This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDaySnackHacks #CollectiveBiasAs a party planner and major foodie, I could spend days (weeks even) to prepare a football spread worthy of the VIP section. But sometimes I actually like to watch the game, and NOT from the kitchen, you know what I mean!? I absolutely love cooking, but with football games on every Sunday (which means parties every Sunday) I was so ready to let my husband take over some of the cooking. Luckily, I made a barbecue chicken baked ziti (look for the full recipe later in the post) the night before, to avoid cooking/mess making and to focus 100% of my attention on a gorgeous football inspired tablescape. I love that Farm Rich snacks are made with the same ingredients I would use, and because you literally heat and serve them, they make game day gatherings easier for me. Between the baked ziti and a freezer full of America’s go-to snacks made by Farm Rich (check out their site for deals/coupons) for the Mr. to whip up, everything was going according to plan. I knew the food would turn out Real-Life Good™ and also be big crowd pleasers, which allowed me to spend more time cheering and less time cooking!
Since I daydream tablescapes and parties, this one was all for me, (aren’t they all though?) The paper fans, the copper lanterns, the foliage, the cute burlap bunting, isn’t football absolutely gorgeous!? There were so many details and finishing touches that I was able to do because of the extra time I had. Let’s go over a few of my favorite ideas from this party and my best party throwing tips.Affordable Football Decor
Decor doesn’t have to be complicated and ridiculously expensive. Look around, shop the house and I bet you’ll surprise yourself with some perfect pieces that can be used to make your party come alive. I had all of the major pieces (baskets, buckets, lanterns, burlap, bakers twine, football and urn) on hand and was able to find faux grass, painted wooden footballs, dowels, felt, copper spray paint and letters all in the craft isle of Walmart to make this spread look brand new. Plan Your Layout
One of the biggest tablescape tips I always share, is to make a mock-up of your layout design. There are lots of ways to do this, You could draw it out or actually start laying out what you have (which is my favorite way) until it looks just right. I’ll also go as far as leaving sticky notes on dishes so I can remember what foods I had in mind for which platter.
Metallic Topped Water Bottles
These little beauties were an experiment gone so right. I simply left on the paper label, twisted the bottle around while I sprayed (towards the cap) until the entire top was covered in copper gloriousness. After they dried, I simply removed the label and stuck them in ice. Ta-Da!
“No-Bake” Football Cookies
I was joking around with guests that these were my “no-bake” cookies, (because I didn’t bake them) I found them at Walmart in the cookie isle. Because they were soft, I was able to cut them with a football shaped cookie cutter and just decorate them with royal icing. You could easily decorate them with whatever kind of chocolate frosting you wanted. Or if you were really ambitious (or ran out of time), you could have a cookie making station for your guests to decorate their own.
Use Your Oven Wisely
Place items that cook at the same temperature (mozzarella sticks and jalapeno peppers for example) together on the same tray, to avoid big breaks in between cooking and serving. By doing it this way, you’re able to serve your snacks all at the same time, instead of having to get up and do the oven rotation thing throughout the game.
Okay, as promised, my barbecue chicken baked ziti recipe made with Farm Rich Barbecue Chicken Bites. These bad boys are restaurant quality and made from all white meat! I love baked ziti because its super easy to make, and you can make it a couple days in advance and heat it up an hour before your shindig. Barbecue Chicken Baked Ziti
- 17 oz box Farm Rich Barbecue Chicken Bites, set aside barbecue sauce packet.
- 16 oz ziti noodles
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion (red or white)
- 1/2 cup bacon crumbles
- 2 tbs Italian seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
Cook the Farm Rich Barbecue Chicken Bites according to the directions on package. While those are cooking, boil ziti until fully cooked, but slightly al dente (firm, right after the white center of the noodle disappears) and drain. In a large saucepan, add olive oil, onion and bacon. Cook until the onions and bacon start to brown, add 1 tbs of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, stir well. Mix the marinara sauce and barbecue sauce in a bowl and add to the onion mixture. Chop the Farm Rich Barbecue Chicken Bites into smaller bite-sized pieces, add to the marinara sauce. Return the drained ziti to a large stock pot and add the marinara sauce mixture and ricotta cheese, mix until combined. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray and pour in the ziti mixture. Top with shredded Italian cheese and drizzle the barbecue sauce packet on the top. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of Italian seasoning on top to garnish.
Tip: You can make this dish in advance and store it in the fridge for up to three days.
When you’re ready to eat it, bake at 350 degrees (until the cheese is bubbly), approximately 25-30 min.Let me just say, this was the EASIEST football watching party I’ve done all season! Head over to your closest Walmart, grab your favorite snacks and let Farm Rich (and your hubby) help you do the cooking. Its the easiest way to serve more hot foods, so you can spend more time cheering for your team, or decorating for your party. Also you can become Super Fans by entering the sweepstakes on their site FarmRich.com for a chance to win $100 Gift Card to Walmart and 1 Year Free of Farm Rich products. For more football inspired recipes and ideas visit the Farm Rich Game Day page.
What is your favorite Farm Rich snack(s)?