Tailgating with friends or hosting a game day party at home doesn’t need to be stressful. I’ve compiled a great list below of my favorite game-day recipes. And don’t worry about tweaking them to fit them to your Jewish lifestyle — they’re all kosher!

When it comes to football season, I like to serve food with BIG flavor and minimal fuss. A slow cooker is my best friend when I want to enjoy time with friends on game day. In fact, using the slow cooker is like having another set of hands in the kitchen.

I also always try to make something sweet for those who can’t live without dessert; check out my throw-together-fast chocolate cake and other great recipes below.  You’ll be sure to score a touchdown!


Beer-Cheese Fondue (Dairy)

(Adapted from Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes by Laura Frankel)

The camaraderie of fondue is fostered even more when cheering for your favorite team. Fondue is the ultimate ice breaker with sharing, dipping and schmoozing all being a natural part of the eating process.

I like to use my slow cooker for this recipe. The even temperature keeps the cheese from breaking, but still keeps it gooey and hot. I like to use a variety of “dippers,” including cooked potato wedges, green beans, apples, bread and pretzels.


1 garlic clove, cut in half

3/4 cup dark beer such as Guinness or Aventinus, or apple juice

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese, about ½ pound

1 cup shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese, about ¼ pound

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons Harissa or favorite hot sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

Suggested Accompaniments:

Cubes of hearty bread, toasted pita, bagel chips, cooked new potatoes, crunchy vegetables crudités, cut-up apples and pears, pretzels, etc. – get creative!


1. Rub the inside of the slow cooker with the garlic. Discard the garlic.

2. Pour the beer into the slow cooker insert.

3. In a large bowl, toss the cheeses with the cornstarch, taking care to coat all of the cheese with the cornstarch. Add the cheeses to the slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on Low for 1 hour.

4. Stir the cheese; add the harissa and the black pepper. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more.

5. To serve the fondue, remove the cover and keep the slow cooker on low. Serve with your choice of accompaniments.


Rosemary-Parmesan Popcorn (Dairy)


Canola oil

1/4 cup unpopped popcorn, preferably an organic heirloom variety

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Lots of freshly cracked black peppercorns

1/4teaspoon fine sea salt (I use a fine sea salt as it has a briny flavor and the fine grind salt disperses more evenly)


1. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with canola oil. Add the popcorn and cover the pan so that a crack remains open. This allows the steam to escape and keeps the popcorn from getting tough.

2. Shake the pan periodically until the corn starts to pop. Continue shaking the pan until the corn popping slows down. Remove from the heat and allow the corn to finish popping.

3. Transfer the popped corn to a large bowl and sprinkle with the rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and melted butter. Finish with cracked pepper. Toss lightly.


Hot & Spicy Wings (Meat)

(Adapted from Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes by Laura Frankel)

Hot wings are a tasty, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of dish. Once you start eating my addictive spicy and sweet version, you might not be able to stop. They are a treat for game day, or anytime you need good party grub.


24 chicken wing drumettes (see note below)

3 tablespoons All-Purpose Spice Rub

2 tablespoons Harissa or favorite hot sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil such as canola

3 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the broiler to High.

2. Rinse and pat the chicken wings thoroughly dry with paper towels. Generously rub the all-purpose rub on the wings and set aside.

3. Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the harissa, vinegar, oil, and honey. Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste. Heat just until combined. Remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Space the wings out on the pan. Place under broiler and broil for 3 minutes per side until browned and crisp.

5. Toss the wings with half of the sauce in the slow cooker insert.  Cover and cook on Low for 4 to 5 hours or on High for 1 hour.

6. Serve with the remaining sauce as a dipping sauce


Chicken wings actually come in three sections; the tip, the flat, and the drumette, though I very rarely see a kosher wing with the tip on it. The flats and drumettes can be purchased separately or still joined together. I use both, but prefer the drumettes for this recipe: The drumettes resemble a drumstick with a little handle that keeps your fingers from getting too messy. The flats are the middle joint between the tip and the drumette and while tasty, they don’t have much meat on them. The drumettes have more meat on them. I generally save the flats in a bag in the freezer for chicken stock.


All-Purpose Spice Rub

I call this my all-purpose rub because it really does work for just about everything. I rub it on meat and allow it to sit for at least several hours or overnight. Then I proceed with the recipe. The rub also is delicious on chicken and fish.


1 tablespoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons Ancho Chile Powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1 tablespoon pimenton (Smoked Paprika)

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Whisk together all the ingredients. Because of the fresh orange zest, this spice mix should be stored in the refrigerator, covered. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.


Mixed Olive Tapenade (pareve)

This spread is quick, easy and delicious. Simply schmear the tapenade on a baguette and wrap in foil, then grill for several minutes for a quick and crowd pleasing appetizer.


1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

1/2 cup pitted cracked green olives

Juice and coarsely chopped zest of 1 lemon

1 whole peeled garlic clove

2 anchovy fillets, rinsed, dried, and chopped Extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)


1. Place the olives, lemon juice and zest, and anchovies in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it resembles a chunky paste. Add olive oil if necessary.

2. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Stir in the shallot and parsley. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the chili flakes, if using. Store the tapenade, with a section of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the tapenade in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.  This will keep air off the surface and prevent the tapenade from drying out.


Super Fudgy Chocolate Cake (Pareve)

Top off game day with a delicious and satisfying dessert. This moist and easy-to-prepare chocolate cake is luscious and decadent.


4 large eggs

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder (I prefer Valrhona)

1/4 cup potato starch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1¼ cups boiling water


  1. Place oven rack in center of oven.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Oil a 9-inch spring-form pan or 2 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.
  2. Place eggs, brown sugar, and white sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer.  Using the whip attachment beat on medium-high until mixture is light and fluffy.  Slowly drizzle in the canola oil.  Continue beating until the mixture is well emulsified.  Add the vanilla and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, potato starch, baking powder, and salt.  Mix together with a whisk until thoroughly blended.
  4. Change to the paddle attachment.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture all at once.  While blending, slowly add the boiling water.  Be careful not to let any splash out.  Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.  Finish mixing with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides and the bottom as you mix.
  5. Place prepared pan on a baking sheet.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  If using two loaf pans, be sure to divide batter evenly.
  6. Place into preheated oven and bake until a wooden skewer comes out cleanly.  This will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes for the 9-inch spring-form pan, and 40 -50 minutes for the loaf pans.
  7. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 30 minutes.  For the spring-form pan, remove the collar and cool completely.  For the loaf pans, after 30 minutes, carefully run a thin knife around the sides of the pans.  Carefully tip the cakes out on their side and then stand them back up.  Allow to cool completely.  If cakes do not come out easily, allow to cool in pans for 10 more minutes and try again.  As they cool, they shrink away from the sides of the pan.
  8. When cool, cakes can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for 5 days.  Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Laura Frankel is an Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and author of numerous kosher cookbooks including Jewish Cooking for All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. To purchase her books, click here. For more articles by Laura, click here.
One Comment
  1. Are you tailgating for a football game or for a ladies night of DVR’d episodes of Real Housewives?

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