At about the same time every year, it seems that most Americans gather together to watch the Super Bowl Game. Even non sports fans such as myself get a bit caught up in the action. Although I must admit that most of the appeal to these gatherings is, of course, the food. And if you’re hosting, the big question is what to make and when to serve it? With big game entertaining, timing matters. You want to keep those guests well fed and happy, even if their team is losing big. The key is knowing what to serve at a Super Bowl Party. And just as importantly, WHEN to serve it.

So what if I told you that you can pull off such a gathering while still having the time to enjoy the game yourself? Let me tell you, it’s all about serving a menu that can be all made ahead of time, with minimal clean up afterward.

SERVE ON A SCHEDULE

You’ll want to keep your guests comfortable, entertained and well fed during the duration of the game. Keep the menu to the basics. Now is not the time to try out that fancy new Roasted Beets with Walnuts Dip.

Be sure to schedule what you serve by how the game itself is broken down. The first half, half time, and second half. Let’s start there.


THE FIRST HALF

Assorted Chips & Dip

Every casual party must include this staple. You can do what most of us do and get yourself a nice family size bag of Doritos or Ruffles Potato Chips and a store bought, pre-made dip. You can take it up a notch and make a dip from scratch. Or, take it up 10 more notches and make your own chips like you see here. Since they are one of the first items to be rolled out for serving, they’ll be fresh and hot.

CHECK THIS OUT: Here’s the QUEEN MOTHER of all snack ideas that is sure to win over a large crowd . Order up one of these Hangry Kit Sweet & Salty Snack Sampler and your guests will have a great time picking out they’re most loved crunchy snack, and you won’t have any bowls to wash later! Win Win!

Mixed or Spiced Nuts

Since I believe a cold beer makes one of the most perfect beverages for any game day, you cannot go wrong by serving its perfect pairing: NUTS! What kind you serve is a personal choice of course. If you want basic and simple, just get a large can of Planters Salted Peanuts and be done. Or you can of course take it up a notch and buy or make some tasty Spiced Nuts. They can be of the sweet variety like these from Taste of Home, or something bold and spicy like this recipe for Hot & Spicy Pecans from All Recipes. Super addicting stuff!

Wings

Can you imagine a Super Bowl party where chicken wings aren’t on the menu? Me neither! The simplest route is to buy a bag of flavored frozen wings. My best tip is to line your pan with foil, then a sheet of parchment paper over it. The wings won’t stick to the pan or the foil. And of course, you won’t have a pan to wash later, either.

Not happy with frozen wings? If were want to serve up some homemade wings, here is a fabulous recipe from Pioneer Woman and Buffalo Wings  from All Recipes that are sure to be crowd pleasers. And don’t forget the blue cheese or ranch dipping sauces.

Meatballs

Crock Pot Glazed Party Meatballs

Ah the meatball. Another easy to eat, super versatile staple for entertaining crowds. The varieties of meat (or no meat) combinations, along with endless variations of sauces make these a standout. Go for frozen for the most convenience. Going the homemade route? These are great to make ahead as well because of how well they freeze. Try this recipe from Country Cook  and keep them in the crockpot once you bake them up and you can’t get much more simple than that.


HALF TIME

Half time is for the main event. Here is where you’ll want to serve something more substantial. But as the host, you don’t want to miss the show (or the commercials) fussing over getting a hot meal out to everyone. The solution to that is to serve make ahead, simple fare that everyone will love. Like these….

Chili

What can one say about this one? You’re sure to see some variation of this one at every game party, and with good reason. The varieties are countless. You don’t eat red meat? Check out my super easy Turkey & Chorizo Chili here. Another great version is Rachel Ray’s Chicken & Chorizo chili. Don’t like beans? No problem! Go for a Texas style chili like this one. Have fun with it!

CHECK THIS OUT: Save yourself from washing bowls after the party.  Buy small bags of Fritos and you can turn your chili into walking tacos!

Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

Poppyseed Ham & Cheese Sliders Recipe

Here’s another make ahead meal that is as easy as popping it into the oven, and let your guests grab however many they’d like, right from the pan! I’ve made these many times and they’re always a hit. I followed this recipe from Just a Pinch with great results. Be sure to line your pan for quick clean up, too.

Taco Bar

If your crowd is big enough, you’re going to have a lot of guests with different tastes. Enter the handy Taco Bar. Just make your meat (ground beef or shredded chicken) ahead of time. Keep it in a crockpot and your guests can choose whatever they’d like from the selection of fixings you pulled straight from your refrigerator. Those can include salsa, black olives, sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole. You get the picture. Just make sure to offer both hard and soft tortillas. Some folks (like me!) can be very particular about the vehicle that holds all that deliciousness!


THE SECOND HALF

Lighter Fare

So now we’re things really get revved up and into the most intense final quarters of the game. By now your guests are well fed, and have their eyes on the game even more intently. Here is where I choose to put away some things from the first half (assuming there is anything left!) and roll out some lighter offerings. Things like tortilla chips and a fresh pico de gallo are most appreciated. Hummus with veggies for dipping is a good choice as well. Another fresh tasting app I’ve served are these caprese bites from Terri’s Table.. Quick nibbles like these help keep the party going to it’s victorious (or bitter) end.

Once the game is over, it’s time for either a celebration or the pains of crushing defeat, but certainly lively conversation as we Monday morning quarterbacks review the game! One option for this time is to serve something sweet, but that’s entirely optional. Nothing heavy, though. Put on a pot of coffee as well and slowly bring the festivities to a close

These are of course just a few examples of what to serve at a Super Bowl party that works well for hungry crowds. Follow these tips and you’ll have a smooth running food service, happy guests and precious little clean up afterward! And if you have some Super Bowl party favorites that work well for you, feel free to share!

 

 

 

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