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While I, like many of you, strive to lead a healthier lifestyle, when it comes to celebrations like watching the big game, the healthiest choice is to relax and enjoy living in the moment instead of counting every calorie or obessing over every macro. Kick off game day with this Easy Snack Stadium and BBQ Bacon Cheese Ball Recipe. With snacks to please everyone, this Snack Stadium will be a hit at your next football themed party!

This post has been sponsored by Kraft Heinz. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #kraftheinzsnackstadium #gamedayready 

Football season is my favorite time of the year. It’s the crisp cool weather, warm team-spirit sweatshirts and get-togethers on game day with tons of delicious foods!

I didn’t always love football, but my husband is both a Pro & College football fanatic. He can watch football continuously all weekend and not get bored. He understands the intricacies and loves having a house full of friends to watch the games with.

I generally just watch the games for the snacks! And that’s the balance that I think makes a great marriage.

5 Tips for Hosting the BEST Game Day Party

My food and decor skills, paired with Ray’s love of all things football, make for the perfect way to celebrate the big game. Conservatively speaking, we’ve hosted over 100 game day parties at our house, making some of the most amazing memories with our friends and family.

With all the experience I’ve gained hosting so many football centered parties, I want to share a few tips with you, to help you be the best host(ess) during your next game day get-together!

  1. Write down a schedule for your pre-party day. But work backwards from the time your guests are scheduled to arrive so that you can clearly see your progress and ensure that you on schedule, thus less stress.
  2. Delegate easy tasks to your spouse/kids. Early in the day I communicate my expectations to Ray – ‘I need you to run the vacuum, clean the guest bathroom and take the dogs out to run before the game.’ That way I’m not worried about those tasks and, to be honest, I’m not resentful that no-one offered to help me get things ready.
  3. Take care of YOURSELF first. This was the hardest lesson for me and one I still struggle with. Take a shower and get yourself pulled together early in the day, don’t wait until the last minute. I was notorious for jumping in the shower minutes before our guests arrive, leaving me with wet hair and that no-makeup look for most of our first parties. And make sure to pencil this time into your pre-game schedule too!
  4. Let your guests know your game-day menu and tell them what they can bring. Everyone offers to bring something, take them up on it! We have a standing house rule that every event we host is BYOB. We supply water, ice and cups, you bring whatever else you want to drink. And I rarely make dessert, so I remind my sweet-loving guests that they are welcome to bring a treat too. This also opens up the conversation for your guests to share any dietary restrictions or food allergies, when discussing your game day menu theme!
  5. Admittedly I love to cook, but when it comes to entertaining, I like to balance my homemade treats with store-bought tricks. And that’s why I love creating a Snack Stadium using Kraft Heinz products from Walmart!!

Who else loves Walmart grocery pick up? I’m obsessed with using it to keep my life on schedule AND my budget on track. I love that I can work on my grocery list and see exactly what the total will be. And I’m less likely to impulse buy when I use grocery pick up instead of going into the store.

With all the delicious ready-made snacks and essential ingredients, you can rest assured that your game day will be an event with food to remember! Some of my fan favorites that I always add to my list include TGI Fridays Potato Skins, TGI Fridays Chicken Wings, and Bagel Bites (just to name a few).

What is a Snack Stadium?

A snack stadium (or ‘snackadium’ if you are uber-fancy) is when you display your game-day snacks in a stadium-inspired arrangement. According to Google, snack stadiums have been a “thing” since 2008 and continue to grow in popularity every football season.

How to Build an Easy Snack Stadium

Most often, you will see that they are made using creative crafty hacks, like repurposing soda boxes cut and covered with aluminum foil. But I like to step my Snack Stadium to be a little more “classy.”

I come from a family of creative crafters, but I prefer a more simple approach. One of the main things that I don’t personally like about most snack stadium creations is that they are not user friendly, instead they are Pinterest pretty. Meaning that they are designed to look pretty in photos, but they are not so functional (i.e. reaching into the top of a stadium from above).

Instead, I use a few appetizer trays to create a cross-section style view into the side of a stadium for my style with a little added decoration.

I start out by placing a table against a wall (with good traffic flow) for our guests to easily snack from (without blocking the television). Then, layout the basic arrangement of trays that look like bleachers! Aren’t they so perfect?!?! And then I add some festive decor.

Are things like lights and artificial grass really necessary?  Yes, of course, if you are a serious entertainer like me! Those are the little things that will set apart your game day celebration from all the rest!

Then I place a few more small bowls for dips, sauces and snacks…

While my other snacks are in the oven cooking, I fill up all the non-heated snacks and dips (like Breakstone’s Sour Cream or Kraft BBQ).

I keep all the snacks warm until the first guest(s) pull in the drive way, then I put them out while Ray greets them.

I love that feeling when our guests arrive to a beautiful display of snacks! Instead of scrambling around, I’m ready to relax and watch the game with them.

Which foods should you serve in a Snack Stadium?

When it comes to food selection, the sky is the limit in a snack stadium—so pick fan favorites for your winning lineup! Choose snacks that you and your guests will enjoy.

For this snack stadium, I only used 12 items (plus a few basic snack items) to fill in, allowing me to deliciously feed a group of friends (and stay on my grocery budget too)!

My go-to mouth-watering snacks to include in my Snack Stadium are:

  • TGI Fridays Loaded Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skins – better than homemade and so easy to make!
  • Bagel Bites Cheese & Pepperoni Mini Bagels – a family friendly classic everyone loves!
  • TGI Fridays Buffalo Chicken Wings – I’m wing obsessed and these do not disappoint!
  • TGI Fridays Spinach & Artichoke Dip – you’ll need 3 packs, trust me and don’t forget crackers for dipping!
  • Delimex Chicken & Cheese Taquitos dipped in Breakstone’s Sour Cream (Knudsen Sour Cream works well too!)- so much yum!
  • TGI Fridays Jalapeno Poppers – do yourself a favor, get both the cream cheese & cheddar cheese stuffed!

Oh yes, and to keep things feeling at least a little healthy 🙂 Planters Nutrition Essential Mix

And of course I have to include my famous addictively delicious homemade BBQ Bacon Cheese Ball!!!

It’s so easy, yet so good! Combining Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese with Kraft BBQ and Kraft Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheese, is such a delicious combination. After it chills, form it into a football shape and cover it with finely chopped Oscar Mayer Bacon!

And for the laces on your football, use a few pieces of Kraft Mozzarella Shredded Cheese!

Now that you know how easy it is to create your own Snack Stadium, what snacks will you be purchasing at your local Walmart for game day? Remember, only the greats make the bowl! Want to make your Big Game prep even easier? CLICK HERE to explore all of the your snacking needs at Walmart. 

BBQ Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball

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Prep Time: 5 minutesCook Time: 5 minuteschilling: 3 hoursTotal Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces OSCAR MEYER Bacon cooked & finely chopped
  • 2 8 oz PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups KRAFT Barbecue Sauce
  • 8 ounces KRAFT Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried chives
  • KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese for garnish
  • crackers for serving

Instructions

  • Beat cream cheese, Barbeque Sauce, cheddar cheese and chives with mixer until blended.
  • Refrigerate several hours, to chill.
  • Using a food processor pulse to finely chop cooked bacon.
  • Shape cream cheese mixture into a football shape and press chopped bacon onto it. Use shredded mozzeralla cheese to make laces. Enjoy immeiately or chill up to 24 hours before serving with crackers.

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