Go team! Game day is the perfect time to gather friends and family to cheer on your favorite team. But who wants to be running in and out of the kitchen between plays to check the oven? The key to this menu is that it’s full of delicious recipes that can be prepared ahead of time, so you can enjoy the game too!
Since the TV will be at the center of the party, set out the food as a buffet. Include snack mixes, nuts and fresh vegetables for nibbling. Serve an assortment of beers and soft drinks. Decorate with team banners, streamers and plates and napkins in your team’s colors.
Game Day Party Tips
Even though game day parties are usually pretty casual, being organized and one step ahead of the game will ensure that you have as much fun as your guests. Here are some hints to help you strategize.
As with all parties, any menu items that can be made ahead will help ease the pressure on the day of the event. Dips and spreads are always good options, as are chilies and barbecue-type meats.
If children are part of the party crowd, create a kids’ zone with kid-friendly finger foods and activities to keep them busy.
Place ice-filled buckets or containers around the house to hold drinks rather than storing them in your refrigerator. It gives the party more of a tailgate feel, plus it frees up valuable space in the refrigerator and keeps folks from congregating in the kitchen. If it’s cold where you live, consider keeping drinks in a cooler on the porch or in the garage. If you want to serve a warm drink, keep it in a thermal coffee carafe so it stays hot.
If you know that some of your guests won’t necessarily be that “into” the game, you might set up a separate area for them to socialize and enjoy themselves.
Use a few slow cookers to keep things like party meatballs, chili and cheese dips warm during the course of the afternoon or evening.
Game Day Party Menu:
Pesto, Tomato, and Provolone Bruschetta
- 1 Italian baguette
- 1/3 cup prepared basil pesto: see post for recipe, http://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/04/21/two-sauces-for-everyday-meals/
- 4 plum tomatoes
- 1/2 pound sliced provolone cheese
- olive oil cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 400° F
Slice baguette into 16 – 1/2″ thick slices and toast under the broiler, or in the oven at 400° F until toasted. Remove from oven and spray one side of each slice with olive oil cooking spray.
Slice each tomato into 4 slices. Top each slice of toast with 1 teaspoon of pesto, a slice of tomato and a piece of cheese.
Bake on the top rack of the oven for 2 to 4 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serves 16.
6 to 8 servings
- 1 6-7-ounce can Italian tuna, packed in extra virgin olive oil, drained and reserved
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil reserved from the tuna can
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 small lemons)
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon capers, washed and drained
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh-cut vegetables (celery, radishes, carrots), for serving
Place the tuna in a blender or food processor and pulse to break it up. Turn on low speed and add the olive oil, lemon juice, onion, parsley, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper, one at a time, until they are thoroughly combined and the mixture is smooth.
Place in a small bowl and serve with the fresh-cut vegetables on the side.
Italian Shredded Chicken Sliders
- 5 large boneless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 cups homemade or store bought marinara sauce
- 20 small slider buns
- 1/2 pound shredded mozzarella
- Basil leaves for garnish, optional
Heat the sauce in a large saucepan and add the chicken breasts and seasonings.
Braise the chicken on low for an hour or until the chicken is very tender.
Remove the breasts from the sauce and place in a bowl. Shred the chicken with 2 forks.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Layout out the slider buns and top with 1/4 cup of the chicken. Top with shredded cheese. Place sliders in the broiler until cheese melts, about 3-4 minutes. Garnish with basil.
Italian Bean Salad
- 2 cans of white beans, drained
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 red onion finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes chopped
- Chopped parsley for garnish
In a serving bowl combine beans, red onion and sun dried tomatoes. Mix carefully. Combine olive oil, vinegar and seasonings in a small container and pour over beans. Mix well.
Serve at once or refrigerate for serving at a later time. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley just before serving
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup sugar or 2 tablespoons sugar alternative
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat butter, melted (Smart Balance)
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese
- 3/4 cup sugar or equivalent sugar alternative
- 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 20 walnut halves, toasted
In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheeses and sugar until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin, flour, pie spice and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust.
Bake at 325° for 35-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Cut cheesecake into 20 bars; top each with a walnut half.
- Bruschetta (diydumbo.wordpress.com)
- AustiNuts Snack Mixes (foodswelove.com)
- Cherry Tomato Pesto (inherchucks.com)
- Toasty Tomato & Mozzarella (foodandfunontherun.com)
- Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Prosciutto, Provolone and Spinach (grabbingthegusto.wordpress.com)
- Are You Ready For Some Tailgating? (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Tailgating (zen.homezada.com)