Tailgating Essentials

Posted by Alicia White on

Tailgating Essentials

Ahhhhh, tailgating season. It’s the time of year when we all gather around a large tent filled with friends, booze, and lots of yummy food. I am going to be very candid here. I like football season because of the tailgating aspect. I could honestly care less about burley men running around on a field, slamming in to one another, and trying to score more points than the other team. But what brings me delight in all of that is tailgating. It allows me to come up with new guilty pleasure recipes, socialize, and put my hostess hat on for the day. Now some of you might think that is your worst nightmare, and to that I say “we all have our thing”.

So back to tailgating. I wanted to share my tips and tricks for making tailgating easy, delicious, and most of all a good time, because in the end that’s what it’s about. I made a packing list for your tailgate because I am a list person, it helps me keep my life orderly. Some of the items on the list are no brainers but others are on there because they truly make tailgating stress free and are usually things our group forgets (cue “who has the Motrin?!”).

Tailgate Packing List

-Folding table
-Speakers and aux cord
-Plates, napkins, cutlery, solo cups
-Trash bags (VERYYYYY important)
-Pop up tent
-Paper towels
-Bottle opener
-Extra ice
-Pain reliever

Now on to the menu. There are a few ways you can go with tailgate food. I feel like there are two types of people. The first are the ones that cook everything at their actual tailgate. They bring grills, cooking utensils, cutting boards, spices, and the kitchen sink and make it an allllll day event. Then there are those who swing by Kroger on the way and pick up chips, dip, and potato salad. I tend to fall somewhere in between. I love making food for my friends to enjoy but I also like a shortcut. So because of my middle of the road-ness, I am going to share a few of my fave tailgate recipes along with my shortcut go to’s.My shortcut options are sooo easy and defiantly crowd pleasers.

-Chick-Fil-A nugget tray. I mean, these are a no brainer. Who doesn’t love chicken nuggs, especially the mack daddy's of them all. Make sure to get their Polynesian, Honey Mustard, and Chick-Fil-A sauces.
-Dean’s French Onion Dip with Wavy Lay’s
-Jersey Mike’s sandwich. These are my all time fave, there.is.nothing.better.
-Bagged salad kits. I know I know, something healthy at a tailgate?? But I love a lighter option, especially when there is a lot of greasy food. There are tons of kit options in the produce section, some of my favorites are the southwest and kale options.
-A dozen hot doughnuts. Need I say more?!? Roll up with hot Krispy Kreme’s and you will be the hit of the day.

 For the homemade options, I try to make dishes that can sit out for long periods of time and that are foods most people like. Below are my three favorite to make because they are twists to classic tailgate options. Everyone needs an update every once in a while, even tailgate staples. So next time you find yourself getting ready for a day of football, remember these tips and recipes! I know they will make your tailgate simple, authentic, and magical.




Buffalo Chicken Sliders


1 pound ground chicken

3 tablespoons butter- melted

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups buffalo sauce

Shredded lettuce

Sliced pickles

16 oz sour cream

1 pack dry ranch dip

Slider buns

  1.  Mix together the ground chicken, 1/2-3/4 cup of the buffalo sauce and the salt
  2. Form 10-12 slider patties. I like mine thin so I usually get 12, but make them whatever thickness you want
  3. Cook in a non stick pan for 4-6 minutes per side or until the meat is cooked through
  4. Mix together the butter and 1 cup of the buffalo sauce. Set aside
  5. Mix together the sour cream and dry ranch packet. Set aside
  6. Toast the slider buns. This step is very important. If you do not toast the buns, your sliders will be soggy
  7. To assemble, slather the ranch dressing on both the top and bottom of the bun. Place the chicken patty on. Top with the butter/hot sauce mixture, a pickle, and the lettuce.
  8. Dig in!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Black Eyed Pea and Corn Salsa


2 cups Pico de Gallo (use store bought or my favorite is The Pioneer Woman’s, click HERE for her recipe)

1 cup black eyed peas- drained and rinsed

1 cup corn- drained and rinsed

2 teaspoons lime juice

1/4-1/2 teaspoons salt

  1.  Combine all the ingredients together
  2. Start with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and taste test. I usually use around 1/2 teaspoon
  3. Let the salsa rest in the fridge or serve immediately. Goes great with tortilla chips!

**You can substitute black beans for the black eyed peas or chickpeas for the corn!

Chili Pigs in a Blanket


1 can crescent roll dough

1 pack lil smokies

1 can pre made chili

  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut your crescent dough into small triangles
  3. Heat your chili in the microwave until warm, about 2 minutes
  4. Heat your lil smokies in the microwave until warm, about 1.5 minutes
  5. Spread a spoon full of chili on each crescent triangle
  6. Place a lil smokie on top of the chili and roll into the traditional pig in a blanket shape
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown
  8. Serve with mustard

Chili Pigs in a Blanket






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