(BPT) – When football season rolls around, even non-sports fans get excited about game-day festivities. Between the foods, beverages, entertainment and organization, a lot goes into creating the perfect game-day party. But that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. After all, you’re watching the game from the comfort of your own home.
When planning the ultimate game-day extravaganza, it’s important to take a little time to plan. Start planning at least five days in advance to give yourself enough time to invite guests, shop, cook and clean.
Here are some other ideas to take your game-day party to the next level:
Make it a potluck. Save yourself some time and effort by asking your friends and family to bring one of their favorite dishes to share with the group. From appetizers and entrees to salads and desserts, this idea ensures you’ll have plenty of food to go around. Not only will this require less cooking and preparation from you, but you’ll also have the pleasure of sampling a few new recipes. Take note of your favorites to make for the next party.
Engage the non-sports fans. Not everyone who comes to your game-day party will be a major sports buff. In fact, some will be there just to enjoy your company and socialize. Give this group a place of their own to hang out and enjoy themselves.
Use slow cookers. A slow cooker is your best friend in the preparation for any party. With a few of these seemingly magical appliances, you can make meatballs, chili and cheesy dips with very little effort. These make great appetizers alongside a bowl of tortilla chips and Green Mountain Gringo Salsa. Plus, they’ll stay warm for hours, so guests can graze and enjoy as the game goes on.
Create a kids’ zone. If it’s a kid-friendly party, you’ll need the right foods and activities to keep them busy. Go for finger foods like mini sandwiches, fruit skewers and chicken nuggets. If the kids aren’t interested in the game, keep them occupied with a few games or activities. Come up with some simple challenges and contests and then award the winners with a sports-themed prize.
Keep the menu simple. Menu items that can be made ahead of time are your best bet. Dips and spreads keep well in the refrigerator, and barbecue meats are perfect for quick, delicious sandwiches. And don’t forget about the classic game-day favorite: wings. All you need is a good wing sauce, like Texas Pete Original Wing Sauce, chicken wings and small amount of butter.
Enjoy cool drinks. One of the easiest ways to keep drinks cool during a party is to place multiple coolers or ice-filled containers throughout your home. This invites a tailgating vibe and frees up valuable space in your refrigerator and freezer.
Easy clean up. Free yourself of some cleaning duties when you use paper plates and plastic utensils. When you’re exhausted after a day of watching your favorite teams, all you’ll have to do is toss everything away.
Texas Pete Wings
* 3 Tbsp. Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce, Buffalo Wing Sauce or both.
* 2 ½ lbs. (Approximately 12-15) White Chicken Wings or (24-30) Split Wing Piece
* 2 Tbsp. Butter or Margarine
* Cut whole wings at joints and discard wing tips.
* Place the 24 to 30 pieces on absorbent paper to dry.
* If you choose to fry them, fry at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes or until crispy.
* If you choose to oven bake them, spread the wings in a single layer on a sheet pan. Bake them at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes, or until done.
* Melt 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine in a saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of Texas Pete Hot Sauce, Wing Sauce, or mix them together.
* To coat, place cooked wings and blended sauce in a large covered bowl and shake gently.
* To serve, use tongs or a slotted spoon to place wings on a plate.
* Serve with celery sticks and bleu cheese dressing.