Unlike other more formal gatherings, your game-day party should have a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Be sure to prepare your food ahead of time so you can sit down and enjoy the fun too! With that in mind – buffets are best and any football buffet should always include a few traditional favorites.
Slow cookers and warming trays are your friends. Pick foods that are easy to assemble and prepare. If you’re not one for being in the kitchen on game day, plan ahead and order some party trays. Make it easy on yourself, look for heat-and-serve items, so you can enjoy the party. Some of the most popular eats for game day are wings, subs and fried chicken. Just make sure you have enough food for all of your hungry fans. It’s always better to have more – leftovers can be sent home with guests.
Keep hot foods hot (at or above 140°) and cold foods cold (at or below 40°) in the refrigerator until serving. This ensures food will be held at the safest temperature for the longest period of time. Arrange food on small platters and dishes, separating cold food from hot. When it comes time to replenish, wash or replace the platter and serving utensil before adding food. Keep several instant-read thermometers on hand, washing after each use.
Young children most likely won’t be interested in sitting quietly and watching the game. So be sure to provide toys and other activities to keep the kids entertained. And remember to have age appropriate food and drink on hand for the kiddies. Toddlers and younger children won’t be too excited about hot wings and spicy chili. Kids are always big fans of pizzas, mac ’n cheese or hot dogs.
With the exception of breads, cookies and uncut fruit, discard all perishable foods, especially meat, poultry and eggs, that have been standing at room temperature longer than two hours – that’s when harmful bacteria begin to grow. Refrigerate or freeze any of those leftovers in shallow containers. Always reheat leftovers to 165°.