Covering the Spread: Score big on Super Bowl Sunday with game-changing party ideas
by Kristen Bonner
Special to The Star
Jan 29, 2014 | 8719 views |  0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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With the 2013-2014 football season ticking to a close, the country is gearing up for the final showdown: Super Bowl XLVIII. Putting all native-team loyalties and preferences aside for a few hours, Super Bowl parties give football fanatics of all kind the opportunity to come together and watch the two best teams in the country fight for the title of Super Bowl champions.

The three ingredients to throwing a super Super Bowl party are friends, football and, of course, a fabulous spread. While you may not be able to predict the outcome of the game — or the shenanigans of guests who’ve had one drink too many — taking a few pages from the playbook of local caterers Mike and Tina Alexander should ensure a party that’s a touchdown with any fan.

The husband-and-wife team opened the doors of Alexander’s the Great Events in 1999 after planning, decorating and catering their dream wedding entirely on their own. The Oxford business offers complete catering and decorating services for weddings, proms, fundraisers, corporate events and personal parties.

The way Alexander’s kicks off its “feast-ivities” is with a unique appetizer like their popular Grits and Greens. Should you test your culinary skills at home with this spicy concoction of grits and collard greens, it can be eaten as a dip or “just like regular grits,” said Mike Alexander. “You just eat them.”

Another hot item to try at home is Alexander’s Hot Spinach Dip.

“We do ours a lot different from everyone else,” the caterer said. “One difference is the three types of cheese and the jalapeño peppers we add to ours.” Woodgett was generous enough to share this recipe with us as well.

While the outcome of the game is likely to leave a bad taste in half of your guests’ mouths, you can sweeten it with a delectable second-half dessert bar. Alexander’s signature Chocolate Station features a spread of mini s’mores, peanut butter balls, red velvet balls, chocolate pretzels and mini brownie bites, all covered in chocolate, each “hand-dipped in homemade chocolate,” he explained.

After tackling the party menu, remember to think about game-day decorations. Whether lavish or low-key, team themes and football decor of any sort can add some spirit to the gathering.

What fan hasn’t dreamed of feasting on the 50-yard line? Alexander suggests covering a long table with green AstroTurf, which he says can be picked up from most building supply stores.

"Then create white lines using strips of white duct tape giving the appearance of a football field,” he said. To top off the fantasy field facade,”always have a few footballs laying out amongst your food display."

For party planners on a tight budget, Alexander suggested recreating a trademark of football stadiums across the country.

"Set up a mini concession stand,” he said. "Serve popcorn, hotdogs, nachos and Cokes." All the game-day staples that will make guests feel like they’re right there in the stands.

While the friends and football pretty much takes care of themselves, it’s the food and fun that earn hosts a place in the Super Bowl Party Hall of Fame.

ALEXANDER’S HOT SPINACH DIP
2 (16 ounce) bags chopped spinach
3 packages Knorrs vegetable soup mix
16 ounces sour cream
2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 ½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese
1 cup sliced jalapeño peppers, drained

Mix all ingredients in a 3-quart casserole dish. Bake in the oven at 350 F for 30-45 minutes. Makes about 20 servings.

GRITS AND GREENS
2 (24 ounce) boxes quick grits
2 cans Chili Mix Rotel, undrained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sliced jalapeño peppers, drained
1 (16 ounce) can collard greens, undrained

Cook the grits as directed on the package, seasoning with butter and salt to taste. After grits are fully cooked, mix in the Rotel. Then mix collard greens, cheddar cheese and jalapeño peppers in a 3-quart pan. To finish, pour the grits and Rotel mixture into the pan and stir. Makes about 20 servings.

— Rhonda Woodgett, kitchen manager at Alexander's the Great Events
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