The bowl that gets our attention during the Big Game is the guacamole bowl. And the spicy cheddar dip bowl. And the salsa bowl. Closely followed by the chip bowl (psst, it’s really easy to make your own). Don’t get us wrong, we’re watching the game, the halftime show, and the commercials, but we always have our eye on the snacks.

And we’ve realized that while we’re watching the action on the field, we’re playing a bit of our own game off the field – a game of hogging the best eats.  How do you win at chips and dip? You come with a strategy. You come hungry, you choose your seat based on proximity to the guac, and you know the rules.

Want to get a head start on this year’s “bowl” game? Make your favorite dips for your viewing party with these quick recipes:

Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Dip


Pretzel Bites:
1 1/4-oz package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4-teaspoons)
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
Sea salt

Spicy Cheddar Dip:
1 cup whole milk
2 Tbsps butter
2 Tbsps flour
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded (or 3 ounce block)
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

To make the pretzel bites:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, 1 cup warm water, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon salt until the dough is soft and not sticky (you may need to add the remaining ½ cup flour). Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Fill a large saucepan with 7 cups of water and the baking soda; heat to boiling on high. Meanwhile, punch down the dough and turn it onto a work surface. Separate the dough into 8 pieces and roll each into a rope about 1/2-inch thick. Using a knife, cut the rope into 1/2-inch to 1-inch lengths.

Carefully drop 3 to 4 of the dough pieces into the boiling water and boil for about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the dough pieces and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

To make the spicy cheddar dip:
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter on medium until melted. Add the flour and cook, whisking occasionally 1 to 2 minutes, or until the flour is golden brown and fragrant. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring frequently to break up any clumps. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until all the clumps have disappeared and the mixture has thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, hot sauce and cayenne until smooth. Serve warm with the baked pretzel bites.

Salsa Verde


4 cloves garlic
1.5 lbs tomatillos (approximately 8)
1 red onion
1 bunch cilantro
2 limes

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic. Using a peeler, remove the green rind of the limes, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 3 teaspoons of zest. Quarter the limes. Remove and discard the papery skins of the tomatillos; medium dice the tomatillos. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stems. Peel and small dice the onion.

In a medium pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the tomatillos and season with salt and pepper. Cook, smashing the tomatillos with a spoon, 10-12 minutes, or until thickened and saucy. Remove from heat. Add the lime zest, ¾ of the cilantro and the juice of all 8 lime wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Classic Guacamole


6 avocados
3 tomatoes
2-3 jalapeños
1 large red onion
1 bunch cilantro
6 garlic cloves
4 limes

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Pit, peel and medium dice the avocados. Small dice the tomatoes. Peel and small dice the onion. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stems. Peel and mince the garlic. Halve the limes; squeeze the juice into a large bowl. Remove and discard the ribs and seeds of the jalapeños; small dice the jalapeños. Thoroughly wash your hands immediately after handling the jalapeños.

To the bowl of lime juice, add the avocados, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and garlic. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pineapple Avocado Salsa


1 lb cubed pineapple
3 limes
4 avocados
1 large bunch cilantro

Wash and dry the cilantro; roughly chop the leaves and stems. Quarter the limes. Pit, peel and medium dice the avocados; toss with the juice of 3 lime wedges to prevent browning. Small dice the pineapple.

In a medium bowl, combine the pineapple, avocados, cilantro, the juice of the remaining lime wedges and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now, with dips in hand, let the Big Game begin!