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Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

Hosting a crowd for the big game? We’ve got everything you need to make your party a winner!

We’ve got plenty of dips to kick it off – like Peanut Butter Coconut Sriracha Hummus, Cheeseburger Dip and Big Game Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Dip – plus a DIY Bratwurst and Hot Dog Bar and Bacon and Brie Sliders for when things start to heat up. Keep them hydrated with Non-Alcoholic Sangria or step things up with Beer Ice Cream Floats!

Finally, we’ve got you covered on some important game day details. Make sure your viewing area is prepped by Getting the Living Room Game Day Ready, and make a fun Football Field Drink Tray to serve your guests!

Bacon and Brie Sliders

Bacon and Brie Sliders

Created by: Elisabeth McKnight, Bella the Blog

These mini-burgers might be small, but from caramelized onions to melted Brie, they’ve got big flavor. With bacon ground right into the patties, you'll get the full bacon taste in every single bite.

Ingredients:
  • 16 oz. Private Selection ground chuck
  •  
  • 8 strips Private Selection bacon, finely cut
  • ⅔ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 package Private Selection Parisian-Style Brie
  •  
  • Arugula or baby spinach (optional)
  •  
  • Dinner rolls for buns
Directions:
  1. Combine the ground chuck, bacon, egg and breadcrumbs until the beef rounds are no longer visible and it's all one cohesive mixture. Form into patties, approximately three inches in diameter. Cook on the stovetop until they're cooked all the way through.
  2. Caramelize the onions while the patties are cooking. Cook them on the stovetop in a dash of olive oil and brown sugar over medium heat until they're cooked all the way through.
  3. Melt a thin slice of brie on each of the hamburger patties. Top with the caramelized onions and fresh arugula and serve on the toasted rolls.

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Beer Ice Cream Floats

Beer Ice Cream Floats

Created by: Emily Caruso, Jelly Toast

The classic childhood treat with a delicious, grown-up twist! All you need are a scoop of ice cream, a bottle of dark beer and a mug…and you have a game winner.

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 scoops Private Selection™ Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1 bottle dark or medium beer – I used a vanilla porter, but choose your favorite
Directions:
  1. Add the ice cream to a tall glass.
  2. Top with the beer.
  3. Serve with a straw and spoon. Enjoy!

View Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

Big Game Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Dip

Big Game Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Dip

Created by: Greggy Soriano, Greggy’s Digest

Food for the big game doesn’t just include savory dishes. How about a perfect dessert to satisfy that sweet tooth, right in front of the TV?

This Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Dip has layers of cheesecake filling and crunchy hazelnut spread, and it's topped with a smooth whipped hazelnut mousse. It’s great for dipping strawberries, graham crackers and any other favorite fruit!

Cheesecake Filling:
  • 1 package (8 oz.) Kroger Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup Kroger Condensed Milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Hazelnut Mousse:
  • 1 pint Kroger Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 Tbsp. Kroger Condensed Milk
  • 1 jar (13 oz.) of Simple Truth Organic® Crunchy Hazelnut Spread
  • Pinch of salt
Other Ingredients:
  • Graham crackers
  • Strawberries
  • Other fruits
Directions:
  1. Beat the softened cream cheese and a pinch of salt in a mixer with 3 Tbsp. condensed milk until fluffy and combined. Add the vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
  2. Spread the cheesecake filling into the bottom of your serving bowl.
  3. Whip the heavy whipping cream until it reaches a medium peak.
  4. Add ¼ cup of hazelnut spread to the whipped cream, another pinch of salt and whip until stiff peaks form and the mixture is well combined. Don't whip too much or the mixture will curdle. Set aside in the refrigerator to keep it chilled.
  5. Add the rest of the jar of hazelnut spread to the top of your cheesecake filling in the serving bowl and spread.
  6. Layer the chocolate hazelnut mousse on top of the chocolate hazelnut spread.  
  7. Garnish with strawberries, graham crackers and other fruits on the side and serve. Enjoy, and may the best team win!

View Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

Cheeseburger Dip 

Cheeseburger Dip 

Created by: Nicole Leggio, Cooking for Keeps

Even the most dedicated sports fan would agree that food is one of the most exciting aspects of the big game.

Yes, there’s the halftime show, two teams going head to head and bets that are made, but indulging in some great food is pretty exciting stuff in and of itself.

