Football Season Kickoff Party Recipes

Football fans, rejoice! The 2016 NFL season kicks off September 8, and what pairs better with football than party food? We’ve rounded up some easy game day recipes perfect for providing a scrumptious spread, as well as some tips from Florida planners on how to make your next party a rousing success.

Crunchy Baked Buffalo Wings

No football party is complete without a platter of messy, delicious wings for guests to snack on. Blogger Jillian Leslie, who runs party-styling website Catch My Party, provided us with some of her favorite football recipes.



  • 18-20 chicken wings
  • Salt
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce recommended)
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olibe oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, minced

Pat chicken wings dry, and salt generously. Place wings on a wire rack and bake at 450 degrees F for 45 minutes or until golden brown. While wings are baking, prepare sauce by melting butter and combining with hot sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar in a large bowl. When wings are done, add to mixture and coat. To prepare dressing, place the blue cheese, buttermilk, and olive oil in a medium bowl and stir together with a fork, mashing a little to break up the cheese. Season with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and chives. Chill until serving.

Chicken Habanero Nachos

Add a little kick to your regular plate of chips ‘n cheese with this recipe for zesty nachos loaded with chicken and a little bit of habanero pepper.



  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • 1 can black beans (drained)
  • 2 small or 1 large chicken breasts (shredded)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 16 oz. package of Velveeta cheese
  • 1/2 habanero pepper (seeded and finely minced)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (pressed or finely minced)

Spread tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Spoon beans over chips and sprinkle crumbled Cotija cheese on top. Season shredded chicken with lime juice, salt, and chili powder, and spread chicken over chips. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cut Velveeta in 1-inch cubes and add to saucepan with the Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, garlic, and habanero. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheese melts and everything is well mixed. Move chips from pan to serving tray and pour half of the cheese sauce over the top. Keep the other half for dipping, and garnish with guacamole, your favorite salsa, and a little cilantro.

Continued on page 2.

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Spicy Asian Slaw



  • 6-8 pounds shredded, seasoned pork (for original recipe, click here)
  • Sandwich buns

Spicy Asian Slaw

  • 2 cups napa cabbage (about half a head)
  • 2 cups radicchio (about half a head)
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds


  • 2 tsp. dry Chinese or English (Coleman’s) mustard
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. light sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. chili oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Quarter the cabbage and radicchio, and cut out the hearts. Slice thinly and mix with onions, cilantro, and carrots. Mix dressing ingredients together and add dressing to chopped vegetables. Toss with sesame seeds to taste and pile slaw on top of shredded pork.

Pretzel Dogs



  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 packages of hot dogs
  • 2  egg yolks

In a large bowl, add 2 tbsp. sugar, 2 tsp. salt, and yeast. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Wait about 5 minutes for the yeast to activate. Add flour and oil, then mix until combined.Drop the dough on a smooth surface and knead for 7-10 minutes (if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix on low for 5 minutes). Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and start boiling 10 cups of water in a large pot. Once you have a strong boil, pour in 2/3 cup baking soda. Prepare a baking sheet with lightly oiled parchment paper. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into 16-inch long ropes. Wrap dough around hot dogs, twisting the rope of dough as you do so. Carefully lower the pretzel dogs into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds (they will initially sink to the bottom, but will float up to the top after 20-25 seconds). Place on baking sheet and brush egg yolk on top of pretzels, then sprinkle some coarse sea salt over the top. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, until you get a nice brown exterior. Serve and enjoy!

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Game Day Football Whoopie Pies

For a quick and easy football-themed dessert, whip up these whoopie pies.


  • Boxed chocolate cake mix (Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food recommended)
  • 8 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 can of frosting

Follow directions on cake mix box to create batter. Spread in ovals on parchment paper and bake for 8-9 minutes. After cooling, spread frosting on top and layer to create individual pies. Pipe remaining frosting on top to draw football laces.

PR and event planner Beth Beattie Aschenbach, who runs lifestyle blog Palm Beach Lately in Naples’ sister city, provided us with some of her best tips when it comes to throwing a football party.

NI: When hosting a football party, what’s the most important thing to keep in mind?

Beattie Aschenbach: As a University of Florida alum and former cheerleader, football season is my favorite time of year! When hosting a football party, I think it’s important to keep it fun, informal and full of team spirit!

What kinds of foods and beverages do you recommend to keep guests satisfied?

I love to serve comfort food in small bites! Football and fall is for comfort food and small bites allow guests to be able to socialize and mingle.

What are your go-to recipes?

Mini cheeseburgers, individual cups of fries, small ramekins of mac ‘n cheese and other comfort food served in bite-size portions.

What kind of decor ideas do you recommend?

I like to decorate with the team colors. I like to incorporate fun football elements into the décor, such as making the food area look like a football field with green artificial turf or paper and white tape. Swoozie’s is a great go-to for last minute party hosting. They have a great selection of game day cups, napkins, platters and more.


Photo from Catch My Party.

Local party planner Heather Lowenthal of Posh Parties also provided some of her best tips for making sure your football party goes off without a hitch:

  • Keep it festive. If you are rooting for a certain team, have some decorations and be creative with your food.
  • The most important thing is to keep your guests in mind – make sure to have a variety of food and beverages so there is something for everyone. Also host the party around a time that works for you food-wise. If you don’t want to have to do a full meal and prefer serving light bites or snacks, an off time works best.
  • It’s always best to have a nice variety of food so there is something for everyone. Try to include a vegetable option. I love to come up with a fun signature drink to serve along with wine, beer, etc. Always have plenty of water and some non-alcoholic beverages available as well.
  • For football parties, my favorite go-tos are wings, mini pizzas, and pigs in the blanket. Classics that everyone loves. You can also do a make-your-own-sub sandwich station to add something interactive. Try putting together a craft beer bar with different types of craft beer – it’s a conversation starter and on trend.
  • When you are hosting a football party, it’s fun to get into theme – whether it’s your favorite team or football in general, put out fun plates and cocktail napkins, get creative with the food displays.
  • Have a good time. When the hosts are having fun the guests will too! As long as you have a variety of food and drinks and a great game on, there’s lots of fun to be had by all!

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