Add Mexican Flair to Game Day Favorites

Football season, for many people, is just as much about the food as it is about the action. No matter who’s playing and whether you’re at a tailgate or living room watch party, one thing is for sure: football and flavor go hand-in-hand.

When you’re huddling up to figure out how to score a touchdown with your game day spread, consider taking your snacks to the next level by adding an authentic Mexican flair. Opt for traditional Mexican ingredients like chorizo, queso fresco or cotija in meals and snacks that are already football mainstays, including nachos, tacos and quesadillas, and consider all the possibilities that incorporating these flavorful ingredients can add to other classic dishes like sliders and potato skins.

Ideal for tailgate season, Cacique, one of the country’s top Mexican food brands, offers Mexican-Style Queso Dips – made with real queso fresco and available in Queso Blanco, Southwestern, Jalapeño and Chipotle flavors – and Fully Cooked Chorizos – made with authentically seasoned premium pork shoulder and available in classic, Chorizo with Bacon & Potato, Chorizo with Eggs and Chorizo with Queso varieties – to help fans easily add Mexican flavor to indulgent game day favorites. Both use high-quality ingredients and are microwavable, so they taste authentic and can be ready in minutes so no one misses any of the big plays or touchdowns.

Consider these twists you can add to your favorite game time snacks:

  • Loaded Avocados: Give avocados the potato skin treatment by loading them up with delicious toppings like chorizo, queso fresco and crema – just don’t eat the skin.
  • Cheese Fries: Drizzle queso dip over French fries or top with crumbles of flavorful Cacique Chorizo and Cotija in a recipe like these Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chorizo and Cotija.
  • Robust Sliders: Skip regular beef patties and spoon the rich seasoning and punch of flavor that chorizo brings to your favorite slider rolls then top with your favorite cheese and salsa.
  • Mac and Cheese: For a new take on mac and cheese, toss cooked macaroni noodles with your favorite Cacique Queso Dip and top with crushed tortilla chips in a recipe like this Southwestern Mac and Queso.

Discover more ways to incorporate Mexican flair into your game day spread at caciqueinc.com .

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chorizo and Cotija

  • 4          large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide sticks
  • 3          tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          package Cacique Fully Cooked Chorizo
  • 1          cup Cacique Cotija, crumbled
  • 2          tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Heat oven to 400° F and lightly grease large, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In large bowl, toss sweet potato sticks with olive oil.
  3. Lay fries in single layer on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake 15-18 minutes, shaking pan several times, until tender and lightly browned.
  4. When fries are almost done baking, microwave chorizo 3-4 minutes.
  5. To serve, place golden brown fries on serving platter and spoon chorizo over top. Sprinkle with cotija and fresh cilantro.

Southwestern Mac and Queso

  • 1          package Cacique Queso Dip
  • 1          box macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/4       cup Cacique Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2       cup tortilla chips, crushed
  1. Microwave queso dip 2-3 minutes; stir. Pour over cooked macaroni and toss until thoroughly coated.
  2. Sprinkle crumbled queso fresco and crushed tortilla chips over macaroni before serving. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Cacique

5 Steps for Game Day Party Success

Whether you have been planning for months or you’re inviting guests the day of, hosting a huge crowd on game day requires a bit more than RSVPs and a welcoming setting. Whether a “huge crowd” to you means five guests or 50, starting out with a plan can help make the day more enjoyable for everyone.

To help make your game day soiree a success, knowing which snacks are top picks for the event might make shopping a little easier. The experts at Frito-Lay North America conducted the inaugural U.S. Snack Index – a poll that surveyed Americans for insights on which snacks rose to the top for consumers this year – to share what guests want on game day.

Get Organized From Guests to Groceries

From sending invites to selecting the snacks you’ll serve, start by organizing your thoughts and writing down the details. For starters, create a guest list so you’ll know exactly how much food and drink you’ll need to buy and map out your grocery list for a stress-free trip to the store.

Game Day Setup

A picture is worth a thousand words, and you can rest assured many game day viewers will plan to share images of their spreads on social media. To make sure your game day setup is ready for primetime, start by decluttering your space, arranging furniture for ample seating and laying out the picture-perfect snack table so guests can reach for snacks, plates, napkins and utensils, with easy access.

