How to Plan a Super Bowl Party

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Remember recently when I announced that I won $500 to host a Super Bowl party because of this mac ‘n’ cheese recipe (a big thank you goes out to Foodbuzz and Pace!)?  I decided I wanted to recap my party in a special way…I want to give you the entire run-down in case you want to throw a party of your own using the menu I came up with.  This menu would be great at pretty much any party so you don’t have to wait until next Super Bowl to make it.  I planned my party for 15 to 20 people, but you can easily adjust it for however many you’re expecting.  Here’s my menu, along with a game plan, shopping lists, general tips, and recipes. 


I just wanted to mention that I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until next Super Bowl to make the Layered Guacamole Dip again!  More than a few people said that it was hands-down the best guac they’ve ever had.  Even Mike who normally doesn’t like avocados (I know…who doesn’t like avocados?) loved it.


Baked Potato Bar

(Toppings:  Vegetarian Chili, Shredded Cheddar, Sour Cream, and Chopped Scallions)


Taco Pinwheels

(Tortilla Shells Wrapped with Cheese, Taco Meat, and Lettuce)


Southwestern-Style Bruschetta

(Zesty Cheese Melted on Toasted Bread, Topped with Scallions)


Layered Guacamole Dip with Tortilla Chips

(Layers of Zesty Cheese, Black Beans, and Kicked Up Guacamole, Topped with Shredded Cheddar, Scallions, and Black Olives)


Sweet & Spicy Popcorn

(Air-Popped Popcorn Seasoned with Sugar, Salt, and Chili powder)


Assorted Chips & Dips


Veggie Tray (Pre-made)


Cheese & Cracker Tray (Pre-made)


Assorted Cupcakes and/or Cookies (Pre-made)


Assorted Drinks


·         Up to 1 Week Ahead:  Grocery shopping (see list below)

·         2 Days Before:  Make Vegetarian Chili

·         1 Day Before:  Make Layered Guacamole Dip; make meat mixture for Taco Pinwheels; toast bread for Bruschetta and store it in an air-tight container at room temperature

·         Morning Of:  Grocery shopping (see list below); chill drinks; make Taco Pinwheels; make Sweet & Spicy Popcorn

·         2 Hours Before:  Bake potatoes (when they’re done cooking, turn off the oven and leave the potatoes in there to stay warm)

·         1 Hour Before:  Set up potato bar; spread cheese & scallions on Bruschetta; assemble all other foods, but keep in mind that you might want to want to bring out different foods at different times – save some goodies for halftime!  ;) 

·         Right Before:  Broil Bruschetta



·         8 c pre-shredded cheddar cheese

·         8 oz Monterey jack with jalapeno cheese

·         4 (8 oz) blocks Neufchatel cheese

·         2 c (1 pint) sour cream

·         3 c (1 1/2 pints) Greek yogurt

·         Assorted chip dip


·         1 lb lean ground meat (such as chicken, turkey, or beef)


·         20 starchy potatoes, such as russet

·         1 head iceberg lettuce

·         3 avocados

·         4 bundles scallions

·         2 large yellow onions

·         1 head garlic

·         1 bell pepper (and 1 jalapeno for the chili if desired)


·         4 (16 oz) jars Pace Picante sauce

·         1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

·         1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes

·         1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans

·         2 (15 oz) cans black beans

·         2 large bags tortilla chips

·         Assorted chips

·         Popcorn  kernels to air pop (or unflavored microwave popcorn)


·         Assorted drinks

·         Ice

·         8 (10-inch) soft flour tortilla shells

·         1/2 c black olives (preferably from the olive bar)

·         Frilled toothpicks (for Taco Pinwheels)

·         Aluminum foil (for baking potatoes)grocery-shopping-day-of-pic


·         1 pre-made veggie tray (order ahead)

·         1 pre-made cheese & cracker tray (order ahead)

·         Pre-made assorted cupcakes and/or cookies (order ahead)

·         2 French baguettes



·         Since this is a Super Bowl party, keep it casual.  No need for fancy tablecloths, decorations, or even matching plates/cups/utensils.  If you decide that you want to decorate, you could use streamers in the colors of your favorite teams and maybe a banner to keep it simple.

·         Make sure your house is clean before the day of the party.

·         It’s your choice whether or not you want to use disposable plates/cups/utensils/napkins.  I like to use regular dishes, glasses, and utensils and disposable napkins.  Using regular dishes helps reduce waste, and it also gives people somewhere sturdy to set their food (which is important since my dining room table doesn’t seat 20, so most people had to hold their food or set it in their lap, which is never an easy thing to do with a paper plate).  Since I kept the party casual, it didn’t matter whether all the plates, glasses, and utensils matched.

·         When it comes to buying drinks, I like to plan on one drink per person per hour.  I’m usually left with extras, but that’s always better than having to leave the party to go buy more.

·         I like to arrange the food on a long table and let people serve themselves buffet-style. 



