Saturday, September 22, 2012 we are headed to a big in-conference game for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, as they play an ACC rival, the University of Miami Hurricanes, at home in Atlanta.  The Jackets go into the game with a 2-1 record (after a nice win over Virginia), and the ‘Canes are also 2-1 after a weak win this past Saturday over Bethune-Cookman. Georgia Tech is favored by 14 1/2 points going into this game.


Bobby Dodd Stadium
Atlanta, Georgia
Kickoff – 3:00PM
Tailgate – 11:00AM

My brother and sister-in-law and their youngest son are coming in from Orlando, Florida for Georgia Tech’s Family Weekend, as they visit their oldest son, my nephew, who’s a freshman at Tech.  We have relatives, friends, friends of friends and some co-workers that also will be joining us, and we should have over 30 attending.  It should be a very fun tailgate party!

The weather should be fabulous – Fall in Atlanta, GA is hard to beat!  Right now the weather prediction is sunny and 85 degrees for a high, but it’ll be in the mid 50s at night.  Sounds pretty perfect to me…


Marinated Olives
Touchdown Taco Dip
Pepperoni Roll Ups 

Sesame Grilled Flank Steak with rolls
Baked Potato Bar
Caprese Parfaits

Rocky Road Brownies and
Peanut Butter Sheet Cake 

Oh and Beer, Wine and Water


Photo Credit: Food Buzz

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Peel of half a lemon, cut into thin strips (I didn’t have a lemon, but I used grated lemon peel from a jar)
10 oz mixed olives (I used Queen pimento green olives and kalamata)
1/4 tsp dried fennel seeds

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary and lemon peel over medium-low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes until the garlic and herbs become fragrant.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Add the olives, toss to coat and gently heat until warmed through. Add the fennel seeds, and remove from the heat.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Transfer to a jar to cool, then cover and refrigerate for 1 day to 2 weeks to marinate.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Remove jar from refrigerator an hour or two before serving and bring to room temperature.

(Recipe Adapted from Life as a Lofthouse)

Photo Credit: Life as a Lofthouse

I fixed a half version of this dip, to test it before the tailgate, a few weeks ago, and let me just say this: my husband and I liked it so much, that it ended up being our dinner one night!  I chose to make my own taco seasoning however.  The store bought mixes just aren’t very good.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchatel = 1/3 less fat, but equally good)
1 cup sour cream (again, I go with light)

2 cans (16 ounces, each) refried beans (I always use fat free)
1 packet taco seasoning (See Note below)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cream cheese and sour cream in a large bowl.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Mix in refried beans until combined.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

 Stir in one packet of taco seasoning (or use my recipe for homemade taco seasoning – see below).

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Spread mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking dish.

Sprinkle the top with both cheeses.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese in melted and slightly browned. Serve with tortilla chips. Yum!

My taco seasoning mix

2 teaspoons hot chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hotter)
1 pinch red pepper flakes

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Mix chili powder, paprika, sea salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.  Makes the equivalent of one packet of store bought taco seasoning mix.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

(Recipe Adapted from Life as a Lofthouse)

Photo Credit: Life as a Lofthouse

This recipe makes 8 roll-ups, so I’ll double or triple the recipe for this tailgate.

1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls
32 slices pepperoni (can use Hormel’s turkey pepperoni slices)
4 pieces mozzarella string cheese, cut in half
1/4 TSP Italian seasoning
1 TBSP butter, melted
Marinara sauce, for dipping

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll crescent dough, and seperate into 8 triangles. Place 4 pepperoni slices on the large end of each triangle.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Place one half string cheese on the top of the pepperonis. Roll up towards point. Place roll ups at least 2 inches apart on a lightly greased or parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Mix together Italian seasoning and melted butter.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Brush over the tops of the roll ups.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Wrap in foil and take to your tailgate!

(Recipe Adapted from Just a Pinch Kitchen)

Photo Credit: Just a Pinch Kitchen

This recipe serves roughly 8-10 people, so I’ll double it for this tailgate and use 4 flank steaks equalling roughly 7 1/2 lbs.

1 c red wine

3/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c sesame oil
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
4 TBSP garlic, chopped
3 TBSP fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
3 TSP thyme, leaves (substitue 1 tsp. dried)
1 TSP cracked black pepper
1/2 TSP coarse sea salt
2 lb beef flank steaks

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Whisk all marinade ingredients in a bowl.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Trim any excess fat, and then score each flank steak against the grain.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Place the marinade in two separate gallon sized zip lock bags and add one flank steak to each bag. Zip bags closed and shake to evenly coat the meat.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Place in a pan and into fridge. Marinate the steak overnight turning several times to evenly coat the meat.

