It’s an age-old conundrum for freshmen: the desire to host a party with essentially no resources (money and an apartment). Since most dining halls have a small convenience store component, creating a viewing party using only meal points is actually a pretty feasible task.
When it comes to hosting a killer party, you’ll want to make sure you don’t forget any of the necessities. Luckily, from the essentials like plates and napkins all the way to the entrees, Penn State Dining has you covered — in this specific guide, each key ingredient comes directly from Louie’s in Redifer Commons. Without further adieu, here’s your guide to creating a Super Bowl party from the bottom-up using only your meal points:
Before you even buy food and drinks, make sure you get the basics covered first. Louie’s sells plates, napkins, Solo cups, tupperware, and any other small item you could need to store food in your dorm. They even have red plates and bowls if you’re rooting for the Falcons (sorry, Patriots fans — you’re a bit out of luck for this one).
If you’re worried about your dorm getting messy, make sure to grab a handful of napkins (these will probably be useful to you at a later time anyway). Dorm rooms can be painfully small, and cleaning up a mess in a cramped area is a already hassle, so you don’t want to be without them. If you’re extremely short on cash, you can even kill two birds with one stone and use napkins instead of plates for small snacks and finger foods. You can grab a big pack for just $1.59.
Last but not least, make sure you grab Solo cups — a staple in college. You can even choose red or blue depending on which team you’re rooting for.
Louie’s sells sodas and sports drinks of all sizes, so there’s something for everyone. You can either go for a classic soda or grab a red or blue liter of Gatorade to be festive and support a particular team. Cans of soda are probably easier to store in a dorm mini-fridge and they’re definitely better if you end up having some left over.
If you’re not interested in keeping the leftovers, liters of soda are probably the move. They’re cheaper (just $1.89 a piece) and they’re easy to pass around and then throw back in the mini-fridge.
Louie’s has a huge selection of chips and dip — there’s pretty much any combination you could want. You can just keep it simple with Doritos or you could even get baked chips if you’re on the health beat. This store in particular also carries a wide variety of snacks in different sizes, so don’t feel limited to the family size bags if you wish to have more of a variety.
Since you have a microwave, feel free to splurge a little and go for the salsas and quesos. You can either store the salsa in your mini-fridge and keep it simple or bring out the queso or spinach-artichoke dip for added flair. Just make sure you have a microwave-safe container if you plan on heating some of these dips up beforehand — you’ll probably have a better night if you can avoid setting the fire alarm off.
Unfortunately, dorm room amenities and cooking fancy meals don’t typically go hand-in-hand. However, if you’re determined to have a pizza party with your meal points, you’re in luck. Louie’s sells small pizzas that can be heated up in the microwave; however, they’re personal pizzas, so you’ll have to buy several packages. Of course, you could also opt for the classic pizza rolls or bagel bites — you’re never too old for finger foods, and the prep is so much easier.
For more hot food, look no further than the freezer section. You can grab some chicken wings of all different flavors or you can bring in a real crowd-pleaser — mozzarella sticks. You don’t have to spend extra time and money ordering these from a restaurant when you’ve got everything you need right here.
On-campus residents have no need to fear — all the frozen food sold in Louie’s can be cooked using a microwave. However, the portions are small, so make sure to grab several packages depending on how many guests you plan to have over.
Louie’s also has a huge selection of cookies, so there’s something for everybody. From Oreos (double-stuffed or thin) to Milanos, you can never go wrong with any of them.
Of course, you can either buy ice cream at Louie’s or you can stroll up to the Creamery. If you bought soda, then you can easily make it into a root beer float using your Solo cups and a plastic spoon. Louie’s also sells ice cream cakes, but they’re a little pricey.
Additional Tips and Tricks
- Don’t shop blindly. Make a list of items you’d like to have in advance, and try not to go too far above that budget — your wallet will thank you later, you’ll feel less frazzled when you make the trip to the store.
- Avoid overbuying. Dorms are tiny as is, and unless you want to stock up for the rest of the semester, you’ll want to check out exactly how much space you have in advance. Nothing’s worse than having to waste food because there’s simply not enough room to store it.
- Consider having a potluck and asking your friends to pitch in. It makes the preparation a little less daunting, and who knows — someone could bring something you never would have thought to buy earlier (you may also be lucky enough to snag some home-cooked food from your friends living in apartments).
- Get creative with it — cheap doesn’t have to mean boring. Take the time to look up some additional recipe ideas on sites like Pinterest that correlate with your taste. You’d be surprised how easily you can turn your standard bag of pretzels into a hit by taking a few extra minutes to whip up a homemade dip. Chances are, you’ll be able to find a recipe that only requires the cheap items you already bought.
Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments how your dorm Super Bowl Party went.