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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


While this subject is not the FUN part of tailgating, it IS vital to a successful day. I created a rubbermaid bin that was my lifeblood each week. I affixed a list to the inside lid of everything that we could ever need/want, and I was religious about restocking the bin each time we depleted an item.

Here's what we deemed necessary to our tailgating fun:

*Paper towels
*Heavy duty paper plates
*plastic silverware
*Clorox wipes (to wipe down grill, utensils, tables etc.)
*Trash bags
*At least 2 sharp knives
*Plastic serving spoons and forks
*Ziploc containers of various sizes that fit into each other
*First Aid Kit
*Small baggies
*Large baggies
*Tin foil
*Saran wrap
*Salt and pepper
*Stainless steel grill utensils (Spatula, tongs etc.)
*Off or Cutter
*Hand sanitizer AND wipes
*Flashlight (for those pesky night games)
*Plastic tablecloths

Beyond the bin:
*Portable gas grill with gas canister(s)
*Folding table(s)
*Stadium Chairs
*2 Coolers FILLED with ice!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Even though sometimes it's hard to get to the stadium for those noon, 12:30 or 1:00 games, it's worth it when you arrive and have some fabulous food to enjoy with friends.

 Here's a classic menu that we served "pregame."

                                                        Classic Breakfast Casserole 
Fruit Skewers 
Cheese Grits 
Assorted bagels and cream cheeses 
Breakfast Bread or Pecan Muffins 
Bloody Mary's and/or Mimosas (OJ, champagne and a splash of chambord)

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
4-6 slices white bread
16 oz hot sausage crumbled, cooked and drained
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp dry mustard

Grease 9x13 pan. Place bread in bottom of pan, overlapping slightly. Evenly spread cooked sausage on top of bread, and then cover with the cheese. Mix eggs, milk and mustard together and pour over casserole. Refrigerate covered overnight. Then, bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cover and take to the game!

Orange Pound cake loaf (courtesy of Ina Garten)

2 sticks butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
4 extra large eggs,
1/3 cup grated orange zest (6 oranges)
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup orange juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla

Glaze (for ONE loaf)
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 1/2 TBSP Orange Juice

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8 1/2x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2" loaf pans. Line bottoms with parchment.
Cream butter and 2 cups of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (paddle attachment) for 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium, beat in eggs one at a time and zest.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl combine 1/4 cup of orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mix alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops and bake 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
While the cakes bake, cook the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the remaining 1/2 cup of orange juice in a small pan over low heat until sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, let cool 10 minutes. Then take them out of the pans and place them on a baking rack set over a tray. Spoon the orange syrup over the cakes and allow the cakes to cool completely.

To glaze, combine the confectioner's sugar and orange juice in a bowl, mixing with whisk til smooth. Add more juice if needed to make it able to pour. Pour over top of cake and allow glaze to dry. Wrap well and store in refrigerator.


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup salted butter (melted)
1 cup chopped pecans

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Combine all ingredients except pecans using a mixer Fold in chopped pecans.
Pour mini muffin pan about 2/3 full Sprinkle with more chopped pecans on top Bake for 12-15 minutes.


What to serve at a tailgate at the beginning of the season in the DEEP SOUTH!?

Got to keep it cool! Some days are just not conducive to grilling, and hearing meat sizzling is just unappetizing when it's over 90 degrees and humid out. These are the times my husband thanks me for NOT including him in the food prep.

Here are some sample menus for when the sun is scorching and the humidity is high:

Menu 1
Marinated Shrimp
Mini roast beef sandwiches
Couscous salad
Gazpacho dip
My salsa and chips
Key Lime Pie Squares
DRINK OF THE DAY: Tipsy Arnold Palmers (Iced tea, lemonade and vodka)

Menu 2
Smoky Sun-dried tomato/Cheese Finger Sandwiches
Caprese salad
Store-bought chicken wings
Bacon-Onion Dip with crudites and crackers
Shortbread Cookies
DRINK OF THE DAY: Sailor's Punch


Marinated Shrimp
2 lbs medium shrimp, unpeeled, fresh
6 cups salted water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup capers
1/2-1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
1 medium onion, cut into rings

Peel and devein shrimp. Bring 6 cups salted water to boil; add shrimp.

Cook 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain and rinse with cold water; then chill.
Combine sugar and next 5 ingredients in shallow dish.

Add chilled shrimp and onion rings, and chill at least 6 hours (turning occassionally). When ready to serve, drain and discard onion.