Of course, you have your traditional wings, meatballs and cocktail hot dogs, but the party isn’t complete for me without some sort of creamy, cheesy, meaty dip that I can repeatedly dunk my chips into. Your typical queso just isn’t going to cut it. Enter cheeseburger dip – a hybrid of a simple cheeseburger with all the classic toppings and a creamy cheese dip.

 

I like to keep things pretty simple when I'm making burgers, but I always add just a little onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt to ensure plenty of flavor, especially when I'm using a more lean ground beef. The ground beef and onion is browned up in a nonstick skillet to start, then I hit it with a couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce for the base of the dip. I combine it with briny chopped dill pickles – because I believe no cheeseburger is complete without a little pickle action – softened cream cheese and plenty of shredded cheddar cheese. When the cream cheese and shredded cheese disappear into the beef, pickles and onion, it’s ready to be baked.

Transfer the dip to a small casserole dish, cover it with more shredded cheese, then pop it into the oven until the dip is bubbly and hot and the cheese is melted. Top it with classic burger toppings – chopped lettuce, diced tomato and plenty of sliced green onion – as soon as it comes out of the oven.

All that’s left is to get dipping!

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • ½ cup onion
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • ½ cup dill pickles, chopped
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Tortilla chips for serving
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 1-quart casserole dish.
  2. Cook the ground beef and onion over medium heat in a medium nonstick skillet until the beef is browned and cooked through. Add the Worcestershire sauce, water, pickles and cream cheese. Stir until combined. Remove from the heat and add one cup of cheddar cheese. Stir again until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Transfer the dip to the baking dish and cover it with the remaining cheese. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with the chopped lettuce, tomatoes and green onions. Serve with chips.

View Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

DIY Bratwurst and Hot Dog Bar

DIY Bratwurst and Hot Dog Bar

Created by: Emily Caruso, Jelly Toast

Make game day easy by preparing a simple, delicious Bratwurst and Hot Dog Bar. It’s a smart play that keeps guests satisfied and lets you cheer on your team, too!

Use Your Slow Cooker
Add your hot dogs or bratwurst – I like to use a variety of cheddar brats, beer brats and classic bratwurst – to the slow cooker the morning of the big game. Add enough beef broth to reach halfway up the brats, then add one beer and one chopped onion. Turn your slow cooker on high for about four hours and your brats will be tender, flavorful and ready to go when your guests arrive.

Prep Your Condiments
One of the things I find tricky about a buffet with a bunch of condiments is balancing your plate and wrestling with bottle lids and screw tops at the same time, trying not to drop ketchup or sauces down the sides of the bottles. Plus, the bottles can get crusty after a big party. My solution is to set out a tray of inexpensive mason jars - I keep a giant stockpile of them - and dispense the various mustards, BBQ sauces and relishes into them. This can be done the night before. Put the lids on, stick them in the refrigerator, then pull them out just in time for the party. Guests can easily spoon sauces one-handed onto their plates with small spoons or forks. As the sauces get low, fill them up from the bottles as needed.

Here is my list of must-have condiments:

  • BBQ sauce (1 or 2 varieties)
  • Ketchup
  • Course-grain mustard
  • Pickle relish
  • Onion/pepper relish
  • Chopped onions
  • Sauerkraut
  • Shredded cheese

Whatever toppings you decide to serve up, don’t forget to relax and just enjoy the big game!

Football Field Drink Tray

Football Field Drink Tray

Created by: Carrie Robinson, Frugal Foodie Mama

Regardless of who you are rooting for in the big game, I think we can agree on one thing: The food and the drinks are the best part of hosting or attending a game-day party.

We love having friends and family over to cheer on our favorite team. Usually each guest will bring a little something to the party, and we’ll provide the main dish, a snack or two and the drinks.

This game day, I will be serving up drinks to my favorite football fans using this fun and functional Football Field Drink Tray. I decorated the rectangular lid of a large green Tupperware bin to look like a football field, and the container holds ice to keep the drinks nice and cold through each play of the game. Serve up your game-day libations in this easy-to-make drink tray, and you are sure to score a touchdown with your party guests.

