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Score Big with a Game Day Homegating Party
Tips for the party planning MVP

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Bayou Red Bean Layered Dip
Smokey BBQ Dip
Tilapia Ceviche

(Family Features) - Friends and family cheering on your favorite team from the comfort of your own couch - that's the beauty of homegating. All the fun of a great tailgate party without leaving home.

When it's your turn to take the field and host, you need a winning strategy to keep the fans happy. Here's your playbook, straight from the experts at HomegatingHQ.com:

Menu Match-Up

No need for trick plays here - stick with a variety of foods that everybody will like. Set up a nacho and dip bar, where guests can customize each and every bite. In addition to a selection of flavored chips, include other toppings such as:

  • Refried beans
  • Several types of cheeses
  • Shredded beef or chopped chicken
  • Sour cream
  • Extras- onions, olives, jalapeños
  • Wholly Queso
  • Wholly Salsa
  • Wholly Guacamole
  • A variety of hot sauces

Chef Jennifer Schaertl, author of "Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens," shares her favorite homegating recipes as a great way to tackle the taste buds - quickly and with outstanding flavor.

Extra Points for Team Spirit

Get everyone into the spirit with some clever - and easy - decorations:

  • Cheerleader megaphones and pom-poms, with your team logo or in your team colors.
  • Rolls of colored crepe paper or plastic table cloths from party supply stores can be used to decorate sections of walls, doors and tables.
  • Set out bowls of team-colored candies.
  • Put that never-used mini-grill into play as a serving surface or drink holder.
  • Create a football field on the table with artificial turf from your local home improvement store. You can even add tape or spray paint hash marks for effect.
  • Make stickers with clip art and some sticker paper from an office supply store to personalize and "team up" your cups, megaphones and footballs.

The Kid Zone

If you have pint-sized fans coming, you need to keep them fed and entertained, too. Here are some ideas for setting up your own Kid Zone:

  • Worried that kids won't eat what adults do? Set up a special area and table complete with child-friendly foods and a cooler with mini-water bottles, juice boxes and mini-can sodas just for them. Mark the area "No Adults, Kids Only!"

  • Have a "Design a Uniform" contest. All you need are inexpensive white t-shirts and child-safe markers and paints. Have them model at halftime and let everyone vote on the best design, the most colorful, most original or the best use of the team color. (Tip: A cheap alternative is to cut shirt and helmet shapes from white poster board and run the same contest.)

  • Host a Cheerleader Camp. Find a teen-aged volunteer among the guests or from the local high school to conduct a mini-cheerleader camp, complete with DIY pom-poms, poster-board cheers, pyramids and DIY cheerleader cones. Have them perform a group cheer for the grown-up crowd at the end of the game.

Get more recipes and coupons, and download a free Homegating Toolbox at www.homegatinghq.com. You'll get more great ideas and customizable items to help you score big.

Go-for-the-Goal-Line Guacamole

Guacamole is always a big hit with the home crowd, there's no doubt. But why not mix things up a bit with some awesome mix-ins? Set up a guac station and let everyone call their own plays with ingredients like these:

  • Dried or roasted chiles
  • Lime and jicama
  • Grilled onions
  • Roasted cherry tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Mangos or peaches
  • Roasted garlic
  • Cayenne or white pepper and thyme
  • Bacon
  • Shredded chicken

Use a tasty time-saver such as all-natural Wholly Guacamole to get started. You can find it on your grocery's refrigerated fresh produce shelves.

Bayou Red Bean Layered Dip

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onions, diced
  • 1 cup celery rib, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, (green and red) diced
  • Cajun seasoning spice, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme (1/4 teaspoon dry)
  • 1 pound red beans, rinsed and sorted over, soaked and drained; OR 1 pound canned beans, rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 2 cups tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • Green onions, chopped, for garnish (optional)

    1. Cajun Red Bean Layer: In large saucepan, heat oil and add 1/2 of the onions, celery and peppers. Season with Cajun spice, salt and cayenne and sauté for 5 minutes or until vegetables start to wilt. Add bay leaves and thyme; sauté for 5 additional minutes.
    2. Add beans, garlic and stock. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook uncovered for 2 hours or until tender. Add more stock or water if the mixture becomes dry and thick. Remove bay leaves and thyme. Puree mixture in blender or food processor and set aside.
    3. Creole Layer: In large saucepan, heat oil and add remaining onions, garlic, celery and bell peppers. Season with salt and cayenne. Sauté for 5 minutes or until vegetables start to wilt. Add tomatoes and sauté for 5 additional minutes.
    4. Bayou Comes Together: In a 9-inch dish, spread half the Cajun Red Beans on the bottom. Add Creole layer, spreading evenly; repeat the Cajun Red Ben layer. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve with tortilla chips.

Yield 3 cups

Smokey BBQ Dip

  • 1 cup spicy Wholly Guacamole
  • 1 tablespoon Magic Seasonings BBQ spice blend
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese (low fat is ok)
  • 1/2 cup Wholly Salsa

    1. Cream together guacamole, spice blend and cream cheese. When smooth, spoon onto a serving dish and refrigerate.
    2. Once dip has set up, create a small well in the center and spoon in salsa. Serve with crackers or cucumber slices.
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Yield 2 1/2 cups

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Recipe by Chef Jen

Tilapia Ceviche

  • 1 package Gorton's roasted garlic grilled tilapia, defrosted, drained
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup Wholly garden fresca salsa
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Chopped cilantro, optional
  • Wholly Guacamole
  • Corn tortilla chips
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    1. Large dice tilapia and toss with lime juice and salsa. Season to your taste with sea salt.
    2. Top each chip with a spoonful of guacamole and then top that with a spoonful of ceviche. Serve immediately.

Yield 2 cups

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Recipe by Chef Jen
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SOURCE: Wholly Guacamole

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