Ready for some FOOTBALL!? Family-Friendly Party Eats for the Big Game

football food Having a super-size crew over to watch the Super Bowl? Whether your guests are all about the game, only tuning in for the commercials, or likely to spend the whole time playing with Legos® in the basement, everyone will want to eat. Your goal is festive and family-friendly fare that can easily be premade (or at least prepped) for the masses—and won’t break the bank. Score a tasty touchdown with the following six ideas:

1. Chili

If it ain’t broke… Great for serving crowds on chilly winter days, chili is classic cuisine for the ultimate gridiron game. Whip up a couple of large pots—maybe one with meat and a little spice and another that’s vegetarian and kid-friendly—and then invite guests to top their bowls with grated cheddar, sour cream, salsa, and chopped avocado, green onions, and tomatoes. For ideas, check out these five yummy chili recipes from Two Peas & Their Pod or these four hearty takes from the Food Network. Instead of chips, we suggest serving it with homemade cornbread, like this skillet version from The Pioneer Woman, or a crusty whole wheat bread.

Alternate plays: A big ol’ pot of stew, lentil soup, or chowder.

2. Pizza Bagels

Ordering a pile of pizzas is certainly quick and easy, but the cost can also add up fast. Instead, set out an array of bagels (sliced in half) and let guests assemble their dream “pie” from an array of sauces, cheeses, and toppings like pepperoni, olives, pineapple, veggies, and dried or chopped fresh herbs. Arrange them on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees until the cheese has melted and browned a bit.

Alternate plays: Use whole pitas or English muffins in place of bagels.

3. Grilled Cheese

Who doesn’t love grilled cheese? Keep it simple with cheddar or offer gourmet grillers with fancy cheeses (goat, blue, fontina, provolone, Swiss, etc.) and fun combos like jam and bacon, avocado and tomato, spinach and artichoke, etc. Serve with bowls or mugs of tomato soup, like this easy one from Martha Stewart.

Alternate plays: PB&J buffet! Children will love it—and all the adults will feel like kids again. Pair your favorite nutty spread with jelly, of course, but also fun combos like jam and bacon, sliced banana or strawberries and honey, raisins and chopped celery, a thin piece of cheddar cheese, a sprinkle of sprouts, or a drizzle of Sriracha.

4. Build a Burrito

Simply lay out a spread of tortillas (learn how to warm them up en masse at The Kitchn), prepared taco meat, beans, rice, cheese, olives, lettuce, chopped red pepper and cilantro, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, etc., and then let hungry fans roll their own.

Alternate plays: Serve it as tacos or bowls instead.

5. Baked Ziti

Big pans of deliciousness are go-to for other large parties, so why not the Super Bowl, too? A hearty mix of noodles, sauce, cheese, and meat or veggies if you feel like it, baked ziti is one of the easiest out there, and almost universally adored. We’re crushing on this no-boil version from Serious Eats, Rachel Ray’s slightly more gourmet take with sausage and lean ground beef, and Giada De Laurentiis’s baked penne with roasted veggies.

Alternate plays: Lasagna, baked mac-and-cheese, enchiladas, or chicken-and-rice casserole.

6. Burger Bash

No better reason to fire up the grill in February than feeding a large group of people quickly—just put on a jacket and hat and head out there! (Alternatively, check out this New York Times tutorial on cooking them up in your cast iron skillet.) All the fixin’s can be prepped ahead of time, and cleanup is minimal. Pair your burgers with Smitten Kitchen’s oven fries.

Alternate play: Baked by Rachel’s kid-approved slow cooker apple cider pulled pork. Mix it with a little barbecue sauce and serve as sliders with pickles or slaw.

7. And an “Extra Point”… Snack Attack

The heart of most Super Bowl fare is usually the snacks, so why not make a meal of it? Pick a few of these faves, make sure they’re abundant, and then sit back and get your cheer on!

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