Michele makes … tailgate treats


Can you feel the excitement? The football season is in full swing with college and professional games held in the Los Angeles area nearly every weekend. Southern California is lucky to have both professional and college football.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, the College of the Canyons Cougars still have a few more home games this season.

Often the best place to see a game is often at home, in front of your widescreen television. However you celebrate the game, with family, friends, at the game or at home, tailgate food is always on the menu. 

Host a football viewing party, or entertain your family with these special tailgate treats. 

Best. Wings. Ever.

I was given this recipe for the tastiest wings I’ve ever eaten by a friend in the 1980s. I attended a party at her house and these wings disappeared in a flash. Everyone asked for the recipe and she graciously hand-wrote the recipe for each guest so we could take it home. I still have my tattered original recipe in my recipe box.

1 cup water

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic

1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger

3 pounds chicken wings or drumettes

Whisk together the water, soy sauce, sugar, pineapple juice, vegetable oil, garlic and ginger in a large bowl until the sugar has dissolved. 

Add the chicken wings, coat with the marinade, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (Can be marinated overnight).

Preheat an oven to 350 F. Grease two 9 x 13 glass baking dishes.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, and shake off excess and place the chicken wings into the baking dishes. Discard the remaining marinade. Bake the wings until the chicken is cooked through and the glaze is evenly browned, about 1 hour.

Turkey/Mozzarella Roll Ups

This is a great, easy-to-make snack. If you want something with more “spice,” substitute pepper jack cheese for the mozzarella.

8 oz. can crescent rolls

8 slices deli turkey

8 oz. package shredded mozzarella

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 tsp. yellow mustard

Sesame seeds to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a baking tray. 

Fold a slice of turkey in half and place it on the wide end of the crescent. Top turkey with about a tablespoon of shredded mozzarella cheese. Roll up the crescent and place on baking sheet. 

Bake 11-13 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove crescents from oven to a cooling rack so the bottoms don’t get soggy. 

Stir mustard into the melted butter. Place cooling rack over a sheet of foil to prevent butter/mustard mixture from dripping on the counter. 

Use a pastry brush to apply butter/mustard mixture atop the crescents then sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Walken Tacos

I discovered this ridiculously easy and delicious snack at the annual Oak Harbor Pig Fest, held each August in Oak Harbor, Washington. This combination of Doritos chips, lettuce, pulled pork, cheese, sour cream and salsa was sold to guests to raise money for charity. 

You can make your own pulled pork, or use precooked pulled pork. I favor Jim Beam Pulled Pork with Bourbon BBQ Sauce because of its sweet and smoked barbecue flavor and because it is easy to heat up in the microwave.

When I’m cooking tailgate food, I want to watch the game, not slave away in the kitchen.

The tacos are named for actor Christopher Walken, who supports the WhyHunger nonprofit. 

To make 10 servings (you will have some leftover ingredients):

10 3 1/8 oz. single serving bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos (you can use smaller bags of chips for more “appetizer” size portions, but they aren’t as easy to assemble in the bag.) 

16 oz. Jim Beam Pulled Pork with Bourbon BBQ Sauce, fully cooked (found in the meat case.)

16 oz. package shredded cheese (I use mild cheddar.)

16 oz. tub of sour cream

16 oz. bag of shredded lettuce

Favorite brand of salsa (I prefer mild Pace Picante sauce.) 

Heat up the pork according to package directions.

Slightly “crunch” up a bag of chips, then turn bag on its “side” and slit lengthwise, forming a pouch. Assemble ingredients to taste and stir.

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