There’s something about hosting a football party that makes people lose all sense of portion control. As if somewhere along the line a wire got crossed and you and your friends Freaky Friday-swapped with 300-pound linebackers, inheriting all their considerable appetite. You prepare mountains of chicken wings, stock up on all the chips and all the dips, smother your coffee table with all manner of bite-sized junk food and bottles of beer.
And then later, once the dust of the event has settled and you’re evaluating the wreckage, you realize just how overboard you went in the snack food department. Time to channel your inner culinary McGyver and devise some creative ways to recycle from the wasteland of leftovers. Here are nine recipes to inspire some ideas.
The buffalo wing is football’s culinary mascot, so it makes sense that people tend to always overdo it on batch size come game day. Not to worry, there are plenty of creative ways to make sure that beloved leftover chicken doesn’t go to waste. By shredding the meat off the bone, you’ve got material for everything from quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches, to creamy pasta or even a loaded baked potato, the sky’s the limit (and by sky I mean your appetite). Most recipes will stick to the straightforward buffalo sauce and bleu cheese or ranch profile, but this pizza recipe makes a clever play by introducing honey to the spicy-savory mix. Get the recipe.
Get over being annoyed that you have to rummage around for yet another storage container because folks didn’t finish the spinach-artichoke dip. Instead, say a little silent “thank you” because tomorrow night, all you really have to do for dinner is toss it with some penne, smother with cheese, and let it all bake up in the oven. Get the recipe.
Ease the guilt of last night’s chips and guac binge by putting the remainder of that dip to good-for-you use in a fresh, easy kale salad. As a dressing, the creamy, tangy spread helps soften the coarsely textured greens and makes them more approachable. Looks like junk food and health food can live happily under the same roof after all. Get the recipe.
Shake up chili’s encore performance by reconceiving it as the base for a southwestern version of the pub grub classic, Shepherd’s Pie. With half the work done the day before, all you have to do to take this dish to the end zone is quickly whip up some mashed potatoes, layer the two in a casserole dish and pop it into the oven. Get the recipe.
Now, I’ll be honest, I have a hard time imagining a scenario in which the party ends before all the beer is finished. But in case you and your friends are capable of exercising more restraint, put that leftover bottle of pale ale to good use in this hearty, umami-rich pot roast. Get our Pot Roast with Porcini and Beer recipe.
If pigging out on wings and chips and salsa didn’t stop your good buddy Hangover from showing up and knocking on the door the next morning, you can at least take comfort in knowing that those leftover can be put towards making a perfect post-party breakfast. Now, because you’re hurting, we going to keep this real simple: Toss the shredded chicken with salsa, chicken broth, and a little sour cream, and stack the mixture between layers of cheese and tortilla chips; bake for a half hour. And if you’re thinking that throwing a fried egg on top of there would make this situation even better, well then you’d be absolutely right. Get the recipe.
Just in case you ever doubted the versatility of the glorious tater tot (shame on you, where’s your faith?), this recipe proves just how seamlessly the crispy potato puff can transition from evening look to morning look. Like a kind of mash-up between waffle and hashbrown, these Cajun seasoning-spiked mad genius creations are brunch time gold. Get the recipe.
Save that leftover bowl of popcorn from going stale by giving the snack a sweet little makeover. All it really takes is whisking up a quick and easy caramel sauce and the ability to form things into a ball, and you’ve got a sweet-salty-crunchy treat to carry you all the way into next week’s game. Get our Salted Caramel Popcorn Balls recipe.
Take those broken, bottom-of-the-bag stragglers and give them new life as the salty yin to chocolate chip’s sweet yang in these dangerously addictive cookies. That’s right, dip, you’ve got some serious competition as potato chip’s perfect partner. Get the recipe.
Header image courtesy of Yes To Yolks.