Things You'll Need:
  • 1 Home Sense® Extra Large Rectangle Container (128 fl. oz.) with lid
  • Green spray paint
  • Precision craft knife
  • Straightedge
  • White oil-based marker with a medium point
  • 1 package Home Sense® Elegant Plastic Cups (40 cups)
  • Ice
Directions:
  1. Cut one of the plastic cups in half around the center of the cup. Use the wider part of the bottom half of the cup to draw 3 circles into the lid of the container, using care to not position the holes too close together. Using a craft knife, carefully cut out each circle.
    FootballFieldDrinkTray2
  2. In a well-ventilated room or outdoors, spray the top of the lid with the green spray paint. (My storage containers came with red lids. If your Home Sense containers have green lids, you can skip this step.) Let dry according to the spray paint manufacturer's directions; then spray on a second coat if needed. Let dry overnight.
  3. Once the lid is dry, use a straightedge or ruler to draw 7 lines down the lid using the white marker. Label the 50-yard line and one of the end zones. Let the marker ink dry completely.
    FootballFieldDrinkTray3
  4. Fill the container about two-thirds of the way with ice. Snap on the painted lid. Fill 3 of the plastic cups with ice and the beverages of your choice. Set each glass down into the holes in the lid. Use the drink tray to serve drinks to guests and to keep the drinks cold. Refill with more drinks once all 3 beverages have been served.
    FootballFieldDrinkTray4

    FootballFieldDrinkTray5

Tip: Use extreme caution when cutting the holes with the craft knife.

View Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

Football-Shaped Rice Krispies Treats

Football-Shaped Rice Krispies Treats

Created by: Cathy Pollack, Noble Pig

We love football season! However, I have to admit I might be in it more for the food than the football. That's okay, right? Although there are a lot of die-hard female football fans, I enjoy cooking for the game a little more than just sitting and watching it. I bet I'm not in the minority on this one.

It's important to have someone around on game day who wants to stir the chili on the stove and the queso in the slow cooker. I love pre-planning a whole menu that includes dips and jalapeno poppers, sliders and pulled pork sandwiches, and, of course, dessert. I always put together a dessert bar buffet; in fact, it's already set up before the guests arrive with all kinds of treat and goodies. It sets the party mood. My dessert bar is carefully centered around a festive "game day" treat, and this year, it's going to be these Football-Shaped Rice Krispies Treats. They are so easy to make – Rice Krispies Treats always have been. By adding a couple simple decorating steps, you can make your dessert table stand out.

The football shapes are easily constructed with a football-shaped cookie cutter, while chocolate candy melts and white decorating gel give them their football look. Coconut flakes and green dye make the "football field," and, in no time, these festive game day treats will be gracing your dessert table and delighting your guests.

Cook time: 5 minutes | Prep time: 30 minutes | Serves: 8-16
Ingredients:
  • Cooking spray
  • Football-shaped cookie cutter
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 bag (10 oz.) marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • 8 oz. chocolate candy melts
  • 2 tubes (0.67 oz. each) white decorating gel
  • 1 bag (14-oz.) sweetened coconut flakes
  • 10 drops green food dye
Directions:
  1. Prepare a large (13”x 17”) aluminum sheet pan by spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt butter over low heat on stove.
  3. Stir in marshmallows and continue to stir until marshmallows are melted and fully combined with the butter.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in Rice Krispies (mixture will become very sticky).
  5. Scoop out Rice Krispies mixture onto sheet pan. And here's a little trick: Run your hands under very cold water; then use them to press Rice Krispies mixture flat, making them about a ½” in height (you will not fill the whole sheet pan).
  6. Let cool.
  7. Cut out football-shaped treats with a football-shaped cookie cutter that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  8. Melt candy melts in the microwave according to the directions on the bag.
  9. Frost treats with chocolate immediately with a small, offset spatula.
  10. When chocolate cools, create "football" white threading with decorator's gel: one long line first (lengthwise) and three small lines (crosswise) so that they overlap each other.
  11. Toss coconut in a large bowl with green dye.
  12. Place green coconut on the bottom of your serving tray to create the playing field.
  13. Arrange the Football Rice Krispies Treats on top of the "turf."

Note: These treats can easily be made up to two days before game day and kept in a tightly closed container until serving time.

Football-Themed Containers

Football-Themed Containers

Created by: Emily Buys, The Clever Housewife

With the big game coming up, many of us are planning a gathering to cheer, socialize and eat with friends and family. If you want to have a party that gets everyone talking, you need to up your game.

Instead of just having bowls of chips and wings out on the table, get festive and try these punched tin football-themed containers.

To get your football-themed food table ready for the celebration, start planning early. Begin by collecting large No. 10 food cans. These are the kinds of cans that nacho cheese and other bulk foods come in. Serving nachos at the party? Simply pour all of the nacho cheese into another container; clean the can out really well and you're all set. Just think ahead, so you can have the cans empty before the big game.