(Adapted from Southern Living)
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
8 oz container of cream cheese spread, softened
2 TBSP prepared horseradish
Small rolls
4-6 large green leaf lettuce leaves, torn
3/4 lb thinly sliced deli roast beef
1/2 small red onion (optional)
1 avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Stir together cream cheese and horseradish until blended.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Spread cream cheese mix evenly inside rolls halves (~2 tsp ea). Stuff roll halves evenly with lettuce, roast beef, onion (optional) and avocado. Can prepare up to 8 hours in advance except the avocado - add just before serving.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Courtesy of Bev and Katie Nord

2 cups water
2 tsp salt, plus more as needed
1 cup (6oz) dry couscous
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 med red onion, finely chopped
4 scallions (green part) finely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
3 TBSP ground ginger
2 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 TBSP ground cumin
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
ground black pepper

Bring the water and 2 tsp salt to a boil. Add the couscous and stir once.

As soon as the water returns to a boil, remove the pan from the heat; cover it and let rest for 5 minutes. Then transfer the couscous to a sheet pan and spread it out to cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer the couscous to a medium bowl and break up any clumps. Add the celery, onion, scallions, cranberries, chickpeas, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, olive oil and pepper to taste. 

Toss till combined. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate up to 2 hours. Let salad come to room temperature before serving.

3 medium tomatoes, seeds removed
1 red onion
1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed
1 cucumber (I prefer hothouse)
2 (6oz) pkgs baby spinach
Red Wine Vinaigrette

Dice tomatoes, red onion, peppers and cucumber. Place in a medium bowl and mix. Alternate a layer of vegetables and spinach into a larger bowl and drizzle with the vinaigrette right before serving.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 TBSP Creole mustard
1 TBSP honey
3/4 cup olive oil
pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium bowl, add red wine vinegar, creole mustard and honey. Whisk together. Slowly whisk in olive oil, to allow mixture to blend. Stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes and S & P to taste.

My Salsa with Good Seasons Italian Dressing and Cheese
1 can rotel tomatoes
fresh cilantro, chopped
3 scallions, white and green, chopped
1 small can chopped black olives
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1 pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix (mixed according to the package - although I always use less oil)

Mix all together and chill. Can turn the heat up a bit if you want to use hot Rotel. Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos - it'll go fast!


1 cup graham cracker crumbs plus
2 1/2 TBSP finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
5 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
2/3 cup key lime juice (23 key limes in total)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in small bowl.

Press evenly into 8" square baking dish.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
 Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Mix on high speed until thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium.

Add condensed milk in a slow stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix till thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add lime juice; mix till combined.

Spread filling evenly over crust.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake until filling is set - about 10-12 minutes (rotating once). Let cool completely on wire rack; then refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cut into 2" bars.

Beat cream until stiff peaks form, and dollop on the bars. Makes about 16 bars.

Muffuletta (Easy version)

1 cup jarred mixed pickled vegetables, rinsed and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped green olives stuffed with pimento
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 lb thinly sliced salami
1/3 lb sliced provolone
1/3 lb thinly sliced pepperoni or ham
1 large round Italian bread loaf

Stir together pickled veggies, green olives, olive oil and cayenne.

Cut bread loaf in half horizontally and scoop out the bottom, leaving a 1/2 inch thick shell.

Spoon half of olive mixture into bread shell.

Layer with salami, cheese, pepperoni or ham and remaining olive mix. Cover with bread top. Wrap loaf tightly with plastic wrap, and chill 8-24 hours. Transport to tailgate and cut into wedges.

Smoky sun-dried tomato Cheese
1 3oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonaise
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups (8oz) shredded smoked cheddar cheese
2 cups (8oz) shredded smoked gouda cheese
1/2 (8.5oz jar) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
bread slices (I use sourdough and dark wheat)

Stir together cream cheese, mayo, paprika and salt in a bowl.

Add in cheeses and sun-dried tomatoes and mix until combined.

Spread mix (~1/3 cup) on half of bread slices and top with a bread slice. Serves 7-8 people, but you can easily double or triple or whatever. Can cut in half again for finger sandwich size.

Bacon-Onion Dip
1 8oz container sour cream
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
2 TBSP scallions (green onion) sliced
3 TBSP buttermilk
1 TBSP horseradish
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Stir together ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to serve - up to 24 hours.


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

1 lb fresh mozzarella, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb roma tomatoes, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup pesto
3-4 TBSP red wine vinegar
S & P to taste

Mix and season (and adjust). Eat immediately or keep in fridge for a few days. So so good!

Shortbread Cookies
2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour
2 TSBP sugar OR 6oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels and 1 TBSP water melted together over double boiler

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy.

Slowly add 1 cup sugar, and then add flour beating until mixture forms a ball.

