Written By: Tamberlyn Dobrowski
Photography By: Taylor Mathis
Think of football and you probably think tailgate party—it is a time-honored tradition filled with great camaraderie, good food and plenty of drinks. Take your tailgate to the next level with gourmet food and swanky décor. Go ahead and pull out your favorite glasses, plates and recipes. Your guests will love it. The key is to make as much in advance as possible, be organized and go all out. It’s fun!
The following recipes can be made in advance. Batch drinks make it easy and a Bloody Mary bar is always a crowd pleaser.
Elderflower Old Fashioned
- 2 ½ ounces bourbon
- ½ ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
- 2 – 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 teaspoon club soda
- Strip of orange zest, for garnish
Stir bourbon, St-Germain and bitters in an ice-filled mixing glass or mixing tin until very chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with a large cube of ice. Finish with club soda and garnish with orange zest.
White Cheddar-Chive Pimiento Cheese
- 1 (12-ounce) block aged sharp white Cheddar cheese
- 1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento, drained and rinsed
- 1⁄3 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grate half of cheese using the large holes of a box grater; grate remaining half of cheese using the small holes of box grater. Stir together mayonnaise and next six ingredients. Stir in Cheddar cheese until well blended. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 3 days.
Recipe from Southern Living, July 2013
Grilled chicken, pesto, arugula and mozzarella sandwiches
- Grilled chicken
- Pesto (homemade or store-bought fresh)
- Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Good bread (I like ciabatta)
Brush bread with pesto and layer remaining ingredients.
Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 sprig oregano
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- ½ cup Roth Käse Buttermilk Blue Cheese
- Greek yogurt for garnish
- Hot sauce
Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and a 3-fingered pinch of salt; sweat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sweat for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juice and the stock and bring to a simmer. Tie up a sprig of oregano and place it into the soup with the string hanging over the side of the pot. Add the cream, sriracha sauce and oregano leaves and simmer for 10 to 25 minutes.
Remove oregano sprig. Pour the soup into a blender, add the blue cheese, and blend until smooth, working in batches if needed. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean pot, taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Reheat to serve.
When serving, top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and some extra hot sauce.
Recipe from Michael Symon’s Live To Cook
Make Ahead: The soup will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for a few days.
Corn and Jalapeño Waffles
- Cooking spray
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup minced jalapeño pepper
- 1 (11-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat.
Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl.
Place buttermilk, oil and egg in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir until smooth. Fold in jalapeño and corn.
Spoon about ½ cup batter onto hot waffle iron, spreading batter to edges. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until done; repeat procedure with remaining batter. Cut each waffle into 4 pieces.
Black Bean and Chorizo Chili
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, drained and finely chopped
- 1 ¾ cups chopped onion
- 1 ½ cups chopped green bell pepper
- 1 ½ cups chopped red bell pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 links Spanish chorizo sausage, sliced (about 6 ½ ounces)
- 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
- 3 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (8 ½-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained (or use fresh corn, 1 or 2 cobs)
- 1 ½ ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add chilies, onion, peppers, garlic and chorizo. Sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and next 7 ingredients (cumin through corn), stirring to combine and bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate, salt and pepper.
Recipe from David Bonom, Cooking Light, March 2003
Make Ahead: You can double the recipe and freeze.
Grilled Shrimp with Oregano and Lemon
- ½ cup salted capers, rinsed, soaked for 1 hour and drained
- ½ cup oregano leaves
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ½ pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
On a cutting board, finely chop the drained capers with the oregano leaves and garlic. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, along with the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season the sauce with pepper.
Light a grill. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Thread the shrimp onto metal skewers and grill over high heat, turning once, until the shrimp are lightly charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and transfer them to a platter. Spoon the sauce on top and serve.
Make Ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated overnight. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
Smokin’ Sweet Chicken Wings with Cherry Barbecue Glaze
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, finely chopped
- 1 large habanero chile, seeded and minced
- ¾ cup cherry preserves, preferably sour cherry
- 1⁄3 cup fresh lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ½ pounds chicken wings, tips discarded and wings split
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the chopped sweet onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add three-fourths of the minced habanero chile and cook for 1 minute, just until softened. Scrape the onion and habanero into a blender, add the cherry preserves and lime juice and puree until smooth. Return the cherry glaze to the saucepan and bring it to a boil over moderately high heat. Stir in the remaining minced habanero chile and season the glaze with salt and black pepper. Transfer the glaze to a small bowl.
Light a grill or preheat a broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat source. Season the chicken wings all over with salt and black pepper and grill over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and crispy, about 20 minutes.
Alternatively, broil the wings for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are crispy.
Transfer the chicken wings to a large bowl and toss with one-third of the cherry glaze. Return the wings to the grill or broiler and cook, turning once, just until sticky and caramelized, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken wings to the bowl and toss with another one-third of the cherry glaze. Transfer the glazed wings to a serving platter and serve with the remaining glaze on the side.
Recipe from Grace Parisi, Food & Wine, September 2012
Make Ahead: The cherry glaze can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
Popcorn with Sesame-Glazed Pistachios
- 1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup popping corn
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups shelled unsalted pistachios (8 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine the vegetable oil and popcorn, cover and cook over moderate heat until the corn starts to pop. Cook, shaking the pan until the popping stops, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl and season lightly with salt.
Wipe out the saucepan. Add the olive oil, sugar, sesame seeds, soy sauce, garlic powder and 2 teaspoons of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add the pistachios and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Scrape the pistachios onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until bubbling. Scrape the pistachio mixture into the popcorn and toss well. Let cool before serving.
Recipe from Martha Wiggins, Food & Wine, December 2015
Make Ahead: The mix can be made early in the day and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Neiman Marcus Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 2 ½ cups oatmeal, blended to a fine powder in food processor
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 12 ounces chocolate chips
- 4 ounces Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, finely shaved (about 3 bars)
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add to butter mixture. Add chips, Hershey bars and pecans.
Roll into balls and place one inch apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes.