8 Great Recipes for Game Day

No matter where team loyalties lie, football fans unite every season for food-filled game days. These recipes will keep everyone coming back for more.

The sauce goes with everythingThe sauce goes with everything
Grass-fed Burgers with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Top grass-fed burger with a sauce of smoked chiles, brown sugar, ketchup, molasses, orange juice concentrate, and garlic. The sauce is also excellent on grilled chicken and ribs.

Yield: Serves 4
Total: 35 Minutes

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (about 3 chiles), plus 1 tbsp. sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 1/4 pounds grass-fed ground beef
2 teaspoons each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 red onion, sliced 1/4 to 1/2 in. thick crosswise
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 sesame hamburger buns
4 slices ripe tomato
4 leaves butter or romaine lettuce

1. Make sauce: Purée all sauce ingredients in a food processor until very smooth.

2. Make burgers: In a bowl, combine beef and 1 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper (if using preformed burgers, sprinkle with salt and pepper). Form into 4 patties about 3/4 in. thick, making a slight depression in each to help keep burgers flat as they cook. Put on a plate, cover, and chill until ready to grill.

3. Preheat a grill for medium heat (350° to 450°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds).

4. Sprinkle onions with remaining salt and pepper and 1 tsp. oil. Grill, covered, until softened, turning once, 8 minutes total.

5. Meanwhile, rub burgers with 2 tsp. oil and grill, covered, turning once, about 6 minutes total for medium-rare. In the last few moments of cooking, lay a slice of cheese on each burger. Lay bun halves, cut side down, on grill to toast slightly.

6. Transfer buns to a platter and fill with burgers and onions. Spoon about 1 1/2 tbsp. barbecue sauce on top and add a slice of tomato and a lettuce leaf.

Make ahead: Sauce: 1 week chilled.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per burger, with 1 1/2 tbsp. sauce and trimmings.

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Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 612
Calories from fat: 50%
Protein: 36g
Fat: 34g
Saturated fat: 14g
Carbohydrate: 41g
Fiber: 2.3g
Sodium: 1175mg
Cholesterol: 112mg

Even better the next dayEven better the next day
Smoky Beef-and-Bacon Chili

Bacon, fire-roasted tomatoes, and spicy smoked paprika give this easy-to-make chili a deep, complex flavor. While it's great right after you make it, it's even better the next day.

Yield: Makes 6 servings
Total: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes

2 slices thick-cut bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika (see Notes)
1/2 teaspoon to 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
About 1 tsp. salt
1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (see Notes) or regular crushed tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 cup beer (India Pale Ale or pilsner)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, drained
Sour cream, sliced scallions, and/or grated cheddar for topping

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon, stirring until it just begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add onion, lower heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 7 minutes. Uncover pan, stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute.

2. Increase heat to medium-high and add ground beef; break it up with a wooden spoon and stir gently until it loses its raw color, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in spices and 1 tsp. salt and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beer, and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially, and cook 30 minutes.

3. Add beans and cook 10 minutes, uncovered. Season to taste with additional salt. Serve warm, with toppings on the side.

Smoked paprika from Spain's La Vera area (pimentón de la Vera) and fire-roasted tomatoes are sold at gourmet, specialty, and Whole Foods stores.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 465
Calories from fat: 62%
Protein: 26g
Fat: 32g
Saturated fat: 12g
Carbohydrate: 19g
Fiber: 4.3g
Sodium: 1078mg
Cholesterol: 94mg

Keeps, covered and chilled, for up to 2 daysKeeps, covered and chilled, for up to 2 days
Classic Potato Salad

When we think "potato salad," we think of this dish: chunks of tender potato and plenty of chopped hard-cooked eggs, lightly coated with a tangy mayonnaise dressing full of crunchy red onion, celery, and pickles.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Total: 1 Hour

3 eggs
2 pounds russet potatoes
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 small red onion
1 large celery stalk
1/2 cup bread-and-butter pickle slices
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Put eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cover, take off heat, and let sit 14 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Transfer eggs to ice-water bath. Let sit at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, until you are ready to use.

2. Peel potatoes; cut into bite-size pieces. Put potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Add 1 tbsp. salt, reduce heat to maintain a slow boil, and cook potatoes until tender to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain potatoes, put in a large bowl, and toss with vinegar. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, finely chop onion, rinse with cold water, and pat dry. Set aside. Finely chop celery, pickles, and parsley. In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, onion, celery, pickles, parsley, mustard, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Peel and chop eggs.

Gently toss cooled potatoes with dressing. Gently mix in eggs. Serve immediately.

Note: This salad is at its best right after it's made, but it may be kept, covered and chilled, for up to 2 days.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 218
Calories from fat: 54%
Protein: 5g
Fat: 13g
Saturated fat: 2.3g
Carbohydrate: 22g
Fiber: 1.8g
Sodium: 439mg
Cholesterol: 88mg

Tastes better than deli saladTastes better than deli salad
Spinach and Orzo Salad

This herb vinaigrette-dressed pasta salad keeps better than a mayo-based one from the deli--and tastes better too.

Yield: Serves 4
Total: 20 Minutes

1 cup orzo pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
About 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 quart lightly packed baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup slivered dried tomatoes packed in oil
12 pitted kalamata olives, sliced

1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, basil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the pepper and reserve.

