I am a big fan of hosting smarter not harder! These 5 Make- Ahead Serve Yourself game day ideas are some of my best tricks in the book. I love cooking, hosting, serving but I also enjoy actually sitting down to watch the game instead of hovering over my guests.
If you are like me and want to actually sit down and enjoy your company, try one of the following ideas next time you invite over a ton of people. They are great because you can make or purchase as much of it as you want and really let people decide what they want to eat.
Disclaimer: Know your audience. If your friends are mostly health- conscious, they might not be impressed with your nacho bar. In the same breath, if I were to invite over my husband’s fellow offensive line, they are going to need way more than just a baked potato bar!
1.A Chili Bar
Perfect if you are expecting chilly weather! (See what I did there?) You could try one of my chili recipes or one of your favorites! Don’t forget the chips or crackers, shredded cheese, diced red onion, sour cream, sliced jalapeños, avocado, scallions, and make sure you have some big bowls and plenty of spoons.
If you are expecting a large crowd maybe make a vegetarian chili as well as a more traditional meat filled one!
2. Nacho Bar
Here are some tips on how to lay out the ULTIMATE Nacho Spread.
- Offer more than 1 type of chips! Put out the traditional tortilla chips but also consider Doritos, Fritos, or pita chips. You could also put out individual bags of chips, cut off the top of the bag, and you have portable, “Walking Nachos”.
- Make sure to put out at least 2 different types of meat (Try my chipotle chicken, barbacoa beef, ground taco meat, chorizo, or cilantro lime grilled chicken)
- Fresh pico de gallo, jalapeños, diced onion, a couple different salsas, guacamole, bbq sauce (Try Head Country, my favorite!), sour cream or make this easy lime crema.
- Don’t forget the cheese sauce! Keep it warm in a small slow cooker. You can do the traditional Velveeta + Rotel or you could try my homemade queso (without Velveeta!)
Feeling Adventurous? try a Pita Nacho:
Use grilled chicken, taziki, pita chips, olives, tomato, onion, and cucumber salad to make a unique yet tasty nacho.
If you are looking for something extra delicious, check out the recipe for these BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Nachos I did for Head Country BBQ!
3. Burger Bar
This one is ideal if you will be cranking up the grill!
- Burgers are perfect if you are worried about dietary differences.
- You can make traditional beef burgers, turkey burgers, my greek chicken burgers, plain ol’ grilled chicken, or even black bean burgers.
- Have large delicious buns and butter lettuce leaves for the more healthy.
- Offer a couple types of cheese, bacon, pickles, jalapeños, and for something interesting, consider roasting some green chilis!
- Make sure to have all the condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayo, bbq sauce, guacamole, and maybe even a chipotle mayo.
A sandwich platter is easily elevated with good sauces! A sandwich platter can be picked up at your local grocery store.
- Consider adding some interesting meats. Maybe get some cajun turkey from the deli, or some delicious roast beef and fun cheeses. Just ask the deli for some recommendations.
- When it comes to sauces and spreads, splurge for a good mustard, mayo, ketchup and look for cool sandwich spreads usually stocked right by the deli counter.
- Pick up bread from the bakery and try some of the fresh sandwich rolls that are usually available as well.
- If you want a hot sandwich option, consider my Italian beef or my bbq pulled pork.
- Don’t forget the fresh shredded lettuce, juicy tomatoes, pickles, onions, and some fire roasted peppers (usually found in a jar) would be a great addition.
5. Taco Bar
This might be my favorite: the TRUSTY Taco bar. This is well loved by Jeff and his teammates when we have dinner together! I put out several different meat options and all the fixings wth a big pot of beans and a side of rice.
- This is easy to make ahead; keep things warm in slow cookers.
- Barbacoa, Chipotle Chicken, Chicken Al Pastor, crispy carnitas, chorizo, grilled chicken, salsa chicken, or some roasted veggies for vegetarian tacos.
- Don’t forget the corn tortillas, flour tortillas, crispy shells, lettuce cups, and maybe look for jicama taco shells for your guests to try.
- Put out an array of salsas, mild/ hot sauce, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheeses, diced tomatoes and onions and even sautéed fajita veggies.