In my experience, the foods that are the most popular are the ones that are bite sized and easy to eat. No one wants to cut a tough steak or chicken breast with a knife and fork while balancing a paper plate on their lap all while teetering in a tailgating chair or a cooler! Now THAT’S a recipe for disaster!

 Here are some great dishes that are delicious, easy and the only bad news is that you will not have leftovers! Noshes and appetizers are the way to go when tailgating! : )

1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1 TBSP half-and-half

Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor; pulse in 5-second intervals until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add half-and-half, and process 10 seconds or until dough forms a ball.
Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, and roll into an 8- x 10-inch rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick). Cut dough with a sharp knife into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-wide strips, dipping knife in flour after each cut to ensure clean cuts. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until ends are slightly browned. Cool on baking sheets on a wire rack 30 minutes. Break into desired lengths.
Note: To make cheese rounds, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness, and cut with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake and cool as directed. Freeze baked cheese straws or rounds in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic freezer bag up to 3 months. Let thaw at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
Note: Baking time is 12 minutes per batch.


1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
8 ounces crab meat

Combine all ingredients, and mix.


1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
3 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers (3 to 4 whole peppers out of the jar)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili power
1/2 teaspoon coriander
2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Mix all ingredients together, and pour into a glass pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly in the center. Serve with Fritos Scoops or Triscuits.


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
4 1/2 to 5 ounces mango chutney
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 teaspoons curry powder, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Place ingredients in bowl of food processor, and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Place in bowl, cover and chill for at least an hour. Serve with thinly sliced Asian pears or crackers.


1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pound bacon, fried, drained and crumbled
Garlic powder to taste, optional
1 large tomato, finely diced

Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, bacon and garlic powder, if desired. Add diced tomato just before serving. Serve with chips, crackers or toasted bread.


1 jar (8 ounces) dried beef, rinsed, dried and chopped
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 package (8 ounces) sour cream
1 cup finely chopped red onion
Round loaf of rye or italian bread

Mix together dried beef, cream cheese, sour cream and onion. Hollow out loaf of bread, and set bread cubes aside. Pour dip into hollowed-out bread bowl. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve with bread cubes or crackers.


2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
1/3 cup canned green chilies
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 round loaf (1-pound) unsliced bread, rye preferred
Buttery round crackers

Combine Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, ham, green chilies, green onion and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Mix well. Cut a thin slice from the top of the bread loaf; set top slice aside. Remove bread from center of loaf, leaving 1/2-inch edge all around. Use this bread for another use or cut into cubes and toast to serve with dip. Fill hollowed bread bowl with dip; cover with reserved top slice of bread. Wrap loaf in aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with crackers.

Olive-walnut dip

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 green onions, thinly sliced, including tops
10 green olives, chopped
2 teaspoons juice from olive jar

Toast walnuts on a cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven until lightly browned. Combine with remaining ingredients and chill at least one hour. Serve with Pepperidge Farm butterfly crackers or wheat crackers.

Country ham dip

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup finely chopped country ham, cooked
Chopped pecans, optional

Blend cream cheese and Dijon mustard until smooth. Add ham, and stir until well-mixed. Chill. Roll mixture into a ball, and roll in chopped pecans. Serve at room temperature.

Clam dip

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 can (6 1/2 ounces) chopped clams, drained
2 tablespoons grated onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Garlic powder to taste

Combine all ingredients, and place in a serving bowl.


1 rotisserie chicken, boned and shredded
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella or your favorite)
Hot wing sauce, to taste

Mix all ingredients together, and heat in oven at 350 degrees until mixture is warmed.


1 c. light mayo (or, fat free)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 c. soft breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cans (14 oz. each) artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine mayo, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire, hot pepper sauce and garlic powder. Gently fold in artichokes and green chilies. Spoon mixture into a casserole dish (or any oven-proof dish) coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, pita wedges, melba rounds, or veggies. Makes about 4 cups. ENJOY!

3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef
3/4 pound ground turkey
1 small onion, minced
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard

Combine first 5 ingredients; shape mixture into 1-inch balls.
Brown meatballs, in batches, in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove meatballs from skillet, and wipe skillet clean. Stir together ketchup and next 4 ingredients in skillet; bring to a boil.
Add meatballs, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink.

Prepare these in advance a day before, and reheat on the grill at your tailgate party. Serve with toothpicks!

(Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow)
While not technically a finger food, it’s easy and light and oh so delish with the meatballs.

1 bag angel hair coleslaw (or any cabbage that you prefer)
2-3 TBSP veganaise
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Mix all together and serve.



This recipe is another one that I’ve been making for so long that I don’t remember where I got it.  The brownies are rich and dense and oh so good! The kahlua takes it over the top!

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c butter (which comes out to be 10 TBSP + 2 tsp)
3 (1 oz.) unsweetened chocolate squares
3 eggs
2 c sugar
1/4 c Kahlua
3/4 c chopped walnuts (optional)


Melt butter and chocolate in the microwave in 30 second sections, stirring each time until melted.


Beat the 3 eggs with 2 cups sugar.


Stir in chocolate mixture and 1/4 cup Kahlua.


Add dry ingredients (1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking powder).


Turn into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.


When cooled, brush with Kahlua. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and cut into squares.




 Let’s go with a refreshing cold drink to enjoy in September – 
a twist on a classic margarita:


3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons orange liqueur
6 tablespoons gold tequila
2 teaspoons grated lime rind
Bring 3 cups water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan, stirring mixture constantly. Pour into a large bowl; add lime juice and next 4 ingredients. Cover and freeze 8 hours.
Process frozen mixture in a blender or food processor until slushy.
Dip margarita glass rims into water; dip rims in sugar. Spoon granita into glasses. Enjoy! Makes 5 cups.