Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Football Food - Super Bowl Food is here!

Around the first grade my boy discovered football.  After his first touchdown pass at the Y his head was filled with dreams of becoming a famous quarterback, and collecting football cards by the dozens became an all consuming obsession. Simply throwing the football with Daddy could go on for hours after Daddy's arm gave out, and the Super Bowl?  Well, it became the pinnacle of life.

Since throwing our first Super Bowl party some nine years ago, times have changed.  The first party found a couple of 6 year old boys dressed in their favorite jerseys embracing the game with their dads, and deeming the day "Our Day of Eating Junk Food".  Pringles, M&M's, and sugar-filled soda filled the tables and everyone was happy.

Fast forward nine years and those cute little boys have transformed into handsome young men with car keys.  Their football interest, however, has waned and now they don't even show up for the game, preferring to spend their afternoons at the beach surfing.  While the parents may have matured slightly as well with a little extra gray in our hair and more pronounced smile lines around our eyes, we can still rock a football jersey.

At its peak, the Liv Life Super Bowl Party had no less that 50 guests squished into our average-sized family room around our old-fashioned, non-HD TV with pieces of Becky's Famous Football Stromboli in our hands.  Those Pringles and M&M's have remained a staple on our football table, but these old favorites are now accompanied with some higher end football food choices such as homemade sushi, Coconut Shrimp, Margarita Jell-O Shots and of course my husband's old family Queso recipe (shhh... don't tell anyone, but it's cream cheese melted with a can of Hormel chili - we have it once a year.).

Unfortunately, this year my husband's schedule has him out of town on Super Sunday, and as such we will not be hosting our special group of friends for what has become a tradition for the last 9 years.  As he flies off to some far away city, I think I will be a bit sad in my empty house, but the special memories of years past will carry me through.  As a change of pace... maybe Liv and I will actually go shopping.

Over the years we have lived an evolution of our Super Bowl Party and have discovered what works well along the way.  With just a little planning you too can have a table set for a feast and perhaps even outshine those 49ers.

Planning your Party

First of all, don't try to undertake everything yourself - have your guests bring a dish.  In the past we organized guests and assigned salads, main foods, desserts, etc., but with our Super Bowl Party Evolution came a more relaxed attitude and we simply asked everyone to bring whatever they deemed their favorite Football Food.  Yes, some years we had lots of chicken wings and stromboli.  Other years though, brought an even balance of all things football.  Either way it was alway fun.

The Party Store.  While I'm not usually a paper/plastic disposable product fan, I do allow myself to be a little less green on Super Bowl Day.  Football themed appetizer plates and napkins from the Party Store don't cost much, save lots of cleanup time and bring a football party flair to the table.

Plastic cocktail sized cups save broken glass on the floor during those inevitable dropped cup moments, and a cheap, football emblazoned plastic table liner makes cleaning up a breeze.

Liv Life Note:  I couldn't bring myself to drink wine out of a plastic cup, so real wine glasses are always on our football table.

Soda and water - always popular with kids as well as adults, however buying full sized cans of soda often left me with half full cans scattered around my yard and house at the end of the day.  Our Super Bowl Party Evolution had me buying litre bottles of soda in place of full sized cans and supplying plastic cups (place a sharpie in the cup area for people to write their names on the cups).

For water I placed pitchers of tap water around the food table and drink area, and filled the cooler with the smaller, almost kid-sized, single serving water bottles which I found would more often be emptied than the larger sized single servings. 

Cocktails.  Each year our Super Bowl Event featured a special cocktail in addition to beer and wine.  Margaritas are always popular and our Sunny Citrus Blush was also an oft requested libation.  The goal though, is to not have the host also be bartender, hence spending nearly the entire game filling drink orders.  Coolers of beer become self serve with an attached a bottle opener to the side of the cooler and a stack of those familiar red solo cups.

If you would like wine at your party, place a few bottles out along with the glasses and put the opener within reach.

For our mixed cocktail of the day, our only requirement was that it must be mixed ahead of time.  My husband obtained a not-so-pretty but ever-so-useful plastic blue camping jug which made its appearance every year on my "pretty" buffet table, but which also gained a reputation for always containing something worth trying. 

Chips and Dips.  In the early years I found that I over did the food.  I worried that someone might not like a certain type of chip or dip, hence I provided several choices which filled up our table and ended up leaving decent portions of each remaining at the end of the game.  Evolution brought tortilla chips with one or two dips along side and then empty bowls and less waste.

