It's game time! That magical rowdy night where simple foods like chips, dips and beer reign supreme amid the soft glow of large flat screen TVs. This is the one party where men can take the lead. On this night (just this one) let's forget about healthy diets and splurge on the guilty foods we all enjoy.
The traditional game day party is probably the least pretentious and fussy party that you can host and that's a good thing. But there's no reason to endure the chaos of overcrowded couches with beer, open bags of chips and salsa spilling onto the floor. A little organization and planning can make your party delicious and entertaining for football fans and notso-football guests alike. Keep reading for 12 easy tips to make your Big Game get together the best party of the year.
In addition to these tips, we also have some great recipes - see them here.
1. Create enough room for everyone. You will need to bring in chairs from other rooms to accommodate all the game watchers. If some must sit on the floor, try to make guests comfortable by offering pillows or cushions to sit on and lean against. Set up a row of chairs behind the couch for a version of stadium seating. And remember, even beach chairs are more comfortable than sitting on the floor.
2. If possible set up more than one TV. Having multiple TVs going will keep wandering guests in the action. If Football Central is in the Family Room, set up a smaller TV in the kitchen or dining room to accommodate drink refills and second and third rounds of appetizers.
3. Set up a buffet in the kitchen or dining room. It's ultimately easier and far less cluttery to keep the food in one place allowing guests to fill plates at their leisure instead of a mosh pit of reaching and grabbing from the coffee table.
4. Know your team colors and decorate accordingly. Make a flower arrangement using your favorite team colors and incorporate those same shades into napkins, paper plates, cups, helium filled balloons and steamers. Go to the party store and score football inspired décor if you'd like but don't knock yourself out. Most eyes will be glued to the TV.
5. Game day food consists of simple to eat, tasty crowd favorites so set out easy snacks that don't require a fork. Man food like pulled pork, wings, nachos, pizza, dips and meatballs are tailgate favorites that will always score a touchdown.
6. Beer is usually the beverage of choice but you can add flair to your affair with a special cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage. Mix up a batch a day ahead and keep it in a pitcher in the refrigerator. Bring it out at game time with a notecard for guests informing them what's in it and if they need to top it off with a splash of soda water, ginger beer, or wine.
7. Speaking of beer, haul a cooler in from the garage and fill it with beer and ice. Keep it close to the action along with a garbage can for the empties.
8. Prepare recipes that can be made in advance and don't need special treatment. Utilize crock pots for hot things and try to stay away from foods that must be baked and served hot from the oven. You don't want to be a kitchen slave on this day. (See recipes below)
9. If possible set aside a quiet room for guests who aren't that interested in the game and would like to talk and visit.
10. Have plenty of ice, paper towels, napkins and paper plates on hand.
11. Use poker chips for friendly betting wagers that may come up during the game.
12. For some, the commercials are as good as the game. Hand out "rating cards" (1 through 5) to all the guests, and ask them score each commercial as it airs. Then add up the points so you can announce the winning commercial when the game is over. Get the list ahead of time from www.superbowl-commercials.org.
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sinkful of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at ravenouskitchen.com where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.