Mad Hungry: Game Day Food

Fan-Favorite Recipes for Winning Dips, Nachos, Chili, Wings, and Drinks


By Lucinda Scala Quinn

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Everybody loves game day, and some of us love game-day food even more. Here is the complete playbook for all the snacks, sides, and mains you’ll need to feed the hungry crowd in your home or even at the tailgate. Impress with homemade Spinach Feta Pocket Pies and Quick Fried Chicken, or go for the tried-and-true classics like the perfect guacamole, queso fundido, or a French dip. Drinks like spiked lemonade and a spicy bloody Mary keep the party going.



basic salsa

makes 2 cups (512 g)

This quick salsa can be used as a dip for tortilla chips or as a topping for eggs, tacos, chicken, or fish. It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

2 large tomatoes, cored and finely chopped

4 small radishes, halved and finely sliced

1 to 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, sliced

⅓ cup (40 g) finely chopped white onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon coarse salt

½ cup (120 mL) water

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

salsa verde

makes 2 cups (512 g)

12 whole tomatillos

½ white onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, stems removed

2 teaspoons salt

Peel the tomatillos and simmer in water for 5 minutes. Drain and roughly pulse with a blender or food processor with all the other ingredients until smooth, adding water as necessary for desired consistency.

queso fundido

serves 2

There are few things more divinely swoonworthy than this concoction, which should almost be labeled an illegal substance. Queso fundido is insanely easy to replicate at home, and you'll be spared any cleanup hassle, because every last bit of the crispy cheese that crusts up at the bottom of the pan will be scraped up and devoured. Serve with tortillas and salsa (see page 13).

4 ounces (113 g) smoked chorizo, cut into ¼-inch (6 mm) pieces

½ small yellow onion, finely chopped

2¾ cups (12 ounces/340 g) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

8 (6-inch/15 cm) corn tortillas, warmed over a flame (see Note)

Preheat the broiler. Cook the chorizo in a 6-inch (15 cm) ovenproof skillet over medium heat until the fat begins to render, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and become translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cheese.

Transfer the skillet to the broiler and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown in places, 2 minutes. Serve immediately, with the tortillas.


To get a nice charred flavor, toast the tortillas and stack them to steam and become pliable for use. Toast them one at a time, on a direct flame or in a hot skillet or comal (a smooth, flat Mexican griddle), until the edges start to darken, about 1 minute; flip and toast for another minute (some will puff up once you flip them). If they seem too toasted, almost crisp, stack them on top of one another wrapped in a cloth. To keep them fresh for 30 minutes, wrap the cloth stack in foil and keep in a warm place.

caramelized onion and bacon dip

makes 2 cups (480 g)

If you love—yet hate—that packaged onion-soup-mix dip, this is the recipe for you. It is a richer, deeper-flavored, cleaner-ingredient excuse for a potato-chip-dipping marathon. Or smear it over flatbreads for a classier affair. The dip can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

¼ cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

3 pounds (1.3 kg) yellow onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced, crosswise

1 teaspoon coarse salt

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

5 ounces (150 g) bacon, chopped

1½ cups (215 g) mayonnaise

1 cup (242 g) sour cream

¼ cup (60 mL) safflower oil (optional, for garnish)

3 shallots, thinly sliced into rings (optional, for garnish)

Heat a large skillet. Add the olive oil. When it shimmers, add the onions and salt and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden in color, 45 minutes to 1 hour; add a little water if needed to prevent sticking. Add the vinegar during the last minute of cooking. Let cool.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a small skillet until it has rendered its fat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; reserve the fat in the pan if you will be frying the shallots. Let the bacon cool.

Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onions, and bacon in a large bowl.

For the optional garnish, add the vegetable oil to the skillet with the bacon fat and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the shallots, lower the heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain the shallots on a paper towel–lined plate.

Garnish the dip with the fried shallots, if using, and serve.


makes 2 cups (480 g)

Why buy guacamole when the homemade version simply requires mashing up a few items? There are many riffs on guacamole these days, with various vegetables, fruits, or smoked chorizo added to personalize and differentiate them, but this old-school version is a classic that will please any crowd and pair well with a variety of dishes. Pictured on page 30.

¼ cup (30 g) finely chopped white onion

2 serrano chiles, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon coarse salt

3 ripe Hass avocados, halved, pitted, and flesh scooped out of skin

1 small tomato, chopped

Tortilla chips, warm tortillas, or flautas (see page 29), for serving

Mix together the onion, chiles, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, and the salt in a large bowl. Using a large fork, crush the avocados into the onion mixture, leaving the mixture somewhat chunky. Fold in the tomatoes. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of cilantro over the mixture.

Serve with tortilla chips, warm tortillas, or flautas.

cheesy corn snack

makes 4 quarts (4 L)

Many commercial versions of this snack are on the market, but this homemade version, which has all the attractive elements of the store-bought and none of the toxins (just simple flavors made with fresh ingredients), is absolutely delicious. Two hungry snackers can easily devour this batch, but it will feed up to six people for a small snack. This recipe appeals to all ages. You can intensify it with ground pepper or other desired flavoring.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

¾ cup (160 g) popping-corn kernels

4 tablespoons (½ stick/57 g) unsalted butter, melted

⅓ cup (40 g) grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon coarse salt

Heat a 4-quart (4 L) pot with a tight-fitting lid on the stovetop. Add the oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pot. Get it hot enough to sizzle when a kernel hits the oil. Pour the corn in all at once, cover, and shake. Swirl the pot over the top of the burner once or twice, until you hear the first few kernels pop. Once the corn is popping, swirl the pot continuously until the popping stops. Or, use a popcorn maker if you want to. Dump the popcorn into a large bowl.

Pour the melted butter over the corn and toss well to fully coat the kernels. Sprinkle the cheese and salt over the corn and toss until everything is well combined.

baked potato poppers

makes 24 poppers; serves 6

Baked rather than deep-fried, these potato poppers are perfectly crispy on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside. They will fool even the most die-hard tater tot fiend. Panko bread crumbs are essential to the dish's success, providing the crispiest crunch.

2 large russet (baking) potatoes (about 1 pound/454 g)

½ cup (65 g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch


On Sale
Sep 3, 2019
Page Count
112 pages

Lucinda Scala Quinn

Lucinda Scala Quinn

About the Author

Lucinda Scala Quinn is the founder of Mad Hungry, the headquarters for home cooks looking for proven recipes, strategies, and inspiration. She is the author of four cookbooks, including Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys, Mad Hungry Cravings, and Mad Hungry Family, and appears regularly on both morning television and QVC with her top-selling Mad Hungry kitchenware line. Scala Quinn is the former senior vice president and executive editorial director of food and entertaining at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the host of her own television show, Mad Hungry: Bringing Back the Family Meal, and she cohosted Everyday Food on PBS for six years. She lives and cooks with her husband and three sons in New York City. Find her on Instagram @madhungry.

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