Snacks for All

While it may be first instinct to feel like you need to cook crafty dishes and artsy snacks, that may not necessarily be important to game day guests. In fact, according to the index, nearly all game day party-goers will enjoy snacks during the competition, and 80 percent of viewers said they’ll eat either potato or tortilla chips. Chips aren’t the only thing to consider. Score big with your guests by picking the perfect pairings, like salsa for tortilla chips, which ranks as the most popular dip overall, or French onion dip, which is the most popular choice for dipping potato chips.

Encourage Fun for Everyone

Of course, the game is the reason for the party and the center of attention, but the fact is it’s possible not every person in attendance is a sports fan. By bringing out board games or cards and setting up tables in adjacent rooms, you can encourage a fun environment for everyone at the party. Plus, by creating a secondary station away from the TV, you’ll allow for non-sports conversation without upsetting the diehards.

Keep it Simple

Generally, game day watch parties are of the more laid-back variety. This no-fuss attitude carries over into party snack prep, as more than half of viewers surveyed in the U.S. Snack Index prefer to prepare simple recipes whether they’re hosting or attending. On top of laid-back snacks, more than one-third of consumers polled plan to simply put snacks in the closest bowl rather than planning out a social media-worthy snack table.

Find more survey details and snacking ideas at fritolay.com/snackindex. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Frito-Lay

A Winning Spread for the Big Game

Big-game watch parties call for big-game snacks, but that doesn’t have to mean complicated recipes or hours spent in the kitchen. Small bites and hearty dips made with real ingredients can be easy to prepare, and make an impressive spread that guests can enjoy from opening kickoff to the final whistle.

To avoid the classic snacking fumble of having your guests’ chips crumbling in your dips, choose an option like Garden of Eatin’ Blue Tortilla Chips, the mother of all chips, made with organic whole blue corn kernels that are stone ground to perfection for thick, tasty and hearty chips that stand up to any dip.

To prepare for fellow viewers with other lifestyle or dietary needs, plan to offer snacks and dips that satisfy even the most finicky of fans. Prepare a double serving of guacamole and split it in two. Keep one as-is for an easy and healthy vegan option, and make BLT Guacamole with the rest.

Serve with Garden of Eatin’ Grain Free Cassava Chips, which are made with organic cassava, sunflower and chia seeds. Crafted to perfection, these gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, paleo-approved chips provide a tasty touchdown for the whole team.

If you’re looking to bring the heat with bold taste and just enough spice in each bite, go for a warm option like Tex-Mex Enchilada Queso. To save time, you can assemble it a few hours before kickoff or even a day ahead of the game then bake just prior to guests arriving. An easy way to make this recipe stretch is to make a portion without meat so you have a vegetarian option as well.

Find more recipes to bring victory to your game-day spread at gardenofeatin.com.

BLT Guacamole

Recipe courtesy of Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking

  • 3          strips bacon
  • 3          avocados, seeds removed
  • 2          baby romaine lettuce leaves, halved and shredded
  • 1          small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2          tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1          lime, juiced
  • 1          lemon, juiced
  • 2          tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2          tablespoons chives, chopped
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • Garden of Eatin’ Grain-Free Cassava Chips
  1. Cook bacon according to package instructions. Drain on paper towel and break into small pieces.
  2. In medium bowl, roughly mash avocado. Add lettuce, onion, tomato and bacon. Stir lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro and chives into avocado. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

Tex-Mex Enchilada Queso

Recipe courtesy of Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking

  •             Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8          ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1          cup sour cream
  • 1          tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 1          teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1          can (10 ounces) green enchilada sauce
  • 1          can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1          can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes in green chilies, drained
  • 1          cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1          cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1          cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • chopped green onions
  • Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, for serving
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Lightly coat deep, 9-inch skillet with cooking spray.
  3. In large bowl, using hand mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sour cream, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt until smooth and well combined. Reduce speed to low then beat in enchilada sauce until incorporated. Stir in beans, tomatoes, corn, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and shredded chicken.
  4. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes until dip is hot and cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions.
  5. Serve warm with tortilla chips. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Garden of Eatin’

