The tailgate party is the ultimate rite of the season and the perfect way to show team spirit. But before you kick off a tailgating bash you need to be properly prepared to host your pigskin party.
Whether you’re hosting a tailgate outside the stadium or simply throwing a party at home for the big game, here are a few tips to ensure it will be an event your friends and family remember:
• Plan That Menu: It’s all about the food, so be sure you have enough for everybody on hand. Do prep work in advance so you don’t waste time and can join in the reveling. Make a list of everything you’ll need — from burgers and dogs to plates, utensils, cooking gear and cleaning supplies. Fire-up the grill early, so food is ready at least an hour before game time. Look for some recipes further along in this article.
• Get Your Party Place In Shape: Tailgating or entertaining outdoors? Quickly scrub down the grill, cooking utensils and portable furniture. Entertaining at home? Clean kitchen grease and grime or bathroom mold and mildew before guests arrive. Using a multipurpose cleaner and degreaser like Greased Lightning — which conquers tough grease, grime and stains — can save time, as it’s great for both indoor and outdoor chores.
• Grab A Choice Spot: Tailgating veterans know to choose a choice spot in the parking lot to secure extra room for their shindig. That last spot in a row means more party space, as does any spot adjacent to a car-free or grassy area. If you are hosting guests inside your home, make sure there are plenty of seats with a great view of the game so everyone can see the action.
• Kick Up Condiments: Rough and tumble football fans like some heat, so don’t just offer mustard, ketchup and mayo. Spicy peppers and relishes will give your grub an extra boost.
• Keep It Dry: Always keep a tarp or tent on hand to protect your food, friends and fun should the weather turn.
• Clean Up Your Mess: Leave your spot clean, just like mom always told you. Keep plenty of garbage bags available.
Bottom line, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose it’s how you prep for the game.
Gridiron Guide for Your Grill
All materials courtesy of: Kingsford
This season, don’t penalize your taste buds by placing that routine, game-day pizza order when you can score rave reviews from family and friends by firing up the grill for a backyard tailgate party with all the sights, sounds and smells of the stadium. Football analyst Mike Golic and champion pitmaster Chris Lilly both believe that game-day tastes better on a charcoal grill, and are sharing their favorite tips and recipes.
Golic, a former defensive lineman and host of ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” knows how fun game day can be — even off the field and in his own back yard.
“Tailgating prior to kickoff is a football tradition in my family, so game days are big at my house,” said Golic. “I’m about as big of a grilling enthusiast as I am a sports fan, so any game day is a great day to be around the grill in my back yard and reconnect with my friends and family after a busy week.”
Chris Lilly, champion pitmaster and author of “Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book,” couldn’t agree more. He also insists that game-day grilling is one of the best ways to extend the summer and take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight provided by the extended daylight saving time period.
“Just because Labor Day weekend has come and gone, doesn’t mean it’s time to put up your grill,” said Lilly. “In fact, nothing beats the unmistakable aroma of a charcoal cookout on a crisp, fall game day with friends and family. Make sure you put a variety of tailgate favorites on the menu to win over your guests — combining salads and sides with multiple on-the-grill options for the delicious smoky flavor that charcoal adds to food.”
Linebacker Barbecue Potatoes
Recipe created by champion pitmaster Chris Lilly, on behalf of Kingsford charcoal
Makes 4 to 6 servings; preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 1-1/2 hours
4 to 6 extra large baked potatoes
8 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons dry ranch seasoning mix
8 ounces whipped butter or margarine
3 cups fine shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh scallions
6 to 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Prepare outdoor grill for indirect heat by building a charcoal fire on one side of the grill, leaving the other side void. Preheat the grill to 450 degrees.
Wash potatoes and wrap with aluminum foil. Place wrapped potatoes over the void side of the grill, close grill lid, and cook for 1-1/2 hours or until potatoes soften. Remove potatoes and set aside.
In small bowl, mix sour cream and ranch seasoning mix.
Cut each potato open and add butter, seasoned sour cream, cheese, scallions, and bacon bits. For added impact, try topping your overstuffed potatoes with grilled chicken, turkey, beef or pork.
Grilled Gridiron Grinders
Recipe created by football analyst, Mike Golic, on behalf of Kingsford® charcoal
Makes 6 servings; preparation time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 20 minutes
12 fresh tomatillos, peeled and rinsed well
1 small yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1-1/2 pounds flank steak
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dry seasoning mix
1 pinch dried red pepper flakes (optional)
6 hamburger buns
Place tomatillos, onion and garlic on a lightly oiled baking sheet and grill over charcoal, turning often, until onion is crispy and tomatillos have burst — about three to five minutes.
