By Christine Hinrichs
Since fall, my weekends have been filled with football games and party snacks until Super Bowl Sunday. Even my friends who are not football enthusiasts are willing to watch a game if food and drinks are part of the equation! Football games are a great opportunity to gather with friends, enjoy tasty treats, and yell mercilessly at the television. Hopefully your neighbors are accustomed to the noise!
Here are a few of my tips to having the perfect football-party menu. If you are going to be cooking your own food, choose three to four dishes to make the day of the big game. I usually pick an appetizer, a dip, and either a main course or a dessert to serve at my parties. Also, when considering what you want to serve, choose things that have similar ingredients. Then you have consistency in your options and it’s easier and cheaper to shop. And pick a few items that you can buy pre-made to complement what beer cheese dip you’re cooking or to delegate out to your guests. Finally, think about the game you’re watching. Is it an early-afternoon game? Maybe you want to set up a Bloody Mary bar. If it’s an evening game, you might want to do a main course and one appetizer. But jerseys and loud cheering should always be encouraged!
Here are a few of my favorite game-day appetizers to help you build the perfect menu for your own party.
Black Bean Corn Flautas with Cilantro Lime Dip
makes about 30 flautas
2 cups frozen corn
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped fine
1 jalapeno, chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
Dash of cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt & pepper
1 package of wonton wrappers
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients (except the wrappers) in a large bowl. To assemble the flautas, place a tablespoon of the mixture onto one of the wonton wrappers. Roll tightly, and wet the edge of the wrapper with a bit of water, pressing to seal. Repeat until you are out of mixture or out of wrappers.
Place the flautas seam-side down on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Once all of the flautas are on the baking sheet, spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake until browned, about 15 minutes. Serve warm with salsa or cilantro lime dip (recipe follows).
For the Dipping Sauce
Makes about ½ cup of dipping sauce
Adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen
4 ounces plain Greek yogurt
½ lime, zest & juice
Large handful of cilantro
2 garlic cloves, pushed through a garlic press or chopped fine
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Serve cold alongside the flautas.
Beer Cheese Dip
Makes about 2 cups of cheese dip
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
1 cup of good beer (Summit Extra Pale Ale is always a great option)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
3 ounces gruyere, grated or chopped into small pieces
1 ounce cream cheese, broken into pieces
¼ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ tablespoon Dijon mustard
Heat the beer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Once the beer is warmed, add the cornstarch mixture and whisk together until thickened, about two minutes.
Add the cheeses about a half of a cup at a time, stirring in a figure-8 pattern with a wooden spoon. Once the cheese has melted, add another half of a cup, until you have added all of the cheese. Add the Worcestershire sauce and mustard, stirring to combine.
Serve the cheese dip hot with an assortment of bread cubes (Stirato is great bread for cheese dip) and vegetables. If you have a small crockpot, serve the cheese in that to keep it warm. Otherwise, put the dip in a microwave-safe bowl so you can re-heat as necessary.
It never hurts to serve a dish that represents your beloved team. To show your football pride, I suggest serving a homemade pizza complete with team-appropriate toppings. You can buy pre-made pizza dough at many markets around town, and a lot of pizza places will let you purchase some dough right from their shops. As for the toppings, be creative! Are you cheering for the Philadelphia Eagles? Top your pizza with sautéed onions and peppers, thin slices of steak, and provolone cheese. Hoping the Green Bay Packers win the game? Serve your party guests a four-cheese pizza, using whatever cheese strikes your fancy at the market. If you’re a Saints fan, try a Muffuletta-style pizza… the possibilities are endless. But I’m a hometown girl and all about the Purple Pride. So I put together a pizza recipe that is perfect for any Minnesota Vikings fan!
Purple Pride Pizza
Makes one 16-inch pizza
1 round of pre-made pizza dough
1 lb. purple potatoes, very thinly sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1 cup (or more!), grated pecorino Romano cheese
2 teaspoons garlic salt or powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Stretch or roll out the pizza dough until it measures about 16 inches across or it fits into your baking sheet in a rectangle shape. Place the dough on a pizza stone or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Brush the pizza dough with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the thin slices of potatoes on top of the dough in a single layer. Sprinkle the fresh rosemary on top of the potatoes and add the grated cheese on top. Sprinkle the garlic salt/powder on the crust portion of your pizza.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Eat, enjoy and Go Vikings!
Christine Hinrichs is a vegetarian who loves everything related to food. She daydreams about recipes, frequents the local farmers’ markets, and reads cookbooks before bed. When not preoccupied with food, she enjoys running the lakes and trails in the Twin Cities and helps rescue stray animals from local shelters. Read about her food adventures at ruminationsonfood.blogspot.com.