Wing It for Game Day

When bringing your friends and family together to watch the game, you’ll likely want to avoid any fumbles in the kitchen. Fret not and opt for a big batch of easy-to-make wings while incorporating these stress-free tips into your game plan to help ensure a resounding success:

  • Delegate responsibilities. The best gatherings are a team sport. Tackle this recipe for Crispy Baked Wings and let your friends help with snacks, dips and drinks.
  • Prep what you can the day before. Reduce the time needed to make these wings on game day by prepping some steps in advance. The seasoning blend and sauces can be prepped up to two days in advance and chicken wings can be separated into drums and flats the day before.
  • Veggies are underrated. It’s usually a good plan to have a snack that can be easily replenished for grazers attending your party. Stock up on vegetables that are easy to slice such as carrots and celery. Place some of the cut vegetables out with dips like blue cheese dressing or ranch, both of which can double as classic pairings for your wings.
  • Redefine “homemade.” The Crispy Baked Wings can serve as a versatile base for just about any sauce you might be craving. Instead of making a sauce entirely from scratch, consider making some quick alterations to premade ones. For example, add an ingredient like Tabasco Chipotle Sauce to store-bought barbecue sauce to impart a smoky flavor and lime juice for added brightness. Small changes can add that special, homemade quality without all the work. Recipes like Chipotle Barbecue Sauce or Nashville-Style Sauce can complement wings for true crowd-pleasers – pick your favorite or try both.

Find more flavorful recipes and game day tips at Tabasco.com/wings.

Crispy Baked Wings with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce or Nashville-Style Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time:40 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Wings:

  • 2          tablespoons baking powder
  • 1          teaspoon salt
  • 1          teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4       teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 1/2    pounds chicken wings, drums and flats separated, tips removed

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1          cup barbecue sauce
  • 3          tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
  • 2          tablespoons lime juice

Nashville-Style Sauce:

  • 6          tablespoons Tabasco Sauce
  • 8          tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1          tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1          teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2       teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. In bowl, combine baking powder, salt, paprika and black pepper. Shake over both sides of wings.
  3. Place seasoned wings on rack over foil-lined sheet pan.
  4. Bake 20 minutes, turn wings over and continue cooking additional 20 minutes in convection oven or 30 minutes in conventional oven. Cooked wings should reach at least 180° F internal temperature with crispy texture.
  5. To make Chipotle Barbecue Sauce: In bowl, mix barbecue sauce, Tabasco Chipotle Sauce and lime juice.
  6. Alternatively, to make Nashville-Style Wing Sauce: In bowl, mix Tabasco Sauce, butter, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder and salt. Set aside.
  7. Remove wings from oven. Toss wings with preferred sauce and serve. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Tabasco

Make Game Day a Win

It’s game day, which means your party needs food and needs it fast. Use recipes that can pump up the crowd this season and make every game a win.

These quick recipes for an Olive Bar Flatbread and a Mediterranean Nacho Bar can leave the fans in your home screaming for more.

Your fans will almost assuredly be dipping, diving and running for these simple snacks created with fresh ingredients like Sabra Hummus, which is available in more than a dozen flavors in the deli section of your grocery store. Spread it on fluffy flatbread with your favorite veggies to create a snack that fans can go crazy over, or set it out buffet-style for everyone to munch on at halftime.

Find more game day recipes at sabra.com.

Mediterranean Nacho Bar

  • Sabra Hummus
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped green onions
  • Chopped zucchini (1/4-inch chunks)
  • Chopped Greek olives
  • Chopped pepperoncinis
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Grilled chicken
  • Pita chips
  1. Assemble hummus, tomatoes, green onions, zucchini, olives, pepperoncinis, lettuce, cheese and chicken in buffet format.
  2. Serve with pita chips.

