Football favorites: Easy main courses

Football fare should be easy to make, easy to eat and filling enough to fuel guests through four quarters of pigskin excitement. Don’t settle for a bowl of chips and a few dips: Score a touchdown at your next party with these main courses that are sure to become football favorites.

Turkey chili

Keep things hot with chili

Every year, Jennifer Levison, the executive chef from popular Atlanta restaurant Souper Jenny, puts together a “Souper Bowl Menu” in honor of the big game. She swears by her recipe for My Dad’s Turkey Chili as a staple for game-day fare and even included it in her cookbook, Souper Jenny Cooks. Stock a “chili bar” with Fritos, avocado, jalapeno, fried leeks, diced onions and shredded cheese so that your guests can build their own bowl once the chili is ready to be served.

My dad’s turkey chili


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can of white beans, drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can of black beans, drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can of dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can of chili beans, not drained
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste


  1. Heat up a stockpot and add olive oil to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Saute the onions and peppers in the oil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Cook the ground turkey completely, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the chili powder, brown sugar and tomatoes, then simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add all the beans and heat slowly for another 15 minutes.
  6. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.


Adding brown sugar to traditional chili recipes can add a touch of sweetness to the spice! “My favorite thing about My Dad’s Turkey Chili is the sweet heat. The mixture of the brown sugar and the chili powder are the perfect combination.” – Jennifer

Find other game day chili recipes >>

Keep ’em stuffed with potato skins

Stuffed potato skins may sound like an appetizer, but when done up right, they can be considered a whole meal. Plus, they’re easy to transport and eat in front of the TV without the risk of a food fumble. Executive chef Lee Ann Whippen from Chicago q suggests her Stuffed Potato Skins recipe for football parties.

Stuffed potato skins


  • 4 Idaho potatoes
  • 1/4 pound chopped cooked bacon
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • 8 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 shredded chicken breasts (or substitute a similar quantity of a meat of your choice)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bake the potatoes for about 40 minutes — you want them to be tender.
  3. Let the potatoes cool for 10 minutes and then cut each in half.
  4. Scoop out half of the potato insides, leaving half still on the skins.
  5. Re-bake the potato shells until crispy.
  6. Remove potatoes from the oven and place the shredded chicken in each potato shell, distributing the chicken between all of the skins.
  7. Add the chopped bacon and cheese on top of the chicken.
  8. Broil in the oven until the cheese has completely melted.
  9. Top with sour cream and chopped green onions.


“You can create an interesting presentation for your potato skins by serving them standing on end. Cut off both tips of the cooked potatoes before stuffing them so that the potatoes have a flat end to stand on.” – Lee Ann

Lighten up with this low-fat potato skins recipe >>

Spice things up with wings

Wings are practically synonymous with football game day parties, so if you want to keep your guests happy, whip up a platter and let your guests serve themselves. This easy dry-rub wing recipe is another favorite from Lee Ann Whippen.

Smoked dry-rub wings


  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned pepper blend (like Lawry’s)
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1-1/2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons shallots
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 3-1/2 ounces chipotle pepper sauce

Directions (chicken):

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss the chicken wings in the pepper seasoning.
  3. Spread the wings on a pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the wings reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and set aside.

Directions (sauce):

  1. Sweat the shallots and garlic in a saucepan for one minute over low heat.
  2. Increase the temperature slightly and add the bourbon to the pan and burn off the alcohol.
  3. Add the pineapple juice and chipotle pepper sauce to the mixture and continue to cook until the contents are reduced by half.
  4. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in butter.
  5. Toss the chicken wings in sauce before serving.


“Because the dry rub and pineapple juice give the wings a sweet and smoky flavor, it’s best to cut the flavor a bit with a tomato-based BBQ dipping sauce. If you think that all of your guests will enjoy the sauce, you can add some to the wings about three minutes before you take them off of the grill (no more than 3 minutes though because they will burn otherwise!). When I entertain, I typically coat half of the wings in the sauce and leave the other half alone, providing the dipping sauce on the side. It is always best for a big party to provide options for your guests!”- Lee Ann

Discover 10 more delicious chicken wing recipes >>

More game day recipes

Score! Easy twists on the usual game day recipes
Top 5 recipes for a game day party
The best chips and dip recipes