We live in a college town (go Heels!) so Tailgating is a mainstay of the social season. I have spent many a happy pre-game in parking garages while my kids play football between the cars but, my favorite “tailgate” is the one we host in our backyard.
The first ingredient to any tailgate is Bloody Marys. Preferably in a mason jar, with old bay on the rim and a mini grilled cheese skewered on top for decoration. That gets the party started!This is such a fun, casual setting that I like to have the food spread out throughout the backyard and in the dining room so friends can linger outside or wander inside to catch some of the pre-game on tv.
This Tailgate is truly a party for every member of the family so I like to make sure there is plenty for my kids and their friends to do. We are big yard-game people so littler, or uber competitive bigger, guests have their choice form basketball, bocci, ping pong or our a family fave, Kube.
Now the details…here is my fave Tailgate menu:

For the Big Fans:
-Southern Hot Ham and Cheese “Biscuits”
-Pulled Pork Sandwiches
-Beer Beans
-Citrus Slaw

For the Mascots (but the grown ups always end up at this table too):
-Mac and Cheese Cups
-Chicken Tenders
-Pigs in a Blanket

For Desert:
-Aunt Josie’s Candybar Brownies
-Go Team sheet cake with the cake dyed the rival team color – if we can’t kill em on the field, we can eat them up for dessert

To Drink:
-A Keg, of course
-Bloody Mary Bar
-Big Tin Drum tubs of waters, juice and a few Cheerwines and Yohoos

This is a paper plate affair, I want to go to the game too! So I break out the Dixie and the best paper napkins ever from The Napkins, they feel and look just like linen put instead of ironing them you just throw them away! I had these printed with our team color.

You will see from all my posts I keep my flowers elegant, but basic. I have a brown thumb and did not inherit my mothers ability with flora or fauna. I typically go all white, hydrangeas or tulips and if I am feeling really creative, peonies. This is a white


hydrangea party allthe way!

With all food prep done in the days before, never on the day of the party, a rule I live by, I pour myself a Bloody Mary and get beaten by my 8 year of Kube.





Simple and white.


Southern Hot Ham and Cheese “Biscuits”


My cheesey Mac and Cheese bits.

Aunt Josie’sCandy Bar Brownies



Here are a few ideas I loved from other tailgaters:



We are actually big Bama fans in my house so this pains me a little…but I have to hand the win to Auburn on this one. southernliving.com


A few recipes

Southern Hot Ham & Cheese “Biscuits”
Southern Hot Ham and Poppyseed “Biscuits” – I have always called them biscuits even though they are severed on a roll, but I think all the good fat that melts off of the cheese and the ham onto that roll turn the calorie count into a biscuit.

1 small onion

Poppy Seeds
1/3 lb butter
3 TBS Dijon mustard
1 tsp worcestershire
3 trays XX party rolls (this is important, they are just the right size)
1 1/2 lb shaved honey ham
1/2 lb havarti cheese
1/2 stick butter
3 TBD brown sugar

Melt butter in skillet and sautéed onions until soft, about 4 minutes, add mustard, poppy seeds, worcestershire and cook until combined 4-5 minutes. Cut rolls in half, the are attached so it is sort of like a sheet of bread, and pour butter mixture over bottom half of rolls. Let soak for about 10 minutes. Layer ham and then cheese and top of rolls. In a small bowl, melt butter and brown sugar, once combined brush tops of rolls liberally with sugar and butter mixture. Wrap rolls in double layer of aluminum foil so top and bottom is completely covered. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Mac & Cheese Cups
Bite sized bliss….I take my world famous, at least thats what I tell my kids, Mac and Cheese recipe and use mini-muffin tins to make it them portable to nibble an play corn hole at the same time:

Aunt Josie’s Candy Bar Brownies
You will not believe it after you have made these but, Aunt Josie actually use to add icing to them! I think you will find them sweet enough as they are, but feel free to indulge!

1 box German Chocolate cake mix
2 sticks melted butter
1 8 oz can of evaporated milk
1 bag Kraft caramels (the normally come in the little cubes that you have to individually unwrap, a real pain!! but, around the holidays, Kraft puts out caramel balls that you don’t have to unwrap! Come December, I stock of for the year!
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Melt 2 sticks of butter and stir in cake mix and 1/3 can evaporated milk. Once combined spread half of the mixture in a thin layer on the bottom of a greased small (around 9 x 10) brownie pan.. You want to spread it so it covers the whole pan, it will be thin. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. If you are not lucky enough to find the unwrapped Kraft caramels, tediously unwrap the little squares. After 10 minutes, let the cooked brownies cool completely. Melt caramels and 1/3 can of evaporated milk over a stove top until smooth. Pour over cooked brownie bottoms. Let caramel cool for about 5 minutes and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. It will not cover the caramel completely, but trust me you don’t need any more. Put the rest of the brown batter on top. I take a handful of the batter, it has gotten a little hard after sitting out all this time so is more like a dough. I flatten into a pancake shape and cover the chocolate and caramel, I especially make sure the caramel around the edges if covered because it can burn easier.
Pop in the oven and bake for 40 minutes!