I live in the heart of Packerland, USA—that cheesehead-inhabited, frozen hinterland that is Wisconsin. When it’s icy outside, as it frequently is at this time of year, indoor activities are a must—unless you enjoy snotsicles and not being able to feel your butt.
OF COURSE, football parties—and all the attendant football party food and beer—figure prominently among Wisconsin’s favored indoor activities.
Football and cheeseheads
Let’s review. This started out to be a rocky year for Packer fans: Jordy Nelson was back, but he just didn’t seem to be clicking with A-Rodge. We seemed to have a mile-long injury list that just wouldn’t quit. Then, after a depressing 4-game losing streak, A-Rodge—much like his R-E-L-A-X moment early in the 2014/2015 season—incredibly announced, “I think we can run the table.” Even more incredibly, that’s exactly what the Pack did. And then some. First, they locked up the NFC North. Then, they beat the Giants. And THEN…
Just about every sports announcer, pundit, and fan of American football on the planet figured that Dallas would be in the Super Bowl. (For example, see this overexuberant fan’s prediction fail.) The hubster and I almost blew out our vocal chords when the Packers defeated them 34-31 in a nailbiter of a game.
It’s party time in Packerland: bring on the football party food!
So now, we just HAVE to represent and host a Packers vs. Falcons party. We’re getting out the elastic-waistband pants now, because this won’t let up until the Super Bowl: after all, everyone knows that these parties are as much about the football party food as the football! But, come on: you can only eat so many bratwursts and cheese curds—even if you ARE from Wisconsin. And Lil’ Smokies in BBQ sauce (or worse: Grape jelly?! REALLY?!) are just not my thing.
The football party food I decide to make depends heavily on whether we are hosting or attending. When we host football parties, one of my favorite moves is to have a crockpot full of something like chili, or maybe meat for tacos or sandwiches. I set all the fixings out buffet-style—along with everyone else’s food—so that guests can serve themselves. If the assembly is complicated, I sometimes post a fun diagram of how to put everything together, like this one I made for our Packer Playoff Party last year, where I served slow-cooker Banh Mi sandwiches (links to all recipes appear below):
If we are attending a party, it’s a bit different: we need a dish that travels well and doesn’t have a lot of “moving parts”. Most recently, we brought a crockpot full of toothpick-friendly, homemade Asian-style meatballs. Since the sauce was thick, sticky, and meant only to coat the meatballs, there wasn’t a lot of liquid to slosh around and mess up the car. This recipe can easily be tweaked to make an Italian-style meatball in a thick marinara sauce.
One of Phil’s favorite football-party snacks is taco dip with tortilla chips—always a good traveler. You can go vegetarian with the dip or add taco meat. You can use low-fat cream cheese to cut the calories or go “full-figured” with the original type—this is what the hubster usually does. Heck, football parties are only once in a while!
If, by now, you’re blue because your team is done for the year (believe me, I’ve been there!), then hopefully you can still enjoy the Super Bowl, even if it’s only to watch commercials. Or, maybe you just hold off for The Oscars.
Here are some ideas for fun football party food. I’ve grouped them based on what travels well versus dishes that are more amenable to a DIY buffet type of set-up.
HOSTING football party food:
|Banh Mi Sandwiches||Beer Cheese Soup||Sweet & Sticky Asian Wings|
|Pork Salsa Verde (Tacos!)||Turkey Chili||Ham & Navy Bean Soup|
ATTENDING football party food:
|Sweet & Spicy Asian Meatballs||Easy, Zippy Coleslaw||Phil’s Taco Dip|
|Loaded Baked Potato Salad||Lasagna Bolognese||Curried Chicken Salad|