5 Tips for Planning a Football Menu
The great thing about hosting a football party is that the food doesn't have to be complicated. People like easy-to-eat, snack-able foods while watching the game, and they like to nosh throughout the event. I like to start out the first half serving finger foods for people to snack on, then during halftime you can pull out the main meal and reinvigorate the crowd. Here are some tips to plan a menu that people will enjoy while also allowing you to watch the game and socialize, too.
1. Start out with tasty snack foods when guests arrive. Foods that can be prepared ahead of time, hold up well at room temperature, and don't need to be replenished often work best, like chips and dip.
2. It's not really a football party if there isn't some kind of bar food available, such as chicken wings or poppers. The great thing is they can be prepared earlier in the day, and then warmed up on a sheet pan as the party gets underway and easily transferred to a serving dish in the matter of minutes. And they are still just as delicious once they cool to room temperature.
3. I love a good chili bar for home football parties. Chili can be made a day or two before and easily kept warm on the stove during the party. Make two varieties — one meat and one vegetarian option is perfect for pleasing all tastes. Then, prepare toppings and put these in small bowls in the fridge before the party. When it's time to serve the chili, the toppings can easily be unwrapped and set on the counter for guests to serve themselves. Sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped onions, and fresh cilantro are just some of the tasty toppings that will help make a meal. The same idea can be applied to taco bars, or a sandwich bar with pulled pork, or sloppy joes.
4. Make a few sides that can be made the day before, then stored in serving bowls in the fridge until it's time to eat, like creamy potato salad, bowtie pasta salad, or broccoli salad.
5. Always remember to make a healthy dish. Your guests will appreciate having the option to eat lighter foods. Vegetable dishes, a fresh salad with dressing on the side, or simple poached shrimp (if the budget allows) will help round out the meal.
Emily Wilson, Cooking Planit
Click here for the Citrus Poach Shrimp Recipe
Click here for the Spicy Black Bean and Corn Salsa Recipe
Click here for the Chipotle Cheddar Cream Cheese Poppers Recipe
4 Steps to Planning a Football Party Menu #CVSGameTime #GoldEmblem
The Superbowl is right around the corner, and people everywhere are prepping their homes for football parties. Friends and family will gather around the TV to watch the big game. If you are the host of one of these football parties, you want to make sure that friends and family members of all ages have a great time and get plenty to eat. We are planning our own football party with a little help from CVS/pharmacy and their Gold Emblem line of snacks. With these quality snack items and a few extra tips, I know our party will be a huge hit!
1. Consider Allergies and Dietary Restrictions
One of the most important things you can do to make sure everyone has fun when planning a football party is to consider everyone’s allergies or dietary restrictions. It would be awful to host a party and have a guest no be able to enjoy any of the food items because of these restrictions. Ask guests ahead of time so that you know what food to avoid.
2. Go with Finger Foods
The easiest way to streamline your food items at a football party and reduce the stress on yourself, is to go with finger foods. Not only does it make serving easy, but you also do not have the trouble of washing utensils or the expense of buying disposable ones. Plus, snack foods that you can just pick up and eat are fun and part of the traditional football party line-up.
3. Have a Variety of Food Items
Not everyone likes the same thing. Choosing a variety of food items for guests of all ages will ensure that everyone has a great time and gets plenty to eat. The Gold Emblem line of snacks from CVS/pharmacy is so versatile. They have a wide range of items from flavored nuts to veggie chips, popcorn, cookies, trail mix and even beef jerky. The Gold Emblem snacks are high quality and you can pick up everything else you need for the party while you are at CVS as well.
4. Create a Unique Centerpiece
You can make life a lot easier when planning a football party menu by just going with bowls of snacks if you have one unique centerpiece item. This can be decorations as well, but it’s so much better when you can make a statement and set the tone of the party with a cool football themed food item. For our party, we are creating a cheese and cracker plate in the shape of a football, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
Most endurance athlete diets focus heavily on carbohydrates, which are the primary provider of energy for the body. Nutrition Today published an expert panel review in 2018, noting that carbohydrates, despite recent dietary trends away from them, are still indispensable as an energy source for high-intensity performance.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2015-2020 recommends that you get between 45 and 65 percent of your calories from carbohydrates. Athletes should aim for the higher end of this range.
