It is finally fall, and I say finally because it is one of my favorite times of the year for several reasons: the changing leaves, scarf-and-light-jacket weather, and, most importantly, football. But before I can enjoy the crash of the helmets and the elation that comes with every touchdown, I need fun and football-friendly food to get me in the spirit. Here are a couple of recipes to add to your game-day menu.
One dish you'll always find at a game-day barbecue is chicken wings. This recipe from Dishing Up Virginia brings the heat with hot sauce and red pepper flakes, but a touch of sweetness from the maple syrup will keep your taste buds in check.
Sweet-Heat Glazed Chicken Wings
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 24 chicken wings
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a large ziplock bag. Seal and shake to incorporate. Add the chicken wings, seal, and shake to coat. Transfer the chicken wings to the prepared baking sheet; do not allow the chicken wings to touch. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the chicken wings for about 20 minutes. Turn the pieces and bake another 20 minutes or until both sides are golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large bowl.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove the butter from the heat, then stir in hot sauce, maple syrup, and pepper flakes. Pour the sauce over the chicken wings and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Cheese balls are perfect for any type of party. They are portable, spreadable, and completely delicious. To balance out the "sweet heat" from the chicken wings, try serving this Blue Cheese Ball from The Clay Corner Inn in Blacksburg the weekend's big game. (Don't worry, you don't have to be a Hokie fan to enjoy this dish.)
Blue Cheese Ball
Serves 12 to 15
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Toasted bread rounds or crackers, for serving
In a medium bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce and parsley. Blend well. Add the blue cheese and mix well. Add the cream cheese and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until firm, about 2 hours. Form the mixture into a large ball and roll the ball in the chopped nuts. Serve with toasted bread rounds or crackers.