On a preheated grill over medium high heat (375 F), first sear the flank steak on each side, approximately 1-2 minutes per side. Continue cooking about 6 minutes or more per side (depending on how you like it), turning once. When the internal temperature reaches desired doneness, remove from grill and rest ~10 minutes under a piece of foil tented over the top. Slice the flank steak against the grain, and serve as is or with rolls for sandwiches.

My brother and sister-in-law gave me this cool herb chopper last time they came for a visit, and now it’s my favorite gadget!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


Photo Credit: Pinterest

Wash and wrap potatoes in foil.  Cook on high for about 2 1/2 to 4 hours in the crock pot.

Then, set up a potato bar at your tailgate with your choice of toppings such as:

*Sour cream
*Assorted shredded cheeses
*Crumbled bacon
*Chopped olives
*Chopped jalapeno pepper

(recipe adapted from Apron String Blog)

Photo Credit: Apron Strings Blog

I can’t wait to serve this dish!  Who doesn’t love a caprese salad?  And this one is easy to eat at a tailgate and just so darn pretty!  I’ll serve in smaller clear PLASIC cups however, but it’ll still be cute.

This recipe looks to serve about 4-6 people, so I’ll probably triple it for the tailgate.

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup basil, chopped
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into wedges
1/2 cup prepared pesto (optional; also fine with olive oil alone)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

If you’re using the pesto, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to make it more pourable. Layer in the order of tomatoes – mozzarella – basil and then drizzle a bit of pesto, if using. If not, this is where a touch of olive oil comes in for each layer. Repeat until glasses are full. Top with more basil.

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup flour
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans, or walnuts

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.

In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Remove mixture from heat; stir in sugars and salt, then eggs, and finally flour, stirring just until combined.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from oven, and ***sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips, then marshmallows and nuts.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Bake until chocolate is shiny and marshmallows are puffed, about 5 minutes.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
***Note: To prevent toppings from sinking into the batter, sprinkle them on after brownies are baked. An extra 5 minutes in the oven melts the topping together for easy slicing.

(recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen)

Photo Credit: Tasty Kitchen

2 cups sugar
1 TSP baking soda
2 cups flour
1 TSP salt
2 sticks butter
1 cup water
1 cup peanut butter
½ cups milk
1 TSP vanilla
2 whole eggs

1 stick butter
½ cups peanut butter
6 TSP milk
1 pound powdered sugar (~ 3 cups)

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, baking soda, flour and salt. Set aside.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Combine butter, water and peanut butter in saucepan and bring just to boil stirring to melt the peanut butter well. Pour over flour mixture. Mix together.

Add milk, vanilla and eggs, and mix well.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 400F degrees for 20 minutes. Cool.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


Bring butter, peanut butter and milk to boil in saucepan. Add powdered sugar.  Mix well, and add more milk if necessary to get desired consistency for the frosting.  Spread frosting over cooled cake.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

So, since we’re playing the Miami Hurricanes, naturally we’re going to HAVE to have Hurricanes on the menu!  We’ll “down the Hurricanes” in style!

Photo Credit:

Here’s Emeril’s recipe:

This recipe serves 10-12, so for my large tailgate, I’ll double it.  Great for a tailgate, so you’re not at a “bar” fixing drinks all day.  Just fix a pitcher of this New Orleans’ concoction, and you’re good to go!
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) light rum
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) dark rum
10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) grenadine
10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) fresh orange juice
10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) sour mix, or fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons superfine sugar, or more to taste (I may not use ANY sugar though – probably doesn’t need it)
1 large orange, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices for garnish
Mix all the ingredients in a tall pitcher or large pot and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a punch bowl and add the ice cubes and orange segments. Serve in tall glasses over ice with straws.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Now, again, for the really important decision.

Photo Credit: Polyvore by Cate-McClane-Bogue

Here are a few shots of the tailgate!

Taylor Mathis stopped by – check out his pictures from the Georgia Tech experience at

Post game notes:
The tailgate was a success from start to finish – other than the potato bar. I had tested the “baked” potato way of cooking in the crock pot earlier in the week, and when cooking TWO potatoes, it took me 2 1/2 hours, and they were perfect. Well, two crock pots and 20 potatoes later, I plug in to the RV outlets about 4 hours prior to the tailgate. After 4 hours about half of them were cooked and the flank steak was cooked and sliced and all the other food items were ready to go. We scrapped the potato bar, and then we served that as a POST game tailgate, and they were great. So the message is – if you’re cooking a large amount, you need to allow probably 5-6 hours for 10 potatoes in the crock pot.
The specialty drink a success, and the outfit worked! Unfortunately, the game didn’t turn out the way we wanted. Georgia Tech lost in overtime, after leading by 17 points in the 4th quarter. Miami scored 23 unanswered points. Final score – 36-42. Brutal.
We’re taking next week off, but there will be more fun tailgates to follow!
PS – A YELLOW JACKET also decided to pay us a visit: