Over the past two weeks, sports news networks and talk shows, mainstream press, social media and almost anyone in the United States with barely a passing interest in football has been talking about balls. As a New England Patriots fan (with both sides of my family entrenched up in the wicked cold of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine), it’s been tough having to hear the “guilty until proven innocent” witch hunt and cheater comments—no hate messages, please. But I have also heard more than I really want to know about Tom Brady’s balls, how he likes them to feel, or what Belichick had to say about learning the process of monitoring balls before games. Sigh…. Deflate-gate has been such a distraction (“Because it’s all about ‘dem balls, ’bout ‘dem balls…Get focused….”).

With that being said, let’s get pumped for Super Bowl XLIX: the Seahawks vs. the Patriots this coming Sunday. Woohoo! After being sidelined with bronchitis for almost three weeks and feeling totally drained, we are staying home to watch the game. But we will still make plenty of football-watching food. So I figured I could be rather satirical and do a list of game-day snacks that are balls. That’s right, balls. Hot ones, chilled ones, savory ones, sweet ones. (No Schwetty ones, though—the classic NPR/SNL skit never gets old, does it?)

For the most part, I tried to track down uncomplicated recipes. Some have only 3 or 4 ingredients! All have good reviews. I am going to make at least a few myself.

Savory and Meaty Balls

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls (only 4 ingredients!)

Blue Cheese-Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatballs (savory cheese center offsets the hot sauce)

Baked Clam Balls (for New England fans…bite-sized munchies)

Cheese Balls (baked…cut…cheese sticks!)

Macaroni and Cheese Baked Balls (gooey, made using store-bought box of mac & cheese)

Sweet and Spicy Bacon-wrapped Meatballs (bacon…need I say more?)

Soft Pretzel Bites (pizza dough pretzels rolled into balls….easy)

Whiskey Meatballs (yes…whiskey)

Sweet and Spicy Meatballs (so easy in the crock pot. Chili sauce brings the heat, New England tang of cranberry sauce)

Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Ball (for Seattle fans…firm bagel chips would be great with this)

Flat Ball Shapes

Buffalo Chicken Bites (look like deflated balls….)

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps (bet these are addictive)

Sausage Cream Cheese Crescent Pinwheels (…only 3 ingredients!)

Sweet Balls

No-Bake Coffee Balls (for Seattle fans…rich coffee flavor using espresso as well as instant coffee flakes. I’ll bet a few tablespoons of whiskey added would really pump up the flavor)

Salted Caramel Whoopie Pies (so New England…a Maine original. Add more filling to make these really round)

Melt in Your Mouth Shortbread (once baked, add white royal frosting to look like football stitching)

Spiced Rum Balls (not just for the holiday season)

Nutella Booze Balls (Booze balls…funny)

No-Bake Energy Bites (early day snacks as you listen to the sports wonks’ chatter—with oats, coconut and chocolate chips)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Football Dip (imagine shortbread dipped into this….)

Post-Super Bowl Food Update

We made the Whiskey Meatballs: They were incredible! None were left over. Using about 2 pounds of ground beef, we rolled several meatballs and baked them. For the sauce, we actually poured almost half a cup of Jameson into the crock pot (a nod to my New England, Irish roots), then added the cooked meatballs. Will definitely make again….in a bigger quantity.

My husband did his own twist on the pinwheel recipe. He may be a Giants fan, but he made a version to make me happy. He used corned beef and Irish cheddar inside pre-made pizza dough, then rolled up into a loaf. Wow….so good. He brushed melted butter on top about midway through baking, and it was served with a coarse ground mustard. I want to make this again for a St. Patty’s party.