02 Feb Game Day Menu
(Unofficial) National Holidays
Professional sports are a multi-billion dollar industry in the US. Superbowl Sunday is more of an unofficial holiday than just a game day. How’s that? People gather with friends and family, make special foods, and plan for weeks in advance to have just the right decor. It’s one of the few times a year that artificial turf is an acceptable table covering. College sports clearly hold a place in America’s heart and shortly after the Superbowl we move onto March Madness.
Not surprisingly, I get a lot of questions about what I serve on game days. Since it comes at an exceptionally busy time of year, I like to keep things simple, healthy, and compatible with the inevitable Monday morning that follows.
Here’s my strategy, I mean, menu:
Baked Potatoes with toppings
Bison Pumpkin Chili
If you have any cans of pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling, leftover from the holidays, you want to use it here. My Bison Pumpkin Chili is super easy to make, tastes great, makes a great topping for the baked potatoes, and extras can be frozen or enjoyed later in the week.
The pumpkin brings in a lot of health and performance supporting nutrients including loads of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin to protect eyesight, potassium, fiber, and a host of antioxidants that fight cancer. Seriously, unless you tell them, your family won’t know it’s in there.
I’ll double the batch and have some ready for later. I like to serve mine over coleslaw. Not only does it bring in added veggies in the form of cruciferous vegetables, it provides a great contrast of cool crispiness to the chili’s richness.
Dirt cheap, loaded with vitamin C, another source of fiber (especially if you eat the skin), and leftovers can be added to breakfast burritos, bentos for lunchtime, or reheated to serve with leftover chili.
Now we’re getting fancy! No, not really. It’s just a glammed-up veggie tray and meat/cheese board. Don’t feel like you need to have a special wooden serving board to make a charcuterie or spend a lot of money on ingredients.
All you need is a baking sheet with a raised edge (a jelly roll pan), some veggies, crackers, fruit, and proteins of choice. Start with what you have in the pantry and fridge. Supplement with a quick trip to the grocery store.
I like to add blackberries to my charcuterie for a special touch, but if they aren’t available or are cost prohibitive, go with black grapes.
- Pickled veggies
- Dried fruits
- Any leftover items from gift baskets you received over the holidays
- Deli meats
- Cubed or sliced cheeses
- Salad dressing you use as dip
Fresh fruit (This is an occasion that fresh reigns supreme over frozen. Don’t use frozen fruit in this application.)
Nestle fresh herbs like flat and curly parsley, basil, and rosemary between sections of food. For example, a sprig of basil between mozzarella balls and some cherry tomatoes isn’t just decorative, it’s inspiration for a deconstructed Caprese salad.
I like to line the baking sheet with an over-sized piece of parchment paper. Start loading the tray with sturdier foods to build a foundation. Wet foods, dips, and spreads can be added to serving bowls and placed on the tray. Fill in with crackers, breads, and other foods that are easily damaged, such as soft fruits and berries.
Leftovers can be used for tomorrow’s lunch. Make sure you keep cold foods cold to prevent food born illness. I recommend using a pan filled with ice that the charcuterie can rest in. While you’re cleaning up from the party, have the kids use the leftovers to make lunches for tomorrow. It saves time and stress in the morning and cuts down on food waste.
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