Rice, potatoes and pasta, for example, are valuable parts of an athlete meal plan. Regularly select high-quality carbohydrates so that you not only get energy, but important nutrition and fiber. Whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, as well as vegetables, are good carbohydrate options for an athlete diet plan.
10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend
When I was a teen, my family became obsessed with camping trips. We would go with a group of families and spend the weekend hiking, canoeing, playing sports and card games, and cooking hearty food. I loved every minute of it. A a bonus, I got to spend three days with my major crush (now my husband).
This was the age I became obsessed with cooking. So of course I wanted to take charge of the food while we were camping. I was able to hone my planning skills by figuring out the meals for the weekend (with the help of my sisters). Things didn&rsquot always go as planned&mdashonce, we left our cooler at home!&mdashbut over the years I learned a few tricks to avoid some of those pitfalls.
Here are my top 10 tips for making a game plan so your cooking-while-camping goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Assess if this is a relaxed camping trip or one where you&rsquore always on the go.
If the whole point of your camping trip is to sit around the campfire and relax, it&rsquos okay to plan some more-involved meals. But if your entire trip centers around hiking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, etc., you&rsquoll want to choose easier meals.
2. Consider the weather.
If it&rsquos going to be hot, choose cold meals like sandwiches, salads, etc. If it gets chilly in the evening, hot meals are very welcome.
3. Plan meals that don&rsquot spoil quickly.
Unless you have a camper with a working refrigerator, you need to plan meals that won&rsquot spoil in the cooler. Things like pasta with canned sauce, soups, and guacamole (covered in lime juice so it doesn&rsquot brown), will keep pretty well. Choose veggies like carrots and celery that hold up well. Make salads that don&rsquot wilt (such as cucumber salad vs. a greens salad).
4. Plan to eat the more perishable meals first.
Along those same lines, when you plan when to eat which meals on what days, make sure you eat the more perishable items first. For example, if you&rsquore going to have marinated chicken, make sure to eat that the first day. Things like pre-cooked pasta with canned tomato sauce will keep for quite a bit longer, so plan to eat that on the last day.
Bonus tip: Pack your cooler with the more perishable foods directly on the ice. This will (obviously) keep those things colder so they won&rsquot spoil as quickly.
5. Plan some meals to cook over the fire, some to grab-and-go.
I love cooking over the fire. There&rsquos something very satisfying about building the fire from scratch and then cooking your food over it. It makes you feel very accomplished. But cooking over the fire takes a lot of time and work. If you plan every single meal to be cooked this way, you might wear yourself out. Plus, if any children are relying on you for sustenance, they will become very impatient if the meal takes longer to cook than planned.
6. Choose a protein that cooks quickly.
If you do decide to go ahead and cook every single meal over the fire, make sure to choose meats that will cook quickly. Things like thin-sliced steaks, shrimp, and pre-cooked meats will cut down on cooking time. It can take quite a while to cook a thick, juicy pork chop all the way through.
7. Plan meals that are simple and where you can do the bulk of cooking ahead of time.
Remember: everything takes longer and is more difficult when cooking outdoors. Something that would be easy at home can be difficult while camping. A simple task like buttering bread can become an ordeal when you&rsquore cooking in the wind/rain/heat/mosquitoes. If a meal is involved and requires all of the work to be done last-minute, consider choosing an easier option.
8. Prep as many ingredients as possible.
Along those same lines, do as much work at home as you can. Look at your recipes and assess what can be done ahead of time. Wash and cut your veggies, pre-make dishes that won&rsquot spoil, cook any pasta or rice, etc. It may seem like a lot to do, but you&rsquoll be so happy when the bulk of your cooking work is done after unpacking, pitching a tent, gathering firewood, and building a fire.
9. Don&rsquot forget all of the cooking equipment!
It&rsquos easy to forget all of the little tools you need to cook each meal. Look over your recipes and write down every single little thing you&rsquoll need to make it. Mixing bowls, tongs, knives, and whisks are easy to forget. It has happened to me where we get to the campsite and I realize that I have no way to prepare a certain dish.
