Finally football season is HERE! Even though it feels like the middle of summer, football is beginning!  I’m so excited to plan some fabulous food to serve (and enjoy!) this year. Looking forward to watching the Florida Gators take on Miami today to get things started!

The opening game and first tailgate party for us is on:






So, yes, it’s going to be VERY hot, BUT I’m THRILLED that it’s a 2:00PM game if only for the food and time we’ll get to socialize and have fun before heading into the game.

We’re all very excited to see what new Head Coach Geoff Collins has in store!

Both teams are coming off a tough losses to (GT to Clemson, and South Florida to Wisconsin), so both are clamoring for a win. GT lost to USF last year, as Head Coach Charlie Strong had a big win to kick off USF’s season. We’ll be cheering the Jackets on for a big win this year!
Here’s the menu I’ve come up with for pre-game:



Cocktail Sauce

Avocado Crema

Remoulade Sauce








I’m in Florida right before the first game of the season and will be picking up fresh shrimp from Mayport for the first tailgate! Excited to cook up a bunch of shrimp and then serve it with 3 different sauces. Perfect for a tailgate as no utensils are needed, and the shrimp and sauces are cool for a hot September gameday.

Shrimp Cocktail Bar

(Adapted from Ree Drummond)

Buy however much shrimp you need for your party. I’ve purchased 6 pounds of peeled and deveined Mayport, FL shrimp, and I’ll cook it in Shrimp Boil the day before the event, so they’ll be well chilled and ready to go!


1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 TBSP hot sauce, or more to taste (I use Tabasco)

2 TBSP fresh parsley 

1 TBSP capers, drained 

1/4 tsp chili powder 

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 TBSP)

1/2 tsp chives

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the remoulade:

Mix together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, parsley, capers, chile powder, garlic, lemon juice and green onions in a food processor.

Chill thoroughly before serving.
Cocktail Sauce:

1 cup ketchup

2 TBSP prepared horseradish 

1/2 tsp Tabasco (or your favorite hot sauce)

1 tsp lemon juice

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire, lemon juice, hot sauce and some salt and pepper together in a bowl.

Adjust seasonings to taste. Chill before serving. All packed up and ready to transport!

Avocado Crema:

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro, or more to taste 

2 to 3 ripe avocados

Juice of 1 lime, or more to taste

1/2 tsp hot sauce (I use Tabasco) 


3/4 cup milk

6-8 lbs peeled, deveined and cooked (in Shrimp Boil see above), tail-on large shrimp, chilled

Lemon wedges, for garnish

For the avocado cream: 
Put the yogurt, cilantro, avocados, lime juice, tabasco, milk and some salt in a food processor and mix until completely smooth.

Arrange the shrimp on a large platter over ice, and serve with separate bowls of the avocado crema, remoulade and classic cocktail sauce and lemon wedges to garnish.

***I found this very cool (pun intended) serving dish for the shrimp that keeps them cool for the tailgate here:



1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork 

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs 

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan 

1/2 cup ricotta cheese 

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced 

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper 

1/4 tsp salt 

3 cloves garlic, grated on a rasp grater

2 whole eggs 

Splash of milk 

Freshly ground black pepper 

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, for frying


3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped 

Two 28-oz cans plum tomatoes, pureed in a blender or food processor

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced 

1 6 oz can tomato paste 

2 TBSP sugar 

1 tsp salt 

Crushed red pepper, as needed

Freshly ground black pepper 

For the meatballs:

Combine the ground beef, pork, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, ricotta, parsley, crushed red pepper, salt, garlic, eggs, milk and black pepper in a bowl.

Mash with your hands until thoroughly combined.

Form into small balls and place on a baking sheet.

Set in the fridge for 1 hour. After an hour, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs in batches until nice and deep golden, then move them to a plate.

For the sauce: In the same skillet you used for the meatballs, add the 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 onion, chopped and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the pureed tomatoes, parsley, tomato paste, sugar, salt, crushed red pepper and black pepper.

Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the meatballs back to the skillet and simmer another 15 minutes.

Keep warm until serving. Or place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Transfer to a chafing dish or a crock pot to warm, and serve with toothpicks.


These can be made well in advance and then served at room temperature.

