Winning Recipes For Your Next Tailgate

As the air turns crisp and people begin breaking out the game jerseys, fans everywhere are gearing up for the gridiron. Yes, it’s fall football season and that means it’s time for that fabulous tradition of the tailgate party. The shared experience of watching your team is fun enough for most folks, but for others, nothing makes your day better than to enjoy some tailgating before the game. Some good food and drinks, music, games, and camaraderie is a great way to kick things off.

It’s all about the food

But that brings up an issue, what foods can you bring that are not only easy to make and transport, but that will also make this tradition feel, well, a little less traditional? Sure – you can slap together some sandwiches or grab a box of basic chicken wings to go, but how about whipping up some tasty bites that have a little something different than the usual tailgating fare?

On game day you may be in a hurry and you may even be thinking about trying to keep it healthy, so here are a few simple ideas that could help make your tailgate a winner. A shared experience like gathering in a parking lot to celebrate your team calls for easy to eat dishes. Finger foods are definitely something that works well here, especially when your day probably also involves packing up chairs, coolers, tables, and other items for the party.

Easy recipe

One healthy recipe that is easy to make ahead and pack up to go is a fun twist on a favorite, but often messy, Mexican dish:

Taco Wonton Bites:

24 small wonton wrappers

2 Tbs dry taco-seasoning mix

cup taco sauce

1 package of veggie ground round (pre-cooked) *substitute ground beef or turkey for meat-lovers.

1 cup shredded cheddar or cheddar/pepper-jack cheese blend

Optional toppings: chopped tomato, sour cream, shredded lettuce, guacamole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the taco seasoning mix with taco sauce, stir in the crumbled veggie ground round and cheese and set aside. Coat wonton skins with vegetable cooking spray and press each into a mini muffin tin. Fill each wonton skin with a spoonful of the meat, sauce, and cheese mixture. Bake for 12 minutes.

Transport the wonton cups in the muffin tin – just cover with aluminum foil. Pack up the toppings in containers and let people serve what they want to add.

Grab and go

Want something that be be made ahead of time? How about a healthier, easier- to- eat version of a party favorite? These are mini pizza sandwiches

Mini pizza bites:

Tube of thin crust pizza dough

Tomato sauce

mozzarella cheese

Filings can vary but could include: mini pepperoni, olives, sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough and cut into 8 small squares. Place a spoonful of sauce and cheese in the center of each dough square. Put a small amount of toppings on sauce and cheese. Take corners of each dough square and gently stretch to meet and wrap around the ingredients. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.

These are great when warm but can also be eaten cold and are easy to pack up, pick up, and eat!

Don’t forget the player on the sidelines

Need a side to make your tailgating spread complete? How about this potato salad with bacon!

The shared experience of tailgating fun can be a great way to spend your day. It’s possible to think outside the box and to make healthy food that everyone can enjoy. A little bit of time preparing and packing can mean an easy, fun time in the lot. But if you find yourself in a hurry go ahead and order some sandwiches online from and you’ll still score!

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