Tailgating Food for a Winning Game Day

Four easy finger food ideas for your tailgate party

By Anne Schaeffer, Recipe from the Tailgating Done Right Cookbook

Make your tailgate a touch down with the make-ahead easy finger foods that will please a crowd. Below are a sampling of a few yummy recipes from Tailgating Done Right Cookbook to help you pull off an awesome tailgating menu. To get started, here are a few of my favorite tips for pre-game success:


✘ Prepare as much of the food as possible in advance. Premix your drinks, marinate your chicken, make the dips, and pack the cookies.
✘ If you’re headed to the game, check the venue’s website for tailgating rules so there are no surprises when you arrive.
✘ Frozen bottles of water will not only keep food cold in your cooler, it will also give you ice-cold drinking water as the ice melts.

For more tailgating tips and tricks, check out the Tailgating Done Right Cookbook!

Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine

Tailgating Done Right

Get your game face on with 150 winning recipes! Fire up the grill, whether you’re serving it up by the stadium or hosting a viewing party at home. Tailgating Done Right Cookbook features scores of fan favorites that will make the crowd go wild! A tradition begun in 1869, tailgating is an event in itself: Surround yourself with friends, family, & good food—from neighborhood block parties to stadium parking lot get-togethers. This book is crucial for any sports fan who values timeless tradition!


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Ends 10.31.2019. Click here to enter! 


Ingredients (Serves a Crowd)

✘ 1/4 C. olive oil
✘ 1/4 C. red wine vinegar
✘ 2 T. orange juice
✘ 1 tsp. orange zest
✘ 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
✘ 1 tsp. dried tarragon
✘ 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, cubed
✘ 2 (7.05 oz.) jars whole mushrooms, drained
✘ 2/3 C. pimento-stuffed olives
✘ 2/3 C. pitted Greek Kalamata olives
✘ 2/3 C. pitted ripe olives
✘ 1/2 (19 oz.) pkg. frozen cheese tortellini
✘ 1/2 lb. thinly sliced hard salami


In a big zippered plastic bag, mix the oil, vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, rosemary, and tarragon. Add the cheese, mushrooms, and all the olives; seal the bag, turn to coat, and refrigerate overnight to blend the flavors. The next day, cook the tortellini according to package directions; drain and cool. Drain and reserve the marinade from the chilled bag of ingredients. Fold the salami slices and push onto skewers alternately with olives, mushrooms, cheese, and cooled tortellini. Arrange on a big platter and drizzle with reserved marinade.

Blowout Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw

Ingredients (Serves 6)

✘ 1 C. packed coleslaw mix
✘ 1 finely chopped Granny Smith apple
✘ 2 finely chopped celery ribs
✘ 3 T. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
✘ 1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley
✘ 1 finely chopped green onion
✘ 3 T. olive oil
✘ 1 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
✘ 1/2 tsp. sugar
✘ Salt & black pepper to taste
✘ 1 C. wing sauce
✘ 1/2 C. unsalted butter, melted
✘ 1/3 C. ketchup
✘ 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
✘ Softened butter
✘ 6 hefty buns, split (I used pretzel rolls)
✘ Ranch dressing


For the slaw, combine coleslaw mix, apple, celery, cheese, parsley, and green onion. Stir together oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper; add to the slaw,stir to blend, and chill until serving time.  In a big zippered plastic bag, mix the wing sauce, melted butter, and ketchup; remove 1/2 cup and set aside. Add the chicken to the bag and toss to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes. Grease the grill grate and preheat the grill on medium heat. Toss the chicken on the grill (discard the marinade left in the bag) and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, turning to brown both sides. Spread softened butter on the cut sides of the buns and grill until lightly toasted. Set the chicken on the buns; drizzle with ranch dressing and load on the slaw.

Tailgate Spinach Salad

Ingredients (Serves 6)

✘ One box Orzo pasta
✘ 3 T. Olive oil
✘ 3 T. Red wine vinegar
✘ 1 tsp. Italian or mediterranean seasoning blend
✘ Salt and pepper to taste
✘ 4 cups baby spinach
✘ 1/4 cup chopped dried tomatoes in oil
✘ 12 pitted kalamata olives sliced


Cook 1 cup orzo pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, in a big bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Italian or Mediterranean seasoning blend, and salt and black pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water; add to the bowl and stir to coat. Gently stir in 4 cups lightly packed baby spinach (coarsely chopped), 1/4 cup chopped dried tomatoes (packed in oil), and about 12 pitted Kalamata olives (sliced).

Berries & Pound ‘Em

Ingredients (Serves 6)

✘ 1 C. whipping cream
✘ 1 tsp. lemon zest, plus more for sprinkling
✘ 1 T. lemon juice
✘ 5 T. sugar, divided
✘ 1 1/2 C. cubed strawberries
✘ 1 1/2 C. blueberries
✘ 1 T. chopped fresh mint
✘ 1 (10.75 oz.) pkg. frozen pound cake, thawed
✘ 2 T. softened butter


In a small chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat cream until it just begins to thicken. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Chill until serving time. Preheat the grill on medium heat. In an 8 x 8″ foil pan, mix the strawberries, blueberries, mint, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Close the lid and cook until the berries are hot and juicy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut the cake into six slices and spread butter over both cut sides. Set the slices directly on the grill rack and cook a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve berries over cake with the chilled

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About the Author

Robert Triplett has been carving for most of his life. He retired from the U.S. Army after twenty-five years of service and later worked as a safety engineer at electrical power plants. Born and raised in Bedford County, Pa., Robert lives in Hummelstown, Pa.