Thursday, September 2, 2010

Favorite Game-Day Snacks

In the South, football is part of our culture (there’s a reason the SEC is the best). In Alabama, it defines you (FACT: First question you’ll be asked when you arrive in Birmingham is “Are you for Auburn or Alabama?”). In Auburn (yes, I know I’m outnumbered), it’s your LIFE. At least for the first four months of the school year…

For me, football is yet another way to enjoy great food with great friends. Nothing beats curling up on the couch with some yummy snacks, a cold beer, and a big TV (all the better for yelling, my dear).

Husband and I will be spending Labor Day weekend at the lake with the WHOLE family (bless his heart, he’s the lone Alabama fan), so I’m already planning the delicious food that will accompany our day ‘o football.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
I first made this dip for the SEC Championship game last December. It lasted MAYBE 10 minutes. It’s everything you want in a Game-Day snack - the delicious combination of spicy wings and cool Ranch dressing, without all the mess. There are several great recipes out there, but this version from the blog “Woman, Wine and Song” is my favorite.

Ultimate Spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip
Adapted from Adrienne Bailey, Mary England and Susie Cromer Clements

1 cup Ranch dressing
¾ cup chopped red onion
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded OR one rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup of your favorite wing sauce (I like local favorite, Moore’s Buffalo Wing Sauce)
2 cups shredded Cheddar
Tortilla Chips and celery for dipping

1. Saute red onion in butter until tender (about 10 minutes); remove from heat.
2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese, half of shredded cheddar and sauted onions.
3. Mix thoroughly and pour into baking dish.
4. Sprinkle remaining cheddar on top.
5. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly.
6. Serve with tortilla chips and celery (and a cold beer!).

Black Bean, Corn and Feta Dip
With temps still in the high 90′s (come on Fall weather…), a cold, refreshing dip is also a great choice for the first Game Day of the season (a nice side for your Labor Day picnics, too).

* Adapted from Martha Reiser, AU Alum website

1 can black beans
1 can corn, shoepeg
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1. Combine black beans, corn, feta, olive oil, sugar and cider vinegar in a bowl.
2. Toss and serve with tortilla chips or Fritos.
*This dip gets better the longer it sits.

Roast Beef and Havarti Sandwiches
This fabulous recipe from Southern Living is a welcome twist on the tried-and-true Ham and Poppyseed Sandwiches. With the creamy Havarti, sweet peach preserves and crunchy walnuts, these are truly addicting (definitely my most-requested hors d’oeuvres!). Bonus: Perfect “make- ahead” snack. Stick a few batches in the fridge on Game Day and heat as needed.

photo from

*Recipe from Southern Living, December 2008
Yield: Makes 12 to 16 servings


1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 (9.25-oz.) packages dinner rolls (I use Rainbo Dinner Rolls)
2/3 cup peach preserves
1/2 cup mustard-mayonnaise blend (i.e. Hellman’s Dijonnaise)
3/4 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef, chopped
1/2 pound thinly sliced Havarti cheese
Salt and pepper (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Heat walnuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
3. Remove rolls from packages. (Do not separate rolls.) Cut rolls in half horizontally, creating 1 top and 1 bottom per package. Spread preserves on cut sides of top of rolls; sprinkle with walnuts. Spread mustard-mayonnaise blend on cut sides of bottom of rolls; top with roast beef and cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover with top halves of rolls, preserves sides down, and wrap in aluminum foil.
4. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice into individual sandwiches. Serve immediately.

Now all you need is some icy cold beer and good company, and you are ready for a full day of football-watching.

1 comment:

  1. I do love that about Birmingham, so sport crazy but at the same time food fanatics. The Birmingham restaurants I visit whenever I pass through never cease to astound me with the most amazing cuisine. That said I've yet to come across anything like your Roast Beef and Havarti Sandwiches as of yet, guess I have a little home project for this weekend - perfect football food.