While this is not a sponsored post; we may receive slight commissions from affiliate linking within our posts. All opinions are our own--and we only link to items relevant to the post.
Plan the Cook-Off Theme. Planning a theme around the big game could not be easier—or more fun. You can opt for something as simple as an All-American Appetizer theme—or get more creative and center the theme on the group’s favorite team. Suppose the Cincinnati Bengals somehow, by the grace of some unforeseen force, reach the Super Bowl arena. The party cook-off could center on the best Cincinnati Chilli. Perhaps the New Orleans Saints would inspire a Cajun Cook-Off.
Set the Rules. Should guests prepare their cook-off entries in advance and transport the dish to the party venue? Will cook-off chefs take turns preparing entries in the party host’s kitchen? Will ingredients be limited to a select few? Decide the party theme and set the requirements for the cook-off dishes. Write down the rules, distribute copies and make sure everyone knows the expectations.
Choose the Judges—and the Prizes. Someone has to pick the winner of a cook-off party! Pick two impartial judges, select the group’s most qualified food critics, or simply make it a ballot style vote with the entire group acting as judges. Do not forget the importance of prizes to the cook-off winners. Prizes can be as simple and frivolous as a Winner's Sash and trophy or something more substantial like a local restaurant or grocery store gift card.
Decorate the Super Bowl Party Zone. The beauty of a Super Bowl cook-off is that the host’s party location is already decked out with Super Bowl party decorations. The host can carry the theme from the Super Bowl into the kitchen—or distribute the kitchen cook-off theme throughout the other Super Bowl decorations.
Choose Side Dishes and Drinks to Accompany the Cook-off Dishes. Create some side dishes to accompany the main cook-off theme. Serve up some nachos, corn bread and vegetable trays to accompany a chili cook-off, for example. If planning an appetizer cook-off; sides such as potato salad, chips, or fruit salads are options instead. If your group is a beer only crowd, account for that when planning the theme. Try margaritas with chili competitions, consider sangria for a tapas party, or break out a signature alcoholic or non alcoholic party punch. Instead of the group's usual beer, try some local brewery offerings or specialty beers for a change of pace.
Hold the Cook-Off and name a winner! Decide beforehand if the winner will be named at half-time or the game’s end. Name the party’s cook-off winner, bestow the award—and do not forget to exchange recipes.
This post was originally published on Yahoo! Voices. Since article rights reverted to the author when the site closed, it is being edited and reprinted here.