Remove from grill to cool. Once cool, place ingredients in work bowl of a food processor and puree until desired consistency. This can be done up to three days in advance if kept chilled in an air tight container.
Place flank steak on a sheet of plastic wrap large enough to cover steak once folded. Season steak with salt and pepper. Liberally dust each side of steak with ranch seasoning mix, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for one to two hours.
Remove steak from refrigerator about 15 minutes before grilling over charcoal.
Unwrap steak and grill over medium heat for five to seven minutes on each side or until an internal temperature of 150 degrees — allow the steak to rest covered for five minutes. Lightly toast hamburger rolls. Serve steak sliced over rolls and generously topped with salsa verde.
If the weather is too cool for cooking outdoors, turn to comfort food
Can cool-weather comfort foods ever be good for you? When you start with healthful ingredients, you can end up giving yourself
a satisfying meal and a nutritional boost.
Tomato products should be a key ingredient for any meal as they are some of the healthiest foods you can have in your kitchen.
Scientific studies suggest that tomato products may protect the body against cardiovascular disease, inflammation and various forms of cancer.
For more delicious ways to give your favorite comfort foods a healthful boost, visit www.tomatowellness.com.
Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 2 hours, 20 minutes (mostly unattended); makes 4 to 6 servings
2 pounds beef round, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1, 14-1/2-ounce can Mexican-style diced tomatoes
1, 6-ounce can tomato paste
1, 4-ounce can diced green chiles
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano leaves and ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Diced avocado, shredded Mexican blend cheese, cilantro leaves (optional)
Stir together all ingredients except optional toppings and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours or until beef is tender. Remove cover and cook over medium heat until sauce is thick. Season with pepper and serve with diced avocado, shredded cheese and cilantro leaves, if you like.
Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 5 hours to 10 hours; makes 10 servings
4 pounds boneless pork loin roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon each: paprika and chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin and dried oregano
1-1/4 teaspoons each: garlic salt and cinnamon
1, 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup lime juice
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
2 to 3 minced chipotle peppers plus
2 to 3 tablespoons adobo sauce from can
Soft rolls or tortillas
Cut pork into 2-inch cubes. Stir together dry seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle over pork, turning to coat all sides. Place in a large slow cooker with tomatoes, lime juice and onion. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 10 hours.
Remove pork from slow cooker with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl; shred using 2 forks or a potato masher. Stir in enough cooking liquid to make pork saucy and add chipotle peppers and adobo sauce to taste. Serve on warm rolls or tortillas with remaining sauce, if desired.
Nutritional analysis per serving (without bread or tortillas): Calories: 310, Fat: 11g,
Tomato Risotto with Portabella Mushrooms
Preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time: about 40 minutes; makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup Arborio or short grain rice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 cups vegetable stock or reduced-sodium broth, warmed
1, 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and minced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
4 small portabella mushrooms
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; stir in rice, garlic and shallots. Cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft; stir in basil. Reduce heat to low and stir in stock, 2/3 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until stock is absorbed before adding more to skillet.
Stir in tomato sauce, wine and sun-dried tomatoes; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until excess liquid has cooked off and rice is thick; stir in Parmesan.
Meanwhile, while rice is cooking, grill or broil mushrooms. Place spoonfuls of risotto inside each mushroom and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.
Italian Tomato Eggs
Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooking time: about 1 hour; makes 6 servings
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing on bread
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced and chopped fennel or anise (optional)
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1, 28-ounce can tomato puree
2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6, 1-inch-thick slices rustic Italian bread
1-1/4 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
6 fried eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper
Shredded Parmesan cheese and snipped, fresh basil
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, fennel and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes to soften. Stir in tomato puree, herbs and sugar. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 45 minutes or until tomato sauce is very thick, stirring frequently to make sure sauce does not scorch on the bottom.
Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Top each with 3 tablespoons shredded cheese and place in a hot oven or under the broiler for a few minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are lightly browned. Top each with a fried egg, a generous spoonful of tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil to taste.
Recipe may be doubled.
Time saving tip: Substitute 2 cups prepared pasta sauce for tomato sauce recipe above.
Courtesy of Family Features