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7 steps for an epic big game watch party

A game plan for Super Bowl Sunday so you enjoy it just as much as your guests.

pigs-in-a-blanket-recipe-chowhound

Homemade pigs in a blanket never hurt.

Chowhound

Planning a great Super Bowl party this year is going to take a little more strategy than usual. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommendations for keeping things small and safe on Super Bowl Sunday and we'd strongly advise taking note of them. Whether you're going completely virtual this year or seriously scaling down your watch party, you're going to want your Sunday to be just as tasty as ever. For those guidelines, we'd like to take the stab at some guidelines because fewer people doesn't mean the game day eats should be any less excellent. 

There are some simple rules and strategies to ensure you pull off a perfect Super Bowl spread without spending tons of money on takeout or your entire weekend over the stove. If you've agreed to host Super Bowl but don't have even the foggiest idea where to start when it comes to planning the perfect bash, don't stress. Be like Tom Brady and study the Xs and Os from this game-day party playbook of superb Super Bowl party tips. You'll be serving up touchdown dance-worthy recipes in no time.

Read more: A $10 dip warmer and more gear to tackle your football watch party

1. Make dishes that don't require attention while eating

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Mmm, slow cooker party mix.

Chowhound

Wings are fabulous finger food, but the presence of bones means they require more attention than many other snarf-worthy snacks, and guacamole demands a modicum of coordination to get it onto your chip. It's easier to keep your eyes on the pigskin when noshing on preskewered meatballs, or even pigs in a blanket (though dipping in different sauces complicates things a little). 

We're not saying don't make wings. In fact, do make wings, just have a couple grab-and-gobble options for those who are actually there to watch the game first and eat second. Or for those who don't love dealing with bones more generally. Try Chowhound's slow cooker party mix recipe, or make ever-popular popcorn and dress it up with some sassy homemade seasonings.

2. Have enough beer -- and beer openers

It's key to have enough beer . It's just as important to have ways to open the beer, especially when you're dealing with twist-offs and pop tops. Consider stocking up on multiple openers like these rubber-coated stainless steel openers (six for $11.50 on Amazon) to stash around your living room. (Try these ways of securing your bottle opener so it stays in place.) But if you do lose track of it, pull out a nifty party trick and up your awesomeness by learning how to open the beer bottle with a pen. If you want to get a little fancier, but not as fancy as game day wine, consider batching up some beer cocktails for the big game.

Read more: Best alcohol delivery services in 2021: Drizly, Saucey, Minibar and more

3. Bring out the heaviest players during halftime

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A Juicy Lucy burger will slay at halftime.

Chowhound

This means brats, burgers and other such meaty mains. Even though your guests have been eating for a good portion of the game, they're bound to still be hungry after a few beers. And during the half, they'll have time to devote to properly chowing down. Trust us, more food is good for one and all.

Read more: The best meat delivery services for the big game

4. Include some healthy game day options

Just because game day is stereotyped as a barbecuing, testosterone-fueled, tailgating-type shindig doesn't mean that every recipe has to be so greasy that it's sure to clog your arteries. Serve prepped veggies with a homemade dip, like this remoulade or blue cheese dressing, and lighten up your queso. Besides being better for you, these types of snacks serve as a nice palate reset when you're eating lots of salty, greasy snacks and will actually help your guests appreciate that stuff more (it's the same logic behind serving a crisp pickle with a fatty burger). You can also sneak in some plant-based junk food options which may not be healthy, per se, but are healthier and check out these other healthy game day snacks.

5. Call on your Crock-Pot -- or your Instant Pot

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Pulled pork, always a winner.

Chowhound

If you don't want to be distracted in the kitchen, make one (or several) slow cooker game day recipes that can hang out on the kitchen counter so guests can serve themselves. They're handy for super bowls of soup as well, in case you like things that are easy, delicious and punny. Or take the opposite tack and pick a quick-cooking Instant Pot preparation like this veggie chili.

Read more: Best Instant Pot accessories for 2021

6. Don't be afraid of shortcuts

Just because you're hosting doesn't mean you shouldn't sit down and enjoy yourself, so consider taking some game day party shortcuts. There are lots of easy crescent roll recipes perfect for the occasion, and delicious ways to hack biscuit mix too. Try transforming store-bought pizza dough if you prefer that. Or just order in some gourmet frozen pizza and call it a day.

Read more: 12 easy game-day party shortcuts so you can enjoy yourself

7. Don't forget dessert

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S'mores stout brownies.

Chowhound

Keep it to finger food, like brownies, bars and cookies, but don't leave your guests craving something sweet (other than the taste of victory, of course). Think: sticky peanut cookie bars, marble cheesecake bars, s'mores bars, chocolate chip cookies and s'mores stout brownies -- but if cakes and cupcakes are more your cup of tea, our sister site Chowhound has those too.

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