The official capacity for Gillette Stadium is listed at 65,878 people. That means that despite our best efforts to find a way shorter than 20 years to make it through to the famously elusive season ticket holder waitlist, some of us are going to have to watch the game at home.
Fortunately, that’s as good a reason as any to get the crew together and set up for a good old fashioned football Sunday. You know the text you get right before the weekend hits already. Something like:
Game day at my place. BYOB and something to share. LFG
Now that “something to share,” that’s the ubiquitous contribution to every friend’s hangout where you can either prove you’re a great host, or you’re a guest who’s a man/woman of the people and knows what their friends like. We’re assuming you’ve got the basics handled — the chips and salsa and nacho cheese and all that — so here’s a few ideas that are a bit higher than 101-level. As an added bonus, most of these even fit the “so simple a caveman can do it” metric.
We got some of the sweet and some of the savory ideas for when you’re dealing the snacks, and a bonus few ways to pass the time at halftime. Break out any of these, and you’ll see the closest thing you’ll see to grown adults acting like a Nestle Toll House cookie commercial.
Speaking of sweets, let’s roll.
Rice Krispie Treats
What’s simpler than a 3 ingredient, 3-step recipe that’s also guaranteed to taste good even if you mangle it to the point where it looks like a Ghostbusters villain?
Sure, it may take a bit of practice to get the whole “spread mix evenly into pan” thing down, but there’s no rules saying you can’t make a trial batch for yourself earlier that week. You know, for practice.
Plus, if you woke up feeling saucy the day you decide to make ‘em, the list of sweet stuff you can mix in or top it off with is pretty much only limited by your imagination.
Chex Muddy Buddies
What a coincidence, another recipe that answers the question “what if breakfast cereal + obscene amounts of butter and sugar and chocolate?”. Like Hoss Y Juke, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I’ve heard this referred to by half a dozen different names over the years, but we’re sticking to the official name of Muddy Buddies. Peanut butter + chocolate + crunchy cereal + powdered sugar. Need we say more?
Bowl of Halloween Candy
I don’t care that Halloween isn’t for another 2 months. You can buy Halloween candy NOW, and therefore have a great excuse to have a giant bowl the size of a beach ball running over with wonderful rainbow of fun-size candy bars on the coffee table. This is also a fantastic reason to observe the Halloween tradition of “let’s buy plenty just in case we have A LOT of trick-or-treaters”, which inevitably ends in you having a Smaug stash of candy all to yourself. Share the wealth and put it out there for your friends to munch on in between nachos.
That’s enough to give your dentist nightmares. Let’s hit the heavy-duty snacks in....
Look, you and your friends deserve better than the weak mushy clear plastic trays of dip you’d pick up from the deli section at the supermarket that’ve been out since 7am. This is also the easiest freaking “looks like you actually know what you’re doing” recipe in the world, and I say that having made this exact recipe enough times that I can actually honestly say I’ve been asked for it.
Call me a basic American male, but what takes a taco dip from good to great?
A pound of taco-seasoned ground beef as the base, that is.
(I can also recommend from experience: top it off with some jalepeños if your friends aren’t cowards, and if you really want to live, crush up some bacon and add that anywhere in the layers you see fit.)
Whipping up the Chex Mix from scratch, á la the sweet treats we mentioned above, would be ideal, and fortunately for you, it may even be easier than either of those.
And like the late, great Anthony Bourdain said on many occasions, the secret to making everything delicious is almost always “a horrifying amount of butter”. Case in point: the classic Chex Mix recipe that’s spicy, tangy, savory, salty, and, we could go on. You’ve had it, you know.
Hawaiian Ham & Cheese Sliders
There’s probably some clever name for these that I’m not aware of, so drop it in the comments if you know it, but a friend’s wife made these for us several years ago and it was enough to get 5 slobbering dudes to look up simultaneously like “what IS this sorcery??”
Fortunately, all the expertise necessary to make a ginormous tray of these delicious little guys is “can you stack bread and meat and cheese together?”. If you can make a sandwich, you can make a lot of little sandwiches. It’s science.
Basically all you do is take a pack of those King’s Hawaiian rolls, slice ‘em in half and put them on a bake sheet, then put your ham and cheese and mayo down, then put the roll tops back on and spread the melted butter/worcestershire sauce/dijon mustard sauce over the top and bake for 10 minutes. The tray being empty 5 minutes after you set them out will speak for itself.
And finally, one of the GOATs no matter your age...
Pizza Rolls/Bagel Bites
Regardless of which side of the fierce Pizza Rolls/Bagel Bites rivalry you live on, there’s never a wrong time of day for either of them. Whether it’s a noon game or you need a Sunday Night Football post-dinner munchie, 15 minutes in the oven and boom, instant happiness.
Plus, a whole giant bag of either of these costs like $7. Best ROI you’ll ever see.
And finally, if you don’t feel like watching the halftime show that largely consists of expert analysis like “They’re going to have really bring it in the second half if they want to win this game,” here’s a few yard games to help you kill that half-hour, and maybe even settle a bet or two along the way.
Cornhole/bags is great and all, but having been relatively recently introduced to Ladderball, I can’t stop thinking this is one of the best lawn games to ever be created. Like all great yard games, the premise is quite simple, yet fiendishly difficult in practice:
Throw your bolos onto one of the rungs, and you get points.
Yeah, easy until you need 3 points or it’s game over. I warned you it’s addictive. Do with that information what you will.
If you’re looking for the ultimate cost/benefit ratio in yard game entertainment, it doesn’t get much better than rolling down to your local home improvement superstore, grabbing yourself a bunch of those paint buckets, and set ‘em up in the classic beer pong formation. Throw in a couple mini-basketballs or soccer balls or something, and play just like you would’ve in back in....whenever you were good at beer pong.
Or, if you’re not exactly the yard games type, or if it’s pouring rain like Jurassic Park outside, you already know exactly what the other timeless halftime activity is:
Redzone. The answer to the question “how can we be even lazier watching football?”
It’s a beloved, timeless institution for a reason.
Enjoy the games, everyone. We made it to the season.