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When we bought our nice new house, it became understood that I’d be responsible for hosting all of the parties for my husband and his co-workers. Holidays, gaming, and sports parties included. It’s basketball season and the big tournament is approaching, so I prepared a nicely themed bracket party for the guys with a finger-food spread that was quick for me to make the day of the party.
There’s a Giant Eagle close to our house, but I’d never been to it. They were having a deal on Coke, my husband and a couple of the guys’ drink of choice, though so I picked everything up there to get it out of the way quickly. The Coke was in a big display with mini cans and bottles, nice and easy to find at the end of the aisle.
I started moving my way through the aisles for the rest of our goodies. Aside from time spent waiting for one of the snacks here to “set”, this sort of spread wouldn’t take you more than an hour to set up and serve.
Bracket Party Finger Foods
Loaded Ritz Crackers
Don’t they look fancy? These are super simple to create and the display is so fabulous that I’m going to use it again. The cheeses are pre-sliced packages I picked up in the dairy aisle. I cut each slice into 9 parts. For the outer ring of crackers: top with mozarella cheese, a piece of green pepper and onion, and a bit of Italian sausage. For the inner ring: top with cheddar cheese, a piece of red bell pepper and onion, a slice of jalapeno, and (optionally) a sliced black olive. Arrange on a large plate and set out.
These Thins Were Made For Dippin’
Wheat Thins are such an easy party snack. Get a large plate like these ones that we picked up at the Party Store and pour a box of Wheat Thins into the middle of it to make a cracker mountain. Get a pre-made dip from the deli or make your own and make just enough of a crater in your crackers to stick the dip in the center. For ours, we chose a spicy queso and ale dip from the deli that complimented the Ritz spread.
This is an old standby and helps fill up between the nicer snacks. It’s also good for kids showing up who may not be willing to try the other things. My husband picked out a bag of spicy Doritos to set into the center bowl. Enough chips for several grown men can get expensive though, so I wouldn’t suggest spending too much time and effort here.
Bracket Party Sweets
Basketball Hoop Chocolate Cookies
I promise these are super simple to make. You’ll need sugar cookie dough for a dozen cookies (Homemade or boxed will both work. Mine were boxed this time to save time.), gel icing (3 small tubes), and mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. One bag of Reese’s should be enough to make cookies and snack on while you work.
Roll out your cookie dough to 1/4 inch and cut it into 1 1/2 -2 inch squares. Bake these according to normal directions and set them aside to totally cool before working any more on them. Using the tubes of gel icing, draw a large square border and inside of it, an off-center smaller square to look like the backboard of a basketball hoop.
With the cookies laying flat, attach the unwrapped mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to the two squares like in the picture to create the “net”. Give these about a half hour to set up before serving to avoid the net slipping off. I highly suggest looking at pictures of basketball hoops to decide on exactly how you want to draw each section.
This takes some foresight, but you can create a pan of orange Jell-o in the morning, cut it into squares, and use black icing to do the lines of the “ball” on top. The icing will slide around, so keep your hand very steady as you pipe it on.
These come in so many more flavors now than when we were kids, don’t they? For our spread, I went with a combination of the original OREO Cookies (double-stuffed variety) and mint OREO Cookies. . . mostly so I could have the leftover mint ones afterward. With all the different colors, you may even be able to find your team’s colors to lay out.
I chose the mini cans of Coke, Coke Zero, and Diet Coke along with some half liter bottles for this party. It eliminates the “whose can is this” that comes with a bunch of men not finishing their drink on one sitting and all setting them down on the same coffee table. Everyone can finish one of the smaller cans and get more as they need them. The bottles really came in handy not only for during our snack-a-thon, but also for guests to take with them for the drive home. These were displayed on my favorite leather serving tray in the back of the food spread for easy access.
To see even more ideas for your party, this article and more are listed over at gianteaglemealsmadeeasy.com.
Want To See The Full Display?
I took my camera out during the set-up to shoot a short video for you, my lovely internet friends, to see how it came together on the counter.
This is how we’re celebrating basketball season at our house. I’d love to see yours! As always, you can leave a comment below, or feel free to leave a picture on our Facebook page or tweet it to us at @determineddiary.