Tailgates are certainly an integral part of the college game-day experience; some might argue that they’re the main attraction. It’s easy to fall into a tailgating rut full of fast food buckets and potato chips when on a college budget and constantly pressed for time. Here to dispel the myth that KFC is the only option are some quick and tasty tailgate ideas. They’ll bring color and spice to your tailgate spread, and as an added bonus they’re good for your health and your wallet.
Guacamole doesn’t have to be reserved for dining out. This quick and easy recipe brings the dish right to you. With prep time taking less than 15 minutes it’s perfect for any tailgate. Throw it in a plastic container, add a bag of tortilla chips and you’re good-to-go. This is a faithful family recipe that has been used for years and has never been known to disappoint.
2 plum tomatoes
2 firm-ripe California avocados
2 tablespoons minced red onion
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Directions: Quarter tomatoes, discard the seeds and chop. Halve and pit the avocados. Scoop avocado flesh into medium bowl and mash. Stir in tomatoes, remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.
If you want to get a little more creative than chips and dip, here are two new spins on the tried and trusted fruit platter. Prosciutto and melon skewers are fast to make, delicious and give a new image to “finger-food”. Simply slice and square your melon of choice (these are commonly made with honey-dew or cantaloupe) and alternate on a wooden skewer with small squares of prosciutto ham. This lean Italian ham can be found at most any grocery store deli.
In similar taste, tomatoes and mozzarella make an equally convenient and yummy skewer combination. This one takes even less preparation than its melon and prosciutto counterpart. Simply take whole grape or cherry tomatoes and alter on a wooden skewer with mozzarella balls. What seem like sophisticated appetizers are really just new combinations of some favorite basics foods. Arrange them out on your tailgate table and take a moment to enjoy the colorful spread before friends devour them.
A tailgate isn’t complete without a sweet treat. Try these Apple-Oat cookies for a fall alternative to the traditional chocolate chip.
¾ cup softened butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups old fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1 medium apple, peeled and shredded (makes abt. 1 cup shredded)
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons apple juice or milk
Step 1: Heat oven to 375°. In a large cooking bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in vanilla and eggs one at a time. Mix until completely blended.
Step 2: In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually beat this mixture into the sugar/butter mixture. Stir in the oats and apples next. Drop the dough onto a greased cookie sheet using a teaspoon and spacing the drops 2 inches apart.
Step 3: Bake cookies about 10 minutes or unitl edges are lightly golden and brown. Cool for one minute. Remove from cookie rack and let cool for 15 minutes.
Step 4: In bowl, beat powdered sugar and apple juice until smooth using a wire whisk or fork. Drizzle over cookies on the cooling rack. Let cookies stand for about one hour or until glaze has hardened. (Recipe found on Bettycrocker.com)
Once your guests are well fed, they’re sure to look for some entertainment. Corn-hole is a classic that can be enjoyed by all, young or old. For those wanting to exert some arts and crafts skills, corn-hole sets can be made with plywood, nails and paint of your choice. Or if you’re willing to dispense some extra cash and save time, sets can be purchased at sporting goods stores.
The next tailgate activity can be reserved for the more daring, adventurous football fanatics. “Capture the flag” is no longer a game for the playground. One member of the tailgate is sent to “capture” some paraphernalia from an opposing team member’s tailgate. If he or she succeeds, the treasure is proudly displayed from the capturer’s car, fence, etc. The competition might get steep, but it’s all in good tailgate spirit.
Hopefully these tailgate recipes for success add some originality and taste to your football weekends while keeping you well within your college budget. Happy tailgating!