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Football Season Family Dinner Ideas

Football is one of the United States’ great unifiers. It’s the country’s favorite sport to watch and the season extends all the way from September to February. Whether you prefer college or professional football, you have a lot of big weekend meals to plan. Here are three delicious dinner ideas for your next family football watch party.

Pull-Apart Pizza Bread

Every football tailgate starts with simple finger food. This recipe puts an Italian twist on the popular pull-apart monkey bread. It’s the perfect starter to an afternoon of lounging and couch commentating, but it’s not too filling. Here’s the list of ingredients and directions.


  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated garlic
  • 2 16-ounce cans of refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1 cup jarred marinara sauce
  • 1 pack of mini pepperoni slices
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Extra Parmesan cheese and basil for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Stir the mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, parsley, oregano, and pepperoni slices together in a large bowl.
  3. Combine the oil and garlic in another small bowl, then drizzle it over the larger cheese mixture.
  4. Cut the biscuits into quarters, add the pieces to the cheese mixture, and toss gently.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased pan. Butter, olive oil, or cooking spray will work.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown. It should take 45 to 50 minutes.
  7. Take the bread from the oven and let it rest in the pan for about five minutes.
  8. Remove the bread from the pan and garnish with additional Parmesan and basil. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

If you become an expert at making this appetizer, you can add other common pizza toppings to the ingredients. For example, you might swap out pepperoni for ground beef, sausage, or onions. You could even include them all if you’re feeling bold.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

If there was one specific food that perfectly captured the spirit of football season, it would be chicken wings. You can make them in massive quantities, they’re packed with flavor, and they pair well with just about any alcoholic beverage. This particular recipe goes best with a wine that matches the sweetness and zest of the lemon pepper sauce.


  • 4 pounds of chicken drums, flats, or both
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Line two baking sheets using foil and add wire racks to each. Add nonstick cooking spray to the racks.
  2. Use a large bowl to mix the salt and baking powder. Place the wings inside and toss them gently until they look uniformly coated. Portion the wings between the racks and be sure to leave sufficient space between each wing.
  3. Let the wings sit at room temperature for one hour or refrigerate (with no lid) for around 24 hours.
  4. Preheat your oven to 450°F while the wings sit. If you chose to refrigerate the wings overnight, let them thaw outside the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Put the wings in the oven. After 10 to 12 minutes, flip them over and switch the baking sheets from the upper and lower oven racks. Bake for another 10 to 12 minutes until the wings are looking golden and crispy.
  6. During the baking, stir the butter, honey, lemon pepper, hot sauce, and lemon juice together.
  7. Transfer the wings to the sauce bowl and toss to coat. Transfer them to a clean platter and serve alongside wedges of lemon.

Traditional buffalo and barbecue wings are great options too, but they’re overused during football season. These lemon pepper wings are less messy and easier on the stomach.

Fried Beef Tacos

Wings, burgers, and other traditional American stadium foods get all of the attention on football weekends – but what about tacos? This fried taco recipe is just as delicious as those other food categories, plus it has some greens to balance things out.


  • 2-pound beef sirloin steak cut into half-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 cup mild salsa
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 16 small corn tortillas
  • Extra vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and your favorite hot sauce


  1. Season the beef with cumin, salt, and chili powder.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a larger skillet using medium or medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for two to three minutes, then dump in the salsa.
  3. Stir and cook until the beef is totally done inside and the liquid has reduced. Turn off the heat and set aside the skillet when done.
  4. To fry the tacos, heat at least 1-1/2 inches of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place a frugal amount of beef in the middle of a tortilla to ensure the oil doesn’t spill over.
  5. Fold the tortilla in half and hold it shut with a pair of metal tongs.
  6. Carefully submerge the taco in the oil and hold it in place. The tortilla should stick to the skillet after a few seconds.
  7. Repeat with the other tacos. Fry until light golden brown, 30 to 45 seconds per side.
  8. Remove each taco from the oil. Hold them sideways to let the oil drip out.
  9. Place the tacos on a stack of paper towels, then fold the paper towels around the taco and gently shake them to remove the excess oil.
  10. After shaking out the oil, place some cheese inside the fried tacos and let it melt over the beef. Top with lettuce, tomato, and hot sauce to your liking.

This recipe might seem intimidating if you’ve never fried with a skillet before, but it’s quite easy. You’ll be just fine as long as you don’t add too much beef to the cooking oil. Take your time with each taco. Prep time should only take about 40 minutes in total.

Try Something New This Weekend

Instead of ordering delivery or eating leftovers this weekend, why not try something new? These delicious dinner ideas will make football season more exciting and bring the family closer together. Whether your favorite team wins or loses, these meals will make your Saturdays and Sundays a little more memorable.

Jeff Campbell