Hosting a Party? Make These Crowd-Pleasing Recipes

goat cheese red pepper jelly bruschetta

I have to admit that my favorite thing about the Super Bowl are the snacks and game food. Second are the ads (I work in advertising after all). Third is the halftime show. Every few years or so, the Patriots make an appearance and I’ll bump them up before the half-time show.

If you’re hosting a viewing party for the Super Bowl or the Oscars, or just having a few friends over, I have a few recipes that are certified crowd-pleasers.

I love hosting parties and dinners myself, and I have developed a formula – or some sort of ground rules – for preparing party food: 1) Make small bites or finger food (for easy access to all guests), 2) Make some sort of comfort-food dish (for feel good vibes throughout the party), and 3) Make something with chocolate (no explanation needed).

The recipes I have here are not traditional game food – they’re a teensy bit more sophisticated than buffalo chicken wings and chili. They’re also not traditional awards show food – there’s no champagne or glitzy presentation necessary. But they are all simple to make and will make your guests happy.

Recipes for Your Super Bowl or Oscars Viewing Party:

garlic cheese herb pizza

Garlic and Cheese Flatbread with Herbs – this is essentially pizza, but in my opinion, it’s better than pizza. Why? Because of the flaky, buttery, puff pastry crust. I made this with two kinds of cheese (mozzarella and parmesan) but you can load it up however way you want. The herbs not only add flavor and a nice bright pop of green, but they also add instant freshness.

mustard roasted potatoes and sausages

Dijon Roasted Sausages and Baby Potatoes – I love mini versions of my favorite food, and pairing baby sausages with baby potatoes is too hard to resist. Mini smoked sausages are roasted with fingerling potatoes, dijon mustard, garlic, and rosemary. It’s meat and potatoes at its cutest (and best finger food adaptation).

goat cheese and hot pepper jelly bruschetta

Goat Cheese and Avocado Bruschetta with Hot Pepper Jelly – I first made this recipe in 2013, when Beyonce performed for the Superbowl, and I had a grand time singing “I don’t think you’re ready for this (hot pepper) jelly.” But we are all ready for this jelly, because hot pepper jelly really elevates this simple appetizer of toast, mashed avocado, and goat cheese. Sounds fancy, looks fancy, but a cinch to make. I’m looking forward to eating this while watching Queen B perform at the halftime show again this year.

smoked gouda and pumpkin mac and cheese

Smoked Gouda and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese – when I say comfort food, I mean comfort food. This is a pan of of cheesy, smokey, rich-tasting indulgence. Pumpkin puree and Green yogurt add some nutritional value, but the real stars of this dish are the smoked gouda cheese, and the crumbles of fried sage on top. It’s my favorite recipe for mac and cheese.

roasted garbanzos

Sweet Roasted Chickpeas – I love garbanzos, particularly in sweeter preparations. Here, roasted chickpeas became crunchy little nuggets with a tantalizing glaze, as the brown sugar caramelized beautifully and the maple syrup added more depth and a little stickiness that made them more fun to eat (because admit it, sticky food is fun food, right?). They are very much like roasted nuts but with a little less less fat, a little more protein.

nutella muddy buddies

Nutella Almond Butter Muddy Buddies these are addicting little bites of cereal coated in almond butter and Nutella, then tossed with confectioners sugar. They are super poppable (as in easy to pop in your mouth) and fun! Muddy buddies are also called puppy chow, monkey munch, or sweet minglers.

dulce de leche brownies with smoked sea salt

Salted Dulce de Leche Brownies – I can’t have a party without a chocolate dessert! These brownies are one of my best creations. I made my favorite fudgy brownies, dark and intense, dolloped spoonfulls of dulce de leche on top before baking, then finished with sprinkles of flaky smoked sea salt. Each bite of dark chocolate brownie, creamy dulce de leche, and crunchy salt was magnificent.

What are your go-to party foods? And are you more excited for the Super Bowl or the Oscars? I’m going with Oscars…


16 Responses to “Hosting a Party? Make These Crowd-Pleasing Recipes”