Top Food Ideas for The Big Game

The big game has pretty much grown into its own national holiday. Years ago, you might have just gathered around with the family and a few friends to watch the two best teams square off. However, the big game has become an event similar to Thanksgiving and Christmas. It no longer centers on just a championship game, but this day-long spectacle has become a day for large parties with tons of food.

Everyone is determined to put out a spread that is going to keep guests pleased before, during and after kickoff. There are different ways to make your menu standout from just typical game day gathering. Whether you’re cooking entrees from scratch in the oven or heating up instant foods in your countertop microwave, here are some great food ideas that are sure to match the thrill of the game.

Best Big Game Appetizers

The touchdowns and defensive stops aren’t the only reason to get glued to the TV. The pre-game shows, halftime entertainment and even commercials are sure to keep people floating near the television during your big game party. You might want to consider serving different finger foods so everyone can sit on the couch and enjoy the action.

  • Chips and Dip – The reliable duo of chips and dip are always a great way to get your party started. Potato or tortilla chips go along with any store bought dips, but you might be feeling a bit more ambitious. Consider serving them with a homemade guacamole, dill or spinach artichoke dip that will have your guests talking. No matter which you choose, remember to keep your chip and dip set near the television so your guests can keep their eyes on the game.
  • Chicken Wings – They’re the ideal finger food. Grilled or fried, a tasty batch of chicken wings is almost certain to win over the guests at your big game party. The standard glazes, like barbecue, honey barbecue and hot sauce are always solid choices. However, think about doing something that stands out, especially if you’re making them. For instance, use various chilies and a splash of lime to create a Southwestern flavor or be ambitious with Chinese style wings made with sweet and sour sauces.
  • Sliders – Eating large, mouthwatering cheeseburgers while sitting on a coach or recliner as you watch the game can be messy. Sliders give you the best of both worlds because they are small but still have that big burger taste. If you’re looking to switch things up, think about substituting chicken, turkey or pulled pork for ground beef.
  • Cocktail Meatballs – Meatballs don’t always have to be part of a larger entrée. Whether they are a traditional Italian recipe or have a sweeter, Swedish flavor, these are a constant hit with guests. Roll your ground beef or turkey into one-inch balls and keep them in a slow cooker filled with a homemade sauce. That way your meatballs will stay warm from kick-off until a new champion is crowned.

Healthy Big Game Snacks

Your New Year’s resolution was to cut back on fatty, high calorie foods, but a party can ruin those plans very quickly. Luckily, you can always call an audible on your big game menu. Consider healthier snacks or vegetarian alternatives so you and your guests can stick to their goals.

  • Crudités – A vegetable crudité tray is always a dependable and healthy option. Create a fresh assortment of veggies like carrots, broccoli and celery. Serve them on a tray with low fat ranch or blue cheese dressing so you and your company can enjoy a delicious yet healthy treat.
  • Hummus and Pita Chips – Like a good quarterback and receiver, roasted pita chips and hummus dip are always a winning combination. Hummus not only tastes great, but it is also made from chickpeas, which are a great source of fiber and protein. Pair homemade or brand name hummus with low calorie pita chips that will score lots of nutritional points.

Entrees for a Big Game Party

While they are great to munch on, chips and finger foods don’t always keep everyone filled. Consider making a quick dinner to give your big game party the perfect exclamation point.

  • Chili –It’s often described as a “hearty meal” and easily fills your guests with just one bowl. A big game chili is simple to make from scratch and can be altered to fit your taste buds. Add jalapeños and extra spices for a zestier kick, or use sour cream and cheese for more flavors. If you want an even heartier chili, consider serving it on top of white rice.
  • Pizza – If you can make a comparison to football, pizza is most likely considered a reigning champion. You can always order in or heat up a frozen one, but think about impressing your guests with by making a fresh pizza. Create a perfect crispy crust by preheating a pizza stone in oven before placing the dough on it. From flatbread to deep dish, you can never go wrong with pizza.
  • Ribs –While they might require longer preparation, ribs are an easy dinner for everyone to eat while they watch the game. If you’re worried about the barbecue sauce staining your couch or other furniture, go with a dry rub of different spices to create a unique flavor. Whether you grill them or bake them in the oven, ribs and football are always a solid one-two punch.

Not all of these food options need to be exclusive. You can blend your game day menu with various appetizers, entrees and healthy alternatives to please every guest. Whether you’re a casual football fan or an absolute diehard, big game parties are always enjoyable for everyone. Make sure the food you set out adds to the fun atmosphere.

By: Matt Gentile

 

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  1. A lot of great food ideas on this list! The party I'm going to this weekend is also making maid-rites! Quick and easy!

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