We’ve planned out which games we’ll be attending this fall. We will be covering the Southeast (ACC and SEC). Can’t wait! Now on to the food!

For this game, it’s in Atlanta; it’s my husband’s alma mater; it’s going to be hot as Hades; it’s on a Thursday at 7:30PM, and we’re tailgating with old friends and their friends. They have a designated tailgate spot, so we’ll park and tote our food to them. It’ll need to be easy to transport and tasty for a hot summer night in Atlanta, GA!

Here’s what I’m thinking. Starters – we’ll begin with really good chips and salsa. It sounds like a cop out, but this homemade salsa is delish!


1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes and green chilies
1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes (with juice)
1 tablespoon & 1 tsp. jalapeno, canned, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/2-3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sugar

In food processor place jalapenos and onions.
Process for just a few seconds.
Add both cans of tomatoes, salt, sugar, and cumin.
Process all ingredients until well blended but do not puree.
Place in covered container and chill.

Another appetizer that’s cool and delicious and very satisfying. And it’ll go in cute little GT cups in keeping with our tailgate theme of course!


I may serve this one:

Endive Appetizer with Homemade Mango Salsa

2-3 belgian endive
1 jalapeno chili
Juice from 1 lime
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tomatoes
½ cup honey
1 red bell pepper
1 red onion
1 mango
Salt, to taste
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Trim the bottoms off the endives, then separate the leaves.
Finely dice the bell pepper, onion, mango, tomatoes, and chili pepper.
Combine the jalapeno chili, lime juice, mustard, tomatoes, honey, bell pepper, onion, mango, and cilantro in a bowl and add salt and black pepper to taste.
Put a teaspoon of salsa on the bottom end of each endive leaf and arrange them on a platter.


1 1/2 cups chilled Clamato juice, or 1 cup tomato juice and 1/2 cup bottled clam juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce such as Tabasco
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 firm-ripe California avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into small chunks
1/2 lb fresh lump crabmeat (1 cup), picked over
1/4 lb cooked baby shrimp

I’ll probably offer oyster crackers or saltines (optional)

Stir together Clamato juice, ketchup, lime juice, hot sauce, salt, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl, then gently stir in avocado, crabmeat, and shrimp. Spoon into 6- or 8-ounce glasses or cups. Doesn’t get much easier than this recipe…

As long as we’re on the Mexican theme, let’s go with Mexican salads too. Easy peesy to transport and keep the ingredients cold, and if you are dying to grill in 90+ degree heat, then throw on a skirt steak or chicken breast and have at it. But, you CAN bring already grilled cold chicken cut up, and it’ll be delicious.


6 servings

6 boneless skinless chicken breast, grilled and sliced
12 cups iceberg lettuce (or a mixture including romaine)
8 oz. cheddar cheese
3 cups salsa
2 cups sour cream
taco chips

Grill chicken and slice it into strips. Place lettuce on plates (or prepared taco shells if you’re so inclined), and top with the chicken.
Sprinkle cheddar on top. Add salsa and sour cream.
Top with taco chips and voila!

Optional toppings for a Mexican bar are: monterey jack cheese, black olives, chopped jalapeno peppers, scallions, salsa verde and black beans.

I’m going with theme cupcakes – gold and navy of course. The best cupcake recipe is Amy Sedaris’ so that’s what I’ll make and transport in a tupperware container made for cupcakes so there’ll be no sliding or mess. They’ll also be in a cooler right up until we head over to the tailgate party.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk

Turn oven on to 375 degrees F.
Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. Pour in sugar and beat well. Add 2 eggs. Mix well. Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk. Beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into individual baking cups, until they are about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Should produce 24 cupcakes.
I’ll frost with Amy Sedaris’ frosting, and will either tint the frosting or better yet, I’ll decorate with gold and navy edible balls. They’ll also be in a theme cupcake wrapper. Pics will follow!


1 box confectioners’ sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract*
1/4 cup milk or light cream
food coloring (optional)

*Less than 1 teaspoon pure almond extract can be substituted.

In a bowl combine: one box of confectioners’ sugar, one stick of unsalted butter, one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of milk or light cream and beat for a while. I occasionally add food coloring and sometimes substitute pure almond extract for vanilla.

Now to come up with a drink…we’ll surely be serving Coronas and or Dos Equis, but for a fun drink that’s uber refreshing, I think it’s got to be some sort of amazing one. How about a watermelon mojito??? Yes, please.


courtesy of Ina Garten – trust me, these are amazing!
Serves 6
30 large fresh mint leaves
3 to 4 thick slices fresh watermelon
12 ounces light rum, such as Bacardi
½ cup simple syrup (see note)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (3 limes)
Sprigs of mint and spears of watermelon, for serving

Use a mortar and pestle to mash the mint leaves. Remove and discard the rind and seeds of the watermelon. Put the fruit into a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Put the mashed mint into a large pitcher with 2 cups of pureed watermelon, the rum, simple syrup, and lime juice and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a pitcher for serving.
Place ice cubes in 6 glasses and pour the mojito mixture into the glasses. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint and spears of watermelon. Serve ice cold.
Note: to make simple syrup, put 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small pan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Chill.


I’ll go with preparing in advance a perfect frozen margarita (sort of gold in color to go with the school colors!) and transport in a thermos.


1 (6 oz) can frozen Minute Maid Limeade
1 1/2 cups white tequila
3/4 cup triple sec
8 lime wedges

Put limeade in blender. Add the remaining liquids (you can use the limeade can – 1 can tequila and 1/3 can triple sec). Gently mix 10 seconds. Add ice to the top of the blender and blend until smooth and slushy. Serve immediately or pour into thermos and transport to your tailgate. Top each glass with a lime. Serves 8.


P.S.S. Look at the cute things I found:

Cupcake liners:

Edible gold balls for cupcake decoration:

Great gold (mojito!) cups:

Gold Beverage napkins:

Gettin’ excited!!

One final thought – you may wonder why guacamole isn’t included in my Mexican fiesta menu. It’s probably my favorite dish BUT it doesn’t keep well (turns an ugly brown), and I personally don’t like making it at a tailgate spot, because you end up with green goo under your fingernails no matter what. But, if I was at home watching the game, I’d most certainly make a huge batch of my guac!