Much like a quarterback leading a team to victory, being a host of a successful Game Day party will come down to preparation and teamwork. Now that we know Seattle and Denver will be playing in the Big Game, it’s time to start planning for your football viewing party. With the right preparation, you’ll easily be the MVP (most valuable party) host and – most importantly – you’ll be able to relax and enjoy game time with your guests.
Game Time Strategy
First, you’ll need a game plan for your party. You don’t want to worry about breaking glasses, doing dishes or being stuck in the kitchen when it’s time for the kickoff. Keep your party supplies basic, including:
- a tablecloth (or astro turf) that will serve as the gridiron for your #GameTimeGoodies
- disposable paper cups that can double as snack holders
- napkins (or paper towels) for any fumbles your guests may make
- paper plates and/or bowls for larger food items
Your menu also needs a game plan. You want food that will please the crowd, but easy for you to prepare and serve. And you don’t want to spend a fortune. Here are some considerations as you map out your football food strategy:
- if kids will be attending, smaller portions will reduce waste
- a crock pot will be your guard on the gridiron, letting you prepare food in advance and keeping it warm until the game ends
- create a beverage station (or a beverage stadium!) with ice, cups and supplies so guests can serve themselves
- pre-pour some snacks into small cups to make it easy for guests to start nibbling in the stands
- decide if you want to serve the entree or main foods at kickoff or the half-time show [I recommend serving snacks immediately when guests arrive, and your entree(s) at kickoff. Then at the start of half-time, it’s easy to break out dessert.]
I found all of my Game Day party food supplies at my local Walmart, including:
- DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizza (Supreme, 4 Cheese, 3 Meat, and Pepperoni) — on Rollback for $4.50
- Stouffers Party Size Lasagna with Meat & Sauce
- Hot Pockets Pepperoni Pizza with Garlic Buttery Seasoned Crust (12-value pack)
- Hot Pockets Ham & Cheese with Croissant Crust (12-value pack)
- Edy’s Limited Edition Touchdown Sundae Ice Cream
- Nestle Crunch Dipped DRUMSTICK Cones (my DRUMSTICK kryptonite is the vanilla filled with caramel!)
Cooking for your guests is fun. But not if you’re stuck in the kitchen during the Big Game. So I suggest making a hot dip that can work with many snacks, like potato chips, pretzel rods or sticks, tortilla chips or even veggie sticks. I found a (new to me) flavor of Hot Pockets with a pretzel crust at Walmart that I was dying to try. I cooked them per instructions on the box. Then I cut them into 8 dipping strips to use with my hot queso blanco dip. Together they were a football fiesta of flavor in my mouth.
Here’s how to make the queso blanco dip. You’ll need:
- 16 ounces queso blanco (white American cheese), cubed
- 4 ounces salsa (choose your favorite spice level)
- 4 ounces beer
Combine the ingredients in a small crock pot on low heat. Cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
To keep dishes to a minimum, I recommend using disposable paper cups to ladle the queso blanco dip into. Then let guests take their favorite dippers and put inside the cup. It makes for a very portable and mess-less snack.
Fun should be the underlying theme for any party. But with a large crowd, you want to keep food prep to a minimum. An easy “upgrade” that can be a conversation piece is making a pepperoni football on top of your DiGiorno pizza before popping it in the oven. You can see from the images below that I took a 4-cheese pizza and layered 20 pepperoni in the center and topped it with thin strands of mozzarella string cheese. Then bake according to package directions.
And about 20 minutes later you have hot, bubbling and deliciously gooey pizza for the entire team!
Hot Pockets make a popular and easy entree alternative. I found some printable hot food holders on the Internet that I printed out and taped together. It acts like a safety for the Hot Pocket by deflecting any fumbles.
I suggest keeping dessert simple. At the start of half time, break out the Nestle Crunch Dipped DRUMSTICK Cones and Edy’s Touchdown Sundae Ice Cream. It’ll only take 5 minutes to set up, which means you’ll be back on the sofa before the start of the half-time show. Yeah!
Put the DRUMSTICKs, tops down, on top of some ice in a medium-sized bowl. That will keep them cold until your guests grab them. But we both know they’ll be long gone by the time the ice has even begun to melt!
And setting up an Edy’s ice cream station is simple, too. Scoop the ice cream into small bowls, ramekins or coffee cups. Let your guests top with hot fudge or sprinkles, as they wish. They grab a spoon and go! You could even use the disposable paper cups to reduce the dishes to wash after the game.
How Do You Avoid The Quarterback Scramble?
A great party takes teamwork. Share your favorite Game Day party planning tips, favorite #GameTimeGoodies or which team you’ll be rooting for during the Big Game below.