servings.
- 2 (1 pound each) bags frozen sweet corn
- 8 ounces Neufchâtel cream cheese (labeled ⅓ less fat), cut into cubes
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 3 jalapeño peppers, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound of bacon, cooked until crisp
- 6 green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced, then minced
Directions: Lightly spritz the crock of a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease it with oil. Stir together the sweet corn, cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, Neufchâtel, garlic, salt, and pepper. Put the lid on the slow cooker and set the cooker to low. Cook for 2-3 hours, or until the contents are uniformly hot, the cheese is melted, and the corn and jalapeño are coated with a creamy sauce.
While the mixture is cooking, finely chop the crispy bacon and reserve 1 tablespoon of the chopped bacon along with 2 teaspoons of the minced green onion. Stir the remaining bacon and green onion into the hot dip, then scoop the dip into a serving dish. Sprinkle the reserved bacon and green onion over the top and serve with chips or as a side dish.