Throw the Ultimate Indoor Tailgate Party for 'the Big Game'

December 09, 2014 Gameday Tips

Many sports fans enjoy the food and camaraderie of tailgating as much as they enjoy the game itself. This rings especially true during the big games (both collegiate and professional) coming up in January and February. While the weather sometimes prohibits fans from tailgating outside, you can still throw the ultimate indoor party — with amazing recipes your guests will love!

When putting together your tailgate menu, consider passing on some of the store-bought snacks and rich, salty foods in favor of better-for-you options. Set out lighter dishes that still pack a flavorful punch. Whether guests come for the game, the socializing or the food, they'll all leave feeling good about the choices they made.

Consider passing on some of the store-bought snacks and rich, salty foods in favor of better-for-you options.

Plan a Feast Fit for Champions Finger foods, such as crudités and chicken wings, are easy to pick up and eat. For the entrée, serve a substantial, crowd-pleasing chili with a huge salad and a side of crusty bread or cornbread.

It's best to set everything up on a buffet table off to the side of the room, where people can load up on main course items (usually at half time). Then have several smaller tables around the room with snacks for people to nosh on during the game.

Keep these guidelines in mind when planning the menu.

  • Inform your guests. Let attendees know that you're opting for a lighter menu, and ask them to bring a dish with wholesome, better-for-you ingredients.
  • Choose the appetizers. Depending on the number of people at your party, choose a small handful of appetizers. They can be as simple as platters of cheeses, nuts and veggies. If you want to get a bit fancier, serve a seven-layer dip and savory, sweet quesadillas. Stick with two or three appetizers, rather than eight or nine. That way, the guests won't be too full when the main course is served, usually during half time.
  • Get heartier at half time. Serve the entrée, along with a giant green salad and any sides, at half time. Guests love to load up their plates, return to their favorite seats and watch the half-time show.
  • Serve the drinks. Forego soda and offer a selection of flavored water, juice and iced tea. That way, guests refresh themselves without all the sugar.
  • Don't forget desserts. Dessert is the perfect place to indulge just a bit — offer family and friends a variety of cookies and brownies. If you want to stick with the better-for-you theme, set out a giant platter of sweet, fresh fruit.

Have Plenty of Places to Sit After you've planned the menu and know how many people to expect, make sure you have enough seats in front of the TV. Bring in the folding chairs, and have plenty of blankets and pillows so those seated on the floor can get comfortable.

Whether they stay glued to the game or chat with friends, a tailgate party offers something for everyone. With a selection of delicious, lighter foods, guests will leave your event feeling full and happy, not loaded-down and sluggish — regardless of which team wins!

Meet Sandy Coughlin

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