(BPT) - When you hear the phrase "‘tis the season" you might be thinking holidays. But it’s also the season of families and friends gathering together around the big-screen TV to cheer on their favorite college or pro sports teams.
Pro football draws the biggest audience, but don’t discount the basketball and hockey pro and college teams, which could draw a big crowd to the party you’re hosting. If that’s the case, you might need to up your game to earn the rating of No. 1 game-watching party host from family and friends. So keep these tips in mind as you begin planning the next gathering:
* Know your audience’s drink choices - Some people prefer soft drinks, others beer, while some might even want a sports drink. Be sure to have plenty of drink supplies on hand, and plan on everyone needing extra liquids to quench their thirst from yelling and cheering on the favorite team.
* Serve the perfect game-watching foods - Rooting for the team is exhausting work, and the fans at your party are going to need good sustenance to keep going. As the perfect host, you don’t have to spend your entire time in the kitchen and miss out on the game. Try blending together Hungry Jack Hashbrown Potatoes with chili for a dip that can be served warm during the first half, or put into the oven during a commercial in time for the halftime break. Hungry Jack Hashbrowns are ready to use, fully seasoned and cook perfectly crispy every time. They are made of 100 percent Idahoan potatoes and do not require refrigeration. Try them in the following game-day recipe:
Game Day Hashbrown Chili Dip
1 carton (4.2 oz.) Hungry Jack Premium or Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (regular or reduced fat)
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (regular or reduced fat)
1 can (14 oz.) chili
1 cup frozen or canned corn kernels
1 can (10 oz.) Southwest-style diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions
Tortillas or tortilla chips
Hot sauce (optional)
Heat oven to 400 F. Fill hashbrowns carton to fill line with hot tap water. Let stand 12 minutes. Drain any excess water. Combine hashbrowns and cheese in a bowl and set aside. Spread softened cream cheese on the bottom of a 2-quart or 9 by 9-inch casserole dish. Layer chili, corn, tomatoes and green onion over cream cheese. Spread hashbrown mixture over the top of the casserole; spray top of potatoes generously with cooking spray. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with soft tortillas or tortilla chips and hot sauce if desired.
For other ways to use Hungry Jack Hashbrowns, go to www.hungryjackpotatoes.com/recipes.
* The bigger the party the better - There’s a chance all your guests won’t be cheering on the same team or that some of your guests are involved in a fantasy league and want to follow all their players during the day. To keep everyone happy, set up multiple TVs set to different channels to catch all the games happening. Determine ahead of time if it would be better to have the TVs in separate rooms, or all in one room so everyone can scan the screens to catch the action.
* Choice mid-field or mid-court seating - While you’ll have to rely on the TV stations to give your guests the best views of the action on the field or court, you’re responsible for the seating arrangements in your home. Make certain you have enough comfortable seating in good positions in front of the TV(s) so no one misses any of the game play. Consider staggering chair heights, and also keep hard table surfaces handy for guests to lay drinks and food plates.
As you check out your sport team’s schedule, get started planning your game watching party and getting your friends invited for a full day of fun cheering on the favorite team.