Tailgating time: Some tasty recipes to celebrate football season at home


 Although conventional tailgating may not be an option this year, tailgating from home provides a way for loved ones to gather together during football season.

  For many people, football season means so much more than simply watching a game on TV. Football season is a time for people to gather together in community celebration, making their favorite tried-and-true recipes and spending time with their loved ones. With COVID-19 running rampant, conventional tailgating may no longer be an option — but that does not have to spell the end of tailgating as we know it.

Although assembling in tailgating lots and attending football games in masses may not be an option for 2020’s football season, there are still ways to tailgate in a way that is safe for you and your loved ones. Although tailgating at home may not be the same experience as gathering in the lots near TIAA Bank Field, home tailgates can still provide the same sense of community and cheer as any tailgating experience.

When people think about tailgating, one of the first things that comes to mind is the food. Whether it’s chicken wings, cupcakes or burgers, everyone’s favorite part of tailgating is the mouthwatering dishes that are shared between friends. Whether you’re tailgating at home with a few loved ones or gathering with the masses by the stadium, delectable treats can be enjoyed no matter what. Below are a few recipes to add a tasty twist to your home tailgating fun:

Sausage, Bean And Spinach Dip

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Approximately six cups


■ 1 sweet onion, diced

■ 1 red bell pepper, diced

■ 1 (1-lb) package hot ground pork sausage

■ 2 garlic cloves, minced

■ 1 tsp. fresh chopped thyme

■ ½ cup dry white wine

■ 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

■ 1 (6 oz) package baby spinach, coarsely chopped

■ ¼ tsp. salt

■ 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

■ ½ cup (2 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese

■ Serve with: corn chip scoops, pretzels, bell pepper strips

Preparation instructions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375. Cook diced onion and next 2 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in garlic and thyme; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid has almost completely evaporated.

Step 2: Add cream cheese, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until cream cheese is melted. Stir in spinach and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Gently stir in beans. Pour mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Step 3:  Bake at 375° for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with corn chip scoops, bell pepper strips, and pretzel rods.

Double Chocolate Football Cupcakes

Yield: 18-24 cupcakes


■ 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

■ 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

■ 1 1/2 cups sugar

■ 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

■ 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

■ 3/4 teaspoon salt

■ 2 large eggs

■ 3/4 cup warm water

■ 3/4 cup buttermilk

■ 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

■ 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

■ 8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

■ 6 cups confectioners’ sugar

■ 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter

■ 6 Tbs. milk, plus more, if needed

■ 2 tsp. vanilla extract

■ 1/4 tsp. salt

Preparation instructions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

Step 2: Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.

Step 3: Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

Step 4: Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Step 5: Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed.

Step 6: Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Instructions for frosting:

Step 1: Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Step 2: Put the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler set over but not touching simmering water in the bottom pan. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Step 3: In a large bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, the 6 Tbs. milk, the vanilla and salt and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, then reduce the speed to low.

Step 4: Reserve about a 1/2 cup of the frosting at this point to make the laces

Step 5: Add the chocolate gradually and beat until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute more.

Step 6: If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks.

Decorating instructions:

Step 1: Using a small star tip in a pastry bag, zigzag the chocolate frosting in a diamond shape on the cooled cupcakes. Then put the reserved vanilla frosting into a bag with a small round tip and pipe on the laces.

Step 2: Enjoy!

These are just a few recipes to liven up your at-home tailgating celebrations. Although the pandemic has put a damper on festivities around the globe, tasty treats and football games can still be enjoyed together with loved ones.


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