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 ten tasty recipes to inspire some ideas.
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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). You can even incorporate into a dip like this creative combo that brings together all the classic elements of a buffalo wing. Get our Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe.
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This NFL Crock-pot is just the thing to make WAY too much food in!
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 orzo and enjoy. Get the Spinach and Artichoke Dip Orzo 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 salad. Looks like junk food and health food can live happily under the same roof after all. Get the Guacamole Salad recipe.
Shake up chili’s encore performance by reconceiving it as the base for a 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 the corn bread topping and dig into this keto-friendly crowd pleaser. Get the Upsidedown Chili Con Carne Pie 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 our Chicken Chilaquiles recipe.
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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 Tater Tot Waffles 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 butterscotch’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 Butterscotch Potato Chip Cookies recipe.
If you hosted, there’s no doubt you’re going to leftover beer and there’s a good chance it’s some light or cheap stuff you may not want to drink right away. You may also wake up with a slight hangover, and if you’re smart and took Monday off (should be a national holiday!) then a spicy michelada (hybrid beer and Bloody Mary cocktail) is the perfect two birds, one stone solution. Get our Michelada recipe.