Entertaining | September 2016
Ready for Some Football
Tips for hosting the perfect tailgating party
Story by Andrea LeTard
To most Southerners, the month of September means one thing — football season. The weather is starting to cool off, weekends are spent outside, and tailgating becomes a Saturday ritual. Everyone loves a good tailgate before any big game, and hosting one should be fun and simple. Whether you’re attending a game to watch your favorite team play or you just want to have a tailgate party in your backyard, these ideas and tips will help you cook and decorate your way to the perfect outdoor party.
Tailgate food should be fuss-free and delicious. There’s one rule to follow when creating a tailgate menu — only cook some of it. First, decide if you want to do several appetizers or one main dish. If you decide on appetizers, choose three to four recipes to cook and buy a few dips, olives, and pre-made small bites. No one has to know you cheated a little — just use decorative bowls and platters to dress it up. If you go the main dish route, make something that can be turned into a “toppings bar.” Soup, stew, chili, sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs are ideal to garnish. Different cheeses, avocado, onions, bacon, veggies, tapenade, croutons, pickles, sauces, and jellies are all great topping ideas, and everything can be store-bought and put in small bowls. It’s stress-free for you and fun for guests.
Simplicity is the key to decorating for tailgates. Most people’s focus is on food, drink, and the company when it comes to tailgating, so simple décor is always best — just make sure you’re representing the team everyone is cheering on. To display food and drink nicely, a tablecloth is always a good base. Choose one in your team’s color or go for white or black and decorate around it. Spirit items such as footballs, helmets, pom pons, megaphones, clappers, and spirit sticks scattered around the food and drink table are a nice touch. Plus, they act as décor and party favors that guests can take home or to the game with them. Flowers add elegance and can be bought in different team colors. You can also go the DIY route by hitting up a dollar store and getting creative. Chalkboards act as a cute menu display or platters; mason jars can be painted and act as containers for utensils; and balloons can be bunched together for a colorful, impressive background.
The perfect hostess should plan to have several drink choices — both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. If kids are coming, have individual fruit drinks and juices for them. Better yet, make a sangria-style pitcher of fruit juice or Kool-aid, mixing in different fruits and herbs. For the adults who aren’t drinkers, bottled waters, sodas, and even bottled iced coffees are a good idea. For the drinkers, have a cooler full of different style beers and a Mimosa or Bloody Mary bar that includes different mixers, flavored simple syrups, and toppings. When it comes to drinks — the more choices, the better.
Cream Taco Dip
This dip has literally been called “the best dip of all time!” Even better, it’s easy-peasy to make.
1lb chorizo1(10 oz) can Rotel
1 (15 oz) can chili no beans
1 (15 oz) can ranch style beans
1 large package Velveeta cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1. In a large pot or dutch oven, cook the chorizo over medium heat until done, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Drain the fat from the pot.
2. Pour in the Rotel, chili, ranch style beans, and stir together. Cube the Velveeta and add to the pot. Stir everything together until melted.
3. Add the heavy whipping cream and stir to combine. Let the dip heat completely and transfer to a slow cooker to transport to tailgate. Serve with tortilla chips.
Pork Rind BBQ Nachos
Enjoy this Memphis favorite guilt-free. The pork rinds make these nachos low-calorie and carb-free!
1 large bag BBQ Pork Rinds32 oz pulled pork - warmed
*I like to use leftovers from sandwiches the night before or you can find it in the freezer section of your grocery store
1 cup cheddar cheese - grated
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 jalapeño - sliced into rounds (optional)
1. Spread the pork rinds out on a large platter.
2. Top the rinds with the pulled pork, then the cheese, and drizzle the BBQ sauce over top. You can add as much or little of any of these as you like.
3. If you like a little spice, add the chopped jalapeño. Garnish with parsley if desired.