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Game day dishes that just might be more exciting than the game itself

Dara T. Mathis is a writing wife and mama newly based in the DC area. Her first language is Southern food. She tweets for the love of biscuits @dtafakari.

We'll be broken-field running our way through all these snacks

Now that the NFL and college football season is officially underway, it’s time to focus on what truly matters: the food! Football means tailgating and reasons to get together with friends, frenemies and friendly team rivals.

A quick trip to the grocery store will almost convince you that chips and yet another seven-layer bean dip is the way to go. Don’t let those displays fool you. You can’t properly cheer eating just chips! You also don’t have to go full-on Martha Stewart either. There are plenty of easy, not-boring food options to put a W on your game day scorecard.

More: 15 delectable dip recipes that make watching football totally worth it

We'll be broken-field running our way through all these snacks
Image: Liz Smith/SheKnows

1. Easy flatbread pizza with naan

I mean, sure, you could totally order pizza for the game. But it’s way more fun to make these mini pizzas with naan, a traditional Indian flatbread. Slather it with your favorite packaged tomato sauce, and go crazy on the toppings.

2. Sweet-and-spicy slow cooker sausage

Don’t have time to stand over a stove? Toss some sliced sausages and sauce into your trusty slow cooker, and let those babies simmer for a few hours. Don’t forget to serve them with toothpicks so they look “fancy.”

3. Fresh mango salsa

Oh, so you’re determined to do the chips-and-dip thing? Fine. Well, at least try this so-not-boring mango salsa instead of your usual. It’s a lot of chopping, but the combination of sweet-tart mango, spicy jalapeño and pungent red onion makes it worth it. Pair it with a nice, sturdy blue corn chip, or even spread it across a taco. Need a good taco idea? I got you.

More: 3 standout recipes for your next tailgate party

4. Easy oven-baked spicy chicken tacos

You really don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Grab a premade taco kit, and spice it up with some chicken and canned chilies.

5. Fruit kebabs

I know fruit is not on the menu of most game day parties, but hear me out. Fruit makes a great alternative for guests who can’t really indulge in supersweet desserts. It’s also a great appetizer. Buy the fruit already cut, and all you have to do is shove them onto a kebab.

6. Mini seven-layer dips

OK, so I lied — I actually really love seven-layer dips. I just don’t like to share them with double-dippers. It’s a great idea to make individual cups of dip in shot glasses for stingy dippers like me. And if you use all prepared refried beans, guacamole and salsa, you can make this without any cooking whatsoever.

7. Crock-Pot barbecue chicken wings

I love homemade wings, but I hate tinkering with a ton of ingredients. This recipe involves wings, a can of Coke, barbecue sauce and... that’s it. Seriously. How sweet is that?

8. Turkey, pesto, onion and cheese sliders

You can't have a proper tailgate without a messy, delicious sandwich. These sliders are built on soft Hawaiian rolls, which is what I imagine all dreams are made of. If you’re short on time, you can prep them the day before and just stick them into the oven just before it’s time to eat.

9. Salami and cream cheese bites

Something about rolling up food makes it perfectly fake-fancy for parties. Spread your favorite flavor of cream cheese on a slice of salami, and pin it into a wheel with a toothpick. You can even stack slices vertically and top with an olive.

10. Garlic pull-apart bread

The best tailgating food involves oodles of cheese and an unholy amount of carbs. Cheese? Bread? Check. You want something to shove into your piehole that can make you cheer when your team is losing? Look no further.

The great thing about tailgating food is that your cooking isn't on center stage. Your best bet is to find something easy and tasty so you can enjoy yourself. What’s your go-to recipe that scores on game day?

Before you leave, check out our slideshow below:

We'll be broken-field running our way through all these snacks
Image: Curious Nut
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