The fall sports season is upon us, friends, and yes, you could start thinking pizza delivery. Or wings. But it’s so annoying handing over tons of cash for pies and birds that never arrive hot enough. So DIY the food for your game days this year. Keep it easy but interesting. Here’s how. Go, team you!
Sure, you could deep-fry wings on game day. You could. And you could have a kitchen that smells like grease and wings for 24 hours. Is that really how you want to start your Monday? If you’re anything like us, the answer is “Heck, no.” Welcome to the solution to your frying problems: the air fryer. Its many fans know that it makes the crispiest wings this side of a vat of oil. Use less fat, make less mess, and revel in the Sriracha-soy-honey-lime sauce that makes this an absolute knockout of a party centerpiece.
Can’t decide between wings or pizza? Why choose when you can have both? Yes, we did: Buffalo chicken pizza is the love child of the two iconic party favorites. (And yes, we know the Bills didn’t make the playoffs this year.) It features Frank’s RedHot cayenne pepper sauce and butter—the classic!—shredded cooked chicken, mozz, blue cheese, sour cream and celery. Best of all, you’ll build it on store-bought pizza dough if you’re pinched for time. Considering that you can use up leftover cooked chicken, this recipe is a snap.
There’s something about chicken “taco” nachos that feels so much lighter than the usual nacho situation. You’ve got all the elements you crave—black beans; Monterey Jack; avocado; tomato; sour cream—minus heavy beef chili. We love, too, that these tend to make less of a mess than the red meat version. Remember that the broiler—or a torch—is key to top-notch nachos, and set out everything in advance until you have a quorum of hungry guests. Then assemble and broil away!
When you cook beans correctly—and a slow cooker is ideal for that project—the result is a creamy legume that almost melts on the tongue. That, friend, is the sort of vegetarian chili you want to feed your friends this year. “Meaty” tasting enough for carnivores, this recipe features pinto and kidney beans, chickpeas and bell peppers, chili powder and cumin. Everything simmers together for six full hands-off hours until you stir in two cups of corn at the end, for pop and charm. Set out all the chili fixings—including separate bowls of sautéed sliced chorizo for the meat fiends, if you wish—and you’ve got a low-cost, high-deliciousness buffet situation.
Sure, you could do pulled pork sliders, but pulled chicken is faster, easy, and a bit more healthful, depending on how you slice it. In this recipe, you’ll slow-poach the chicken in a bath of lemon, bay leaves, salt and pepper. (It’s a way of infusing moisture into the meat.) The seasoning is the stuff of BBQ dreams: tomato puree, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. Stir that with your pulled chicken, and top with a relish of apple, jicama, onion, and cilantro.
What’s up? You just won game day is what’s up.