And it looks like we might actually get an entertaining halftime show this year thanks to the double whammy of J. Lo and Shakira, so it’s imperative that we all have excellent snacks to match. And sure, for the game, too.
Last year, freelance writer and former Food editorial aide Kara Elder shared her tips for putting together a worthy party, which you should absolutely revisit before assembling the event:
- To cut down on expenses and work, make it a potluck! Assign specific dishes or food groups. For the friends who don’t cook, ask them to bring ice, drinks or a roll of paper towels.
- Make sure you have enough utensils and plates for everyone. If you don’t want to buy disposable, consider asking one or two friends (preferably friends who drive and/or live close by) to bring a set of silverware, plates and glasses to supplement your supply.
- You’ll feel better about life if you are as cleaned up as possible before everyone arrives; don’t keep a pile of just-used dishes in the sink to clean up later, when every surface of your kitchen is inevitably filled with more dirty dishes.
- Build your food spread around finger foods and small bites to cut down on utensil requirements.
- If you run out of bowls for your soups and chilies, use mugs.
- Think about where you’ll spread out your array of dishes — the kitchen counters? Your table? On a board balanced on two boxes and covered with a sheet to mimic a tablecloth? You’ve got options.
- People are going to bring beer, and you’re going to need room to keep it cold; if you don’t have room in your refrigerator, fill something else with ice and stick the beer in there. Coolers, mop buckets, Christmas tree stands, your washing machine, the snow in your backyard (depending on where you’ll be watching) and the bathtub are all viable options. Just be sure to put a few towels under any vessel that might gather condensation on your floor.
To this, I’d like to add two more: 1. Try to have at least something vegetarian at the table, and 2. Provide a nonalcoholic drink option.
And now, to the part we’ve all been waiting for: Let’s eat!
Soy and Hoisin-Marinated Korean Beef Ribs. If you’re more partial to beef ribs, these are an unfussy and tasty option.
Chicken Wings With Tomatoes (Mbawa Ya Tomati). These saucy wings are a smoky masterpiece. Plus, they use ingredients you probably already have on hand.
La Brea Tar Pit Chicken Wings. If you like your wings sticky and saucy, this five-ingredient fix will more than deliver.
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas. These enchiladas are easy to put together and deliciously saucy. You can also fill them with beans and mushrooms for a vegetarian swap.
ALL THE DIPS
Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip. We could drink Buffalo sauce out of the bottle, but we hear it’s more socially acceptable to eat it in dip form. Specifically, this extra zingy version with a few tweaks to the original recipe on the back of that trusty Frank’s RedHot bottle. Make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken.
Speedy Homemade Hummus. Before you buy a tub at the grocery store, remember: Hummus is dead simple. Throw seven ingredients into the food processor and let the machine do all the work. Done!
Armenian Blistered Eggplant Dip. Traditionally, this dip requires a grill to char the eggplant. Luckily, your broiler will do just fine in imparting the smoky qualities that make eggplant shine.
Warm Crab and Spinach Dip. Crab? You bet! Bubbling hot and cheesy, with lots of crab, bold seasoning and a delightfully creamy texture, this will be the party’s new favorite dip.
Dill and Mint Yogurt Dip. Here’s a cool, herb-filled antidote to spicy wings. Think sour cream and onion dip, but a little classier. Capers give it some extra oomph.
Sicilian Slab. Simple ingredients and an overnight rise make this thick pizza a real crowd-pleaser. Make the dough the night before, then pop this baby in the oven before your guests arrive.
Fast Focaccia. No knead, tons of flavor. Nobody will be mad if you put a little olive oil or sauce out for dipping.
Buttermilk and Scallion Jiffy Cornbread. For our Thanksgiving issue, we made just a few tweaks to a box of classic Jiffy cornbread. It’s an easy way to make a strong addition to your spread.
Greek-ish Potato Nachos. Get this: Thinly sliced potatoes become the chips in these nachos. It’ll blow your mind. It’ll blow your guests’ minds!
El Rey Nachos. It’s all about that sauce. Creamy, cheesy, just spicy enough. You can either make your own tortilla chips — which will ramp up that crunch factor and give you nice, sturdy nachos — or go the store-bought route.
No Mayo Ham Salad. The mayo haters among us will rejoice! Serve up this tasty ham salad with ridged potato chips to keep things tidy (ish).
Crispy Herbed Falafel. If you really want to go all out and impress, make these incredible falafel. It’s one dish that makes frying at home truly worth the effort.
Buckeye Bars. Do you like peanut butter cups? Then you’ll definitely love these buckeye bars. If you’re expecting guests with peanut allergies, you can also make these with cookie butter.
One-Bowl Chocolate Snack Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting. Talk about simple — all you need is one bowl to make this appropriately festive cake.
S’mores Torte. Your summertime memory is now a grown-up torte. Serve with ice cream to give everyone a jolt midway through the third quarter.
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