Food for Thought: 5 tips for your Super Bowl 'homegating' party

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Football has something for everyone: entertainers, casual viewers and die-hard fans all experience the joy of the game with friends and family. Why else would last year’s Super Bowl - averaging more than 114 million viewers - be the most watched show in U.S. television history? With the post-season upon us, fans nationwide are looking ahead to Super Bowl 50, and for those who can’t make it to The Big Game, millions of fans will be planning homegating parties.

NFL Homegating distinguishes itself from the regular party with its ability to show team pride while you entertain at home on game days with friends and family. It’s how millions of fans experience the traditions and rituals of a stadium tailgate from the comfort of home. And to heighten the experience, they sport their team-spirited swag not just in their daily routine, but to elevate parties and display their football devotion year round. But team pride needs to be fed, and good, quality recipes for the grill and the snack plate are essential to the experience. So as fans everywhere prepare to celebrate Super Bowl 50, here are tips to host like a pro at your next party:

Decorate like a champion. Outfit your sofa with gear like a warm plush throw blanket to keep you warm even when the play clock runs cold, and pillows to keep your guests comfortable even when the score isn’t. Next, defend your furniture from rings with team coasters. Then showcase your favorite wine in a chic bottle holder.

Feed your team. A true NFL Homegating party isn’t complete without an assortment of delicious, mouth-watering food. Keep pulled pork, chili or a buffalo chicken dip warm throughout the game in a crock pot or oven-safe bowl.

Serve with style. Step up your game by using serving platters adorned with your team’s logo instead of disposable tins. There are also football-shaped cutting boards and cheeseboards to show your love for the game. And keep it simple by creating DIY stations with crackers, cheese and honey where guests can quickly assemble their own snacks during timeouts.

Toast the win. Whether it is beer or wine, soda or juice, ditch the plastic cups and offer partygoers a variety of team glassware to toast the extra point.

Keep the party going after the clock runs out. Show your team spirit even after the party ends. Serve up daily meals with team branded oven mitts. Load up a football-shaped toaster for fun breakfasts and sandwiches. Salt and pepper shakers shaped like team jerseys add spice to the kitchen throughout the year.

EASY RECIPE: Ranch Buffalo Wings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: 7

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce

3 tablespoons vinegar

24 chicken wings or drumettes

1 packet (1 ounce) Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 cup prepared Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

Heat oven to 350 F.

In small bowl, whisk together butter, pepper sauce and vinegar. Dip wings or drumettes in butter mixture; arrange in single layer in large baking pan. Sprinkle with dressing and seasoning mix. Bake until chicken is browned and an internal temperature of 165 F has been reached, about 30-40 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve with dressing and celery sticks.