While you’re gearing up for the big game, you’re probably either planning some sort of party, or attending one. It’s a great day to show off your new gear, or maybe your cooking skills. While it’s almost sure to be an awesome night, win or lose, it’s almost also sure to be a strenuous night. In fact, why haven’t they made the Monday after a national holiday yet?

As we prepare to cheer on our team, we put together some budget-friendly food ideas so you can impress your party guests! Plus, they’re simple and will surely make you the spotlight of the night.

These cake pops are quick and easy, and will satisfy any sweet tooth. Yep, we’re going with dessert first!

  • Grab your favorite box of cake mix, jar of frosting & red/yellow melting chocolate from the grocery store.
  • Prepare the cake mix as to the instructions on the box.
  • Let the cake cool. Crumble the cake in a mixing bowl and mix-in the jar of frosting.
  • Form into balls on a lollipop stick or skewer.
  • Freeze the balls.
  • Melt your chocolate and coat the frozen cake balls. Let them sit until chocolate firms-up.
  • Decorate to your taste.
football themed cake pops
One Central National Bank team member made Kansas City Chiefs themed cake pops for a recent game.

Best of all? These are fancy without breaking the budget on a store-purchased dessert.

Grocery costs are on the rise, and I bet only the ritziest parties will be serving deviled eggs. If you’re on a budget give one of the following main courses a try.

Taco Bar – If you need instructions for making tacos, you probably shouldn’t be responsible for food at your party.  Just kidding!  But seriously…

  • The best thing about a taco bar is that it can be as budget friendly as you need it to be. Simply leave out a topping to cut costs.
  • Need a new, unique recipe? Check out our blog with National Taco Day recipes (https://blog.centralnational.com/2017/10/taco-recipes/)

BBQ Sausages – or as we call them in the Midwest, Lil’ Smokies

  • Lil Smokies are found in the same area of the grocery store as hot dogs.
  • Open the package and dump in the crockpot.
  • Add your favorite BBQ Sauce – I recommend Head Country Apple Habanero. It’s not as spicy as it sounds!

What’s easier, or less expensive, than these? If you don’t want to spring for the miniature dogs just buy the discount full-size version and slice them up!

Queso – Not that weird grain. You remember the commercial; “its queeno” – Cheese Dip

  • One block of Velveeta, processed cheese. Or any foil-wrapped, in a cardboard box not-real-dairy goodness.
  • 1 can of spicy Rotelle & 1 can of mild Rotelle. I’m sure there’s a generic version of this as well, but who knows what you call it!
  • 1lb of ground beef – or my favorite is mild sausage.
  • Dump it all in a crockpot and let it work.

Do a little price-checking if you’re on a budget. Let us know if the sausage or the beef is cheaper this season!

And now, for those of you that are pro, sophisticated chefs who went to the School of the Food Network, here are some ideas to truly impress at your hosted party. Pull the cover off of that smoker or outdoor griddle that’s been hibernating for the last few months. Make sure you have wood pellets or propane because we all know you set it off to the side last year when the season ended and they’re half empty!

Jalapeno Poppers – Again, not as spicy as you think

  • Cut jalapenos in half length-wise & pull the seeds and membrane out.
  • Mix cream cheese, shredded cheddar & season salt.
  • Fill the cut jalapenos with the cheese mixture.
  • Wrap each jalapeno half with a slice of bacon
  • Cook in the smoker on 250 degrees until bacon is cooked

If you’re a gardener, or just really love these you may even have pre-assembled jalapeno poppers in the freezer from last summer. These are a really easy item to prep ahead and freeze in a bag. Just assemble, flash-freeze on a cookie sheet and then toss into a bag for longer-term storage, then pull out a few as needed and pop into the oven or onto the grill.

And, for the lazy folks… Run those jalapenos through a food processor or chop them up. Then, stir them into an 8 oz. block of softened cream cheese. Add 8 oz. of sour cream, a packet of ranch dip seasoning, ½ c. of bacon bits and mix well. Then, add the delicious mixture to a baking dish and press flat. Top with cheddar and bake in the oven until cheese starts to brown and is bubbly. Serve with chips!

Pulled Pork – Sandwiches, Nachos, Chili… you name it, it’s good in all of it!

  • One Pork Shoulder aka “Boston Butt.”
  • Rub the Pork generously with your favorite meat rub.
  • Place in smoker on 225 degrees for 6 hours.
  • Wrap the pork completely in foil and replace in the smoker for an additional 6 hours or until internal temperature is 205 degrees.
  • Remove from Smoker and let sit for 30 minutes.  Pork should fall apart with a little shredding.

Cheesesteaks… Now, fellow-Kansans… Be Very Careful Here because the Chiefs are playing the Eagles…

  • Got that outdoor griddle going?  You might have to push the lighter button a few times to wake it up.
  • I like to use Ribeye, but any tender beef cut will work. Cut it as thinly as possible. Doing this while frozen is best.
  • Season the steak to your taste.
  • Chop onions & Green Peppers & Mushrooms.  There is a debate here on what is appropriate for the “Philly” version.  Use what you’d like.
  • Cook the vegetables on the griddle with butter or olive oil
  • Cook the steak on the griddle with garlic butter.
  • Toast hoagie rolls on the griddle
  • Here is the kicker… if you want a true Cheesesteak, I mean the “Philly Original,” you’re asking for a “Whiz-Wit.”  Cheese Whiz!  Yes, the canned stuff.  Squirt it on top!

Drop us your favorite recipes for the big game, or your budget-friendly party ideas in the comments. And once all the food is all prepped, represent for the Red Kingdom!

*Central National Bank is not an official sponsor of the big game or any teams associated with it.

Budget Friendly Party Ideas for the Big Game!
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