Are You Ready For Some Football: Hosting a Super Bowl Party


Sunday February 6th marks one of the most sacred days in football: The Super Bowl. Every year Ed and I host friends and family for a super bowl party. This is easily one of our most fun parties to host as all we worry about is food and drink, the entertainment of course is provided thanks to the NFL.

The key to a successful super bowl party is to make it as “guy-friendly” (read: no fuss) as possible.


Game-Time Must Haves:

  • Abundant seating. We bring out the folding chairs and floor cushions to make sure there is plenty of seating.
  • Extra napkins and paper towels. The underdog scores a touchdown and everyone goes wild, which propels a plate of food from someone’s lap onto the floor. With extra napkins on hand, we can clean up the mess without having to take our eyes off the game.
  • Paper plates and plastic cups. Normally I am a big proponent of using real dishes, but during the super bowl all rules are out the window. Use paper plates and plastic cups to minimize your time in the kitchen and maximize your time in front of the tv.
  • Football decor. While certainly not necessary, football decor can add a little extra fun to your day. Some of my favorite accessories are:

And if you are very hardcore:

  • Lots of Food. It definitely makes me hungry to watch the football players work so hard on the field. To curb everyone’s appetites we always make sure to have a plethora of snacks available. The two most sought after snacks every year are the pigs-in-a-blanket and 7 layer dip. If you are looking for some snacks that are sure to be a hit, I recommend trying these out.

7-Layer Dip
Ingredients:
1 head of lettuce shredded
1 can refried beans
sliced black olives (approx. 2.25 oz)
1 3/4 cup shredded cheese
1 1/2 cups guacamole
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning (any level of spiciness works)
Tostitos Scoops Tortilla Chips

Directions:
1. Mix the taco seasoning with the sour cream
2. Using any sort of pan (approx. 9x 13 with at least 2 inch high sides) layer the following ingredients in the following order (first listed on the bottom): refried beans, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream (mixed with taco seasoning), salsa, cheese and olives.
3. Serve with Chips

Pigs-in-a-Blanket:
Ingredients:
Pillsbury crescent rolls (each crescent roll dough piece cut in half)
hot dogs (each hot dog cut in two)
ketchup
mustard

Directions:
1. Roll a piece of hot dog in a crescent roll.
2. Place on cookie sheet and bake according to the crescent roll instructions.
3. Serve with ketchup and mustard.

Two super easy snacks that will keep your guests coming back for more. The last most important “must have” is drinks. We always have extra soda and water on hand along with beer. If you are feeling adventurous, a “touchdown-tini” would make a fun addition for the female fans. 

Want to learn the rules of the football to impress your friends this Sunday? Check out Sports Girl.

Images via.

January 31, 2011. Celebrations, Recipes, Themed Party. Leave a comment.

Recap: How to Host a Puppy Birthday Party

Miss Fang and Bandit preparing to "blow out the candles" on their birthday cake.

 This year’s puppy birthday party was held last weekend – and the party certainly lived up to its yearly standard (although possibly a bit tamer than years passed). There were costumes, decorations and dog-themed food galore. While the puppy-tini and pin the party hat on the puppy game were missing, there were plenty of other new aspects that everyone enjoyed.

After any party, I believe it is important to not only review the details, but also lay out what worked and what different. This allows others to gain creative ideas and learn what they can do to improve/modify the party for their own benefit.  

The Details

  • Costumes: Puppy-visors with kerchiefs

Modeling the Puppy-visors

  • Food: bone-shaped cheese spread (recipe below), chicken corn chowder, rolls and snacks galore
  • Dessert: bone-shaped petit fours and birthday cake

What Worked:

  • Having a sit-down dinner
  • Using dessert to dress up the tables

What Didn’t Work:

  • The costumes in theory were a great idea, but most of the guests found the ears “itchy” so they didn’t last long.

Recipe: Cheese Spread
From the kitchen of Suzan Pfeiffer

Ingredients:
12 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
12 oz. grated mild cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 small onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Assorted Crackers
Raspberry Jam (or your choice)

Directions:
Mix first 5 ingredients together by hand. Put on platter or in a bowl (or you can mold into any shape you want i.e. dog bone). Sprinkle with pecans. Place jam in a bowl on the side or spread on top of cheese before sprinkling with pecans. Serve with assorted crackers.

My family loves this spread – especially with some extra cayenne pepper. The best thing about it, is that you can plate it any way you like and it always look beautiful. Keep this recipe in mind when you start thinking of Super Bowl foods!

January 25, 2011. Celebrations, Recipes, Sit-Down Dinner Parties, Themed Party. 2 comments.

Reader Question – Hosting a Game Night

Q. I have a request – Could you tell me how to host a penny-pinching, yet gourmet party.  My husband and I are going to host a game night, and I want to make cheap, yet impressive appetizers for people to snack on.  Also, I think it’d be fun to have one fun cocktail (but otherwise BYOB)—or is that tacky these days?  We’re trying to make this fun but not the $500 extravaganza Thanksgiving was.

A. Hi –

What a great idea – a game night sounds like a lot of fun! 

