Spice up game day with these creative tailgate recipes


TPN File Photo

Students eat and watch a football game at home.

By Julia DiPietro, Staff Writer

With the first Pitt football game around the corner, so is the first tailgate. The only thing that could make a sunny September afternoon better is an aroma of food cooking before a football game. 

Whether you’re gathering outside Acrisure Stadium or watching the game from your house, these meals are easy and can be done by any level chef 一 amateur to professional 一 with few ingredients. Here are five creative game day recipes for you to try for your next tailgate with friends. 

  1. Tortellini Salad KabobsJessica Formicola at Savory Experiments

This tortellini salad kabob dish is a clever twist on an Italian classic. It’s easy to assemble and can be served cold. Kabobs are perfect for handing out to people at a large tailgate, and they can be stored in simple containers. Jessica Formicola, a blogger at Savory Experiments, suggests using two pieces of tortellini, two mozzarella pearls and one tomato. 

The ingredients include cooked tortellini pasta, grape tomatoes, mozzarella balls, pesto, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper, added for taste. You’ll also need wooden skewers for the recipe. Combine all the ingredients into a bowl to make a salad, and then skewer them to your liking. You can substitute different vegetables such as olives, peppers or cucumbers as well. 

  1. Crockpot Buffalo Chicken DipAmanda Rettke at I Am Baker

Nothing tastes better on a crisp fall afternoon than some warm and savory buffalo chicken dip. This recipe is great for beginners 一 all you need is shredded chicken, cream cheese, sour cream, buffalo sauce and a crockpot to make it. You can dip anything in it from bread to pretzels or veggies. Add ranch dressing, garlic powder or some blue cheese crumbles and green onion for taste. Amanda Rettke at I Am Baker also includes her homemade buffalo sauce recipe, if you want to make it from scratch. It’s best to cook on low for about one to two hours. You will know it’s done when the cheese is hot and bubbly. 

  1. Pulled Pork Pastry Puffs Stephanie Parker at Plain Chicken

Pulled pork is a football Friday favorite, and this recipe brings delicious flavors without the mess of a sandwich – and it only consists of five ingredients.

For this recipe you’ll need a bag of frozen puff pastry, which you can find at Giant Eagle or your local grocery store, pulled pork, barbeque sauce, shredded cheese and one egg to glaze the puffs. Fill the pastries with the combined shredded pork, cheese and sauce. Glaze the tops with the beaten egg and bake in the oven till golden brown. Stephanie Parker, a food blogger at Plain Chicken, recommends using a toothpick to hold the puffs together if they start to fall apart. These are perfect to hand out to your friends at the tailgate. 

  1. Cowboy CaviarTrisha Haas at Salty Side Dish

Also known as Texas Caviar, this dish is pretty healthy and always a crowd pleaser 一 but if your football squad is on the smaller side, you can make it in large or small batches. 

There are a few more ingredients in this dip 一 black and pinto beans, corn, diced tomato, cilantro, orange, red and yellow peppers, red onions, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, olive oil, lime, avocado and tortilla chips. However, the assembly is easy 一 you can mix the ingredients in one bowl.

After combining the ingredients, add spices and lime juice for taste. You can use tortilla chips to dip into the dish, or other foods like bread slices. Trisha Haas at Salty Side Dish recommends letting the caviar marinate together for a few hours before serving to bring out the flavors the best.

  1. Snickers Bar Blondies – Teresa Ambra at Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

No tailgate is complete without some tasty desserts. Blondie bars, or “blonde brownies,” are a great way to round up a group and get ready for a Pitt game. Blondies, best described as chocolate chip cookie bars, are easy to make and can be cut into multiple squares for everyone. For this recipe you will need unsalted butter, white and brown sugar, two large eggs, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, salt and chopped mini Snickers bars. 

After combining all ingredients into a bowl, lay onto a 9×13 glass baking dish and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Teresa Ambra, a writer for the food blog “Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen,” adds that you can use other chocolate candies in place of Snickers as well. Once you cool the blondies, cut them into squares and spread them onto a plate for serving. 

These easy recipes are a great option for your next Pitt football tailgate this fall. Whether you are serving a few close friends or an entire crowd, they are the perfect way to get everyone in the spirit and hopefully celebrate a Panther win.