Tailgating Recipes

My husband tells people that I’ve stopped cooking.  As usual, he exaggerates.  It’s true that I’ve stopped cooking dinner every night.  I told him, “I cooked the first thirty years.  You cook the next thirty and then we’ll re-negotiate.”  Sounds fair, right?  It just seems pointless to cook a big meal for two people.  Especially when I’d prefer to have a bowl of soup or a salad.  And to be honest, now that his metabolism has slowed from a sprint to a plodding jog, he doesn’t need a big meal either.

I do still cook for the masses, however.  I’m on fire in the kitchen during the holidays preparing for family to come home.  And of course, I remain the tailgating queen.

Menus for tailgating are easy to think of during the colder months.  Then we pack a generator and I plug in several crock pots and an electric griddle.  The possibilities are endless.  I have more trouble coming up with menu items suitable for these warmer games, though.  Things that can be served straight from the cooler.  Here’s one I’m going to try this weekend:

Tortellini skewers:

9 oz. refrigerator cheese tortellini, cook and drain according to package

3/4 cup italian dressing

40 pitted black olives

40 cherry tomatoes

Salami (you can buy the sliced and fold to skewer or use the link and cube it up)

Pepperoni (again, sliced you can fold up on skewer or you can cut the link into cubes)

Cubed mozzarella cheese (can cut string cheese into cubes)

Cook tortellini as directed, drain and rinse under cold water.  In a large baggie or container with lid, add the tortellini, Italian dressing, olives; and tomatoes.  Marinate overnight.  Skewer the salami, tortellini, tomato, pepperoni and olives.  Should make about 40 smaller skewers.

Do you have any recipes that are great served straight out of the cooler?  I have a feeling I’m going to be struggling for ideas by game four!

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18 Responses to Tailgating Recipes

  1. Cindy Gerard says:

    Sounds yummy, Kylie. I’m so unimaginative. Chips and salsa is about as good as I get :o(

  2. I’m copying this one down. I need more finger food recipes. We’re not tailgaters, but everyone in the house is always on the go or not really hungry right now or really really hungry right now. This will work nicely!

  3. loisgreiman says:

    I have a macaroni pineapple salad that is hearty and fun and yummy. But basically I just take it off the back of the accini di pepe (tiny pasta nuggets) box. We have it at almost every holiday gathering.

  4. leannebanks says:

    I love the Texas Caviar with corn, black beans, onion, peppers and Italian dressing. I pretend it’s healthy because of the veggies. Have you had the Buffalo chicken dip? Chicken, cream cheese, ranch dressing, shredded cheese and Frank’s red hot pepper sauce. Yum, yum!:)

  5. kylie brant says:

    Leanne, I am learning to do a better job making things that don’t appeal to my rather unimaginative palate 🙂 One of my daughter-in-laws brought Texas Caviar last year and everyone loved it, so that’s definitely one for me to try. And I adore the Buffalo chicken dip!

  6. michelehauf says:

    I am so with you on the not wanting to cook for another thirty years! I too just want a salad. Yet the hubby always wants meat and potatoes. Ugg. It’s a major pain cooking for only two.
    Anyway, I”ve never tail-gated, so haven’t a clue. 😉

  7. Christie Ridgway says:

    I don’t mind cooking so much as thinking up =what= to cook. Surfer Guy did a lot of the cooking this summer since he was off (a teacher) but now that he’s back at work it’s to me again. I need to search around for some apps/websites that give meal ideas. I’m bored with my usual stuff!

  8. Trish Jensen says:

    I chop up a bunch of veggies: squash, peppers, mushrooms, onions and marinade them overnight in Italian dressing. Also chop up chicken breasts, and marinade them in Italian dressing with a big splash of Teriaki sauce. The day of the tailgate I skewer them, and then we cook them on the grill during pre-game tailgate. People lunge for them. In the hotter months, I also make the meanest Vichyssoise known to mankind. It’s a secret recipe I adapted from the Allegheny Club in Pittsburgh. Mine’s better. If anyone wants that recipe let me know. Wow, do people sip bowl after bowl. You Weight Watchers people probably should not apply. 🙂


  9. kylie brant says:

    Good ideas, Trish, thanks! Next week we’re barbecuing marinaded Teriayki chicken strips on skewers. Can’t wait!

  10. Your recipe sounds wonderful, Kylie!! We aren’t tailgaiters, as Larry would just as soon enjoy games in front of the big screen TV at home.

    I love Texas caviar too–as Leanne mentioned. Yummy!

    Another version is Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips. The original recipe has 2,978 reviews on AllRecipes.com as “Annie’s Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips” but we add fresh blueberries, kiwi and sometimes raspberries. Sooo yummy!

    Caprese salad–while sun ripened tomatoes are still in the garden–would be easy to put in a tupperware container. Or, homemade hummus and chips, too.

    Now I’m hungry!!

  11. Linda says:

    Don’t have a true tailgate recipe but something that has worked for my very picky family is hot wings in the crock pot or take along BLT or for me BLOT/ BOT ( Bacon,letuce, onion, Tomato) cook up the bacon, slice the tomatoes and Texas toast grilled. The chicken wings work best if you bake the wings the night before and then reheat in whatever sauce you prefer- I have to make two pot one mild for the wimps and one medium hot with tobasco sauce on the side.

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