So, you’re hosting a Super Bowl party?
Sandy Bergsten, a former professional chef and guest instructor at Dorothy Lane Market’s School of Cooking, has years of entertaining experience, which she writes about on her blog, www.andshecooks2.com. She said that the key to hosting any type of party is planning ahead.
“The amount of time spent planning ahead equals the ease at which your party goes off,” Bergsten said. For hosting a Super Bowl party, she offers the following tips:
A couple weeks before:
• Think like a coach and focus on logistics to determine the number of people to invite. How much space do you have? How many places are there for people to sit? On how many televisions do you want to broadcast the game?
• Once you have a number in mind, create a guest list and get the invite out. She recommends the website www.Paperlesspost.com for creating an email invitation.
• Maximize what you do best and outsource everything else. Don’t feel like you have to do it all — let someone else be in charge of games like the betting pools, Super Bowl trivia etc.
The week of:
• Stock the bar and get all non-alcoholic drinks
• Get the paper products/party supplies: sturdy paper plates, lots of napkins, big plastic bowls for setting out snacks like popcorn and chips, big tubs for drinks because you likely won’t have room in your refrigerator. This is a Sunday night party so quick and easy clean up is key.
• Think like a caterer and make it easy on yourself by pre-ordering favorites like pizza, wings, and/or deli trays. Head to Trader Joe’s for delicious and easy to prepare frozen appetizers. Your guests are coming to watch the game, not over-analyze the food options.
• Things like chips and dip/salsa/queso/guacamole, hummus, and popcorn are great snacks to have out the day of and can be bought ahead of time.
The night before:
• Set up all of the tables and put out all of the serving dishes with Post It notes on them indicating what goes in each - this way you’ll know where everything is going to go. Just be sure to take the Post It notes off the day of the party.
• A chili bar is easy to pull together, guests love it and the chili actually tastes even better if made the day before and warmed up the day of the event. A fun thing to do is to have a chili cook off the day of the Super Bowl by having several guests each bring a pot of chili and then having everyone cast votes for their favorite.
The day of:
• People tend to congregate wherever the food and drinks are so make sure to have stations set up all in several difference areas (unless you want everyone gathered in one particular spot.)
• Set up large garbage cans all around for guests to easily dispose of trash.
• People always ask what they can bring — ice is a great thing to have your guests bring to the party.
“For all entertaining — whether it’s a casual Super Bowl party or a fancy Oscars party, you need to do three things: eat, drink and have fun — guests only have fun if the host is having fun,” Bergsten said.
SANDY’S CHILI RECIPE (SERVES 8)
2 pounds ground beef
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 red peppers, seeded and diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tablespoons hot chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cans beef broth
4 cups tomato sauce
2 14-ounce cans petite, diced tomatoes
2 16-ounce cans light kidney beans, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
Steamed white rice
Sauté the ground beef until brown in a large pot over medium heat. Remove the meat from the pot and drain. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to the pot. Over medium heat sauté the onion, red pepper, carrot and garlic until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cumin. Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and kidney beans. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally until reduced by one quarter.
Season with salt and pepper.
If desired serve over steamed rice and top with chopped onion and cilantro, grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream. The chili is best made a day ahead of time. Cool completely, cover and refrigerate. It also freezes well.