Shortcut Party Ideas for Game Day

The game will be on, and yes, there will be food. But you really don’t have to make all of it from scratch. It’s good to work a few store-bought items into your spread to make the day easier. Save the frozen pizza for family movie night and check out the following supermarket staples. Each is a cinch to dress up in unexpectedly tempting ways, saving you time and leaving your crowd full and happy. Maybe they’ll even save a fist pump for you.

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Frozen Phyllo Cups

Fill these handy shells with mac and cheese, pulled pork or black bean salsa, and forget the forks.

Crescent Rolls

For a fresh take on calzones, wrap up cold cuts like salami, prosciutto and mortadella plus provolone in these rolls (and toss in some spicy peppers if you're in the mood). Bake and serve with a side of Italian dressing or marinara for dipping.

Boxed Cornbread Mix

Add your stamp to this chili counterpart by folding savory ingredients into the batter. Try jalapenos and cheddar, bacon and blue cheese, or ham and scallions.

Get the Recipe: Sour Cream Cornbread

Rotisserie Chicken

For a play on wings, shred a rotisserie chicken, toss the meat with wing sauce and make Buffalo chicken quesadillas. Serve blue cheese dressing in place of salsa for dipping.

Frozen French Fries

Bake these spuds until extra crispy, then dress them up with your favorite toppings — think Tex-Mex (refried beans, jalapenos, salsa), Cajun (green pepper, andouille, cheddar) or pizza (marinara, mozzarella, basil).

Frozen Meatballs

Who doesn't love meatballs? Tuck them into miniature buns for sliders, fold them into pizza dough for calzones, add them to a hearty veggie soup or serve them with toothpicks and a couple of dipping sauces (the cheesier the better).

Frozen Potato Tots

Instead of fries, use these crunchy bites for a new twist on poutine.

Premade Pesto

Toss chicken wings in pesto for an Italian-inspired variation on the game-day standard.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Update deviled eggs by mashing store-bought condiments into the filling. Try guacamole, curry, wasabi paste, a creamy garlic cheese spread or harissa.

Store-Bought Cookies

Dip cookies in melted chocolate and decorate them with sprinkles in your team’s colors.