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The Times
  • Win big at your Super Bowl party

  • The best Super Bowl parties are planned, but not so heavily that they lose spontaneity.

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  • Are you ready? You have four days.
    The best Super Bowl parties are planned, but not so heavily that they lose spontaneity. All of us have been to a Super Bowl party where the sideshow has run over the purpose for being there — watching the most important football game of the year.
    Still, a few surprise quirks, such as providing yellow referee flags for your guests to use as props during the game, will boost your celebration.
    On the food side, most attendees will expect more than a tray of snacks and appetizers as the game falls over supper time. A few trays of our mini burgers baked barbecue-style are perfect. They may be made ahead and baked at the last minute, just before half time. They’re easily expanded for any size crowd, but make at least two per person. They’re that popular.
    A Word About Drinking
    It's a good idea to:
    - Know who is at the party and their ages.
    - Monitor the drink consumption of your guests.
    - Arrange for a designated driver or a taxi for someone who has consumed too much alcohol.
    Be Selective
    Guests who could care less about the game will be a pain. They’ll talk through the plays and spoil the concentration necessary to enjoy the big show. It’s hard to not invite people, but try to make sure everybody understands the game is serious business, and that it only happens once a year. Provide a space elsewhere for those wanting conversation.
    The Drinks
    Most hosts have settled on BYOB (bring your own bottle). It’s too difficult satisfying various tastes. People who bring their own tend to drink less. Have an ice cooler or two ready in the kitchen to save refrigerator space for food. Have your appetizers and snacks ready when the drinking starts.
    Penalty Flags
    Everybody gets a mini yellow penalty flag at the door. Throw them when the refs make a bad call, or a guest says something, well, stupid. This gets everybody involved.
    Side Bets
    Place a white-board bet sheet in the room containing esoteric wagers such as the MVP, the length of half time, first team to score or gain a first down, and the color of Gatorade that will be thrown on the coach.
    Almost the Lottery
    The classic Super Bowl bet: Draw a chart with 10 numbers across the top and 10 down the side. Divide up and sell the squares. The square that lines up with the last digit of both teams' scores at the end of each quarter wins.
    Page 2 of 2 - Commercials
    Admit it. A sizable number of your guests are only there for the commercials. Play Rate the Commercial as each one appears. Give each guest a cardboard number from 0 to 4.
    Social Media Director
    Appoint a guest to “cover” your party on Facebook or Twitter and to monitor others' posts, if interesting. Use a phone with a camera. Report on bet winners and review the food.
    Kids?
    Few will sit for hours watching a game, no matter what. If they are invited, use a separate play room with board games and the “Puppy Bowl” (Animal Planet) playing on the TV. Provide drinks and snacks, and keep an eye on the little monsters.
    The Main Course
    1 pound ground beef
    1 egg
    1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
    1//2 cup onions, chopped
    1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
    1 tablespoon butter
    3/4 cup barbecue sauce
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1 tablespoon prepared mustard
    1 tablespoon vinegar
    salt and pepper
    Sliced American cheese
    16 dinner rolls, slider style (2 1/2 inches square)
    Mix all but the cheese and rolls. Cover and chill at least two hours. Grease two baking sheets with raised rims. Form balls of meat with a spoon. Place on sheets and tamp to the size of your slider buns.  Bake uncovered for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Check and bake longer if necessary. Turn off oven, place a square of cheese on each burger and then slide patties on the buns on a warmed platter. Serve with the usual burger condiments, chips and a side of baked beans.

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