I love football season! But not because I love watching guys with a little leather ball chase each other around. I love it for the food! That’s right! I couldn’t care less who’s playing who on game day or which player got drafted to which team! Deflategate? What’s that? While I might not know much about football (other than who my son’s favorite quarterback is, hello Peyton Manning!), I do know my food! And when I see a table filled with meaty, cheesy, toothpick-stabbed foods and tiny little sandwiches, I get a little giddy! I’m all in for the tailgating! And I love trying new recipes. Here are some that I'm going to try this tailgating season, and I think you should too! Bring one of these along to your next tailgate and you’re guaranteed a home run … or is it a touchdown!?!
Loaded Tater Tot Touchdowns
1 32 oz. bag of tater tots 8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped 1 C. Colby Jack cheese, shredded 1 Tbsp. Ranch seasoning
- Lay tater tots in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook them according to the package directions.
- Let them cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
- Once you can skewer them, line up 6 tater tots on each skewer.
- Place the tater tot skewers back on the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the tots with the ranch seasoning, bacon, and finally the cheese.
- Put them back into the oven and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Serve with ketchup, ranch dressing, or sour cream.
Quarterback Sneak Dip
1 lb. cooked bacon, chopped 8 oz. softened cream cheese ¼ C. mayonnaise ¼ C. sour cream ¼ C. cheddar cheese, shredded 1 tsp. onion powder 1 tsp. dried garlic, minced pinch of salt 1 C. lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped 1 C. tomato, washed, chopped, and drained Veggies or thin crackers for dipping (cucumbers, carrots, broccoli)
- Combine 1/3 of the bacon with the next 7 ingredients. Mix well.
- Spread in a deep-dish 9” pie plate.
- Sprinkle the lettuce, tomatoes, and the rest of the bacon on top.
- Serve veggies or crackers on the side for dipping.
Bacon Cheeseburger Fumbles
1 package of frozen meatballs Grape tomatoes, cut in half American cheese slices, torn into small pieces Lettuce, torn into pieces Bacon, cooked and torn into pieces
- Cook the frozen meatballs according to the package directions.
- While the meatballs are cooking, start layering the tomatoes, lettuce, and bacon on toothpicks.
- Once the meatballs are ready, top each one with a small slice of American cheese. Pop it back in the oven to melt the cheese.
- After just a minute or two, remove them from the oven and stab each one with a loaded toothpick.
- Place them on a serving platter and serve with burger toppings (ketchup, mustard, pickles, mayo, BBQ sauce, etc.).
Buffalo Bills’ Crockpot Chicken Sliders
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 C. of your favorite Buffalo wing sauce ½ of an onion, finely chopped Bleu cheese, crumbled Ranch dressing
- Place chicken breasts in your crockpot. Top them with ½ C. of your wing sauce and the onions.
- Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
- When it’s finished cooking, remove it and shred the chicken with a fork.
- Empty all but a thin layer of the cooking juices from the crockpot.
- Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot and add the other ½ C. of the wing sauce. Stir well so the chicken is thoroughly coated.
- Spoon the Buffalo chicken mixture onto slider-style buns.
- Serve Bleu cheese and Ranch dressing on the side as add-ons.
Grilled Jalapeño Bacon Pigskins
6 whole jalapeños 6 oz. cream cheese 1 green onion, finely chopped ½ tsp. garlic powder Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 12 strips of uncooked bacon
- Cut the stems off the jalapeño Cut them down the middle lengthwise and scrape out the insides using a small spoon.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, green onion, garlic powder, and cheese.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into each of the 12 jalapeño
- Wrap each jalapeño in a strip of bacon, overlapping it as you go around so that all the cheese filling is covered. Use a toothpick to secure the ends of the bacon if needed.
- Place them on foil on a grill with medium heat. Grill until the bacon starts to crisp. Flip jalapeños over to cook on the other side on a lower heat for another 10 minutes or so until the bacon is cooked.
*Note: These can also be baked in an oven at 400° for about 20 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked.
Football Pretzel Rod Snaps
Package of pretzel rods Package of chocolate candy melts or chocolate chips White frosting
- Melt the chocolate over the stove in a double broiler or in the microwave. Stir constantly on the stove or every 30 seconds when microwaving.
- Dip half of each pretzel rod into the chocolate. Lay them on a baking sheet or wax paper to dry.
- While the chocolate is drying, fill a small plastic baggie with frosting. Cut a tiny hold in a corner of the baggie.
- Push the frosting down to the corner of the baggie and pipe it through the small hole onto each pretzel rod in the shape of football laces (one long horizontal line down each pretzel and short vertical lines going across it).
- Let them dry before serving.