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Even people who show up at Thanksgiving with nothing more than expandable pants and a smile sometimes find themselves hosting a party for the Super Bowl. Sure, you could just order in wings and call it a day, but why would you when there are so many delicious, easy, and football-friendly dishes.
But how to tackle the menu? Like the game itself, it's all about a little strategy and coordination. So listen up team, because here's the game plan.
A Few Days Ahead
- Buy your avocados. These guys need a few days to ripen, so purchase them at least four days in advance.
- Make your dips. Hummus, french onion dip and salsas can all be made ahead and kept in the fridge. Remember to make extra salsa if you're planning on serving seven layer dip.
- Start your tacos. If you want to serve tacos as the main dish, you can cook the meat a few days ahead. On game day, just crisp up the meat straight from the fridge.
- Muffaletta. If a giant, sharable sandwich is your style, go ahead and buy the ingredients for a muffaletta. The only thing to save for last minute is the bread.
- Bake cookies. Cookies are a great Super Bowl party dessert because they're easy to eat on the couch and you can make them a few days ahead. Just keep the cookies packed in an airtight container and, if they're soft, lay them over a slice of plain white sandwich bread. I can't tell you why, but I promise this will keep them perfectly soft. This would also be a good time to buy a quart of ice cream, because who doesn't like the option of DIY ice cream sandwiches?
- Stock your fridge. Make space in your refrigerator and buy your beer now. It will be one less thing to think about (and carry home) the day of the game. If you want friends to bring a little something to round out the bar, ask now. It will give them time to hit up Costco or go across town to pick up that new, awesome IPA.
The Night Before
- Make chili. It's not just convenient to make chili the night before the party- it actually tastes best when the flavors have melded and deepened overnight.
- Order Popeye's. If you're making Kenji's Extra Crispy Popeye's Fried Chicken, you'll need to order the chicken and keep it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Rub down your ribs. By keeping them in the fridge overnight, they'll soak up as much flavor as possible.
- Wing time. If you're going to bake your wings, get them seasoned and into the fridge the night before (more on that here). If you plan to fry the wings, give 'em the first fry the night before, then re-fry them the next day or bake them off for extra crispy results (see Popeye's above).
Game Day: Morning
- First thing in the morning, make sure to put your ribs in the oven or on the grill. The best ribs are cooked low and slow, and you should plan to start them at least four hours before the game.
- Make some cornbread. Cornbread is super simple to make. There's no creaming of butter and sugar, just a little stirring with a wooden spoon. And it makes eating chili twice as good.
- Make your muffaletta. The best part about this sandwich is that it actually improves with age. Given a few hours, the juices from the olive spread will seep in and flavor the bread.
- Assemble your bar. Make sure you have ice, cups, and a bottle opener on hand. You can also whip up a batch of margaritas and leave them in the fridge until the guests arrive.
30 Minutes Before Kickoff
- Put your wings in the oven.
- Put your chili over medium low . You want to gently reheat it on the stove.
- If you're making 7-layer dip, brown the beef, then assemble the dip. You can keep it at room temperature or even chilled in the fridge.
15 Minutes Before Kickoff
- Pull your blue cheese, dips, and crudites out of the fridge.
- Make your guacamole. We have about a billion options to choose from.
- Run to the bathroom.
- Assemble tacos. If tacos are your main dish, reheat the meat in the oven now. Lay out the fixins while the meat crisps up.
- Still hungry? Throw together this Buffalo Wings in Dip Form. It only takes about 5 minutes of assembly and 20 minutes in the oven, so you can have it ready by the time the game is back on.
- Set out sweets. People can move on to dessert when they're ready.
- Put out a lot of napkins. Game day food tends to be messy, and can be downright dangerous when there is beer and enthusiastic cheering going on.
- Get a tablecloth and set up a buffet. It's a long game and people like to nibble at their own pace.
- Set up an extra trash bag next to the garbage that's labeled Recycling. Don't let all those beer cans go to waste.
- Relax. Buffalo wings make everyone a winner.
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