Baked Potato Bar with Vegetarian Chili & Other Toppings


(Yield:  Potato bar for 20)


20 starchy potatoes (e.g., russet), baked

Vegetarian Chili (see recipe below)

2 c sour cream mixed with 2 c Greek yogurt (you can strain this mixture the night before if you want it extra thick)

4 c pre-shredded cheddar cheese

2 bundles scallions, thinly sliced (white & green parts)


Vegetarian Chili (Makes about 6 c):

1 TB olive oil

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 bell pepper, roughly chopped (and 1 minced jalapeno if you like it spicy)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes (with juices)

1 (16 oz) jar Pace Picante Sauce

3 oz tomato paste

1 tsp each cumin and chili powder

1/2 tsp each salt, garlic powder, & oregano

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained


For the Vegetarian Chili:  In a 3-quart pot with a lid, heat the oil on medium heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper (and jalapeno, if using) and sauté until starting to soften (about 8 minutes).  Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add 1/2 c water, the diced tomatoes, Pace sauce, tomato paste, and all spices and bring up to a simmer; simmer for about 15 minutes (to let the flavors blend), then add the beans and simmer another 5 minutes.


To Assemble the Baked Potato Bar:  If you made the chili ahead, bring it up to a simmer before serving.  Put the sour cream/Greek yogurt mixture, shredded cheese, and scallions all in separate bowls (for a rustic look, the chili can be served out of the pot it was made in).  Arrange all toppings on a buffet table next to the baked potatoes.

img_5783-smallimg_5746-smallTaco Pinwheels


(Yield:  64 pinwheels)


8 (10-inch) soft flour tortilla shells

1 lb lean ground meat (turkey, chicken, or beef will all work well)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (16 oz) jar Pace Picante Sauce

3 oz tomato paste

1/2 TB cornstarch

1 tsp each cumin & chili powder

1/2 tsp each salt, garlic powder, & oregano

1/4 tsp black pepper

8 oz Neufchatel cheese

2 c pre-shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded


Frilled toothpicks to hold the pinwheels together


For the Meat:  In a large skillet, brown the meat and drain the fat if necessary.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté on medium to medium-high heat until softened (about 5-7 minutes).  Add 1/2 jar Pace sauce, 1 c water, the tomato paste, all the spices, and the cornstarch; bring it up to a simmer, then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered (stirring occasionally) until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick (about 15 minutes).  Allow to cool to at least room temperature before assembling the pinwheels. 


For the Cheese Mixture:  Mix together the Neufchatel cheese and 1/2 jar Pace sauce; stir in the cheddar cheese.


On each tortilla shell, evenly spread about 1/2 c meat mixture; then spread about 1/3 c cheese mixture on top of the meat, and sprinkle on about 1/2 lettuce.  Tightly roll up each tortilla; trim off the ends and slice each into 8 rounds.  Secure each pinwheel round with a toothpick.

img_5537-smallSouthwestern-Style Bruschetta


(Yield:  80 individual pieces of bruschetta)


2 French baguettes

8 oz Neufchatel cheese

8 oz Monterey jack with jalapeno cheese, shredded

1/2 (16 oz) jar Pace Picante sauce

1 bundle scallions, washed, dried, & thinly sliced (white & green parts)


Preheat the broiler.  Thinly slice the baguettes into 1/2-inch rounds (you should get approximately 40 rounds per baguette).  Toast the sliced baguette in the broiler until lightly golden brown (stay with it, because it goes fast).  (The bread can be toasted the day before; just store it at room temperature in an air-tight container.) 


In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses and Pace sauce.  Spread the cheese mixture onto each toasted baguette round, top with sliced scallion, and broil until the cheese is melted (stay with it because this happens fast).  Serve immediately. 

guac-smallLayered Guacamole Dip with Tortilla Chips


(Yield:  9 by 13-inch dish of dip)


16 oz Neufchatel cheese

1 c Greek yogurt

1 (16 oz) jar Pace Picante Sauce

3 avocados mashed with 1 TB lemon juice & 1/2 tsp salt

2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

2 c pre-shredded cheddar cheese

1 1/2 tsp each cumin & chili powder

1 tsp each garlic powder & oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 bundle scallions, thinly sliced (white & green parts)

1/2 c black olives, chopped

2 large bags tortilla chips


9 by 13-inch casserole dish


To Make the Spice Mix:  Combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Divide this mix in two because you’ll be using half in the Neufchatel layer and half in the avocado layer.


In a large bowl, combine the Neufchatel cheese, Greek yogurt, 1/3 jar of Pace sauce, and half of the spice mix.  Evenly spread this mixture in the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish.


Use a clean kitchen towel to gently pat dry the beans.  In a medium bowl, mix together the beans and 1/3 jar of Pace sauce.  Evenly spread this mixture on top of the Neufchatel mixture.


In a large bowl, mix together the mashed avocado, 1/3 jar of Pace sauce, and half of the spice mix.  Evenly spread this mixture on top of the black beans. 


Sprinkle the cheese on top and then sprinkle on the scallions and black olives.  Serve chilled, with tortilla chips.


img_5487-smallSweet & Spicy Popcorn


Popcorn kernels

Salt, sugar, & chili powder to taste


Air pop the popcorn and season to taste with salt, sugar, & chili powder.  Serve same day so the popcorn doesn’t get stale. 


Sit back…relax…and enjoy the game (personally, my favorite part is the commercials ;) ).

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