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30 Great Recipes for Game Day

No matter where team loyalties lie, fans unite every season for food-filled game days. These recipes will keep everyone coming back for more

Sunset
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Chile con Queso

Back in 1939, Sunset published a dip recipe from reader M.K.C. of Elk Grove, California, for La Salsa con Queso—“a lively dish from Mexico,” as we described it, made with canned tomatoes, diced American cheese, and a whisper of fresh chile. While its origins are up for debate—Texas and Arkansas have also claimed the recipe—the dip (now called chile con queso, or simply queso) is still a crowd-pleaser. Our update on the classic, perfect for game day, is made with fresh hot salsa plus hot sauce—but keeps the Velveeta for that chip-coating cling.

Recipe: Chile con Queso

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Shrimp Jalapeño Poppers

Leyden is a Dutch cheese that's like gouda with cumin seeds mixed in. If you can't find it, use regular gouda and a few more toasted cumin seeds.

Recipe: Shrimp Jalapeño Poppers

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Cheddar and Bacon Mini Hasselback Potatoes

Score big at your game-day gathering with these addictive one-bite appetizers.

Recipe: Cheddar and Bacon Mini Hasselback Potatoes

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Appetizers: Gabriel's Guacamole

This is the base recipe from Gabriel's in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is intended only as a jumping-off point: Add more seasonings to your taste. We preferred it with 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño, 4 teaspoons onion, and 4 teaspoons lime juice.

Recipe: Gabriel's Guacamole

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Chicken Enchilada Nacho Bowls

This campsite favorite works just as well at home.

Recipe: Chicken Enchilada Nacho Bowls

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Main dishes: Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

Soak chicken in a buttermilk brine for extra moist and tender results, then add subtle Indian-inspired spices for a go-anywhere feast that's miles from boring.

Recipe: Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

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New Mexico Green Chile and Frito Burgers

Chiles spice up these burgers three ways: grilled, in the pepper jack cheese, and in the chipotle mayo.

Recipe: New Mexico Green Chile and Frito Burgers

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Green Chile-Chicken Stew

This gently spicy "white chili" is best made up to two days ahead and reheated so it's perfect for a pre-planned tailgating menu.

Recipe: Green Chile-Chicken Stew

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Smoky Beef-and-Bacon Chili

Bacon, fire-roasted tomatoes, and spicy smoked paprika give this easy-to-make chili a deep, complex flavor. While it's great right after you make it, it's even better the next day.

Recipe: Smoky Beef-and-Bacon Chili

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Pressed Italian Sandwiches

These hearty sandwiches pack beautifully for toting along on a tailgate in the fall, and perfect for a picnic or the beach in the summer.

Recipe: Pressed Italian Sandwiches

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Devilish Chorizo Chili with Hominy

Not only is this chili easy to make ahead, it actually improves with time. If you like your chili very spicy, add an extra teaspoon of chipotle powder.

Recipe: Devilish Chorizo Chili with Hominy

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Chorizo-Beef Nachos

Using two different types of meet gives these nachos extra-savory flavor.

Recipe: Chorizo-Beef Nachos

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Radicchio, Roasted Pepper, and Provolone Ciabatta Sandwiches

The vegetables in these sandwiches don’t get soggy as they stand, and the flavors benefit from a little time together.

Recipe: Radicchio, Roasted Pepper, and Provolone Ciabatta Sandwiches

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California Nicoise Sandwich

Inspired by the classic French salad, this fancy tuna sandwich takes a Western turn with sourdough and avocados.

Tailgate tip: Go ahead and make these ahead of time because they pack perfectly.

Recipe: California Nicoise Sandwich

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Frito Pie with Red Chili

What's not to love about this retro ground-beef chili piled onto Fritos, with all the fixings?

Recipe: Frito Pie with Red Chili

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Roast Chicken-Chipotle Nachos with Cilantro-Avocado Crema

Purchase a roast chicken and shred it to make the preparation that much easier.

Recipe: Roast Chicken-Chipotle Nachos with Cilantro-Avocado Crema

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Grass-fed Burgers with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Top grass-fed burger with a sauce of smoked chiles, brown sugar, ketchup, molasses, orange juice concentrate, and garlic. The sauce is also excellent on grilled chicken and ribs.

Recipe: Grass-fed Burgers with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

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Potato Salad with Artichokes, and Green Bean, Hazelnut, and Mint salad

Give your guests options by serving both these sides. This zingy potato salad with artichokes is rich and creamy, while the green bean salad topped with a bright lemon dressing is light and fresh.

Recipe: Potato Salad with Artichokes and Asparagus

Recipe: Green Bean, Hazelnut, and Mint Salad with Lemon Dressing

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The New Three-Bean Salad

No canned kidney beans here―and the flavors get even better if you start the salad a day ahead.

Recipe: The New Three-Bean Salad

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Spinach and Orzo Salad

This herb vinaigrette-dressed pasta salad keeps better than a mayo-based one from the deli—and tastes better too.

Recipe: Spinach and Orzo Salad

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Chicken, Corn, and Tomato Pasta Salad

Toss together shredded chicken with orzo pasta, sweet corn, chopped red onion, and basil. Add a ricotta-lemon dressing. Dinner's ready.

Recipe: Chicken, Corn, and Tomato Pasta Salad

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Tomato, Sweet Onion, and Parsley Salad

Soaking the onions in water smooths out all their rough edges.

Tailgate tip: You can make this salad up to 1 day ahead.

Recipe: Tomato, Sweet Onion, and Parsley Salad

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Blue Cheese Cornbread

Add freshly cut corn kernels to your favorite cornbread batter along with blue cheese and chopped fresh chives.

Basic Cornbread Recipe: Cornbread

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Roasted Tomato and Three-Chile Salsa

The layers of deep flavor come from roasted vegetables and pan-toasted chiles.

Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Three-Chile Salsa

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Poblano and nopales chimichangas

Who needs the deep fryer when you can bake a flaky crust?

Recipe: Poblano and nopales chimichangas

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Desserts: Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

Chewy, and big enough to share—though you may want every bite. For the richest flavor, use dark chocolate and cocoa such as Scharffen Berger.

Recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

These sinfully rich bars pack the benefits of whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and rolled oats.

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

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Butternut Squash Spice Cake

Remarkably moist and tender, this cake gets its fall warmth from spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a hint of black pepper. Whole-wheat pastry flour adds nutrients without compromising taste or texture.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Spice Cake

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