Join the Conversation.

Summer Issue Out Soon!

Join the Conversation.

Winter Issue On Stands Now!

Game Day Grub

Host the Super Bowl with Babs!

In this Article

Share this article

Barbara “Babs” Costello has called many corners of the U.S. home, but one thing remains consistent no matter her mailing address: quality game day comfort food. She broke out her favorite recipes to serve up a hearty assortment of scrumptious Super Bowl bites. Cook these up for your next watch party, weekend hang, or whenever!

Hot Corn Dip

Servings: 10
The Super Bowl is a big deal in our family. We’re from the windy, broad-shouldered city of Chicago and are serious sports fans. We’re also very serious about our dips, and this is one of the best corn dips you’ll ever taste. It balances just the right amount of spiciness with the coolness of the creamy cheeses. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or veggies, and it’s a winner every time.

Ingredients
  

  • cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 15 oz. cans sweet yellow and white corn, drained (see Babs Says...)
  • 1 10 oz. can Ro-Tel with Green Chilies, drained
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • Crackers, tortilla chips, or veggies, to serve

Instructions
 

  • Crackers, tortilla chips, or veggies, to serve
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch or 2 quart square casserole dish.
  • In a large bowl, add 1 cup pepper jack, cream cheese, sour cream, corn, Ro-Tel, paprika, garlic, salt, chili powder, and cumin. Stir to thoroughly combine.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish. Top evenly with the remaining ½ cup pepper jack.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately with an assortment of crackers, tortilla chips, and veggies.

Notes

Babs Says... If you can’t find the mixed corn, use a can of yellow and a can of white corn.
Make it ahead: Fully prepare this up to 5 days ahead of time. Store unbaked and tightly covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and bake as instructed.

Bobby’s Court Buffalo Wings

Servings: 4
After our move from Virginia, we settled in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in a great neighborhood on Bobby’s Court surrounded by families with lots of kids. Our block planned many get-togethers throughout the year. One family hailed from Buffalo (birthplace of the buffalo wing) and served their rendition during the neighborhood Super Bowl party. I’ll never make wings any other way. Just don’t forget the celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. Our love for these wings has now been passed down to my grandson Matthew. These are his absolute favorite — he even takes them cold to the golf course.

Ingredients
  

Chicken Wings:
  • 3 lbs. whole chicken wings
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Cayenne, to taste
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Celery sticks and blue cheese dressing, to serve
Basting Sauce:
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 0.7 oz. pkg. Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ cup water
  • 2-4 Tbsp. Frank’s RedHot Sauce, adjust according to heat preference

Instructions
 

  • Cover a large baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Prepare the basting sauce. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Set aside.
  • With a sharp knife, divide the chicken wings at the joints, setting aside the bony piece for another use, such as chicken stock.
  • In a gallon-sized resealable bag, add the flour, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Shake to combine.
  • Working in batches, add the chicken wing drums and flats and shake to thoroughly coat. Evenly arrange the floured wings on the prepared sheet.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, turning once halfway through. Remove the wings from the oven, and immediately baste each wing with sauce.
  • Return wings to the oven, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Repeat the basting process a total of 3 times, turning the wings each time and baking for 10 minutes.
  • Serve immediately with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.

Notes

Make it ahead: Fully bake the wings up to 2 days in advance, refrigerating in an airtight container. Bring them to room temperature and reheat in the oven at 350°F for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn them over, and continue reheating for another 5 to 6 minutes. They also may be frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container; thaw before reheating.

Sausage Bisquick Bites

Servings: 36 Bites
When we moved to Richmond, Virginia, we bought a house and settled in a wonderful planned community called Brandermill. It was a perfect mix of transplanted northerners and native southerners. Since this was a new community, there was plenty of socializing with progressive dinners, game day and Super Bowl parties, and intimate get-togethers. One appetizer that was standard, no matter what the event, were these favorite four-ingredient sausage bites.

Ingredients
  

  • 3 scant cups Original Bisquick
  • 1 lb. uncooked spicy breakfast sausage, such as Jimmy Dean or Bob Evans
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated (see Babs Says...)
  • Sauce for dipping, such as honey mustard

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add all of the ingredients and mix on medium speed until well combined.
  • Using a 1 ½ inch cookie scoop, form the mixture into balls.
  • Arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheets 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce — mine is honey mustard!