In terms of food, the most important thing is to provide quick and easy snacks for your friends that they can grab and eat so as to not miss their turn during a game.  If possible when hosting a game night, don’t make anything that requires your guests to use utensils.

I like to use the 3 “S” rule: salty, savory and sweet. If you have 1-2 food items that cover each category, your guests are sure to find something they can munch on. Most importantly, no host wants to feel stressed out the day of an event so make sure you pick appetizers that can be made in advance. If needed, you can always use a mixture of homemade and store-bought snacks. Trust me, no one will be disappointed.

Here are some quick and easy finger-foods that fit in the 3 “S” categories, won’t break the bank, can be made in advance,  and most importantly look impressive (all recipes can be found below after the jump):

Salty
Toasted Almonds & Orange-Scented Green Olives
Parmesan Rounds with Tomatoes and Feta

Savory
Oven-Baked Rosemary Potato Chips
Hot Wasabi Popcorn

Sweet
Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps with Fruit Salsa and/or vanilla brown-sugar dipping sauce
Sweet Spiced Walnuts

Regarding drinks – specifically for a game night, it isn’t tacky at all to offer 1 type of alcohol and ask guests to bring their own – so long as you let them know the event is BYOB when invited.

As you aren’t looking to spend a lot of money, I would offer a signature mixed drink. Beer can add up quickly if each person drinks a few. And everyone has a different viewpoint on “decent” wine. A signature mixed drink allows you to provide a beverage to your guests and save money. 

 Depending on the theme of your game night, you could jazz up your drink with a name. i.e. casino-tini or aces punch.

A great signature drink option are the buckets of mixers that only require you to add a bottle of alcohol, stir, and freeze over night. The buckets can be found at your local Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco, or similar type of store.  They are tasty, easy to make, don’t cost a lot of money and best of all, each bucket makes enough drinks to be used for a group.

Garnish the drinks with some fresh fruit,  a salted/sugared rim or even a drink umbrella.

Hope you enjoy a wonderful game night. Please be sure to let me know how it turns out!

-Jennifer

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January 18, 2011. Holiday, Menu, Recipes, Recommendations, Themed Party. Leave a comment.

Planning a Housewarming Party: Layout and Flow

This weekend I helped a friend plan his upcoming housewarming party. One of our first steps was to complete a walk-through at his new place to discuss the layout and flow for the party. With upwards of 40 guests expected, creating a plan will keep guests comfortable and the party going all night long.

Helpful Hints When Throwing a Housewarming Party:

1. Thoughtful Seating: Seating for everyone is not necessary as this is a housewarming party where it is expected that guests will come and go throughout the course of the evening. But, do have some seating available. As a general rule, have seating for at least 1/3 of your expected guests. In this situation, as my friend is expecting 40 guests, he has seating for 14.

2. Remove or hide anything of value/importance:  There is a gorgeous white rug in the living room. With upwards of 40 people traipsing through the apartment in the middle of winter, the white rug may not stay white for very long. To avoid a possible “oops” the rug will be rolled up and stored away for the duration of the party. This hint should also be applied if you don’t know everyone who will be in attendance – don’t leave anything out that could be tempting to steal.

3. Food location:  People will always congregate in the kitchen during a party. In this instance, the kitchen is located right off the foyer. If everyone congregates in the kitchen then no one will be able to pass through to the rest of the apartment. It was decided to place the food in the dining room which is located off the living room. This layout will allow guests to mingle throughout the apartment and will keep a cluster from staying near the kitchen.

Stay tuned on Wednesday for information on creative housewarming gifts – along with my first reader giveaway!

January 17, 2011. Celebrations, Themed Party. 2 comments.

Cookie Decorating Party

A cookie decorating party is a great way to bring friends together to enjoy a group activity. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I have been thinking of activities that could be done as a group with my coupled and single friends.  A cookie decorating party is definitely on the list. In December, Ed and I hosted a Holiday Cookie Decorating party. Together with 5 friends we spent a relaxed Sunday evening getting creative.

I made the sugar cookies using Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie Recipe (recipe below). Please note that my recipe is from an older edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook and is not currently found on the company website.  Next, I cut the cookies using various christmas cookie cutters I purchased at Michaels. We used sprinkles, m&ms, and icing to decorate.

Helpful Tip: Popsicle sticks are great to use for icing cookies. And, they are inexpensive and disposable. Less work for you.

Some people got very creative with their cookie decorating skills:

All in all, it was a wonderful evening. One that I can’t wait to recreate for future holidays.

Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

1. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla
2. In a separate bowl, combine together flour, baking soda and salt
3. Gradually mix dry ingredients into butter/sugar mixture and stir until incorporated (can be done by hand, but I use a stand mixer)
4. Place in refrigerator until cold (approx. 1 hour)
5. Pre-heat oven to 400ºF
6. Roll out quarter of dough till approx. 1 1/2 inches thick (make sure your counter/work space is floured!)
7. Cut cookies using cookie cutters
8. Place on un-greased cookie sheet
9. Bake 6-8 minutes or until the edges turn brown
10. Cool completely on a wire rack
11. Enjoy

January 13, 2011. Celebrations, Dessert, Holiday, Recipes, Themed Party. 2 comments.

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