Super Bowl Watch Party Prepping on the Cheap
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Super Bowl Watch Party Menu Ideas

Super Bowl 2023
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Super Bowl Sunday, a day when millions of NFL fans and non-fans who just like a party and the commercials, gather around televisions to celebrate what should be a federal holiday on Monday, so people can recover from the festivities...

If you're having a watch party, here are a few ideas for a crowd-pleasing menu to help you celebrate.

A Pizza Buffet:  This is a popular Super Bowl menu to go with and the easiest, but also the most expensive.  There's not near as much cooking involved aside from creating some sides... (see what I did there, with "aside"... I crack myself up...) and the clean up is easier, for the most part no pots, pans, utensils, crock pots, warming bins to wash after the party is over.  All you have to do is order a variety of pizzas, perhaps a few ready sides from your favorite joint and lay it all out buffet style.  Family and friends can add to the feast by bringing a side or dessert.  Keep in mind, pizza delivery will really be delayed on this day, because other watch parties are doing the same thing you are.  Super Bowl Sunday is a SLAMMING BUSY day for pizza joints.  Typical delivery times of 30-45 minutes are out the window, especially for bulk orders.  You'll need to time it, placing your order early is recommended.  TIP:  You can actually place your order online or use your favorite pizza joint's app (most places) WAY ahead of time and set the delivery time.  Some local establishments may not have this feature. 

NFL FootballTaco Bar:  This one is probably the most versatile self-serve menu and perhaps the cheapest to put together.  Everybody loves tacos and bonus, it's multi-purpose!  In setting up for tacos, you've also set up a salad bar.  Whether it's just a few buddies and their significant others to feed or a houseful of guests, creating a taco bar saves you time and the crock pot is your friend.  Staying warm all game long, people can help themselves to tacos throughout the festivities, it's a low-maintenance, low-prep work-required meal.   You can brown the ground beef and taco season it the night before and refrigerate or brown it the morning before company arrives for the games.  If you don't have more than one crock pot, borrow one or two, think bean dip, queso, or perhaps a chicken taco option.  Ask party guests to bring something with those tacos in mind, be it taco shells, tortilla chips, salad, guacamole, soda or the like, because as the host, this minimizes time in the kitchen and maximizes your time watching the game and mingling with guests.  The clean up for a Taco Bar won't be as easy as for a pizza buffet, but if you use paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, it's still a fairly easy make tidy chore.

Chili Bar:  Here's another menu that's pretty easy to prep and crowd-pleasing.  Again, the crock pot is your friend and you can probably talk one of your friends into bringing their version of chili, maybe a white chili in a crock pot.  Heck, turn it into a contest, open things up to all guests, and award a prize for the best chili.   The best part, chili goes well with so many things!  There's the classic bowl of chili, with crackers or Fritos along with the toppers of chopped onion, shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  There's chili over rice (a personal favorite), there's chili over spaghetti noodles Cincinnati style, and if you feel like going all out you can do chili dogs.  TIP:  Chili is always better tasting the next day, giving all those ingredients time to get all happy together.  Make your chili the day before, not only for the better flavor, but so you can focus on the little party details on game day.   And while this is a very tasty menu, a chili bar makes for the messiest cleanup, even if you go with paper bowls and plasticware.  There's all the crock pots, serving utensils, serving trays for sides and toppers and the cookware you used to make the rice, spaghetti, the hot dogs, etc....

BBQ Bar:  This is arguably the tastiest menu option, especially if you take great pride and pleasure in smoking meats.  Pulled pork is the easiest way to go, it serves a big crowd but MUST be done the day before.  Ribs are another option and slicing up a couple racks makes for some great finger smacking good individual servings.  Brisket is a real crowd pleaser but an expensive option.  BBQ chicken is a nice wallet-friendly alternative if you're going with a two-meat menu, but if you have plenty of pulled pork and a few sides, you really don't need anything else.  Ask guests to bring buns, chips, convince some guests to bring mac & cheese, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, pasta salad.  Don't forget the pickles for those pulled pork sandwiches!  Again, the crock pot is your friend, so are one or two warming trays if you have them.   If you stick with pulled pork, this is one of the more economical menu options.  Clean up isn't as easy as a pizza buffet, but not as messy as a chili bar.

Burger/slider Bar:  As tasty and guest-friendly burger/sliders are, this option is going to keep you away from the TV more than any other menu.  Burgers are best freshly grilled, so you'll be flipping, rather than watching.  And even if you went with warming bins to hold burgers as they come off the grill, you're still running back and forth from grill, to kitchen, to buffet table.   The attraction to doing burgers or sliders is cost, this is a relatively inexpensive menu to put together, but with maximizing your time watching the game in mind, I would recommend meatball sliders instead.  You can prep the meatballs the day before, bake them off the morning of the game and keep them warm in a crock pot or warming bin for the game.  Served with a little marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese makes for a tasty comfort food bite!  Recommended sides:  Salads...  Ask guests to bring lettuce, potato, pasta and fruit salads.  You can break out the air fryer and crank out some french fries if you like...  but wouldn't you rather be watching the game?

TIP:  Have some cheap to-go food storage containers, ziplocks and/or plastic bags at the ready for leftovers and to pack up something a guest brought but won't get washed (dirty serving dish/utensils).  Having it staged so guests can readily access it at their convenience means they won't have to track you down to retrieve it.

Hopefully the above gave you some ideas for your Super Bowl watch party.  Enjoy the game everybody and GO CHIEFS!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

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