FootballContainers2

With your cans ready, now you need to decide what kind of design you want punched into the front. I sketched a football helmet and football for mine. You can print pictures from the Internet and use them as a template if you choose to.

Tape the template nice and tight to the front of the can. You can use any tape you'd like, but we keep painter’s tape on hand, and it doesn't leave any residue after it's peeled off. If you happen to cut the template out right on the lines, don't worry, because you can punch the holes through the tape too.

FootballContainers3

Now it's time to punch those holes. For this, you can use a hammer and nail or a center punch. To keep the can in place, we clamped a two-by-four piece of wood to a table with some hanging over the edge of the table. Hang the open part of the can onto the two-by-four. You get to decide how far apart you want the holes to be. There is no exactness to it.

FootballContainers4

Remove the template from the can and see if you need to make any adjustments to your image. You can always reattach the template if you need to add more holes or designs.

FootballContainers5

Because the can now has holes punched into it, I recommend lining it with wax paper before filling it with food. This can help with any food spillage, and also prevent anyone from scraping his or her hand on the punched tin. Fill those bad boys up, and be ready for the compliments. I love the look these cans give to the food spread, and to me they just say "let's play some football!"

FootballContainers6

Getting the Living Room Game Day Ready

Getting the Living Room Game Day Ready

Created by: Ashley Torres, Pursuit of Shoes

It’s game day and everyone is headed to your house to watch the main event. Is your living room ready? Here are a few key tips for making everyone’s viewing and party time easy and enjoyable:

Seating: Open up couches to make sure all seats have a great view of the television. In addition, bring out extra folding chairs for unexpected guests or those who don’t want to get too comfy on the couch.

Food + Drink: Always keep food and drink in the same room as where the game is being watched. You don’t want guests to have to walk into the kitchen to grab a beverage and miss the game-winning field goal. Keeping all the tidbits, cocktails and beyond in the living room also minimizes the risk of spills walking to and from other rooms!

Game Squares: Many people do game day “squares” to bet on the quarterly and final scores, however, it’s typically done on a piece of paper. The problem with paper squares is that everyone ends up constantly asking, “Who won? Where is the paper?” All of that can be solved with a simple white board. Create your squares on the whiteboard and place by the TV so that everyone has visibility. It leaves more time to focus on the game and enjoy the party!

These 3 simple tips will have you game-day ready in no time!

View Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

Mini Calzones

Mini Calzones

Created by: Emily Buys, The Clever Housewife

Friday nights are usually pizza nights at our house. Living in a small town, our options are quite limited, so I've taken to making homemade pizza each week.

With the big game coming up, it's easy to modify our regular pizza recipe to make handheld calzones. Finger foods like calzones are perfect for watching football.

You can buy premade pizza dough, but we like homemade best. My dough recipe makes enough for two large pizzas. When I have all my ingredients ready, I divide my dough in half, then I divide each half into 8 equal portions, yielding 16 smaller calzones – enough for everyone to enjoy. No matter what size crowd you're feeding for the big game, everyone will enjoy your homemade calzones.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 3 heaping Tbsp. powdered milk
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1½ cups pizza cheese, like mozzarella
  • Pepperoni or other pizza toppings of your choice
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. 
  2. Mix the yeast and sugar in the warm water and allow to sit for a few minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until you have a nice dough that doesn't stick to the sides of your bowl. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes before making your pizza or calzones.
  4. Working with two dough portions at a time, roll them out into circles about ¼” thick. Don't worry if you don't get them exactly round. The dough is super forgiving and you'll still end up with a nicely shaped calzone.
  5. Spread about a tablespoon of pasta sauce on half of each circle, leaving at least ½” clear at the edges for sealing.
  6. Add your pepperoni, pizza cheese and toppings.
  7. Wet your finger in a small bowl of water and run it along half the dough circle. Fold the dough over and press the edges together. I like to use a fork to help seal the edges and to poke a few holes in the top to allow the steam to escape.
  8. Place the calzones on a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan and bake for about 10 minutes. I like using my pizza peel and pizza stone. Remove the calzones from oven and enjoy.

View Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

Non-Alcoholic Sangria

Non-Alcoholic Sangria

Created by: Emily Buys, The Clever Housewife

Every party or celebration needs a beverage that sparks conversation. When I'm getting ready for the big game, I start prepping and planning for a drink that will wow the crowd, and this sangria mocktail does the trick. It’s kid-friendly and – even better – it tastes superb.

