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Tailgate Party - A memorable menu that kids will enjoy

By Adriana Grant

This weekend is the big football game against the high school’s longtime rival. Your teenage son is in the starting line-up and your younger daughter is excited about the tailgate party you’re throwing with a few friends. All of you will dress in the school colors, excited to cheer on the team. A tailgate party, and the preparation for it, is a perfect time to include the kids in the cooking process, as well as have a great time – times that your kids will remember when they’re older.

Here are a few recipes the kids will enjoy helping you prepare, with simple steps and kid-friendly menu items. Younger children will enjoy creating Crescent Roll-Wrapped Hot Dogs, while older kids can help assemble the Maple Chili Boneless Pork Rib* Skewers. To make sure everyone gets their greens, the menu includes a Fall Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Cranberries. Some belly-warming drinks, hot chocolate and spiced apple cider will help stave off the fall cold. Start preparing for the tailgate party a day or two ahead, especially if you want to allow the skewers to marinate overnight.

The day before the game, have the kids help prepare Crescent Roll-Wrapped Hot Dogs. You’ll need a package of 8 hot dogs (beef hot dogs work well, but you can use chicken or turkey if your kids prefer those) refrigerated croissant dough (a package of 8 croissants) and, if you like, ketchup, mustard and relish. Serves 4; if you’re expecting more people, double the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 375. Separate the croissant dough into triangles. Place a hot dog onto the long side of the dough, and roll the hot dog up into it, creating a wrapped hot dog. This is the step that younger kids might especially enjoy. Place wrapped hot dogs onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until browned. Wrap individually in aluminum foil, to serve with ketchup, mustard and relish.

If you’re feeling ambitious, a camp stove is a great option for grilling on site. An old-fashioned Coleman stove works well. Cover the grilling rack with aluminum foil for the Maple Chili Boneless Pork Rib* Skewers, so the sauce doesn’t drip below. To make the skewers, you’ll need one pound of boneless pork ribs, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup Heinz Chili sauce, 1 tablespoon mustard seeds, I tablespoon fresh thyme, 3 medium sweet onions (Vidalia or other variety), and one green and red bell pepper. Cut the meat, onions and peppers into one inch pieces. While you are doing this, a younger child can help by mixing the marinade: maple syrup, Heinz sauce and mustard seeds. Enlist an older child or two to help you create the skewers, alternating meat, onion, and peppers. Place skewers on a plate and brush with marinade. This is another task a child might enjoy. The skewers are ready to cook, or you may marinate them for an hour or two, or overnight. When ready to cook, grill until done (with almost no pink remaining in the meat) about 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. Serves 4-6. *Boneless chicken or pork chops may be substituted.

To complement the meat dishes, prepare Fall Salad with Walnuts, Apples and Cranberries. To assemble the salad you’ll want 1 pound of lettuce greens, 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into thin slices, ½ cup walnut halves, 1/3 cup dried cranberries, and 4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled. Pack small containers of olive oil and vinegar, and salt and pepper, to dress the salad just before serving.

Game day arrives and it’s cold out, so you’ll want warm drinks as you cheer on the team. Hot chocolate is good for the kids, as well as hot apple cider, spiced with a bit of cinnamon. For the adults, create a separate batch of hot chocolate with a hint of rum or brandy. Create just enough to fill each thermos, measuring out the milk or the cider before you heat the mix on the stove at home. These beverages should be prepared just before you leave. Pack plenty of napkins, as the skewers can get sticky- and don’t forget to wear those team colors!




What was your favorite dinner when you were growing up?

Who cooked it?

Do you think she still has the recipe?