Whether or not your favorite team makes it to “The Big Game,” it’s the perfect excuse to have friends and family over for some shareable eats, entertaining commercials and friendly competition. Since your party may include a wide range of ages, it’s important to create a menu that appeals to everyone. “Build-your-own” meals are ideal when you’ve got an array of taste buds to please and you want to minimize time in the kitchen. Guests can pick and choose what to eat while you sit back and enjoy the game. Here are some ideas. I hope that one of them will be just right for your occasion:
Hot dogs – the quintessential football food.
A build-your-own hot dog bar is a great way to please everyone’s palate and have an in-home tailgate party. Be sure to have the basics on hand for kids: ketchup, mustard and pickles. Then choose a couple of the following recipes and include the fixings for the adults – and even daring kids. The Mac ‘n Cheese Hot Dog, Cuban Hot Dog, and the Asian BBQ Hot Dog are all delicious options.
Burgers– a crowd favorite, regardless of the occasion.
Just like hot dogs, burgers are a great vehicle for a variety of toppings. Start with a variety of buns – classic, whole wheat, sesame, or pretzel. Include condiments – lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and, of course, American cheese for starters. Then get creative! Include toppings that will give the burgers an unexpected twist – pesto mayo, guacamole, pico de gallo, additional cheeses (Swiss, mozzarella, and pepper jack), roasted red peppers, bacon or crispy onion strings. Two great examples of flavor-packed burgers are Bacon Onion Cheeseburgers and Grilled Chipotle Burgers with Pico de Gallo.
French Fries – classic and versatile.
Start with our recipe for Garlic Roasted Potato Wedges. Set out toppings to create Chili Cheese Fries – chili, shredded cheese, sour cream and chives; Loaded Baked Potato Fries – crispy bacon, cheese, and sour cream; or Buffalo Chicken Fries – buffalo wing sauce, crumbled blue cheese, cooked and cubed chicken and bleu cheese dressing.
Ice Cream – everyone loves something sweet.
Choose two or three ice cream flavors and classic toppings like whipped cream, chocolate and caramel sauce, peanuts, sprinkles and maraschino cherries. Caramel corn, chocolate hazelnut spread, bananas, chocolate covered espresso beans, fresh berries and graham cracker crumbs are all great options for alternative toppings for the adults (and adventurous kids) at the party.
It’s important to keep food safety in mind– keep hot items hot and cold items cold. Use slow cookers or roasters to hold hot food and keep food like condiments, coleslaw, and sour cream cold by serving them on ice.
Variety is the spice of life and the key to pleasing both kids and adults at your next big game party!