Now that you’ve checked back-to-school shopping off the list, it’s time to start making game day plans. Saying goodbye to summer is bittersweet, but let’s face it, by early August, everyone is ready to feel those hints of cooler weather that eventually lead to all of our favorite things – cozy sweaters, boots and crock pots.
As we prepare for the next season, one of the things we work hard to perfect is tailgating. In the South, there are few things that compare to the combination of football and food. Whether you’re traveling to the game, or hosting a party at home, it’s never too early to start getting your ideas for tailgating in order. Here are a few simple things that make a regular tailgate a big W-I-N.
Coming in at a close second to the actual game is what you carry to the game. We all know the feeling when ice chests, casseroles, dips and desserts are crammed in crevices all over the car, just one sharp turn away from a complete disaster. For long road trips or even quick trips to the neighbors, having the right bag to carry your game day goodies in is critical. Scout Bags transition well from the beach to the ball game, and they have varying sizes and matching or coordinating patters that fit every need from a cooler to a casserole.
Bags for food aren’t the only ones important for the game. The clear handbags for football games are an absolute must, and if you forget yours, you’re likely walking back to the car. Whether it’s a full-sized clear bag, or one you can hang around your wrist, the new styles of the season make clear bags super trendy and fun.
When it comes to decorating, the first place to start is the center of it all – the table. A simple solid tablecloth in school colors is the best way to start so you can set the perfect table from there. If you’re on a budget, we love using pom poms as a simple way to add some school spirit.
After the table cloth and a few pom poms or a colorful runner (or both), start adding dimension with crates, cake plates and tiered pieces to give your table a touch of fabulous. One of the greatest pieces to always have on hand is a dough bowl. Whether it’s a long one to hold pork tenderloin or to beautifully display some sub sandwiches, or a small-to-medium one for chips or dip, dough bowls add a touch of casual class to your table.
The Ultimate Go-to Recipe
We could go on and on listing our favorite tailgate recipes, but there’s one staple to keep in the pantry year round that’s a crowd pleaser 100% of the time. No party is complete without it, and it’s simple to put together in a pinch. We’ll leave you with the recipe as you start to plan your fun fall parties. Happy tailgating!
Captain Rodney’s Dip
½ cup mayonnaise
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped
6 crushed Ritz crackers, plus more for serving
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ cup Captain Rodney’s Boucan Pepper Glaze
Mix mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, onions and ¼ cup Captain Rodney’s Glaze in greased quiche pan. Top with crackers and bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Top with remaining Captain Rodney’s glaze.