Having a party? The whole gang coming over to watch the Super Bowl or perhaps some upcoming March Madness? Or perhaps a casual get together that requires more than just a couple bottles of wine, a pizza and a bowl of hummus? Here are our favorite recipes for crowds, as well as a few of our favorite items from the grocery to open and serve.

Recipes for Parties (the informal kind)

Buffet-style setups

For starters, let’s talk buffet-style lines featuring our favorite type of food to serve the masses: Mexican. Our two ideas for this same theme are a taco bar and a nacho bar.

For complete instructions, down to how to lay out your utensils and where to place your tomatoes, see our Taco Bar article here.

This nacho bar article tells you how to create the perfect cheese dip and ups your overall nacho game. See it here.

Chili

Now, this leads to the best one-dish meal of all time for a crowd: chili. Yes, chili is the great uniter. You can even have some people bring their own personal version to ensure that vegetarians have their bean version and paleo people have their bean-less version and chicken people have their white meat version. If you are looking for chili ideas, we have so many, but these are our two most popular chili recipes of all time:

If you want to add a different version to the stovetop and shake things up, this Indian Chili is the bomb. We suggest this as a second option as there are always the traditionalists, so serve this with a more standard version as well when you are feeding a crowd. See the full recipe here.

Combining bourbon and chili? BRILLIANT! This is so dang tasty that you’ll be assured of needing two bowls per person. Unless you have tons of chicken wings, of course. (We’d suggest using Coopers’ Craft bourbon in the chili as it’s perfect for blending in all things. You’ll need to try it with this Coopers’ & Ginger cocktail that left our entire holiday party wanting the recipe.)

7-Layer Dip

You can’t have a gathering without some chips and dips, right?! From guacamole to 7-layer dips to hummus, the dip is America’s favorite appetizer. Or, at least here in the South that seems to be the case … and how about a healthier version than the original? Here’s one from our archives that even had an appearance on a cooking show … it’s that good!

RELATED: 2 Super Bowl Appetizers Ready in 20 Minutes

This 7-layer dip has shredded zucchini, guacamole, black beans and goat cheese … what’s not to love? See the recipe here.

RELATED: Jalapeno Ranch Dressing Recipe

Grocery Store Dips

And then there are our favorite dips to get from Kroger. You know, the good-old standbys that make everyone happy. Pimento cheese, hummus and spinach and artichoke dip. Well, here are a few spins on those ideas to have you reaching just a bit outside the box. Here are the ones we like best:

Palmetto Cheese Spread

This needs to be banned from my house for the sake of my jeans, but unfortunately, it has not been. Coming in from a late night out? Palmetto pimento cheese with jalapeños. Baked potato night? Palmetto pimento cheese with jalapeños. Having a crowd over? You guessed it. Palmetto pimento cheese. It’s just the very best.

Simply the best. “The Pimento Cheese with Soul!” It comes in the regular variety as well as this one with jalapeños and a bacon variety.

Spicy Sweet Potato Bean Dip

Hummus is delicious, and it’s really just a form of bean dip right? Garbanzo beans. If you want to vary it up a bit, Kroger’s Simple Truth brand has a few outside-the-box varieties including a Spicy Sweet Potato Bean Dip that we recently had at the SB offices, and it was a hit. We suggest serving it with blue corn tortilla chips.

This Simple Truth Spicy Sweet Potato Bean Dip is just different enough to be noticed, yet hits that cozy familiar place, too. We ate it cold, right out of the container, but we were thinking that warmed up it would be delicious as well!

La Terra Fina Greek Yogurt Dips

Both the Spinach & Kale and Spinach & Artichoke dips by La Terra Fina are delicious. The fact that they’re made with Greek yogurt only has us eating more, which kinda negates the fact that they are lower in calories … but, hey, probiotics!

Get ready to have a new favorite spinach dip.

When it comes to entertaining, you just need a plan. Even if it’s ordering pizza and serving lots of sides. Make the plan, follow the plan and most of all, enjoy your party!

******

For some dinner party tips from a Southern etiquette expert, see our article here.