Entertaining @ Home: Kickin’ Kickoff Party

by Ann-Marie on January 7, 2011

We have football on the brain in our house right now, and we’re looking forward to cheering on the Colts for their first playoff game of the season.  This Entertaining @ Home post is all about throwing a kickin’ kickoff party for your favorite team, all from the comfort of home.

First, you’ll want to prepare your menu & shopping list:  I am quite the list-maker. It helps for me to get the thoughts swimming around in my head down onto paper, and keeps me from babbling to myself and walking around in circles (sound like you?!).

If you’re having a few (or a lot of) friends over, you’ll need to plan a menu. For a football party, keep it simple with finger foods on heavy-duty disposable plates so guests can eat in front of the big screen without  needing table space and flatware. Remember this is a football game, not a bridal shower! Keep it simple and casual, so you’re not stuck in the kitchen with clean-up duty all night.

Ideas for the menu:

  • Hot Wings Serve with tall celery sticks in a pub glass, blue cheese dressing, and the must-have wet naps!
  • Nacho Dip You can do the easy-peasy RO*TEL Famous Queso with Velveeta, or Hormel Cheesy Chili Dip with cream cheese, or try this twist on a classic with my recipe for Italian Nacho Dip:  Brown & crumble 1# Italian sausage, drain and place in crock pot. Cube a block of Velveeta and place on top of sausage. Mix in 1 can evaporated milk, and 1 packet of dry Italian dressing mix (I use Good Seasons). Heat until cheese melts, stirring occasionally.
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip My friend brought this to a pitch-in one time, and I’ve been making it ever since. If you’re a fan of hot sauce, and if you’re a fan of chicken, and if you’re a fan of dips, this is the trifecta for you. Check out the recipe at FranksRedHot.com.
  • Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips I have not yet made this myself, however a neighbor brought it to book club one night and Oh. My. Word. was it delish!  Sweet, cinnamon-y and fruity, it was finger-lickin’ good. Literally … I licked my fingers!  She got the recipe from my FAVE-orite site for recipes, AllRecipes.com. Here ’tis … Annie’s Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips.
  • Don’t forget the bevs! Like that had to be mentioned?!  Pull out your favorite cooler and ice down the beer & sodas (remember this is simple & casual!). Or for a step up, try the Entertaining Bucket from Willow House, which includes a drip pan to catch condensation.

After you’ve figured out the vittles, next up is arranging the viewing party.

  • Comfy seats, plenty of ‘em: Since we’ve already established this isn’t a bridal shower, there’s no sense in pulling out your formal dining room chairs for everyone to have a stiff, upright seat and a sore tushie.  Bean bags, oversized pillows, even gaming chairs would make great seats for the game when you can’t fit everyone on the couch.
  • Throw a picnic-style checkered tablecloth on your coffee table, and set out bowls of peanuts, snack mix and leftover Christmas candy (who cares?!). The tablecloth eliminates the need for coasters (gasp!), crumbs are easily shaken outside, and it adds a tiny bit of casual flair.
  • Have a couple of kid-sized Nerf Footballs or inflatable footballs around for the guys (and gals!) to toss during time-outs. Yes even in your precious living room!  Adults shouldn’t get too carried away with a little toss & catch … let’s hope!
  • If your friends are up for a little friendly wagering, you can print free NFL football brackets at PrintYourBrackets.com. You can use inexpensive posterboard for the master bracket, and hang on your wall.

What’s most important is for your guests to feel welcomed, comfortable and to have fun. This isn’t the time to be pretentious and chase Uncle Eddie around with the Dustbuster.  If you make it easy on yourself as host and use disposable plates, finger foods without needing silverware, and recyclable beer bottles, then clean-up is a snap and you can actually, maybe, watch a little of the game yourself!  Have a great weekend!

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