Jazz up TV tailgating this bowl season

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By Greg Summers

Your favorite college football team has made it to a bowl game. Congratulations!

Your game plan includes hosting a get-together with family and friends around the TV set to root on your favorite team.

Tailgating around the TV gives you a great opportunity to add a little special menu flavor to the festivities.

Since the kitchen is only a room or two away, you can think outside the normal tailgating line-up that you are limited to in a stadium parking lot.

But, you don’t want to get overly fancy. The focus is the game and fellowship more than the food. Look for simple  dishes that don’t require constant monitoring.  

If you plan on using the grill, Weber  Grills suggests kicking up the recommended grilling temperature by about 20 percent to account for cold weather.

Also, position the grill so the wind is perpendicular to the gas flow and not blowing the flame down the burner tubes.

Here are a few tried and true game-day TV tailgating tips to incorporate:

– There are many ways to prepare, but none is more important than having a designated driver on hand to make sure that everyone gets home from the game safe and sound. 

– Since you’re moving the party in from the outside, have plenty of napkins, or better yet, a roll of paper towels close by.

– Don’t forget sturdy, disposable drink cups and plenty of ice. When it comes to utensils, treat the family room just like it’s the stadium parking lot.

– Make everything disposable, including a throwaway tablecloth in team colors.

– When it comes to food, prepare everything ahead of time so it’s ready to roll by the coin toss.

– Stick to finger foods as much as possible and make sure portions are in manageable-sized pieces.

– Set up a second room with a TV, video games and videos for children who might not want to spend the day watching football.

Time is running short, grab your tailgating gear and go make some major munchies to cheer on your team.

Here’s hoping your team wins, along with some easy tailgating recipes that let you spend less time cooking and more time cheering them on to victory.

Pork and Pepperoni Pizza Burgers


1 pound ground pork

1/2 cup pepperoni, chopped (about 2 ounces)

1/2 cup Italian-style dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup prepared pizza sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

6 sandwich buns


– Preheat grill to medium-hot.

– Wash hands. Using a clean pair of scissors, kitchen shears or a food processor, cut pepperoni into small pieces

– In a medium-size bowl, stir together ground pork, pepperoni, bread crumbs, pizza sauce and oregano.

– Grill burgers, turning once, for about 10 minutes on each side until done. Refrigerate leftovers.

*NOTE: Ground pork does not brown like ground beef. Use a thermometer to make sure burgers reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

– Recipe courtesy of Tyson Foods

Quarterback Blitz Bars


1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine

2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa

3 tablespoons sugar

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

1 cup Hershey’s Mini Kisses Milk Chocolates

1 cup Heath Bits ‘O Brickle Toffee Bits

1 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts

1 cup sweetened coconut  flakes   


– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Heat in oven until melted. Remove from oven.

– Stir together graham cracker crumbs, cocoa and sugar; sprinkle over melted butter. Stir mixture until evenly coated; press evenly with spatula onto bottom of pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with chocolate and toffee bits. Sprinkle nuts and coconut on top; press down firmly.

– Bake 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover with foil; let stand at room temperature for several hours. Cut into bars.


– Recipe courtesy of www.hersheys.com