Football was a religion where I grew up and “game time” was as sacred as a Sunday sermon. With the women in the kitchen gabbing and the men in the living room championing their picks, we were a house divided. But we always had an ace in the hole to gather the sidelines: the game day food.
My parents would cook up a feast of epic proportions, from bacon-wrapped frankfurters and spicy BBQ to apple pie and chocolate pizza, that always had me salivating. I recently teamed up with Cholula® Hot Sauce to share some of my favorite tailgating recipes … with an extra kick of flavor, of course.
But what’s a game day without a little competition right?! As an added bonus, Cholula Hot Sauce challenged me to a cook-off with fellow foodie (and my best friend) Serena Goh from The Spicy Stiletto. Our goal was to create appetizers (using Cholula Hot Sauce as a main ingredient) that we thought were total taste-bud touchdowns. I opted for Cheesy Chicken Dip and Diablo Brownies, while Serena cooked up some delicious Mac & Cheese Kickers and Spiked & Spicy Lemonade.
In my opinion, hot sauce quite honestly makes every dish come to life. Cholula Hot Sauces’s unique blend of red peppers, piquin peppers, and spices made it the perfect complement for both sweet and savory flavors. In the last few years, Cholula Hot Sauce has branched out to include a family of flavors, including Cholula Chili Lime, Cholula Chipotle, Cholula Chili Garlic, and Cholula Green Pepper. I was stoked to get to test-drive some of these newer flavors in my cook-off with Serena.
So the big question… who’s the winner? You be the judge! Below are the four recipes (featuring our suggested flavor from the Cholula Hot Sauce family) – whip these up for friends and let us know which they liked best! But be warned, these treats are devilishly good so be prepared when your guests inevitably ask you to make another batch or ten.
CHEESY CHICKEN DIP
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 (8 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup Cholula Original
- 1/4 cup Cholula Chili Garlic
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- 1/2 cup shredded four-cheese blend or shredded Mexican cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine all ingredients and spoon it into a shallow 1-quart baking dish.
- Bake the dip for 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through; stir. Serve with sliced veggies or chips.
MAC & CHEESE KICKERS
- 1 box favorite boxed macaroni and cheese
- Butter and milk, as called for on the mac & cheese box
- 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 ½ cups bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1 cup Cholula Original
- Oil for frying
- Follow directions on box to make mac and cheese. Stir in shredded cheese, ½ cup of bread crumbs, paprika, and 1 cup Cholula Original.
- Cover mixture – refrigerate 20 minutes or until firm.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop mac & cheese into ¼-cup size balls, roll in remaining breads crumbs. Place on cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes.
- In deep fat fryer or heavy saucepan, heat 3 inches oil to 375°F. Fry balls in hot oil in small batches 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve hot with spicy ranch dressing or barbecue sauce, if desired.
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp. Cholula Chili Lime
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine butter, sugar, eggs, Cholula Chili Lime and vanilla in a large electric mixer or mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Blend in flour, cocoa and baking soda. Beat until smooth.
- Pour into greased/non-stick 9×9 pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until sides begin to pull away from the edge of the pan.
- Cool completely (minimum 8-10 minutes) before cutting.
SPIKED & SPICY LEMONADE
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. Cholula Original or Cholula Green Pepper
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 tbsp., agave syrup
- ¾ cup, water
- 2 oz. of your favorite vodka
- Pour the lemon juice and Cholula Original into a glass that holds 12 oz. along with a few slices of the jalapeño and cucumber. Using a muddler or blunt rod-type tool, muddle the cucumber and jalapeño slices a little bit.
- Add the agave, water and vodka to the mixture and stir until combined.
- Add ice – and drop a few slices of jalapeño and cucumber into the glass for added infusion!
This post was sponsored by Cholula® Hot Sauce. For quick tips, recipes and creative ways to Uncap Real Flavor™ visit Cholula.com.