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Are you Ready for Some Football…Party Food? Tips and advice for planning a last minute Super Bowl Party

So here we are, just days away from some Super Bowl Sunday, and you might still be on the fence about whether or not to throw a party. Are you too late?

No! There’s still time to call up your friends and put together a stress-free game plan that is sure to include fabulous food, fun, and better yet, easy clean up.

Even if you are a reluctant entertainer, the casual nature of a Super Bowl party is the  ideal setting for testing out your hosting skills.

Here’s how to do it:

Define your viewing space :TV is the major focal point of your party, so the first thing you need to do is determine how many people you can seat comfortably in the room where the game will be watched. You may need to do a little furniture re-arranging to accommodate everyone. Be realistic. Too crowded=no fun.

Plan your menu: A great Super Bowl party is all about TV and food. Did you know that Super Bowl Sunday is #2 on the list (after Thanksgiving) for highest fat/calories consumed in 1 day? It’s true! But as long as you don’t make it “Super Bowl week”, one day of gluttony is not going to do you in.

What I’m getting at is plan a menu that is full of traditional Super Bowl favorites. Just like we expect traditional foods, like turkey and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, your guests will want all the cheesy dips and chips and ice cold beer they can get their hands on for Super Bowl Sunday.

As host, decide what you will make as an entree, which will anchor all of the other elements of the party.

The crock-pot is king : Next to new TV sales for the big game, has to be crock-pots; and for good reason. You can fill them with easy , make-ahead entrees like  chili (a Super Bowl favorite), soups, or barbecue, which may be made in advance and  kept warm, ready for guests to help themselves when they are ready.

Make drinks accessible Your guests will work up a big thirst after eating all of those salty snacks, so be sure to have plenty of ice cold beer and other non-alcoholic drinks available for quick refills. I like to take the “pick your favorite approach” by filling a giant tub with ice and a variety of beverages for their choosing. It looks festive, and saves your guests from repeated trips to the fridge.

Enlist your invited guests Once you have your entree figured out,  let your friends help you with the rest of the party menu. To avoid having everyone bring the same thing, when they ask “What can I bring” tell them! How about a hot dip/chips? How about some chicken wings? How about cupcakes? This party is the ultimate pot-luck, so take full advantage!

Set up/Timing: Plan to have your friends arrive an hour before the game begins. This allows your guests the chance to enjoy some appetizers, and a bit of visiting time before kick-off, when some people may want to focus on the game.  Along these lines, I think it makes sense to have one room designated as the TV viewing room , and another room set up with a buffet style service, where guests may help themselves to the party food when they are ready. This also creates an area for people who may not be that interested in the game (me) to continue socializing without disturbing the die-hard football fans who are trying to watch the game on TV.

Don’t forget about recyclables. All of those empty bottles need to go somewhere, and cluttering up your kitchen counter is not the place. Have recycling containers or baskets out where your guests can see them to catch the empties. This makes clean up a whole lot easier too!

Speaking of clean up, one of the things a party host may dread is having to wash dishes and take care of the aftermath following an evening of fun.

Well, if you take my advice and have your friends help out with the party food, they will take any leftovers home with them on you guessed it, their platter. That is what I call easy clean up.

Miscellaneous tips:

*If you are in a rush, add chopped fresh cilantro and a clove of minced garlic to a jar of store-bought salsa to liven up the flavors.

*Avoid juggling trays of things that need to go into and out of the oven. If you need to bake an appetizer, plan to remove it just as guests arrive. Let that be the last thing you need to attend to when the party starts, so you too, can enjoy yourself.

*If you tackle the entire party yourself, focus on a few key things that you make, and consider purchasing some things (like dessert) to complete your menu.

If you are looking for some recipe inspiration, I have a few things I like to serve right here, along with a few links to other awesome food bloggers out there who have included some of their Super Bowl favorites.

You can also catch me tomorrow, where I will be a guest on the radio show What’s Cookin’, at 8:00am Pacific, where the topic of conversation is Super Bowl Party Menus/Food.

So whether you are rooting for the Steelers, the Packers, or the Black Eyed Peas, I hope you have a fantastic time on Super Bowl Sunday with your friends!

Toasted Cashews with Rosemary and Shallots

I like to have little bowls like this around for nibbling during the game

Asian Beef Rib Sliders

Make the filling a day ahead and keep warm in a chafing dish or crock-pot

Mediterranean Chicken Bites with Romanesco Sauce

Grill them ahead of time and serve at room temperature


Cioppino

Make the broth a day ahead and simply add the seafood right before serving

Links to some awesome ideas!

Chicken Wings: Look no further! What’s Cookin’ Italian Style has showcased over 20 different styles of chicken wings sure to satisfy your craving.

Home made Beer Bratwurst: Kitchen Confidante shows you step-by-step how to make your own. (You may not have time to make it this year, but bookmark for next time!)

Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip: Everything you love about wings in a party dip, provided by The Bitten Word

Hot Reuben Dip Brown Eyed Baker (a Steelers fan) knows her dip

Superbowl Cupcakes: Jeanne Benedict shares cute ideas that satisfy your sweet tooth

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