Whatever your sport of choice, a fun game-day gathering can be the social highlight of your week. All you need is good friends and good food (though a good game certainly helps). It doesn't even need to be a lot of work. With a bit of planning and some intelligent use of your appliances, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more in front of the game.
Pizza is a quintessential game-day food, but it doesn't especially lend itself to bite-sized portions. The likelihood of wearing some sauce can have an impact on your wardrobe choices, as well. Thankfully, the basic ingredients—dough, cheese, pepperoni and that troublesome tomato sauce—can easily be reconfigured for game-day finger-friendliness.
Roll out a sheet of frozen bread or pizza dough, or refrigerated crescent-roll dough. Layer it liberally with pepperoni and cheese, then roll it up and seal the seams tightly. Bake the loaf for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dough is fully cooked. Slice the loaf into 1/2 inch portions and serve it warm. Set out warmed sauce separately with a spoon, so everyone can have a portion on their plate for dipping.
Prepare the loaf ahead of time, to maximize your game-watching time. You can gently warm it while other food is cooking or bring it back to temperature quickly using the microwave. Some microwaves can detect heat and moisture from your food, and can judge when it's perfectly warmed.
Don't Be Chicken
Another classic game-day food that's unfortunately messy is hot chicken wings. If you don't want to deal with the bones and the mess, and especially the grease on your TV remote, consider rethinking Buffalo chicken as a dip, instead. Soften some cream cheese and stir in the obligatory hot sauce and some blue cheese or blue cheese dressing.
Putting It All Together
Instead of those problematic wings, pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken from your supermarket. Shred the chicken meat with a fork and toss it with the cheese mixture, then spread it into a casserole dish and cover it with your favorite, melting, gooey cheese. It's ready to serve after 20 minutes in the oven, when it's heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Go For a Dip
Keep the chicken dip warm until game time in your range's warming drawer, or make it in advance and use your microwave to warm it back up. Serve the dip with celery sticks or add finely diced celery to the dip instead, and serve it with corn chips.
If you want to take your game-day gatherings to a whole different level, consider making those corn chips yourself from scratch. It's easier than it sounds, and will cause as much buzz as the draft-day trades and signings. All you'll need is some ordinary cornmeal, a bit of oil and salt, and a pot of boiling water.
Squish 'Em Flat
Stir the cornmeal into the boiling water, along with a splash of oil and a bit of salt. Once it's cool enough to handle, scoop small spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, and then lightly sprayed with oil. Use an oiled spoon or, better yet, a moistened thumb to press each mound of corn until it's thin and flat.
Keep 'Em Coming
Bake the the chips at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, until they're crisp, then dust them lightly with fine salt and serve them warm. You'll probably need lots, so have some ready in the warming drawer when your guests arrive. If necessary, you can use the two ovens of the Flex Duo Range to simultaneously prepare chips at 400 F and dip at 350 F.
Real Fun in Real Time
There, wasn't that easy? Set out some napkins and some beverages, and relax around the coffee table with everyone else. For once, you'll be able to enjoy the game as it unfolds, and won't need to stream it later to see what you missed.
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