If you’re like me, one of the best weekend activities is spending a whole day hanging out with some friends for some good food, drinks and football. We often find ourselves heading to our favorite sports bar or restaurant to take in the game which can become quite costly. Enjoying the game doesn’t have to be expensive and with a few good recipes, like my crock pot pulled pork or my award winning chili recipe, you can have a great time in your own home for very little money.
If you or your friends are beer drinkers then it is no surprise that buying your own drinks is considerably cheaper than purchasing them at a dining establishment. Granted you probably don’t have a selection of 20 draft beers in your home, but you can still purchase a selection of bottles or cans for a fraction of the price of buying them at a bar or restaurant. Better yet, if everyone is coming to your house for the game, tell them to bring the drinks.
If beer is the perfect drink to compliment football then pizza and buffalo wings are the perfect foods for football. These items can easily be ordered and delivered right to your door; there is no question about that. But, you can save money and likely even make a better tasting product right in your own kitchen and I’ll tell you how. If you are feeling want to make it something special why not brew your own beer at home.
If you do decide to go the brew your own beer route I have covered everything you need to do in great detail over four posts. I have laid out the process of how to home brew beer, all the home brewing equipment you will need, and even gone over bottling all of your home brewed beer. Be sure to check it out and let me know how it goes for you.
Making Buffalo Wings
When it comes to wings there is nothing better than Buffalo Wild Wings in my opinion. They have a fantastic selection of sauces from mild to wild which you can purchase at your local BW3 restaurant or order online. The great thing is that a little sauce goes a long way and they make great condiments for many other foods as well. If you have never heard of BW3 or prefer a different sauce on your wings then check your local supermarket. You may be surprised to see the selection of buffalo wing sauces in stock from Hooters to Budweiser.
Making wings is very easy and they are one of the cheapest parts of the chicken to buy. To make your own at home you need only a few simple ingredients:
Wings (fresh or frozen) – $3.99-$5.99 for 30-40 wings
Sauce of your choice – $2.49-$4.99 per bottle
Flour or breading (optional)
Total cost: $7-$12 for 30-40 wings to feed 6 and the sauces will last for many more servings making future preparation of wings even cheaper. Frozen wings are generally cheaper and can be purchased in bulk for additional savings although I prefer fresh.
Wings are served in two ways, either breaded or naked. Some people like a breading on their wings while others prefer them without. This is simply personal preference and I enjoy them either way. If you do opt for a breading it is very easy to do. Put some regular flour in a large Ziploc bag and season with a little salt and pepper. Drop in wings about six at a time and shake to coat.
Wings can also be cooked by two different methods. Traditionally they are deep fried, and those with batter would have to be prepared this way. Naked wings can just as easily be baked if you do not have a deep fryer. Assuming you have a fryer, cooking them is as simple as dropping them into the oil and letting them cook for about 7-10 minutes at 375 degrees. You’ll know they are done when they float to the top. For baking, simply lay the wings out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for about 30 minutes.
When the wings are done it is time for the fun part. The easiest way to coat your wings is by shaking them in a container with the sauce. If you have some small Tupperware containers they work fine, otherwise I like to use the disposable or reusable Gladware or comparable containers. Simply pour a little sauce in the container and add some wings. Close the lid and shake until evenly coated. Enjoy!
Most of us have our favorite local pizza and by nature it is certainly not the most expensive food item, but you can make your own mini-pizzas at home for just a few dollars. They not only taste great but they require virtually no cooking skills to make. I also find myself making these during the week when we’re looking for a quick and easy dinner at home. The ingredient list is as follows:
English Muffins – $1.99-$3.99 for 6 muffins which make 12 individual pizzas.
Pizza Sauce – $1.49
Mozzarella Cheese – $1.49-$2.49
Pepperoni or other toppings of your choice – $0.99-???
Total cost: $5-$9 to feed 6 people.
Assembling the little pizzas is easy. Cut the English muffins in half if they are not already cut and then spoon on some sauce and sprinkle with some cheese. Add the toppings of your choice and bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted. These are great snack sized pizzas that taste fantastic requiring almost no effort to make.
Next time you plan on watching the game with your friends consider inviting everyone over and preparing some food yourself and have everyone else bring the drinks. A whole afternoon of good food and fun with friends can be very inexpensive and a great change of pace from your usual Sunday football routine. Of course there are times when nothing beats getting out of the house and enjoying the atmosphere of watching the game at your favorite place. Just think of this as an additional way to watch the game, have some fun and save some money at the same time.
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.