The Football Party Dozen

Wait. Where are you going? Sure, Alabama won the College Football Championship, but there are still two weeks of pro football. (Technically three, but one weekend is the Pro Bowl and I go by that, “Does a tree make a sound?” adage: If there is a football game in Hawaii and nobody watches it, is it really a game?) That gives you plenty of time to plan the end of the season Big Game Football Party. Invite your friends. Plan your menu. Stock your bar. And while I’m not a professional party planner, I do know a thing or two or 12 about what you need at every football party.

Here are 12 “Must Have” Football Party items:

Buffalo Wings – Little piece of fried heaven on a bone. They’re messy and require a little effort to eat and even more effort to get the sauce off your hands, chin and clothes. I think they’re well worth it.

But if you like clean hands or don’t like bones but love the taste of Buffalo Wings, this Buffalo Chicken Cream Cheese Dip is the perfect alternative:

1 lb. cooked chicken breast, shredded (I like to pan fry the chicken and season with salt, pepper and Old Bay to taste)
16 oz. cream cheese
½ cup ranch dressing
8oz bag shredded cheese
½ cup Franks Red Hot (or more to taste)
Tortilla chips and celery for dipping

Put cream cheese in crock pot at “Low” to soften as you prepare the chicken
Mix in shredded chicken and cheese.
Stir in hot sauce and ranch dressing.
Serve warm.

Chips – Nacho chips. Potato chips. Kettle chips. Pita chips. Bagel chips. Pretzel chips. Chocolate chips. As long as the word “chips” is in the name somewhere, your guests will get their fill and the bags will be empty.

Dips – You know, for the chips. French onion is a classic and it’s easy to make: 1 packet of dry French Onion Soup mix to 16 oz of sour cream.

A few extra  “chips” for some friendly wagering.

Veggie Tray –A traditional dish, if not necessary evil, at any football party that previously provided a “healthy” option and is now used to keep the Gluten Police off your back.

Sub Sandwich – I think it’s a law that you must have, at least, a 3-ft. party sub (from your favorite sub shop) at any football game party. It’s easy to obey delicious laws like this.

Pizza – What’s not to like? All five food groups are represented deliciously. Dough. Sauce. Meats. Veggies. Cheese. And extra cheese. Oops. That’s six food groups. But on pizza, I think “Extra” is an officially recognized food group.

Soda/water – Keep those vocal chords hydrated while you cheer on your team. (And the whole “mixer” thing for …)

Spirits – It is a party. Beer is great too, but it didn’t work with that clever segue from above.

Tumblers – Get them in your favorite team’s logo and colors to leave no doubt which side of the field your allegiances lay.

Mylar balloons – Grab a few of each teams’ helmets and logos. There’s just something about balloons that makes every party a little more festive. No matter the age of the attendees. (And someone will probably talk like a chipmunk before the night’s over.)

Phone number of a reliable Uber driver/cab company. Just in case.

Now you’re ready for kickoff. Cheers!

PJ Butland