Tackling Tailgating

Tailgating Grub

Tailgating food is all about versatility, portability and flat out nosh-ability. These recipes are guaranteed to please everyone at the party and make dining outdoors a total breeze. Just make sure to bring chairs, because with a spread like this, there won’t be any room for butts on the tailgate.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo wings go hand in hand with sports, but they can get messy and leave no hands free for playing corn hole. This dip makes Buffalo wings tailgate friendly without sacrificing flavor. Just make sure to keep it on ice!

11/2cups sour cream

1cup mayonnaise

8oz cream cheese, softened

1cup bleu cheese

1/4cup and 2 tbsp hot sauce

3cups chicken breast, shredded

2cups cheddar cheese

Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, bleu cheese and 1/4 cup hot sauce with a mixer until creamy. Spread in a casserole dish. Mix chicken with 2 tbsp hot sauce, and top with cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.

Tasty Tip: Dispensing dips in individual cups makes it easier to carry, prevents crowding around one dish and makes it acceptable to double dip.

Recipe and photo courtesy of callmepmc.com


Olive Oil Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a cool, light way to snack on game day, but the usual mayonnaise base presents a problem when left in the heat too long. Instead, try this recipe made with olive oil.

1lb pasta, boiled

1packet Italian dressing

1/4cup red and yellow peppers, diced small

2tbsp jalapeno peppers

2tbsp green onions

2tbsp McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning

1/2cup corn, drained

1/2cup black beans, drained

1/2cup diced tomatoes

Boil pasta, and drain. Make Italian dressing according to package. Mix pasta, peppers, onions, corn and black beans. Stir in salad seasoning and dressing. Refrigerate, and stir in tomatoes just before serving.

Recipe and photo courtesy of callmepmc.com

Taco Cupcakes

Finger foods are perfect for strolling around the stadium, and taco cupcakes make a favorite dish portable and mess free. They also leave one hand empty to make unsportsmanlike gestures at rival fans, but who would do that?

1lb ground beef

1packet taco seasoning

2/3cup water

1can black beans, drained

2cups cheddar cheese

36wonton wrappers

Taco toppings (salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brown beef in a skillet, and drain off fat. Return meat to skillet, and add taco seasoning, water and black beans. Mix, and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Spray muffin pan cups with cooking spray. Place one wonton wrapper in each cup. Put one half of the taco meat in the cups, top with cheese and repeat a second layer. Bake for 20 minutes, and add favorite toppings.

Photo and recipe courtesy of plainchicken.com


Pulled Pork Sliders

Barbecue is a tailgating essential, and this recipe is one of the easiest out there. These tasty sliders are simple yet scrumptious and will have every football fan reaching for seconds.

3lb Boston butt pork roast

24slider buns

1cup barbecue sauce

Put pork roast in slow cooker fat side down. Cover with barbecue sauce, and cook on low 8 hours. Discard unwanted fatty pieces. Shred pork with two forks. Mix with sauce in slow cooker, and serve on slider buns.

Recipe and photo courtesy of saucyjoceyskitchen.com

Mason Jar MiniCheesecakes

Dessert at the tailgate courtesy of Ball and Kerr—mason jars that is. Personal cheesecakes in jars are the perfect end to a tailgating meal and can even be kept in the cooler until serving time.

1 1/2cups crushed graham crackers

1/4cup sugar

1/4cup melted butter

38-oz packages cream cheese, softened

114-oz can sweetened condensed milk


2tbsp vanilla

12half-pint mason jars

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine butter, sugar and graham crackers to create crust. Press 2 tbsp of mixture into the bottom of each jar. Whip cream cheese with mixer on medium to high speed about 2 minutes; then slowly add condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Scoop batter into each jar. Place jars in casserole dish, and fill with water halfway. Bake about 25 minutes. Remove from water, and allow to cool. Add fruit or sauce toppings and enjoy.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Stephanie Waletzko, youpaidmorethanme.blogspot.com

Football season is just around the corner, and before you know it, Saturdays and Sundays will be filled with touchdowns, field goals and dancing mascots. To make your football weekend a success, we’ve gathered a handful of tailgating must-haves to make your get together a winner!


This cooler is great for packing all of your favorite game day drinks, and with a 60-can capacity, no one will be left thirsty. The Cooladio Cart is also on wheels, so transportation is a breeze. Not only is this cart a cooler, it’s also a radio and includes an audio input jack that can play most MP3, iPod or CD players. When game day’s over, the Cooladio Cart retracts and collapses flat for easy, convenient storage.

$69.95, picnic-basket.com.

The Traveling Bartender Portable Bar

This travel bar is a must for anyone who wants to show off their bartending skills. The bar is easy to set up, so on game day, it will be ready to go in minutes. The traveling bar is also lightweight and durable and includes a liquor storage shelf, waterproof surface and three nylon table skirts. When the party’s over, the bar collapses for easy transportation.

