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 sink-full of dishes.
It’s football season! That magical time where simple foods like chips, dips and beer reign supreme amid the soft glow of the TV. A little organization and planning can make your party delicious and entertaining for football fans and non-football guests alike. My easy tips will make your shindig the best party of the year.
1. Create enough room for everyone. Accommodate all game watchers. Try to make your guests comfortable by offering extra pillows or cushions to sit on and lean against or set up a row of chairs behind the couch for a version of stadium seating.
2. Set up a buffet in the kitchen or dining room. It’s ultimately easier and creates less clutter when you keep the food in one place allowing guests to fill plates at their leisure.
3. 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.
4. Gameday food consists of simple to eat, tasty crowd favorites. Set out easy snacks and small bites that don’t require a fork like pulled pork, wings, nachos, pizza, dips and meatballs.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
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.