If you are hosting friends and family on game day, try these nine easy tips to make preparing and serving food a snap. Keep the kitchen organized so you will have some time to root for your favorite team.
- Make it easy on yourself by choosing to serve make-ahead dishes. This will free you up to enjoy your time with your friends and the food!
- Try to find out any special dietary needs your guests might have. If you’re not sure, it’s always a good rule of thumb to plan one vegetarian option, make sure one dish is nut-free and even consider offering a sugar-free alternative to dessert.
- Serve foods at a variety of temperatures to free up oven space and keep things interesting. Planning to serve foods that are hot, room temperature and cold will make things easier on you, and will also add to the variety of your game-time spread.
- If you’re entertaining a large group of people, make a maximum of two hot foods, like chili or meatballs from the slow cooker, paired with a baked hors d’oeuvre or bread. Keep it simple, and incorporate classic room temperature party foods like popcorn, chips, cookies or cupcakes. Cold platters with shrimp, deli meats and cheese are always a hit. Just make sure you keep them on ice while they are out, in order to ensure freshness and your guests’ safety.
- Choose foods that are appropriate for the game time. If the game is going to be played straight through a meal, then offer dishes that are substantial. However, if you’re serving food in between meals or late in the evening, then snacks paired with a creative cocktail may be all that you need.
- Regardless of the timing of the game, make sure that the food you serve is easy to grab during time-outs or commercial breaks, and is easy to eat in front of the television. Kabobs, small sandwiches and wraps are all great options. Stock up on plastic cups or bowls for serving fruit, chips, pretzels and popcorn.
- Location, location, location. Set up snack stations in a few different areas to help spread out the food rush during each break in the game. Account for your guests’ cups, bowls or plates, and leave a little space on the buffet tables so there is enough room to set them down.
- Don’t forget to stock up on extra beverages before the big game. The last thing you want to do is run out of refreshments during the fourth quarter.
- Speaking of extras, plan on having leftovers. That way, you will have enough food for any uninvited or last-minute guests, and everyone will feel comfortable during the game. The best case scenario — you may end up sending a few friends home with a little food as a reminder of the fun they had.
Watch: How to make football cookies
If you need a tasty treat for a football party, follow these steps to make football-shaped cookies and score a touchdown at your party.