Hot food.  Keeping hot food to a minimum allows the hostess to spend more time with her guests rather than cooking in the kitchen.  With as much prep work done in advance as possible, I would have a dish or two that could to be popped into the oven in a flash, then simply served when done.  I would usually plan a hot dish (stromboli, shrimp, wings) to be ready as people arrived, then prepare another to be ready at half time as the half seemed to bring on a sort of grazing frenzy with everyone fueling up to get through the 2nd part of the game. 

Pools and Betting.  Betting pools are always popular and seem to increase interest in the game.  Everyone, even those not really interested in football, would be watching scores and keeping track of plays as they checked their numbers.  Lucky to have a neighbor takeover this responsibility, we had the simple "square" pool which scored on the game quarters and finish, in addition to a trivia/luck pool. 

With the trivia/luck pool, the first page included 6-10 historical trivia questions (amazingly, someone always seems to know things like "What player has won the most Super Bowl MVP awards?"  - Just FYI, it's my man Joe.).  The back page included more luck-type questions like, what type of commercial will be first?  Will the first score be from a pass, run or other?  Will the winning team win by more than 10 points?  etc.

Liv Life
Football Food and Drinks
With the Evolution of our Super Bowl parties, or perhaps simply our maturing ages, our tastes have changed (I would say improved!) and have included all of the following "football food" over the past few years

- click the title to be taken to the recipe -

click here to see Becky's (Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves) version of this dip including sun-dried tomatoes!


  1. Wow, so many great pics and recipes it making my head spin a bit! Thanks for a great post, not being a sports person I had almost forgotten about the Super Bowl, oooops!

  2. What a great collection of recipes! I love those strawberry margherita jello shots :)
    Lovely pictures for everything!

  3. Ok, where to begin (have a seat, this may take a while). First, unlike some people (whoshallremainnamelessbutlookanawfullotlikeyou), I support and cheer for your team. I loved Mooch and Singletary. Montana was an amazing QB (and not too hard to look at), but Steve Young was pretty darn fantastic as well. Always pulled for the 49ers.

    "Old-fashioned, non-HD TV." us too. Totally. Not that I'm thrilled with it and wouldn't trade it in for a 350" flat screen if someone gave us one. Fancy televisions just aren't a priority (neither is television-watching).

    The thought of you not having the party this year makes me very sad. What an echo the house will have. The thought of your sons surfing instead of watching football makes me even sadder. They can never date my daughter.

    The food; amazing. Every bit of it. Please come to my house and let's do the party? Please?

  4. These all look delicious! I love the drink variations and the mango chicken cups look incredible!

  5. I probably shouldn't say that I'm not a football fan (even though I grew up in football country), but I love your food/drink ideas. The stromboli is to die for!

  6. Love this post and the recipes but I have to say that I am DEFINITELY NOT a fan of the chargers right about now...

  7. this is an incredible post. I do like quite of number of the links in here-yum! Sad that there will be no party, but I am sure that you will find something fun to do anyway. Enjoy the day.

  8. Great choices for football food, everything looks amazing! :)

  9. Roasted jalapeño tequila = YAH! SF logo at the end of the post = Nay :( ... let's go Patriots! :D

  10. This post scored a touchdown in my book:) So many wonderful choices from your beautiful pics, and I have made several before. Hopefully, one of your neighbors or friends will be hosting the party, so you and Liv can do and relax:)

    Please stop by my blog. I have an award for you.

  11. Oh my goodness that Roasted Jalapeño and Pineapple Tequila and those mango cups look amazing! I love football games, they are so much fun. My family and I always go WAY overboard on the food hehe

  12. I loveeeeee what you presenting over here..my boys would be ever so thankful if I serve this for Superbowl:)))
    Thank you for sharing..will have to pick something off your list:)
    Have a wonderful day sweetie!

  13. I absolutely refuse to believe it's Super Bowl time already. No way. We were just seeing stromboli and wishing we could come down for your party.

    Thank you for these tips I can apply these to any family get together we have. Heck we might even always bet on something but instead of money we bet to give the winner our newest signature dish cooked in his or her home lol. (We're weird.)

    I love the recipes that you featured here on your post and I really love that stromboli. We make that from time to time and it's always a hit!

  14. Great tips, great pics, and great recipes. You go all out for your parties. (Are you bombarded with requests for invites? Years in advance?)

  15. Lovely spread of food there. I haven't been planning to do much for Superbowl but now reading your tips and seeing all your delicious food (recommendations) I definitely want to throw me and my husband a small party!

  16. Oh I loved this post! I wish I could be out surfing instead of sitting in the cold weather watching football, lol. I have thrown a few parties where there are waaay too many people for our house and its always a blast. I love the tips you included and your recipe round up!


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