Easy Recipes Offer Variety of Options
Did you know the tradition of tailgating began in the 1930s? When the first huge college football stadiums were built in the 1920s, a large portion of fans owned cars and drove to the games. The problem was, with the influx of tens of thousands of hungry people, local restaurants couldn’t keep up with the demand. So fans began bringing food and a blanket and having a picnic in the parking lot. When wood-sided station wagons were introduced in the 1930s, the rear tailgate made the perfect table on which to enjoy pregame picnics. And the rest is tailgating history.
The food options for a good tailgate are limited only by your imagination. Anything from heavy snacks to full-blown meals can be prepared in the college stadium parking lot — your new outdoor kitchen. If you have a portable grill, or even a camp stove, you can grill burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, peppers, onions, etc. A little preparation at home will save a lot of time when you arrive at the stadium. For instance, if you slice the peppers and onions, make the burgers — and separate patties with waxed paper — and shuck the corn ahead of time, you will have more time to socialize before you get ready to cook.
One quick-snack idea is to thread pieces of hot dogs or bratwursts onto wooden skewers with thawed tater tots. Grill when you’re at the stadium and serve with your favorite hot sauce or other condiment. Yellow mustard mixed with honey and Sriracha is great on these skewers and most anything else you might be eating.
One way to get a lot of variety without a lot of effort is to take dishes that can be served in different ways. Chicken salad is a good example. It can be eaten in a sandwich, served in a wrap with fresh spinach or even served as a dip for chips or crackers.
Speaking of dips, think of the ones that can do double duty. Roasted salsa is a great example. While it is scrumptious with tortilla chips, it makes a fantastic taco sauce, too. If you grill chicken on-site and shred it, add to tortilla shells and top with cheese and roasted salsa, you will be the envy of everyone around you.
As for tacos, almost anything you throw on a grill is good in a taco. Pork loin or even pork shoulder is great when cooked and shredded. To add extra texture, put in a pan on the grill after shredding and drizzle with a little oil. Cook until it begins to crisp up. Toss with some salsa, grilled veggies or whatever sounds good to you. These also are good to assemble at home, minus the salsa. Wrap each in foil, then place on the grill when you get to the parking lot. Carry the salsa in a separate container, and add it to the tacos just before serving.
No tailgate is complete without dessert. An easy one to throw together is grilled pound cake or angel food cake with fruit. Simply lay slices of your favorite cake on the grill, along with pineapple, peach or apple slices. Smaller fruit, such as berries, can be grilled but will need to be threaded onto a skewer. Cook cake until golden and fruit until it begins to soften. Place the fruit on the cake slices and drizzle with honey or sprinkle with powdered sugar. Another idea is to bring brownie batter in a zip-top bag and cook it on your grill in a cast-iron pan. Serve with whipped cream and/or ice cream.
No matter which team you pull for or which game you attend, enjoy the food and the company, even if your friends are wearing the wrong team’s jerseys. Happy cooking!
– Tiffany Hughes is an Acworth resident and works for the Booth Western Art Museum. Contact her at email@example.com.
• 6 medium tomatoes, halved and scraped out
• 3 jalapenos, sliced lengthwise with seeds removed
• 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
• 8 garlic cloves, peeled
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• Lime juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a large baking sheet with olive oil. Lay veggies flat side down. Spread garlic and jalapenos throughout the veggies. Drizzle with oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until veggies are wilted-looking. Remove from pan as soon as you take them out of the oven, and place in a blender. Puree until no chunks remain. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil and lime juice to taste then puree once more. Taste to see if salt is needed, then store in the refrigerator. This salsa is excellent served hot or cold.
• 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
• 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
• 1 egg
• 2 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
• 1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Combine ingredients by hand, being careful not to overmix. Form into eight equal patties, and lay on waxed paper to separate. You can change versions of the burgers with various seasonings.
Italian: Use Italian dressing instead of Worcestershire and dry Italian seasoning instead of Montreal Steak Seasoning. Also add 1 teaspoon salt.
Mexican: Substitute taco seasoning for Montreal and add 1 teaspoon salt.
Barbecue: Omit the egg and Worcestershire and add ¼ cup barbecue sauce. You want the mixture to be moist-looking before forming patties.
Honey Almond Chicken Salad
• 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded (or diced, your preference)
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
• ⅓ cup sliced almonds
• 1 tablespoon butter
• ¼ cup honey
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
(Note: You can substitute salt and pepper with 1 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning.)
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, mayo and yogurt. When they are well-mixed, add parsley and salt and pepper (or favorite seasoning).
Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and cook almonds until golden brown. Pour the entire mixture into the chicken and stir to combine. Spray a measuring cup with butter spray to measure the honey, and add it last. Stir well. Store in the refrigerator. Chopped Craisins or mandarin oranges are great in this, too.
• 1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• 1 pound shredded colby jack cheese
• 4-ounce jar diced pimientos
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• ½ teaspoon seasoned salt, or more to taste
In a large bowl, combine cheeses and pimientos. Using a hand mixer, add the cream cheese, mayo and salt. Blend until the cheeses are mixed thoroughly. Mixture should be creamy so add more mayo if needed. Taste for salt. Serve chilled. Note: If no additional salt is needed, but the mixture tastes a little bland, add a dash of cayenne pepper. Serving idea: Form into a ball, and roll in chopped roasted pecans.