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Chili Cook-Off Party

This may come as a surprise but I actually love football Sundays. I find football way more exciting than baseball, which is on all summer in my house. I also think there’s something really cozy and relaxing about spending your Sunday cooking pasta sauce & meatballs {a Sunday staple for us} or prepping munchies for family and friends. It also helps that ‘Sunday Night Football’ starts at 6:30pm in Colorado.

In honor of football season kicking off this weekend, I thought I’d finally share our Chili Cook-Off Party. We actually threw this party for last year’s Super Bowl, but the idea would work well for any Sunday your team is playing. It’s a great way to gather a group of friends and it’s fairly simple to organize and prep it, since it’s essentially a pot-luck!

Chili Cook Off Super Bowl Party | jessalayne.comThe key to this type of party is to invite your guests early so they have time to brainstorm {or perfect} their chili recipes and submit names to you. I made small, football-themed table tents to label each chili as it was brought into the party {see above}.

We discovered that most people already have a recipe they make often and love — and we lucked out with 7 VERY different types of chilis — everything from your standard beef & tomato chili to a white chili, a vegetable chili, and even a lime-inspired chili. It was a tough battle but ultimately a variety with local sausage won!

For the competition, we started by handing out ballots so everyone could take notes and keep track of their top 3 favorites. We used mini plastic party cups and served everyone about 3-4 spoonfuls of each, 1 type at a time. We were all stuffed after trying just that many spoonfuls!

Chili Cook-Off Party Ballot | jessalayne.com

We supplemented the chili with with other munchies PLUS a make-your-own mashed potato bar – I love this idea but it may have been overkill after those 7 cups of chili.

Super Bowl Food Table | jessalayne.comtable of munchies

Make Your Own Mashed Potato Bar | jessalayne.commake your own loaded mashed potatos

And what football party would be complete without a little betting? We created a customized squares tournament with a very small buy-in so everyone could participate. I strongly recommend squares because it gives even the most lackadaisical fan something to cheer for — in order to win, you want each team to end a quarter or half with a specific number of points.

Customized Super Bowl squares | jessalayne.com

With the exception of the football-themed decorations, munchies, and drinks, this is a very easy and inexpensive party to throw together. Plus, with things like squares {and of course, the Super Bowl advertising}, it’s a really entertaining party — just beware of any majorly competitive friends that might get rubbed the wrong wat if their team or their chili doesn’t win.


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