Game-Day Recipes

From tiny taco bites or baked cheese dip to chipotle chili, Sloppy Joes five ways, and more, we’ve got you covered with delicious ideas for your big game viewing party
Tiny Taco Beef Tarts

Photo: Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner

It’s not a party without tasty food. And whether you are really into the Super Bowl or just like to hang out and socialize—or keep a lookout for a Taylor Swift sighting this year—we’ve got you covered with a selection of recipes to choose from. And if your “game day” party involves an actual game, dice, cards, or other accoutrements, that works too! Plus, scroll down for links to even more recipes I have highlighted here.

Tiny Taco Beef Tarts

Makes 30 | Recipe courtesy Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner

An easy-to-prepare Mexican-style appetizer, this recipe will win over any crowd.

12 ounces ground beef (93% lean or leaner)
½ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ cup prepared mild or medium taco sauce
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
2 packages (2.1 ounces each) frozen mini phyllo shells (30 shells total)
½ cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend
Shredded lettuce, sliced grape or cherry tomatoes, guacamole, lowfat dairy sour cream, and sliced ripe olives, for topping (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Add ground beef, onion, and garlic to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking up beef into small crumbles and stirring occasionally (see Cook’s Note in Sloppy Joes recipe). Add taco sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is heated through.
  3. Place phyllo shells on rimmed baking sheet. Spoon beef mixture evenly into shells. Top evenly with cheese. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until shells are crisp and cheese is melted.
  4. Top tarts with lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream, and olives, as desired.
Baked Leek and Sharp Cheddar Dip

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Baked Leek and Sharp Cheddar Dip

Makes 10 to 12 Servings | Recipe courtesy Wisconsin Cheese

This dish is sure to be a favorite—it’s creamy, sharp, bold, and decadent all in one.

4 medium leeks (white and light green portions only), thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh baby arugula or baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 package (8 ounces) Crystal Farms Original Cream Cheese, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces Henning’s 3 Year Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided (3 cups)
Toasted French bread baguette slices or crostini

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sauté leeks in butter in a large skillet over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until leeks are crisp-tender. Add garlic and arugula; cook and stir for 1 minute longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Cool completely.
  3. Beat the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl until blended. Stir in 2½ cups cheddar and leek mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spoon into a greased 1½-quart baking dish or 10-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with toasts.
Smoky Chipotle Chili

Photo: Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner

Smoky Chipotle Chili

Makes 6 Servings | Recipe courtesy Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner

Your friends will rave for this beef chili that’s packed with layers of flavors including beer, smoky chipotle peppers, and black beans.

2½ pounds boneless beef shoulder roast, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cans (14½ ounces each) diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions, undrained
1 (12-ounce) bottle light beer
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
1 tablespoon minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons masa harina
Sour cream (optional)

  1. Cut beef shoulder roast into ½-inch pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot; brown beef in batches and remove from stockpot. Season with salt.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Add beef, tomatoes, beer, adobo sauce, and chipotle peppers and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1½ to 1¾ hours or until beef is fork-tender.
  3. Stir in beans and masa harina; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 to 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Serve with sour cream, as desired.
Ground beef Sloppy Joe

Photo: Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner

Sloppy Joes Five Ways

Makes 4 Servings | Recipe courtesy Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner

If you are looking for tasty new ways to serve Sloppy Joes, here are the answers.


1 pound ground beef (93% lean or leaner)
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 cup finely chopped green, red, or yellow bell pepper
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt added tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 hamburger buns, split, warmed
Dill pickle slices, coleslaw, American or cheddar cheese slices, for serving

  1. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef, onion, and bell pepper. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking beef into small crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings, as necessary.
  2. Stir in tomato sauce, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, as desired.
  3. Divide beef mixture evenly onto rolls. Garnish with toppings, if desired.

Cook’s Note: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.

Southwest Variation: Prepare recipe as directed, substituting 2 cups salsa for tomato sauce and omitting Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Add ½ cup drained canned black beans and ½ cup frozen corn with ingredients in Step 2. Serve in warmed taco shells. Garnish with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, shredded pepper Jack cheese, chopped avocado, pickled or fresh jalapeño slices, and chopped cilantro, if desired.

Hawaiian Variation: Prepare recipe as directed, substituting ½ cup sweet barbecue sauce for tomato sauce and omitting Worcestershire sauce. Add 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained, with ingredients in Step 2. Serve in small sweet Hawaiian honey wheat dinners rolls. Garnish with dill or sweet pickle slices or pickled jalapeño slices, if desired.

Moroccan Variation: Prepare recipe as directed, omitting Worcestershire sauce. Add ½ cup raisins, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin with ingredients in Step 2. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon nonfat Greek yogurt. Serve in naan or pita pocket breads. Garnish with cucumber slices, nonfat Greek yogurt, and chopped pistachios, if desired.

Asian Variation: Prepare recipe as directed, adding 1 tablespoon ground ginger with ingredients in Step 1. Substitute 2 tablespoons hoisin for Worcestershire sauce. Serve in warm crusty rolls. Garnish with cucumber slices, shredded carrot, and chopped cilantro or chopped green onion, if desired.

Nutrition Information (per serving):
• Tiny Taco Beef Tarts: Calories: 43, Fat: 1.7g (Sat: 0.7g), Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 92mg, Carb: 2.7g, Fiber: 0.1g, Protein: 4.2g
• Baked Leek and Sharp Cheddar Dip (per serving, dip only): Calories: 330, Fat: 29g (Sat: 14g), Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 350mg, Carb: 8g, Fiber: <1g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 10g
• Smoky Chipotle Chili: Calories: 329, Fat: 11.6g (Sat: 3.3g); Cholesterol: 84mg, Sodium: 738mg, Carb: 21g, Fiber: 6.3g, Sugars: 3.6g, Protein: 33g
• Sloppy Joes (traditional): Calories: 393, Fat: 9.9g (Sat: 3.7g), Cholesterol: 84mg, Sodium: 429mg, Carb: 45g, Fiber: 3.1g, Sugars: 19.1g, Protein: 32g

Three-Cheese Football Pizza

Photo: Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Hungry for More?

Check out these recipes that would be perfect for game day

Game-Day Bites

Get in the game with twists on cheesy favorites from easy make-your-own pizza, wings, and artichoke dip to a pumpkin baked brie, and more.

Tasty Tailgate Recipes

Cozy up with beer-braised beef tacos and more to make game day delicious.

Party Perfect Bites

Put basic snacks in time out and put top-scoring fare on your game-day table.

Recipes for Perfect Little Bites

Get the party started with easy—yet impressive—mix-and-match canapés.

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.