Notes

Babs Says... Grating your own cheese makes for a moist sausage ball. You can get creative with what cheese you use, but sharp cheddar is our favorite. Feel free to mix in some chopped, fresh onion and herbs of your choice. I like to add ¼ to ½ tsp. cayenne for an extra kick.
Make it ahead: These can be prepared 1 day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to cook. Uncooked sausage balls can also be frozen and stored in a freezer-safe bag for up to 4 months — freeze them in an even layer on a baking sheet until solid, then transfer to the bag. To bake, thaw for 20 minutes, then bake as directed.

Slow-cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches With Pickled Red Onions

Servings: 10
This is the recipe I use to recreate that slow-smoked pulled pork classic taste without tending to a smoker all day, and it’s become a Super Bowl staple. This tender, moist, barbecued pulled pork is as easy as massaging a rub on the meat and popping it into your slow cooker. It feeds a crowd, and if you decide to top the pork with the pickled onions and add a side of coleslaw, it scores a touchdown every time.

Ingredients
  

  • 6-8 lb. bone-in pork shoulder roast
  • ¾ tsp. liquid smoke
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, such as Sweet Baby Ray’s Original, plus more to serve
  • Brioche buns, to serve
  • Pickled red onions, optional, to serve
Dry Rub:
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 4 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground white pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, stir together all of the rub seasonings. Massage the rub into all parts of the pork roast.
  • Wrap the seasoned roast tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. (The longer it rests, the better.)
  • Unwrap the roast and place it in a slow cooker. Add the liquid smoke and apple juice. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until tender and falling off the bone.
  • Transfer the roast to a cutting board and shred the meat. Discard the fat and bone.
  • Place the shredded meat back into the slow cooker. Toss with the barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 30 to 60 minutes, or until hot.
  • Prepare sandwiches on brioche buns with additional barbecue sauce. Top with pickled red onions.

Pickled Red Onions

Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, whole
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. whole peppercorns
  • Dash of red pepper flakes

Instructions
 

  • With a mandoline, thinly slice the onion. To a pint-sized canning jar, add the onion slices and the whole garlic clove.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the water, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, bay leaf, salt, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the onions. Make sure to press down the onions so all are covered with the pickling mixture.
  • Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Once cooled, refrigerate overnight before serving.
  • Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. These really add a punch to the slow-cooked pulled pork sandwiches, as well as salads, tacos, nachos, sandwiches, and more.

Texas Sheet Cake

Servings: 24
This is the ultimate chocolate sheet cake, and it serves a crowd. It’s really a cross between a cake and a brownie. If that’s not enough, how about pouring warm chocolate icing over the hot cake as it comes out of the oven? Is your mouth watering yet? No wonder this is one of our all-time family favorite desserts. Everything’s bigger in Texas, so this cake has truly been appropriately named. It’s a big, delicious, chocolatey delight!

Ingredients
  

Batter:
  • 2 cups 256g all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 400g granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup 28g cocoa powder
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Frosting:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 5 Tbsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • ½ cup chopped raw walnuts, optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease an 11 x 16 inch rimmed sheet pan.
  • Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl.
  • To a small saucepan, add the butter, water, and cocoa powder. Bring to a rapid boil, then pour over the flour mixture. Whisk well.
  • Add the buttermilk, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, slightly beaten eggs, and vanilla to the flour-butter mixture. Whisk well.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • About 5 minutes before the cake is finished baking, make the frosting. In the same small saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa powder, and milk to a boil.
  • Remove from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla and powdered sugar until thoroughly combined.
  • While the cake is still very warm, pour the frosting in an even layer over the cake. Top with walnuts (if using) before the frosting sets.
  • Let stand for 30 minutes. Cut into about 24 squares, and serve. Store leftovers tightly covered at room temperature.

Notes

Make it ahead: Prepare up to 5 days in advance. Store tightly covered at room temperature. The fully baked, frosted, and cooled cake can also be frozen in the sheet pan. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then wrap in foil. Freeze for up to 6 months. When ready to eat, remove from the freezer, unwrap, and let come to room temperature.

Barbara Costello

From New Year’s Day to Christmas and every holiday in between, your adopted grandmother Babs shares all of the holiday recipes and motherly advice you need to make every celebration special.

For more from Babs, find her on Instagram and TikTok @brunchwithbabs and online at brunchwithbabs.com.

Recipes adapted from the book “Celebrate with Babs: Holiday Recipes & Family Traditions” by Barbara Costello published by Penguin Random House. Text @ 2022 by Barbara Costello. Photography by Daniel Showalter.

Photography by Daniel Showalter