In case there’s any confusion, that exclamation point was meant to convey panic rather than enthusiasm. I do not like football. I do not like watching it, talking about it, or the strange effect that it has on my roommate, who practically lives for football season. Second to golf, watching football is my least favorite activity, and therefore, I am very much dreading the next six months. I am also seriously reconsidering the decision not to get a second tv in my apartment.
Obviously, there are aspects of football season that I have found tolerable over the years. For example, I supported home football games in college, as tailgates were a fun social activity and a nice venue to practice my keg stands. (Needless to say, I never actually went inside a single game.) I also like the Super Bowl because it usually involves a party, and sometimes Beyonce dances for a bit. On the whole, however, football makes my eyes bleed, and I’d be much happier without it in my life.
I think the main reason behind my distaste for football is that I don’t know how the sport works. Just as I was never taught how to use the subway, I failed to learn the ins-and-outs of the game during my formative years, and now I fear it’s too late. There seem to be a lot of rules, and I would rather spend my time learning important things, like how to fishtail braid my hair or do this kind of dance, than memorizing infinity positions and regulations. As a result, I’m probably doomed to a lifetime of watching colored dots run around onscreen and randomly tackle each other.
I think Logan hoped that I was going to suddenly understand football after watching all five seasons of Friday Night Lights (in a two week period) last spring. When he excitedly asked me what I had learned, I said, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!” Then I realized he was referring to football rules, and I had to tell him the truth…I had learned nothing. Logan seemed surprised by this, but I explained that I didn’t really like or pay attention to the football scenes. He was confused. “But the show is 75% football scenes!!! Why would you watch something that you’re not interested in?” All I can say is, sacrifices must be made for Tim Riggins.
Truth be told, I don’t see what all the fuss is about when it comes to football. In fact, watching football seems to make most people, including Logan, very angry. Whenever the Buffs are losing (which is almost always), Logan becomes incredibly surly, and he spends most of the game muttering and/or screaming profanities, his personal favorite being, “You’ve got to be fucking fisting me, dude!” Rude. Logan’s football fanaticism seems stressful, especially after the Eagles “shat the bed” last season. I already have enough anxiety without a random team of beefy dudes stressing me out.
Despite his teams’ poor performances last year, Logan is ecstatic for the upcoming months of game days. He has also decided that we will be hosting regular game day parties at our fancy new apartment. When I appeared hesitant, he promised, “You’ll love it! You will cook!” My immediate inclination was to retort, “YOU cook for your weird football parties!” but I held my tongue because, in reality, I probably will love it. Parties and cooking are two of my favorite things, regardless of whether or not there are sports involved, and you know I enjoy being complimented on my food and hospitality by large groups of men.
Obviously, ever since Logan mentioned these football soirees, I have been daydreaming about all of the amazing game day foods that I will be serving to adoring groups of dudes this fall. While various dips, chilis and nachos came to mind, I was most excited about sliders. I’m a big fan of sliders in general. They’re easy, good for crowds, and not to be a girl about it, but they’re really cute. And while I’m all for the average cheeseburger slider, I decided to get a little more creative, and that is how Spicy Pulled Chicken Sliders with Bacon-Queso Guacamole were born.
This awesome chicken and guac combo piled on a soft potato slider roll is a revelation, folks. First of all, Spicy Pulled Chicken truly holds a special place in my heart. The combination of a few simple ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your fridge (i.e. beer and ketchup), never fails to yield juicy, tender chicken that’s bursting with flavor. It’s slightly sweet and tangy with a solid kick from the chipotle peppers, and it can be ready in under an hour. Boom.
While it makes a dank slider filling, Spicy Pulled Chicken is an excellent staple to have in your recipe rotation. It only has about 10 minutes of hands-on prep time, and it’s more versatile than Ray Rice in his prime. (I don’t know if that analogy worked, since I just Googled “most versatile NFL players,” but it’s the thought that counts.) Use Spicy Pulled Chicken to make full-sized sandwiches, try it over salad, or add it to sweet potato hash for a fancy breakfast option. Pile it on tortillas with peppers and onions for simple fajitas, or use it as an addition to a Dude Diet Burrito Bowl. I also think this would be pretty bomb in a grilled cheese. Get creative.
Let’s move on to the Bacon-Queso Guacamole, shall we? I could spend hours describing the epic nature of this condiment in exquisite detail, but for the sake of brevity, I would just like to say that this guacamole is SO LEGIT. It is hands down the best guacamole I have ever had in my life, and I have eaten a disgusting amount of guacamole. Everyone and their mom knows that bacon and avocado are an unbeatable combination, and the crunch factor that crispy bacon brings to the table is straight-up addictive. Adding cheese to the to party seemed necessary, so I threw in a mild and slightly salty queso fresco, which really takes this guac to the next level.
Bacon-Queso Guacamole is the ideal topping for these sliders, as it’s cool creaminess perfectly balances the heat from the Spicy Pulled Chicken. However, like the chicken, this guacamole is equally impressive on its own. Add it to almost any sandwich or burger, smother it on a breakfast burrito, or go the traditional route and serve it with chips. You’re going to want to bring it to work, take it to parties, and eat it at every meal. This one’s a showstopper.
Make Spicy Pulled Chicken with some Bacon-Queso Guacamole, and get on board the slider train this football season, friends. If you are as disinterested in football as I am, you can at least amuse yourself by building slider towers in the corner while casually shotgunning beers. ROLL TIDE! (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds motivational.)
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo, finely chopped (If you’re not into spicy, only use 1 pepper)
½ cup ketchup
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons honey
18 ounces beer (I like to use good old-fashioned Coors Light, but feel free to use whatever kind you like except for IPAs, which can be very bitter when reduced.)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
36 slider buns (I love Martin’s Party Potato Rolls)
For the Bacon-Queso Guacamole:
1½ limes, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup red onion, minced
4 slices cooked thick-cut bacon, crumbled
½ cup crumbled queso fresco
3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
Fresh Ground Pepper
Preparing your Spicy Pulled Chicken Sliders with Bacon-Queso Guacamole:
-Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven (or whatever large saucepan you have with a lid, okay?) over medium heat. When hot, add the minced onions and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions become translucent.
-Add the chipotles, ketchup, lime juice, honey and beer and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the chicken breasts. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
-While your sauce is reducing, prepare your Bacon-Queso Guacamole. Slice your avocados in half and remove the pits. Score each avocado half with a knife and spoon the avocado out of its skin into a mixing bowl.
-When your sauce has reduced, mix in the shredded chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes until heated through.
- 3 avocados
- 1½ limes, juiced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup red onion, minced
- 4 slices cooked thick-cut bacon, crumbled
- ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
- Fresh ground pepper
- Slice the avocados in half and remove the pits. Score each avocado half with a knife and spoon the avocado out of its skin into a mixing bowl.
- Squeeze lime juice over the avocado and mash it with a fork.
- Mix in the minced garlic, red onion, bacon, queso fresco and cilantro and season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap until ready to use. (If you leave your guac hanging around uncovered, it will oxidize and turn brown. Party foul.)