Passion, team pride, and bonding with fan-tastic friends are at the heart of game day gatherings. Football feasts, like the game, should have bold energy and no-holds-barred action; snacking and grazing, dipping, digging in, and sharing comprise the greatest game day recipes for a game day get-together.
So, pass the Texas-style loaded sheet pan nachos, gather around an extraordinary charcuterie board, and get ready to crunch and munch with generous snacks that will have your friends and family cheering for the home team — and YOU!
We’ve huddled together and planned your Xs and Os for crowd-pleasing, lip-smacking game day appetizers, mains and sides, drinks, and desserts to keep you filled up over the course of the regular season, into the playoffs, and up to and through the Big Game.
It’s a toss-up as to which of these flavor-packed game day apps should kick off your tailgate at home party: Rich, tender-smoked brisket quesadillas enhanced with the zing of Pepper & Onion Relish, beer cheese, and jalapeno cheese sauce, or smoked salmon rillette — a decadent dip of smoky flaked salmon, lush sour cream, and tiny pickles that’s just right for dipping vegetables, chips, and pita. Having both on offer is a touchdown no matter who wins the coin toss.
Here are three steps to creating an easy snack board.
2) Transfer the dips to bowls (extra point for team colors) and set the bowls on a board.
Not only does this snack board look dynamic, and enticing, but stocking up on dips is an in-your-pocket move if you need to call a game day party audible!
Saucy, succulent, and crispy-skinned chicken wings are a classic game time menu must-have. And with Harry & David sauces, you can offer a delectable array of flavors in which to marinate your wings, from traditional buffalo wing sauce to the sweeter charred pineapple bourbon grilling sauce. And we love these oven-baked drumettes that capture the feeling and flavor of deep-fried wings without the grease.
No game day feast is complete without a hearty selection of colorful, tempting side dishes. From creamy truffle mac ‘n’ cheese to Mexican street corn to three cheese scalloped potatoes, we love the bold flavor and variety (and ease) of prepared side dishes to round out our menu. And for a quick and healthy alternative side for chicken wings (that still includes blue cheese), we love this fall pecan, pear, and blue cheese salad.
The action on the field may be fast and furious, but low and slow is the way to go with these comforting chicken fajita subs. They’re replete with bell peppers and topped with creamy homemade queso for a fantastic game day meal. Or use your slow cooker to create a hearty, smoky, satisfying, and budget-friendly BBQ baked beans side dish. And, best of all, slow cookers are a “set it and forget it” way to prep, so you won’t be sidelined in the kitchen while the gang watches the game.
Your guests will get a kick out of your game day recipes if you draw inspiration from the regional specialties of your opposing team. Here are five tasty ideas: mouthwatering South Florida-style Cubano sandwiches, black bean and corn Southwestern-style salsa, Maryland-style crab cakes, and tender sirloin for Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks (or make soft pretzels)!
Pregame parking lot fun is a ball with your portable grill, and the Harry & David tailgate collection makes it even easier, with its half slabs of baby back pork ribs, Chicago beef franks, and your choice of USDA Choice or USDA Prime beef steak burgers. Make a large batch of warming apple cider and cranberry cocktail (transport it in a large thermos, and be sure to pack cups!) and enjoy the fresh fall air, smoky grilled meat, and game day vibes.
Beer and brats make a great match-up, but you’ll never fumble by choosing wine to complement the sweet, spicy, tangy, smoky flavors of your favorite game day recipes. Try a lightly oaked, crisp chardonnay to enjoy with the range of rich spice and flavors in your favorite sausages. Or unleash the dark fruit and herbal flavors of 2020 Harry & David Royal Crest Red blend to serve with a fall-inspired charcuterie board, and juicy chicken, steak, and vegetable kebabs.
Brownies are an easy, portable, “everybody loves ’em” sweet. And we love these rich, dark chocolate cherry brownies — the fresh cherries are optional, or, in off-season, substitute a half cup of tart cherry preserves for a cherry boost! And here’s a pro tip for cutting brownies from an 8-by-8-inch pan to control the serving size: Cut into eight large 2-by-4-inch brownies, 12 medium 2-by-2 1/2-inch pieces, or 16 bite-sized, 2-by-2-inch squares.
Sometimes just one play is a game changer — on the field and in the kitchen. Turn an ordinary bowl of ice cream into a spicy, kicked-up super (sundae) bowl by topping it with a spoon of fruit salsas for a touch of sweetness and heat. And if you serve it with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips, you’ll be the MVP of game day recipes.