We are shifting gears and heading to AUBURN for Fall Family Weekend on Saturday, September 24th! It’s a 6PM game, so we’ll begin the fun around 1-2:00PM. After an undefeated season (and a National Championship) last year, they are 2-1 so far this season. This week should end with a “W” however, since they are playing Florida Atlantic. But at any rate – the tailgating should be a winner….

We’re going to go with BBQ – perfect for a football game in the state of Alabama. Our daughter is a junior at Auburn (WAR EAGLE!), and she’ll be joining us along with a group of her friends and ours. The weather should be beautiful, so grilling will be fun. Here’s what we’re going to serve:

Buffalo Chicken Dip with crackers

                                                             and/or taco dip 

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches 
Giada’s Grilled Vegetables 
orIna Garten’s Tomato Mozzeralla and Basil Salad 
Amped up Lemonade 
Auburn Cupcakes 
or football whoopie pies


8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup FRANK’S REDHOT Pepper Sauce or FRANK’S REDHOT Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2-3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (or can use one Rotisserie Chicken, shredded)

HEAT oven to 350F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
MIX in salad dressing, Frank’s RedHot Sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
BAKE 20 min. or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or vegetables.


(courtesy of Closet Cooking)

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

(makes 2-4 servings)
I doubled the recipe here and cooked in a larger dish to accommodate a crowd.
1/2 pound ground beef
4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 green onions (sliced)
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup jack cheese (grated)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (grated)

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Brown the meat in a pan and drain the grease.
Mix everything in a large bowl, reserving some of the cheese.
Pour the mixture into a baking dish and top with the reserved cheese.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven until it is bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 20-30 minutes.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBSP Cajun seasoning
1 cup BBQ sauce (see below)

Brush chicken breast with oil and then rub with cajun seasoning. Grill until almost done (~8-10 minutes). Slather with BBQ sauce and turn to grill 2 minutes. Slather again with sauce and turn for another 2-3 minutes.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Serve with:
swiss cheese
BBQ sauce
Honey Mustard

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

This sauce offers that perfect blend of tangy and sweet (but not too sweet). So good.
BBQ Sauce:
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP honey
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP molasses
2 TBSP Worchestershire sauce
2 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP Chili Powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp tabasco

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

In heavy saucepan mix all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Let cool and refridgerate up to one week.
Makes 3 cups of sauce.

Giada’s Grilled Vegetables

3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved
3 yellow squash (about 1 pound total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
3 zucchini (about 12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
3 Japanese eggplant (12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
12 cremini mushrooms
1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
12 green onions, roots cut off
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers; 7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms; 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter. The key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they’ve been placed on the hot grill.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Serve the vegetables, warm or at room temperature.

Ina’s Tomato Mozzeralla and Basil Salad

6 small tomatoes (4 medium)
1 pound fresh mozzarella
10 to 15 basil leaves
3 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and arrange casually with the basil leaves on a large platter. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

Auburn Cupcakes

Use Amy Sedaris’ amazing recipe:

1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups of sugar

Beat well, then add:

Add 2 large eggs
2 Teaspoons of pure vanilla
½ teaspoon of salt
2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
2 ½ cups of flour
1 ¼ cups of milk

Beat well, fill cups, and bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes. You should get 24.

1 stick of unsalted butter
1 box of Domino confectionary sugar
¼ cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla

Football Whoopie Pies

Adapted from Makemerryevents.com

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
2 teaspoons maple extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add marshmallow creme and maple extract; beat until blended and smooth. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Sift first 7 ingredients into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in another large bowl until blended. Gradually beat in oil. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in pumpkin. Add dry ingredients in 2 additions alternately with milk in 1 addition, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Cover and chill batter 1 hour.
Spoon batter onto mini egg shaped muffin pan. scoop them into your well-greased pan – nearly full, with tops as smooth as you can get ‘em. 18 minutes at 350 was perfect for me, so you might want to start checking them around 16 – 18 minutes – they’re done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean.

Cool cakes completely on baking sheets on rack.
To fill and decorate them, cut each cake in half and gently brush off any large crumbs. Put a big dollop of crème on the bottom half (enough to scare you a little bit) then put the top on and gently push down. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect – you can clean around the edge with a butter knife and make it pretty.

Repeat with remaining cakes and filling. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature.
Use a pasty bag with a small round tip to pipe on the laces. I’m not the world’s greatest cake decorator, so I used a toothpick to fix my lines. Feel free to do the same, and don’t worry if they’re not perfect. No one will notice as they stuff it in their mouth and grab another one. Yum!

An amped up version of Toomer’s!

* 16 oz. cup Ice
* 1 muddled lemon (about 4 lemon slices)
* 2 oz. Citrus Vodka
* 2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemonade (preferably from Toomer’s Drugstore)
* 2 oz. Sprite

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Shake it well!