We gathered some of the posse and and their hubs together ostensibly to watch the big rivalry game of the weekend, Gamecocks v. Dawgs. In addition to catching up, our ulterior motive was to try some of the tailgating recipes that we have been pinning on our Tailgate Time Pinterest board. We were tickled when some of our guests arrived with other offerings to add
to the table and share with The Gracious Posse.
Everyone wanted the recipes, so we thought we’d share some of our favorites over the next few weeks. Our criteria for the best tailgating food requires 4 things
BEST TAILGATE FOOD MUST BE 1. easy to transport and eat (i.e. no utensils) 2. able to sit out for a long time 3. somewhat healthy 4. yummy
Starting with the heartiest fare (think meat), these recipes make the cut.
Buffalo Chicken Mini-Bites
Since adding it to our Pinterest board, this recipe has been calling to me to try. Fashioned from wonton wrappers, these little nibbles deliver a big bite of heat. A cooling element is added through the addition of blue cheese, but keep a beverage on hand when you pop one in your mouth. The guys really seemed enamored.
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup Ranch dressing
- ½ cup Frank's Hot Wings sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 1½ cups cooked and shredded chicken
- 24 wonton wrappers, cut into 4 equal size squares
- ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
- Preheat oven to 375°. Spray muffin tin very lightly with cooking spray. (note: use very little spray. Don't worry about the cheese sticking.)
- In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese, Ranch dressing and wing sauce. Then fold in ¾ cup cheddar cheese. Stir in shredded chicken.
- Start layering your bites. Begin by pressing 1 wonton square into the bottom of each mini-muffin cup. Then add about 1 teaspoon of filling to each, top that with another wonton square, then add another teaspoon of filling. Top each with a bit of the remaining ¼ cup shredded cheese and a bit of blue cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
- To remove, use a knife to loosen the edges, then use a spoon to pop each bit out from under the bottom wonton.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of constructing the Mini-Bites, this Man Dip that kHl brought is a perfect alternative. Using many of the same ingredients, the guys couldn’t decide which they liked more.
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken, picked
- 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
- 12 oz. jar Marie's Blue Cheese Dressing
- 5 oz. Frank's Hot Wings Sauce
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, separated
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine all ingredients except 1 cup cheddar cheese into a bowl and mix well. Pour mixture into an oven-safe dish. Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Serve with corn chips.
- Find Frank's Hot Wings Sauce near Tabasco and other hot pepper sauces.
Hokie Pride Sausage Dip
I was thrilled when dNz came bearing this almost healthy dish that has also been on our Tailgate Time Pinterest board. She didn’t even know that Southern Living had named it Hokie Pride Sausage Dip, and she has a junior at Virginia Tech. Everyone was crazy over it. It does not have to be eaten hot, and though she brought it to my house from out of the oven, I wonder how it will survive a drive to Charlottesville or Blacksburg. I expect that she will soon be letting me know.
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 (1-lb.) package hot ground pork sausage
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 t chopped fresh thyme
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 (6-oz.) package fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- ¼ t salt
- 1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup (2 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
- Corn chip scoops, red bell pepper strips, pretzel rods, for serving
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Cook diced onion and next 2 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in garlic and thyme; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid has almost completely evaporated.
- Add cream cheese and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until cream cheese is melted. Stir in spinach and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Gently stir in beans. Pour mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve with corn chip scoops, bell pepper strips, or pretzel rods.
With two almost grown boys and a Tennessee volunteer husband (he probably won’t be amused that I used this photo), rBr knows what guys like: spaghetti on a roll. These sliders were delicious warm or cool and so easy to eat. Hearty enough for even the rowdiest crowd of fans.
- 24 frozen meatballs, thawed
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 8 oz. sliced provolone or mozzarella
- 2 T butter
- ½ t garlic powder
- ½ t Italian seasonings
- 24 dinner rolls or 8 hot dog buns cut in thirds
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Warm the meatballs in the marinara sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. Separate the dinner rolls or hot dog buns and place one saucy meatball on the bottom roll. Top with mozzarella or provolone. Place the top roll on and push down slightly. Place meatball slider in the pan and continue to assemble the rest of the sliders.
- Microwave butter in a bowl in the microwave until melted. Add garlic powder and Italian seasonings and mix well. Brush tops of buns with melted butter mixture.
- Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until toasted.
Swiss Cheese & Ham Rolls
This recipe is a classic around RVA. A version of it is featured in the the local Junior League’s original cookbook, Virginia Seasons, and with it being so transportable, it shows up at bring your own events all the time. Ellen got this variation from Georgia-based lDd, but any form of it makes for a perfect Virginia-style tailgate food.
- ½ pound (1 stick) butter, softened
- 3 T mustard
- 3 T poppy seeds
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 t Worcestshire sauce
- 4 packages Party Rolls, each package should contain 20 rolls in one “sheet” (Pepperidge Farms are the classic)
- 1 lb. country ham, thinly sliced
- ½ lb Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
- Combine first five ingredients.
- Using a long serrated knife, slice each package of rolls halfway through and open up like one large roll. Spread mustard mixture on inside of top and bottom halves. Layer ham and cheese evenly over the bottom.
- Replace tops. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
- To serve, using a long serrated knife, slice through the sheet along the lines of the rolls to make individual servings.
- May be refrigerated or frozen and reheated before serving.
Between all of the delicious food and our alma mater’s victory, Ellen and I felt like winners all around. Next week we will feature the lighter fare enjoyed by our tailgaters. Do you have any hearty tailgate recipes that fit our criteria to add to the list of best tailgate foods? If so, please send them on, and The Gracious Posse (and our husbands) will be happy to try them!