Sangria is best when you have fresh fruit, but since it uses a variety of fruits, you may not find all of them in season at the same time. During the spring and summer months, use fresh strawberries, peaches and plums, and in the winter, get what you can at the store, such as fresh lemons and clementines. Or, opt for frozen fruit if you need to; luckily, you can find a variety of frozen fruits that taste great in this virgin sangria.

 

After soaking the fruit in delicious blackberry juice, you're ready to top it off with fizzy ginger ale and wow those party guests. Now you can root for your favorite team in style.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peaches, sliced
  • 2 clementines, peeled and quartered
  • 1 plum, quartered and pit removed
  • 1 lemon, sliced (peel still on)
  • 4 cups blackberry juice
  • 2 cups ginger ale
Directions:
  1. Add all the fruit to a large pitcher and cover with blackberry juice. Make sure the fruit is completely covered with juice, and add more juice if necessary.
  2. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, so the liquid can absorb all the fruity flavors.
  3. Remove the mixture from the fridge and add ginger ale just before serving. Garnish with more lemon slices if desired.

View Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

Peanut Butter Coconut Sriracha Hummus

Peanut Butter Coconut Sriracha Hummus

Created by: Carrie Robinson, Frugal Foodie Mama

This homemade hummus is an instant game day favorite, with lots of flavor and no guilt! Creamy peanut butter pairs perfectly with toasted coconut chips, and the Sriracha sauce gives it just the right amount of spicy heat.

 

 
Ingredients:
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Simple Truth Organic® Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed, reserving ½ cup of liquid from can
  • 2 Tbsp. Simple Truth Organic® No-Stir Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Simple Truth Organic® Coconut Oil, liquid
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup toasted coconut chips
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce, depending on heat preference
    SrirachaHummus2
Directions:
  1. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans, being sure to reserve ½ cup of the liquid from the can. Add the beans, peanut butter, coconut oil, garlic, coconut chips, chia seeds, salt and Sriracha sauce to a food processor. Add in the reserved liquid from the beans ¼ cup at a time until the hummus reaches your desired consistency.
    SrirachaHummus3
  2. Puree the ingredients until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Taste the hummus and add more salt or Sriracha sauce if needed and blend again.
    SrirachaHummus4
  3. Serve the hummus with baby carrots, pepper slices and whole grain tortilla chips or crackers. Enjoy! Hummus can be stored covered in the fridge for up to one week.

View Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

Dietitian’s Tips: Enjoy the Game without the Gorge

Dietitian’s Tips: Enjoy the Game without the Gorge

Created by: By: Allison Kuhn, MS, RD, LD
Kroger Corporate Dietitian

Fall and winter may be famous for their traditional holidays, but let’s not forget about football season, a definite highlight of this time of year!

Despite the fun and festivities that come with rooting for your favorite teams, this sporty season brings tailgates and viewing parties that can also be epicenters of temptation. If you’re more foodie than sports fan (like me!) you may be tempted to spend even more time by the snack table. Here are a few tips to keep your portions in check.

  1. Flex your "MyPlate muscles!" MyPlate is the new food pyramid, and it helps people visualize a meal-based balanced diet. A major part of MyPlate is the concept that fruits and veggies should take up half your plate. Football parties are no exception to this rule. And you’re in luck! Usually a veggie or fruit tray will grace the appetizer table. You can incorporate these in several ways – pair a crunchy veggie with a dip in place of tortilla chips, or decrease your dessert portion and add some fresh fruit. Remember, think fruits and veggies first!
  2. Always pregame. It isn’t too far off base to think of parties like competitions – a battle against your own appetite! To go in with your head in the game, take note of your hunger level ahead of time. Going into an environment with a spread of food on an empty stomach is like throwing a football with a blindfold! Eat a nutritious, low-calorie snack before heading out the door to keep your intake in check. Good examples include hummus and baby carrots, a light mozzarella cheese stick or smashed avocado on whole-grain bread.
  3. Take a timeout. The great thing about social gatherings is that eating isn’t the only thing to do! Once you’ve made a first pass at the food table, make it a point to enjoy the game or socialize for a bit before returning for round two. Remember that it takes several minutes for our fullness to register, so don’t rush. If you’re employing tip #1, it will be even easier to call it quits since fiber helps promote that feeling of comfortable fullness. Eating high-calorie foods too fast leaves you feeling more like a linebacker! Relax, and take your time.

View Party Plan: Game Day Gathering

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