$109.95, homewetbar.com.

TailgaterDual Tank BackpackDrink Dispenser

Want to be the life of the party? Then look no further. This backpack drink dispenser is a fun, creative way to serve your favorite drinks on the go. You no longer have to stand stationary in one place while serving drinks. Instead, let the fans come to you! The dispenser holds a whopping 210 ounces to keep you and your friends cool and hydrated on game day.

$39.95, homewetbar.com.

Portable Trunk Organizer and Cooler

This three-part dual-purpose trunk organizer keeps your drinks and snacks cool while you’re tailgating and comes with an insulated cooler capable of holding 20 cans. It also serves as a storage trunk for all your game day essentials.

$45.95, homewetbar.com.

Football Tailgate Tray

This cute and convenient tray will bring your tailgating party to life! For both adults and children, this tray will make chow time even more enjoyable. With a spot for your plate, silverware and drink, this tray is a must for your tailgate cookout.

$19.95, partycompaniontray.com.

Tailgator Gas Powered Portable Blender

Don’t be fooled, this is no ordinary blender! The Tailgator can crush, blend and mix up your favorite drinks in seconds. So, whether you and your buddies are in the mood for margaritas or strawberry daiquiris, the Tailgator will get the job done and leave you (and everyone else) wanting more.

$395.95, americantailgater.com.

The Beer Belly

On game day, even the best of friends would get annoyed with having to share their drinks. The Beer Belly solves that problem! Capable of holding both hot and cold drinks, The Beer Belly is a removable pouch that wraps around you and goes underneath your shirt. Just strap it on and keep your drink to yourself­—literally.

$39.95, americantailgater.com.

Stadium Seat Cooler

Everyone knows that stadium bleachers are not the most comfortable places to sit. Fortunately, the Stadium Seat Cooler makes it possible to be comfortable and relaxed while rooting for your favorite team. This chair also comes with a cooler section that can hold up to 16 cans. When the game is over, the stadium seat cooler folds into a lightweight backpack.

$39.95, americantailgater.com.

Traveling Grill Set

With a portable propane gas grill and regulator, four stainless-steel utensils, salt and pepper shakers, a bottle opener, a cooking mitt and a sturdy bag that holds it all, this traveling grill was made for tailgating! When you are ready to get cookin’, all you have to do is pull it out. You’ll be smokin’ sausages and grillin’ hamburgers in no time.

$129.95, americantailgater.com.

The Stackable Appetizer Maker

This new and unique kitchen tool will make your snacks all the rage amongst your tailgating friends. You can create fun and wacky appetizers that will satisfy all of your game day hungers. You can even incorporate your teams’ colors into your appetizers to really show off your team spirit!

$19.99, architecproducts.com.

Game Day Dress Obsessed

Interview by Katie McPherson

For some of the girls, tailgating just might be the best part of game day. It means food, games, friends and an opportunity to get a little dressed up. Ocala native Natalie Kim is taking care of women across the southeast who need the perfect game day outfit, and it all started because she needed one herself.

Natalie was born and raised in Ocala and graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s in English. Her plan was to become a teacher. She never expected she’d make a living designing, sewing and selling game day dresses to sports fans. It began with a typical female dilemma—nothing to wear.

“It started my sophomore year,” she said. “I was on a college budget, so I couldn’t go shopping.” Her solution? Make something.

Without much prior sewing experience, Natalie made her first game day dress. She came home from the game that day with plenty of compliments and 50 orders for dresses. Upon cutting herself out of her dress (“It had no zipper,” she recalls), she enlisted her mother’s help in learning to really sew. It wasn’t long before other Gator girls were sporting her frocks.

Following graduation, Natalie expanded the business to include other universities in the south.

“At first I wanted to keep it just at UF, but I was getting calls from all over.” Orange and blue dresses are still a staple, but they’re joined by garnet and gold, crimson and white and many other school spirit colors.

Every design has a personality of its own. Some are sweet, simple dresses, while others come decked in bows or ruffles. Natalie has something for everyone. In keeping with the latest trends, her 2013 designs will be more fitted and feature “lots of cut outs.” No matter the colors or style, her dresses are perfect for a put-together, slightly sassy look, and they’re made for tailgating.

Today, Natalie’s dress shop is located in Ocala, where she lives with her husband. Her dresses are sold in boutiques across the southeast and her online store. She designs them all herself, handles bookkeeping and still finds time to sew.

“I really enjoy it; it’s gratifying to see people wear my dresses.”

When asked about her favorite part of game day, she said she enjoys the “pageantry” of tailgating.

“I love getting dressed up, the food, the drinks and seeing my friends. And, of course, seeing girls having fun in my game day dresses!”

Find Out More

Check out Natalie’s game day dresses and shop online at nataliekimgameday.com.

Posted in Ocala Style Features

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