Garbage bags, extra storage containers/ziplock bags for leftovers, hot pads, dish rags, dish towels, dish soap, and a tub for washing dishes are all handy. Don&rsquot forget your silverware, napkins, plates, bowls, and cups!
10. Plan for in-between-meal snacks.
Something about being in the great outdoors makes you get hungry more quickly. Especially if it&rsquos a chilly weekend. Make sure to bring along easy snacks for when the munchies strike. I&rsquove planned a camping menu without snacks before, and it just didn&rsquot cut it.
So those are my top 10 tips for planning out your meals for a camping weekend. If you have any tips of your own, make sure to leave them in the comments!
60 Best Super Bowl Recipes to Feed Your Hungry Football Crew
If you're a football-loving family like the Drummonds, then Super Bowl Sunday is probably a big deal in your house, regardless of which teams are playing. The best part about this day is that anyone can get in on the fun, football fan or not. There are commercials and halftime shows to keep you interested, and of course, tons of delicious Super Bowl recipes to keep you full. Between delicious Super Bowl snacks and appetizers, main courses, Super Bowl drinks, and more, the possibilities are endless. Every year, Ree Drummond can't wait for the big game. "Part of this is because I love a good football game&hellipand part of it is that I love Super Bowl food," she says. Who can blame her?!
Ahead, you'll find tons of dip recipes, bite-sized snacks, and main dishes to keep you satisfied. Your kids will love the variety of sliders, including Buffalo chicken and mini meatball subs. There are also a few ideas for dinner to keep your football crew full, with lots of comfort food recipes like a big pot of chili and shredded beef sandwiches. And when you're done, it's time for fun Super Bowl desserts! One thing's for sure: This year's Super Bowl menu will be like no other, thanks to these delicious, easy recipes. (And if you're looking to get a little crafty, try your hand at this football-shaped snack board!)
Here are a few tips and strategies for creating a balanced menu for your events:
1) Learn details about who is attending your event
Perhaps you are hosting an event for a specific demographic. In this situation, you may find certain groups have “common” menu preferences – although you should never completely generalize, of course.
- Older groups of attendees may prefer a milder menu.
- Attendees concerned about health may prefer more seafood and vegetable options.
- Younger or middle-aged attendees may prefer spicier, more adventurous meals.
2) Provide an assortment for each menu option
Having different choices should help ensure each guest finds something he or she enjoys.
- Offer at least 3 entrees (1 meat, 1 poultry, and 1 vegetarian)
- Serve various sides (vegetables and/or fruits, salad(s), healthy grains, less-than-healthy “comfort” foods)
- Provide at least 2 dessert choices (1 decadent, 1 “healthy”)
3) Consider creating a balanced menu with contrasts
Add balance to your menu by choosing foods with variant tastes, temperatures and textures.
- Offer hot kebabs alongside room-temperature dips
- Set cheese straws next to low-fat poached shrimp
- Place spicy quesadillas beside a delicate crab salad
4) Provide menu alternatives which accommodate special dietary needs
We covered the topic of how event planners can work with caterers to accommodate special dietary needs in one of our recent posts from January, 2015. Providing menu items for those attendees who have food restrictions helps make them feel appreciated and safe.
Consider the following special dietary needs and restrictions when creating a balanced menu for your event:
- Food allergies
- Gluten sensitivity
- Religion and/or ethnicity
5) Customize your menu with seasonal and/or geographical options
Here in Portland, we are lucky to have an abundance of fresh, locally-sourced foods and ingredients. This makes creating a balanced menu a breeze compared to some places.
However, regardless of where you live, you can still create a balanced menu which is sure to please your guests. You can do this by preparing various recipes made from ingredients which are in season, or by serving assorted dishes which are popular in your geographical area.
Are you planning an event in the Portland-Metro area? We would love to help you with any of your catering needs. Please contact us online or give us a call at (503) 222-4553 anytime.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 (8 ounce) jar prepared salsa
- 1 (1 pound) loaf processed cheese food, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Place the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring to crumble, until no longer pink. Drain off grease.
Spread the cream cheese in an even layer in the bottom of a 9 inch square baking dish. Spread a layer of salsa over the cream cheese, then cover with a layer of ground beef. Top with slices of processed cheese and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until heated through. Serve hot.
