Game Day Gourmet Buffet by Dennis Dean

 Game Day Gourmet Party

Whether you’re anxiously counting down until kickoff or just in it for the halftime show, chances are you’re planning to watch the big game with family and friends. So why not make it memorable? Think outside the pizza box and serve a slightly more elevated fare that will score big points with your guests — foodies and football fans alike. We asked veteran Atlanta caterer, Dennis Dean, to prepare an unforgettable, if atypical, Super Bowl party menu. Steal one or two recipes or take the menu all the way for a touchdown.

Shrimp Dip with Tortilla Chips

Shrimp Dip with Tri-Colored Tortilla Chips or Flat Bread Crackers


  • 1 1/2 lbs deveined shrimp, cooked and deveined
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, more to taste if needed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  • Crispy flat bread or tri-colored tortilla chips for dipping — located at most fine grocery stores

Rinse shrimp in a strainer, then toss with fresh lemon juice and set aside. Mix cream cheese and sour cream in a mixing bowl. Add shrimp cut up into 1/4 inch pieces and fold in until well mixed. Add Worcestershire sauce, cover and let set over night.

Place shrimp dip in a decorative bowl (we hollowed out a bread loaf and used it as a bowl). Top with chopped chives. Place bowl on a platter and surround with flat breads or tortilla chips.

Almond Butter Horn recipe from Dennis Dean

Almond Butter Horns


  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 1/2 half pounds powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 pounds butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 1 cup slivered toasted almonds, add on top after frosting

Place cottage cheese, butter and salt in mixer. Fold in flour a little at a time until mixed thoroughly. Cover with a towel and refrigerate overnight.  On game day, preheat oven to 350°. Flour a non-stick surface and roll dough out to 1/8 inch. Cut into 3″ triangles and lightly roll into crescent rolls.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until tips are browned. Let cool for an hour, frost and add toasted almond slivers.

For the frosting, combine all ingredients in a mixer and mix until creamy. Add powdered sugar near the end. The texture should be like cake frosting.

Hamburger on Toast with Bacon recipe from Dennis Dean

Hamburger on Toast Topped with Candied Bacon Strips


Dennis likes baking smaller loaves of bread and slicing them about 1/2  inch thick, but you can use simple pre-sliced white bread if you don’t want to start from scratch

  • Sliced white bread – approximately 10 regular slices
  • 16 ounces ground sirloin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed and diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Splash of Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 pound candied bacon cut into 1×3 inch strips  (thick slab bacon mixed with brown sugar)

In a bowl hand mix beef, spices, onions, peppers and garlic until well combined. Set aside. Turn oven on broil. Place bread slices on a cookie sheet and spread a thin layer of brown mustard on each slice. Spread hamburger mixture evenly over each slice, about 1/4 thick. Place under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes. Lightly brush glaze over each slice, top with bacon and broil for another 5-10 minutes.

Roasted Chicken Sheperd's Pie recipe from Dennis Dean

Roasted Chicken Shepherd’s Pie


  • 8 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 cups béchamel sauce, available at your local market or can be made from scratch (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • 1 pound whole roasted chicken, pulled from the bone and shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup diced red or yellow pepper
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Simple Béchamel Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half and half, cold
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 cup chicken broth, cold
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Peel, chop and boil potatoes. Mash potatoes; add milk and roasted garlic and cream together. Set aside for later. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease baking dish with butter (you can use one large baking dish or individual dishes). Arrange shredded chicken in baking dish and add 1-2 cups béchamel sauce. Sprinkle spices and layer peppers, peas, and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Spread or pipe with a piping bag the mashed potatoes, treating as a crust to seal in all of the ingredients. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes or until golden brown on the edges of the potatoes.

For the béchamel sauce, heat butter over medium-low heat in a sauce pan until melted. Stir in flour, salt and white pepper. Add cold half and half and cold chicken broth all at once, stir well. Cook, stirring constantly, at medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and stir in seasonings to taste.

Chicken Liver Pâté with Brandy and Balsamic Onions recipe from Dennis Dean

Chicken Liver Pâté with Brandy and Balsamic Onions


  • 1 lb chicken livers
  • 1 white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Balsamic Onions

Balsamic glazed onions is a nice addition to the pâté. Once the pâté is spread on the toast, finish it with a few of the onions.

  • 2 sweet red onions, sliced in rounds
  • 1-2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil

Heat a large wrought iron skillet over medium heat and add olive oil, onions, garlic and fresh thyme. Cook until onions are softened, but not brown. Remove mixture from skillet and set aside. Turn the heat up and add chicken livers to the same pan. Cook until lightly colored but still pink in the middle — do not overcook or pâté will become grainy. Pour in the brandy, simmer for a minute and remove from heat. Add drained chicken livers, onion mixture and salt and pepper to food processor and pulse until mixture is smooth. Add the rest of the butter, chunks at a time, until well blended and salt and pepper to taste. Place pâté in a ceramic bowl or short glass jar with a large mouth. Cover and chill for an hour. Serve with crusted breads or crackers.

For the balsamic onions, heat a cast iron skillet over low heat. Add onions, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook slowly for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once onions are softened and turning a slight brown color, add honey and the vinaigrette. Set over low heat for another 5-10 minutes until sticky and deep purple in color.

Beer Cheese Dip recipe from Dennis Dean

Beer Cheese Dip


  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 8 ounce packages shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 6 ounce package shredded extra sharp white cheddar (you can substitute another cheese, such as blue cheese)
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of beer (Dennis prefers brown ale, but you can use any type of beer)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder salt
  • white pepper to taste
  • heavy cream to taste
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, sliced

Combine one bottle of beer and cubed cream cheese in a three-quart saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat, melting the cream cheese into the beer until the mixture is smooth and free of any lumps. Stir in the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, paprika, mustard, garlic and onion powders. Once the cream cheese has fully melted into the beer, begin adding the shredded cheese, about a 1/2 cup at a time. It is very important during this time that you stir continuously and resist the temptation to increase the temperature of the burner. If the cheese is melted over too high of heat, it will seize, leaving you with lumps of cheese in oil. If the cheese dip seems to be too thick, thin it out by stirring in heavy cream, about two tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with diced bacon. Serve with pretzel chips, crusty breads, crudités and fresh fruit.

*Please know that all recipes are based upon one’s individual flavor palate. Cook times and degrees of doneness may need to be adjusted depending upon oven, altitudes and culinary experience.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    February 4, 2013

    I’m going to have to try these next year. When I can get the Super Bowl on my roku.

  2. Reply


    February 4, 2013

    I made the HAMBURGER ON TOAST recipe yesterday for a Super Bowl Party. It was easy and YUMMY!!

  3. Reply


    February 4, 2013

    Thank you for the inspiration to throw a more grown up Super Bowl bash. Our guests went crazy for the candied bacon strips!