Thanksgiving and Christmas are special of course — but some serious contenders for holiday greatness in my house are playoffs. It could be our competitive nature or our natural athletic abilities. Or, the real reason we tend to make a holiday out of game day could be because of the yummy food that goes along with it.
While most families look forward to big holiday turkey dinners, my crew counts down the days to our next game-time spread. And we’re particularly nuts about dips. Easy to eat and simple to prepare, they’re the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon of hootin’ and hollerin’ at the television screen. They can even be hearty enough to stand in for a traditional meal!
I take my “holiday” meal prep seriously. Here are my best tips for serving satisfying game day appetizers:
There’s nothing better than a hot bite with a frosty beverage, so I always make sure my slow cooker is plugged in for the main event. Like a kegerator allows for guests to serve themselves cold beer throughout the party, serving slow-cooker recipes allows me to offer something warm and toasty without being tethered to the oven.
This spicy buffalo chili dip requires minimal prep and stays warm and delicious in a slow cooker through all four quarters.
Cold dips are ideal for make-ahead prep (and for bringing to a potluck dip-spread as a guest). This classic four layer bean dip can be made well in advance and is always a crowd-pleaser. Spoon in a generous layer of creamy guacamole for a signature twist and it will be your top-requested game day dip recipe. Pair it with tortilla chips and a crunchy platter of crudité.
Something Extra Special
There are certain recipes that are so sinfully yummy, I save them just for game day. This salsa-spiked chili-cheese dip is that for my family. It’s a splurge-y treat that comes out only for the big game. And the only thing that excites me more than ceremoniously presenting it at kickoff is the thought that it could be passed down as the extra special dip to my future grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Something Super Filling
If we’re going to make a meal out of appetizers, I need to make sure at least one of the dips on the coffee table will really stick to our ribs. After we’ve snacked on our fair share of chips and crudité, I bring out this warm honey-chipotle steak dip with bite-sized strips of flank steak layered inside. It not only satisfies, but it also makes me feel a little better about making a meal out of dips.
Everybody knows my little family of five has the biggest TV and the most oversized couch for a reason. For game-day holidays, our living room is the place to be! For the biggest matchups of the year, I fill my sinks with ice and refreshing beverages, wash and press our best jerseys and set up the coffee table for dipping success. GO TEAM!