5 Game Time Party Tips

Friday, January 12, 2018

This shopper has been compensated by SheSpeaks, Inc., The Coca-Cola Company and Mondelez International group. All opinions are mine alone.

Game time is a big deal in our house. We love hosting football parties with friends and family and sharing our favorite game time snacks and game-watching traditions.

Our family is pulled in so many directions during the week that we love coming together on the weekends for game time. Whether we watch college or professional football, it doesn't make a difference. What matters is our special time together and making the most of it. In order to make the most of it, here are 5 game time party tips that ensure that you stay organized and on task and that you'll have just as much fun (maybe more!) than your guests.

1. Prepare Quick and Easy Foods
Whether you are hosting or attending game time festivities, quick and easy snacks are a must. For our special game day celebrations, we want the food to be effortless and easy. Quick and easy snacks allow you to enjoy your own party. When I am creating the menu for the party, I stick with foods that are finger friendly or are small bites. When you are watching a game and mingling, you don't want to have to think about sitting down to eat comfortably.

These mini macaroni and cheese bites with a crunchy Ritz Crackers topping are the perfect complement to the obligatory Buffalo wings. They are super simple to make and are individually served for easier eating. Definitely not mad about that!

4 oz. elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 TBS. + 2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
2-1/4 cups milk
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

6 TBS. butter, melted
1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers (from 13.7 oz. box)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place paper liners in a cupcake pan.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
4. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, mustard, and salt until combined.
5. Gradually whisk in the milk and heat until it thickens and slightly boils, being sure to continually whisk it.
6. Turn heat to low and add the cheese. Stir until completely melted.
7. Remove from heat and add the pasta to the cheese mixture. Stir to combine.
8. Place the Ritz Crackers into a mixing bowl. Using either your hands or a mallet, crush the crackers until they are coarse crumbs. Add the melted butter and combine well.
9. Spoon the macaroni mixture into the paper cupcake liners. Sprinkle Ritz Crackers topping mixture on the pasta. Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
*Note: For a crusty topping, broil for 30 seconds after baking.

2. Designate a Non-Game Area
Not everyone who will be in attendance will want to watch the game. Have an area where those who aren't interested in the game can socialize or perhaps watch something else on TV. I always use our dining room for this. It's close enough to our family room that no one feels isolated yet it's separate enough from where the game is that you don't feel involved in the game.

3. Keep Beverages In An Easy To Access Area
Although the food generally takes center stage, beverages follow with a close second. Don't keep them out of sight and hard to find. Set up an area that's easy to get to (i.e., not in a deep corner of a remote room in your home) and have an ice bucket and plenty of glasses at the ready. Offer an array of soda such as Coca-Cola. It's a favorite in our house, and no game is complete without it. Tip: if it's cold outside, consider placing drinks in a cooler on the porch or deck.

4. Make It Easy For Guests To Clean Up After Themselves
Easy peasy is the name of this game! At the end of the night (and even during the party), you don't want to spend all your time cleaning up after your guests. Use paper/plastic plates, cups, and cutlery for easy cleanup. Strategically place trash bins so that are easy to find but aren't in the middle of your eating area. This way everyone can toss their trash at their convenience, and you merely have to take a trash bag outside at the end of the night.

5. Save Dessert For Last!
I'm all about saving the best for last, and in my book, that's dessert. Don't leave your guests hanging by failing to serve dessert. Again, finger foods are best here since many guests will be standing and chatting or watching the game.

These banana bites are so delicious (you'll never be able to stop at just one!) and are fun and easy to make. Start with Ritz Crackers as the base and you can build up from there. I like to use a hazelnut spread, banana, whipped cream, and top it off with a raspberry. But anything works here once you have the Ritz Crackers in place.

Ritz Crackers and Coca-Cola make it tasty and easy to enjoy convenient snacks at game time. For your game day festivities, head to Walmart to for all your shopping needs, and be sure to pick up Ritz Crackers and Coca-Cola for your guests to enjoy.

Win a #TogetherForGameTime Party Pack that includes a $40 Walmart Gift Card, two 6-packs of Coca-Cola and two boxes of Original Ritz Crackers. Click HERE to enter.

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