Football season is here! It is one of the most wonderful times of the year as it helps us welcome fall, gives us something to cheer for, and offers us a reason to gather together.
Hosting friends and family on Game Day can be both fun and overwhelming but don’t worry…we have a full-proof way to make your next Saturday or Sunday football-watching marathon a success… A chili bar with all the trimmings! So, open the doors, light that fire, and throw on your team colors. Let’s throw an epic fall party that everyone will enjoy!
First things first: The Chili
You can’t have a chili party without the perfect (and easy) recipe. This quick and simple recipe is packed with flavor but is made with only a few ingredients. My mom taught me how to make this chili growing up, and it is now a favorite of both my husband and our boys. It is versatile and easy to add to, but we prefer to keep it simple in our house.
- 2lbs ground meat (You can use any combination you like; I prefer ground turkey and 1 lb ground beef)
- 1 packet of Chili seasoning (these little packets of flavor can be found in the soup aisle)
- 1 large can of chili beans (use two small if you can’t find the large)
- 1 cup of Chicken Broth
- Creative add-ins: these are the base ingredients but depending on who’s eating, I switch it up. A can of fire-roasted tomatoes, green chilis, or black beans can also be thrown into the pot. You can also use sausage in the meat mixture!
- Brown the meat in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven.
- Once browned, stir in the packet of chili season and let it simmer for a minute or so.
- Pour in the chili beans, stir them together, and simmer them for at least 30 minutes. The longer you let this simmer, the better it gets.
- You can always toss it in the crockpot at this point and place it on the keep warm setting for your guests.
- Some of my other favorite chili recipes are this White Chicken Chili from Cooking Classy and this Vegetarian Chili from Cookie and Kate.
Next Up – Let’s Talk Set Up:
The point of hosting a chili bar for Gameday is that once it is set up, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your guests. So, my best advice is to keep it simple. Pick a central location for your guests to grab food and drinks. I use our long dining room table to set everything up. That way, I am not directing people all over the house.
Every tailgate party needs a drink station, so I place a tray at the end of the table to set up our drinks. I put out a bottle of wine, two bottles of everyone’s favorite liquors, and a water pitcher. Add a bowl of ice, some lemons, limes, and cups (these GAMEDAY cups are the cutest), and you are good to go. We also pack a cooler with soft drinks, tonic water, and beer for other options.
A steaming bowl of chili is lovely, but adding fun toppings makes it even more delicious. This is where you can get creative, so grab some mini bowls (I found these at Hobby Lobby) and fill them to the brim with your favorites.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Sour cream/Greek yogurt
- Cheese (pepper jack, cheddar, smoked gouda)
- Green onions
- Fritos/tortilla chips
- Pickled jalapenos
- Tater tots (super fun for the kids)
- Cubed cornbread
Keeping It Festive:
If you are anything like me, you hate a bare table. But decorations do not have to be over the top or expensive. I bought some small disposable bowls that are printed like footballs. This way, clean-up is more manageable, and they act as décor as well. I also grabbed this fun burlap table runner to throw down the center. It will be one I reach for year after year. Last, These paper footballs can fill any open space on your table. All of these things came from Amazon and cost under $20.