20 large medjool dates

¼ – ½ cup plain or herbed goat cheese

8 oz sliced prosciutto

Slice the top half of each medjool date lengthwise and remove the pit carefully.

Stuff each date with goat cheese ~ ½ – 1 tsp of cheese in each.

Tightly wrap each date with prosciutto.

Serve this way OR

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, with the seam of the prosciutto placed down.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until prosciutto is crispy and cheese is slightly browned/bubbly. OR you can toss them in a metal pan and put on the grill at your tailgate. Warm until browned.

Serve warm or at room temp, and top with drizzled balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction.

STRAWBERRY MANGO SALAD (Adapted from cookincanuck)

2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
2 mangoes, diced
1 orange, juiced
1 tsp lime zest
1 tsp honey or agave nectar

In a medium bowl, stir together the strawberries, mangoes, orange juice, lime zest and agave nectar (or honey). Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIE POPS (Adapted from Ree Drummond(

My daughter made this adorable brownie pop for the tailgate. They were a huge hit – just the right size for a party, and they were delish!

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2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup cocoa 

1 cup flour 

1/4 tsp salt 

2 sticks butter, melted 

1 TBSP vanilla 

2 lbs dark chocolate melting wafers 

Chocolate sprinkles and/or gold sprinkles, for decorating

20 lollipop sticks and a block of florist foam

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Sift together the sugar, cocoa, flour and salt.

Drizzle in the melted butter while still hot, add the vanilla, and stir until combined. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out 20 portions, and use your hands to roll them into neat balls. Cookie scoop was found here.

Press a lollipop stick into each ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Melt the chocolate wafers in a microwave or double boiler and let cool slightly. Dip each pop into the chocolate.

Lightly tap the stick on the side of the bowl so the chocolate sheets around the sides and drips off. Strew the sprinkles over the brownie pops. Place the sticks in the florist foam, and allow the pops to set at room temperature.

I’ll be making this drink in larger batches for my crowd, and even though it’s “orange”, I’m going to say it’s “GOLD,” and therefore appropriate for a Georgia Tech drink!  I’ll throw it in a gold cup with a navy straw and get in the gameday spirit!
1/3 cup (or 6 cups for a pitcher full) fresh squeezed orange juice 
3 TBSP (or 3 cups for a pitcher full) orange-flavored vodka
1 TBSP (or 1 cup for a pitcher full) Triple Sec
Orange wedges

Place OJ, vodka and triple sec in a pitcher. Stir well, and serve in glasses filled with ice. Then garnish each glass with an orange wedge. This drink is also yummy tossed in a blender with ice!


It’s going to be a scorcher on game day! Sunny and 95 degrees (according to is the forecast for Atlanta, Georgia this Saturday.

2 Options depending on just how hot it feels.

  1. Saw this dress originally while looking at a top on, and then found that they make the same style in a dress so, BOOM! GAMEDAY in September taken care of….I’ll add some navy jewelry and call it a day. It’s super cute and comfy for hot weather in Atlanta, GA. Dress here.


2. I found this dress at a fraction of the cost of the first one here. It’s much lighter and more flowy, so I may go with it.

I went with this one!


After the game, while waiting for traffic to die down, it’s nice to have something to enjoy. This standby (with a few slight changes) always gets devoured.


3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts – boiled and shredded (or use a store bought Rotisserie chicken shredded)

8 oz low fat cream cheese – cubed

1 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing

1 cup hot sauce – (I use Frank’s RedHot)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup green onion – chopped

1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese,shredded

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium saucepot over medium-low heat add the cubed cream cheese, ranch or blue cheese dressing, hot sauce, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Whisk constantly until the cream cheese has dissolved in the dressing and hot sauce. Remove from heat. Add the cooked and shredded chicken, green onion, 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese, and one cup of the shredded cheddar cheese to the sauce pot.

Mix well to combine. Transfer to your prepared baking dish, and top with remaining mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

At this point you can cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to enjoy, bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the sides are starting to bubble. Set oven to BROIL. Allow your buffalo chicken dip to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Remove immediately.

Serve with potato chips, crackers or tortilla chips.


AND – the Jackets won! Perfect game day!