Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

It’s time to bring your A-game this Thanksgiving with these easy game-day recipes. No football viewing is complete without good friends, good beer and, of course, good food. So good, that you may even consider watching the game by yourself next year just so you won’t have to share. Impress your guests with these simple finger foods that go above and beyond your standard pigs in a blanket, buffalo wings and potato chips. The only thing left to do after the cooking is grab a plate, pull up a chair and hut, hut, HIKE!

Jalapeño Popper Bites
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 15 min
Total Time: 30 min

  • 1 can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 6-8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 jalapeños, seeded and diced finely
  • 8 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pop open the can of crescent rolls and separate each roll along the perforated line.
  • Place a knob of cream cheese on each roll and top with a teaspoon of diced jalapeño.
  • Add a teaspoon of the pre cooked and crumbled bacon.
  • Gather the edges of the dough and pinch them together. Roll the dough in your hand making sure all the filling is sealed inside in a tight ball. Place the completed balls, dough seam down and bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Buffalo Chicken Cups
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 20 min
Total Time: 35 min

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 24 2-inch won ton wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a 24-cup mini muffin tin lightly oil or coat the pan with non stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine chicken, paprika, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and chili powder. Heat remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Let chicken rest 5 minutes then shred with a fork.
  • Place a wonton wrapper into each of the 24 muffin tins, pressing carefully to make sure there is an opening. Place into the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken, Frank’s Red Hot and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Keeping the wontons in the baking cups, fill each cup with the chicken mixture.
  • Place the wonton’s into the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with scallions and serve with a side of blue cheese or ranch dressing.
Bacon Jalapeno Guacamole
Total Time: 10 minutesIngredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoon of fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 lime


  • To start, peel the avocado and remove the core.
  • Mash the avocado into a paste until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Add in the onion, tomato, jalapeno, bacon, cilantro and mix well.
  • Add in the lime juice and salt to taste.
Spicy Sausage Bites
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 30 min
Total Time: 40 min

  • two packages merguez sausage or spicy lamb sausage
  • 10 ounces store-bought puff pastry, cut into 1-by-3-inch strips
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan. Next, add the sausages and sear on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove to a plate and let cool.
  • Cut the sausage into 1 1/2 inch pieces and roll each piece into a strip of puff pastry.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the wrapped sausages, seam side down, onto the sheet.
  • Brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the caraway seeds. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Cook the sausages in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.
  • While the rolls are baking, you can go ahead and prepare the dipping sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mint and salt.
Mini Meatballs
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 2 cups Italian flavored breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the pork, beef, breadcrumbs, milk, parsley, eggs, garlic, onion and some salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Shape the mixture into small balls and place on a lined shallow baking pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Stick a toothpick into the meatballs and serve immediately. You can serve with a side of marinara or sauce of your choice.
Zucchini Parmesan Chips
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 10 min
Total Time: 25 min

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced to 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten


  • In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
  • Dredge the zucchini rounds in flour, dip into eggs, then coat in the panko mixture.
  • Working in rounds, add a few zucchini wounds to the skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 1 minute on each side.
  • Transfer to a paper towel to drain the excess oil and serve immediately.
BBQ Chicken Bites
Prep: 30 min Cook: 30 minIngredients

  • 1 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 slices bacon, cut into thirds
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the BBQ sauce, pineapple juice and Sriracha.
  • Take the chicken breasts cut into the 1-inch cubes and wrap each piece individually into a piece of bacon. Dredge each chicken in the brown sugar and roll on each side until fully covered.
  • Use a toothpick, pre soaked in water, to secure the bacon around the chicken.
  • Place the chicken, seam side down, onto the baking sheet and place in the over to bake for 15 minutes, brushing barbecue sauce mixture during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.
  • Garnish with chives if desired.
Chorizo Nachos
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 15 min
Total Time: 40 min

  • 9 ounces raw pork chorizo, removed from casing
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onions
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 pound shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 11-ounce package tortilla chips
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives


  • In a large saute pan, cook the chorizo over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes until crisp.
  • In the same pan, cook the onions till translucent, for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain excess fat.
  • With a saucepan, add the wine and lemon juice and slowly bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low. Next, add the cornstarch and cheese and whisk until the cheese is fully melted.
  • Arrange the tortilla chips on a serving platter and drizzle the melted cheese mixture. Then, top the chips with the chorizo-onion mixture.
  • Garnish with cilantro and chives then serve immediately.
Merissa Principe is a teacher and a freelance travel blogger from NYC. Teaching early childhood education has provided Merissa an opportunity to travel all over the world and live in new places. Be sure to follow her at for all things travel, beauty, fashion and New York City.

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