Olive Bar Flatbread

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2

  • 3          tablespoons Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • 1          flatbread
  • 1/2       cup desired vegetables, chopped (olives, roasted peppers, peppadew or artichokes)
  • 3          miniature mozzarella balls, sliced
  • 2          cups arugula
  • 2          tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • ½         teaspoon salt
  • 1          teaspoon pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place hummus on flatbread. Top with desired vegetables and mozzarella.
  3. Bake on lower rack 10-12 minutes, or until crispy and browned.
  4. Toss arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on flatbread and serve. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Sabra

Add Some Pop to Your Party

No matter the occasion, every celebration is better with snacks. Whether you’re hosting game day with the guys, catching up with girlfriends, gathering for family movie night or inviting your kids’ friends over for a grade school sleepover, you can’t go wrong with popcorn treats.

Popcorn is the perfect partner for a broad span of flavors, especially when they’re sweet or salty – or both. You can make each mouthwatering bite pop even more by adding texture with crunchy nuts or silky melted chocolate.

Even if you simply serve plain popcorn to your guests, you can feel good about serving healthy, whole grain, freshly popped popcorn, which is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free.

Find more ways to pop up more fun for your next party at popcorn.org.

Caramel-Nut Popcorn Crunch

Yield: 20 pieces

  • 10        cups freshly popped popcorn
  • 2          cups whole almonds
  • 1          cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4       cup light corn syrup
  • 2          teaspoons vanilla
  • 1          teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2       teaspoon baking soda
  1. Heat oven to 225° F. Spray 15-by-10-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. In large bowl, mix popcorn and almonds.
  3. In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Over low heat, stir mixture until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, almond extract and baking soda.
  4. Pour over popcorn and almonds, immediately stirring gently to coat. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly.
  5. Bake 1 hour. Cool completely. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Maple Bacon Popcorn Mix

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 6          slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4       cup pure maple syrup, divided
  • 8          cups popped popcorn
  • 2/3       cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3       cup dried cranberries
  • 2          tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4       teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4       teaspoon maple extract
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Line jelly roll pan with foil. Place wire rack in pan. Arrange bacon in single layer on rack. Bake 15 minutes, or until ends of bacon start to curl. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Brush bacon with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; bake 15 minutes until browned. Cool then coarsely chop bacon.
  3. In large bowl, combine popcorn, pecans and cranberries.
  4. Combine butter, black pepper, maple extract, remaining maple syrup and reserved bacon drippings. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Drizzle over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
  5. Spread popcorn mixture in jelly roll or roasting pan. Bake 5 minutes. Toss in bacon pieces. Serve warm.

Poppy Chow

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 2          quarts popped popcorn
  • 1/4       cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1/2       cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1          cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1          cup confectioners’ sugar
  1. Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
  2. In microwave safe bowl, combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Microwave 2 minutes; stir until smooth.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and stir until well coated. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over popcorn and stir until coated.
  4. Cool to room temperature before serving. Store in airtight container, refrigerated, up to 24 hours.

English Toffee Popcorn Bars

Yield: 20 bars

  • 2 1/2    quarts popped popcorn
  • 1          cup peanuts
  • 1          cup flaked coconut, toasted

Toffee:

  • 1 1/2    cups butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2    cups sugar
  • 3          tablespoons water
  • 4 1/2    teaspoons light corn syrup

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1 1/2    cups (9 ounces) chocolate pieces
  • 1          tablespoon shortening
  1. Heat oven to 200° F.
  2. In large bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts and toasted coconut. Cover bottom of buttered 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by-1-inch jelly roll pan with half of the popcorn mixture. Keep filled pan and remaining popcorn mixture warm in oven.
  3. To make toffee: In heavy 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and blend well.Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches full boil. Add water and corn syrup; mix well.
  4. Wash down sides of pan with pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar granules.
  5. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches soft-crack stage on candy thermometer (280° F). Immediately pour mixture over warm popcorn in jelly-roll pan, making certain all popcorn is covered. Quickly spread and press remaining popcorn mixture into hot toffee. Set aside to cool.For topping, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Spread over popcorn mixture, making certain any loose pieces are held in place.
  6. Cool. Cut into bars. If bars will not be served immediately, wrap in plastic wrap for storage. (Family Features)