5:2 diet: The basics
It’s very simple: for five days a week you don’t calorie count, then for two days a week you cut down your calories to 800 a day. Your Fast Days can be consecutive or you may prefer to split them – whatever works for you. You will get much more benefit out of intermittent fasting if you switch to a low carbohydrate, Mediterranean-style diet both on the days when you are fasting and when you are not. That means more olive oil and nuts, as well as plenty of eggs, full-fat yoghurt, oily fish and vegetables. Make sure you fill up on protein and veg on your fasting days. Protein is very satiating and you can eat a lot of vegetables for very few calories.
On your 800 cal fast days
Follow the Mediterranean principles outlined below, restricting your Fast Day calories to 800, whether by using the recipes in this week’s pullout or taking them as inspiration to create your own. For some people this will mean just having two meals a day for others, it could be three smaller ones.
The Mediterranean way
Cut right down on sugar, sugary treats, drinks and desserts. That includes most breakfast cereals, which are usually full of sugar, as well as most commercial smoothies. Minimise or avoid starchy carbs – meaning the white stuff: bread, pasta, potatoes and white rice. Switch instead to whole grains including bulgur (cracked wheat), whole rye, wholegrain barley, wild rice and buckwheat. Brown rice is OK. Legumes such as lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas are healthy and filling, too.
Focus on high-quality protein
Including oily fish, prawns, chicken, turkey, pork, beef and eggs (and vegetable sources including soya, edamame beans, Quorn and hummus). Limit processed meats such as bacon and salami to no more than a couple of times a week.
Eat more healthy fats and oils
As well as oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), include more olive oil on salads and vegetables. Use olive, rapeseed or coconut oil for cooking.
For spreading and seasoning and avoid margarine. Full-fat yoghurt is good and cheese in moderation is fine.
Eat plenty of different-coloured veg
Ensuring a wide variety from dark leafy greens to purple beetroot and bright red and yellow peppers. Add flavourings such as lemon, butter, garlic and chilli. A splash of olive oil on your veg improves the absorption of vitamins.
Avoid too many sweet fruits
Berries, apples and pears are fine, but limit tropical fruits such as mango, melon and pineapple. Go easy on the bananas.
Drink plenty of fluid
If you don’t drink enough fluids then you may well develop headaches and constipation when fasting. How much is ‘enough’? The magic figure that is often quoted is 2 litres or 8 cups a day. Tea and coffee count towards this.
Watch the alcohol
A large (175ml) glass of red wine contains about 120 calories. No need to give up entirely, but a couple of days a week without is good for your health as well as your waist.
Your pantry basics
The recipes below couldn’t be simpler. Each contains just five main ingredients, printed in bold coloured type, with only the most basic pantry staples:
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- extra-virgin olive oil
- red or white wine vinegar
- dried mixed herbs
5 Steps To Simple & Easy Dinner Meal Planning
1. Get your calendar.
Download and print a free calendar for the month. Use the pretty ones you'll find in the VIP Subscriber Library (Not a subscriber yet? Sign up here!) or use the monthly calendars in your Flexible Planner like I do.
If you’re comfortable with a calendar program like Google Calendars or iCal, use that, and if you're feeling crafty there here's the simple menu chalkboard I created from a thrifted canvas (it's held up for years and my family still counts on me filling it out each week!).
2. Look at your family’s activity calendar.
Note the nights you’ll be coming in late so you can plan to have quick meals or slow cooker meals on those nights. Add any kids sports or activities that happen at the dinner hour so you can plan take-along meals. Obviously, note the nights you won’t be eating at home, too!
3. Plan with what you have.
Using a paper list or a quick mental run-down - whatever works for you - look in the freezer for items to use up, including meats and vegetables.
Check the pantry, too, making a note of staples you might need to pick up (pasta, etc.). To really help minimize waste, check all the nooks and crannies of your fridge and plan meals to use up all the vegetables and any leftovers (soups and frittatas are great for this!)
4. Assign a certain theme or ingredient to each day.
This is optional, but it really helps your meal planning go quicker- especially in the beginning when you’re still figuring out this whole planning thing!