2. Drain pasta, rinse with water until cool, and drain again. Add to bowl with dressing and gently mix in spinach, tomatoes, and olives to combine. Add more salt if you like.

Keeps: Up to 2 hours at room temperature, 4 hours with ice packs.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1-cup serving.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 315
Calories from fat: 44%
Protein: 6.9g
Fat: 16g
Saturated fat: 1.7g
Carbohydrate: 39g
Fiber: 4.4g
Sodium: 550mg
Cholesterol: 0.0mg

More hearty salads

Add more seasonings to your tasteAdd more seasonings to your taste
Gabriel's Guacamole

This is the base recipe from Gabriel's in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is intended only as a jumping-off point: Add more seasonings to your taste. We preferred it with 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño, 4 teaspoons onion, and 4 teaspoons lime juice.

Yield: Makes 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 Minutes

2 medium Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

Coarsely mash avocados, garlic, and jalapeño with a wooden spoon until the avocados are creamy but still very chunky. Add the tomato, onion, and salt to taste, and stir together. Sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro, then stir and taste once more. Add more garlic, jalapeño, onion, salt, lime juice, or cilantro as desired. Serve with tortilla chips.

Layers of deep flavorLayers of deep flavor
Roasted Tomato and Three-Chile Salsa

The layers of deep flavor come from roasted vegetables and pan-toasted chiles.

Yield: Makes 2 1/2 cups
Time: 1 1/4 hours

2 medium firm-ripe tomatoes
1 medium onion, cut crosswise in 4 slices
5 unpeeled garlic cloves
10 dried cascabel chiles*
10 dried arbol chiles*, stems removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce*
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
About 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1. Preheat broiler and set a rack 3 in. from heating element. Line a large rimmed baking pan with foil and put tomatoes, onion, and garlic in it. Broil the vegetables, turning as needed, until browned in spots all over, 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to a bowl as done. Let cool.

2. Meanwhile, wipe dried chiles clean with a damp cloth. Pull out and discard seeds and stems from cascabels (break chiles open a bit if needed). Turn on fan over stove. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add cascabel and arbol chiles, and cook, turning often with a slotted spoon, until slightly softened and darkened in spots, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Reserving oil in pan, transfer chiles to a small, deep bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water on top. Let stand until chiles are softened, about 20 minutes. Discard 1 cup liquid.

4. Whirl chiles and remaining liquid with chipotle in a food processor until very smooth. Cut tomatoes and onion into chunks. Peel garlic. Add vegetables to chile purée and pulse until nearly smooth.

5. Reheat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chile mixture and bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes to blend flavors.

6. Pour salsa into a bowl and let cool. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with salt.

*Buy in your supermarket's international foods aisle or at a Latino market.

Make ahead: Chill airtight up to 1 week.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1/4-cup serving.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 43
Calories from fat: 63%
Protein: 0.7g
Fat: 3g
Saturated fat: 0.4g
Carbohydrate: 4.3g
Fiber: 1g
Sodium: 205mg
Cholesterol: 0.0mg

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Addictive dip Addictive dip
Caramelized Maui Onion Dip

Make this addictive dip at least an hour ahead of time to let the flavors develop--and serve with enough potato chips to scoop up every last bit.

Yield: Makes 2 cups
Time: 30 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Maui onions (or other sweet onions), halved and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, sticky, and caramelized, about 20 minutes. If the pan starts to burn, reduce heat to medium-low and add 1 tbsp. water, stirring well. Transfer onions to a small bowl and chill until cold, about 1 hour.

2. Reserve 1 tbsp. onions. In a food processor, pulse remaining onions, sour cream, buttermilk, and salt just until combined. Transfer to a serving dish, top with reserved onions, and chill at least 1 hour.

Make ahead: Up to 2 days and chill.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per 2-tbsp. serving.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 69
Calories from fat: 62%
Protein: 1.5g
Fat: 4.8g
Saturated fat: 2.1g
Carbohydrate: 5.6g
Fiber: 0.8g
Sodium: 94mg
Cholesterol: 6.6mg

19 easy party appetizers

Sweeten your tailgateSweeten your tailgate
Coconut Cupcakes

Aspiring chef Amber Bonny Burhans tells us these buttery cupcakes are one of her signature dishes. We think they are a safe bet to sweeten your tailgate.

Yield: Makes 30 cupcakes
Total: 1 Hour, 25 Minutes

2 3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons each vanilla and almond extracts
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon each baking powder, baking soda, and salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut, plain or toasted
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream together 2 cups butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons each vanilla and almond extracts.

2. In another large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter and sugar mixture in 3 batches, alternating with coconut milk. Stir 1 cup flaked coconut into the batter.

3. Fill 30 paper-lined muffin cups (1/2-cup capacity) in two or more muffin pans about 2/3 full with batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing muffins from pans. Cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup butter, and 1/2 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with remaining coconut.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per cupcake.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 359
Calories from fat: 58%
Protein: 3.1g
Fat: 23g
Saturated fat: 15g
Carbohydrate: 36g
Fiber: 0.6g
Sodium: 282mg
Cholesterol: 82mg

8 more great cupcakes

Looking for more game-day ideas? Here's a four-course tailgate menu.