When it comes to game day, one of the things I look forward to the most is the food. From chips and guac to wings and everything in between, I am THERE for the snacks. March Madness is here and I am absolutely pumped because I’ve been a big University of Houston fan since I lived in Houston years ago! Game day might look a little different these days, but there’s no reason you can’t whip up one of these recipes I made on the Food Network Kitchen app to share with your family.
Jalapeño Popper and Bacon Meatballs
Jalapeño Poppers are a staple appetizer when it comes to any type of sports event. I had a vision of putting a twist on the classic appetizer with the help of recipe developer Myo Quinn and dare I say that they’re even BETTER than the original Jalapeño Poppers?! The meatball mix incorporates bacon and the inside is filled with a surprise bite of cream cheese. They get broiled with a slice of cheddar cheese on top for that picture perfect glow. Every single step of the recipe is so worth it and I know they’ll be a family favorite!
Speaking of Houston, one of my favorite places to eat when I lived there was Torchy’s Tacos. They absolutely nailed the perfect queso in my mind because they include green chiles (my fave!) and they add a scoop of guacamole in the middle so you NEVER have to choose between one dip or the other. I wanted to be able to recreate their queso anytime, anywhere – and thanks to the help of Myo Quinn, you now can taste a take on Torchy’s queso at your home with this recipe!
Pull-Apart Cuban Sliders
The beauty of a Cuban sandwich is the buttery, golden brown crust that forms when you press the sandwich with hot griddles. You can get a similar effect by making this take on the sandwich (in pull-apart form!) at home by pressing Hawaiian buns glazed in a mojo-inspired butter between two hot cast-iron skillets. Recipe developer Arlyn Osborne helped me with this one and she totally nailed it. If you want to take this sandwich to the next level, make my recipe for Instant Pot Cuban Mojo Pork and use that as the pork inside the sandwich!
Cuban Mojo Wings
Speaking of mojo… I dreamt about making the sour orange sauce key in so many Cuban recipes (like Lechon Asado) into a dry rub to coat super crispy chicken wings. Recipe developer Arlyn Osborne came through again to help with this recipe and DANG you guys… these Cuban Mojo Wings are GOOOOOOOD. Frying chicken wings at home is totally possible with the help of a Dutch oven or big heavy pot and a thermometer to make sure your oil is at the perfect temp. From there, you can fry like a pro and then toss the crispy, golden-brown wings in a mixture of lime and orange zest, garlic and onion powder, and of course, melted butter! I’m telling you, don’t sleep on this recipe.
Loaded Guacamole with Bacon and Pomegranate Seeds
Are you guys seeing the theme of my favorite ways to make dips?? I like them LOADED with everything! Haha! Barrio Cafe in Phoenix, Arizona is the inspiration behind this version of guacamole loaded with crispy bacon, sweet pomegranate seeds, salty Cotija cheese and spicy serrano chile. There’s definitely a time and a place for a minimalist, pure guacamole, but there’s also a time to play with all these mix-ins… and that time and place is most definitely for game day! Kudos to recipe developer Stevie Stewart for working with me on this winner.