You don’t have to always plan exactly to the theme, but it can serve as a starting point for finding a meal. It’s also a really good way to stick to a goal you have for your family like eating a meatless meal or adding more beans or fish to your diet.
-Here’s an example of themed menu planning:
Monday– Meatless Monday
Tuesday– International (i.e., tacos or curry)
Saturday– Pizza night (or alternate with Pizza and Burgers, like we do)
Sunday– Free/On Your Own (leftovers, quick meal of pasta, or eat out- in other words, flexible!)
5. Start filling in each day with meals.
My biggest tip: start with things that your family likes.
If it helps, make a list of “family favorite meals” and keep it with your menu planning things, adding to it as you find new meals.
Another way to record what your family likes and what you’ve served is to keep all your past menus in a binder (this is what I do). After awhile, you’ll have a great resource that’s easy to look through for ideas. It also aids in cooking seasonally, as you’ve got a record of what you ate for every month of the year.
Plan for any new recipes as well, but just 1 or 2 each week. I find it takes more time to plan with new recipes, so I plug in only a few and if it’s a busy time, there may not be any new items on our menu that week.
That’s it! Once you get your system down, it should only takes about 10 minutes to plan a week’s worth of dinners.
It may take longer if there are some new recipes you want to try or have a lot of ingredients to use up, but that’s fine occasionally- and actually one of the good reasons to have a plan!
I've linked all our past monthly menus below to help with inspiration, ideas- each includes recipe links to our family's tried-and-true meals.
They are separated by season because that's our goal here - that and using our preserved foods. It's also because that's the way to spend less- by planning around what's in season and least expensive.
Seasonal Dinner Menu Ideas by Month:
What are the meal planning tips that have helped you?
Simple Real Food Dinner Menus + Shopping Lists
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5 Quick and Healthy Meals without Using the Stove
Turning on your stove is not a requirement for delicious, healthy meals at home. Whether it is the last days of summer or you are awaiting the first days of spring, use a few key kitchen gadgets to save time and keep things cool in the kitchen. Also consider cooking multiple servings that can be used throughout the week.
Try using precooked ingredients, such as rotisserie chicken, canned beans (first, drain and rinse the beans to reduce sodium) and tomatoes, and canned chicken and tuna to create quick meals in minutes. Try these five kid-pleasing meals without using your stove.
Black Bean Salad
Mix up a Mexican-style meatless meal by tossing canned (drained and rinsed) black beans with fresh, frozen or canned corn, a tomato, bell pepper and red onion. Add avocado, jicama or diced mango for more adventurous eaters. Toss with lime juice and olive oil, and serve over crunchy romaine lettuce with whole-grain tortilla chips.
Slow Cooker Double-Duty Roast
Prepare your favorite beef or pork roast in a slow cooker, and serve half for dinner. Reserve the remaining roast to use as a filling for tacos or sandwiches later in the week. Try shredded pork tacos with salsa made with fresh pineapple, red bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice. Toss shredded beef with barbecue sauce, and serve on toasted whole-grain hamburger buns with a fresh green salad or crunchy coleslaw.
Chicken Salad Sliders
Mix together chopped rotisserie chicken, toasted chopped pecans or walnuts, quartered seedless grapes, light mayonnaise, chopped tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on whole-grain slider buns, dinner rolls or in pita pockets.
Turkey and Apple Waffle Sandwiches
Replace bread with whole-grain frozen waffles for a new spin on sandwich night. Prepare the waffles according to the package directions using a toaster. Combine light mayonnaise, maple syrup and Dijon mustard, and spread over the waffles. Layer with deli turkey, sliced Granny Smith apple and spring mix salad greens.
Microwave Stuffed Potatoes
Use a microwave for easy stuffed potatoes. Prick medium russet or sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high power for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Split the potatoes and scoop out some of the flesh. Add your favorite seasoning to the scooped out potato flesh, and spoon back into the potato shells. Try topping baked potatoes with guacamole, chopped tomato and cilantro, or stuff sweet potatoes with broccoli, walnuts and dried cranberries.
Jessica Cox, RD, is a culinary nutritionist and chef based in Birmingham, Ala.