Press dough into a 14x10 inch jelly roll pan with floured hands.

Bake 30-35 minutes til golden.

Cut immediately into 35 (2") bars. Then either sprinkle with sugar or dip into melted chocolate and place on waxed paper.


12 oz light beer
6 oz vodka
6 oz frozen limeade concentrate

Blend all together in an electric blender with ice and serve immediately. Plan to make alot, as these are always a HUGE hit!

Throw all the ingredients in a blender.  Note: the game is on in the background ;)!
Add ice and puree to slushee consistency. Imbibe.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Because I get bored easily with food (rarely eat leftovers and tire of the same thing week after week), I like to be in charge of the tailgating, and so far, I haven't had anyone raise a hand to object! ; ) Seriously, it helps if one person is organized (and perhaps has the TIME), and the rest can bring what they want to complement the meal. Nothing wrong with hamburgers and hotdogs, but I think you can expand and do better...

Here's what we devoured during the football season in 2008:

Fan Day - August
Marinated Antipasta
shrimp dip with crackers
Olive Medley with toast points
Cream cheese/salsa with chips
Assorted sandwiches (roast beef, turkey and ham)
Macadamia nut/chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate chip loaf

Game 1 - August 30th - UK vs Louisville - Away - 3:30PM
Mediterranean Dip and crackers
Reuben Dip and crackers
(Best way to prepare the brats is to boil them in beer and 1 onion, sliced, for roughly 6 minutes or so. Then, you can wrap them up and transport them to your tailgate. Grill when you're ready)
Assorted cheeses and salami
Tropical White Chocolate Cookies

Game 2 - September 6th - UK vs Norfolk State -
Pork Tenderloin sliced with rolls and sauce
Huge salad
Fruit salad
Corn salsa with chips
Hummus with pita triangles
Olive Dip with crackers

Game 3 - September 13th - UK vs MTSU
Salsa and chips
Shrimp Remoulade
Fruit Salad
Salmon Dip
Tri-tips with Salsa Verde and rolls
Couscous salad
broccoli salad
Birthday Cake (MY HUSBAND TURNED 50!)

Game 4 - September 27th - UK vs Western KY
Again - we flew so the menu was limited
Drink of the day: Transfusions - delish! Thanks for the recipe Bill!!!
Baked Beans
Corn Pudding
Cole Slaw
Bakery cookies

Game 5 - October 4th - UK vs Alabama Away
We had our RV in Hoover, AL with friends (Bill, Peggy, Rob and Eric, and our daughter was there with a friend)
Easy breezy menu
BBQ (purchased) sandwiches
Baked Beans
Brats and hotdogs
Salsa and chips
Assorted berries topped with dark chocolate sauce

Game 6 - October 11th - UK vs South Carolina HOME
12:30PM = BRUNCH!!
Cheese Grits
2 quiches
ham biscuits
fruit kabobs
Bloodies and Mimosas
Post game
Spinach Artichoke Dip and crackers
Hot Mexican Dip and chips
Beef Tenderloin
Grilled Sweet Potatoes
fruit salad
waldorf salad
Sugar cookies (UK)
Apple Crisp
Assorted Fall Candies

Game 7 - October 18th - UK vs Arkansas at Home at 7PM
7 layer dip with chips
with: guacamole, salsa, my salsa, chips, black beans, corn and
flour tortillas, MJ cheese, cheddar cheese, black olives, tomatoes, shredded lettuce
Mexican beer (Corona, Corona light, Dos Equis)
Blizzard cookies and choc chip/oatmeal cookies

Game 8 - October 25th - UK vs Florida Away
Had the RV in Ocala, FL
pimento cheese and crackers
chutney dip and crackers
Bourbon burgers
Layered dip (Stevie)
boiled peanuts
baked beans

Game 9 - November 1st - UK vs Miss St - Away
Had the RV in Starkville, Mississippi
Jambalaya and rice
Prosciutto dip
vegies and ranch dip
salmon ball and crackers
misc store bought cookies

Game 10 - November 8th - UK vs UGA - Home
Sausage balls
grits souffle
2 quiches
2 banana breads
fruit skewers with sour cream dip
bloodies, hot choc and cider
After game
Chicken chili
Mex dip and chips
pigs in blankets
Blonde brownies
Chocolate Fudge

Game 11 - November 15th - UK vs Vandy Home
pizza dip
mex roll ups
Gooey Cake
UK cookies
Tortilla soup
Broccoli salad
new potatoes
Cashews, chex mix, M&Ms, combos
cider and hot choc

Game 12 - November 29 - UK vs Tenn - Away
Rain, sleet and freezing day!
Steak chili
Mex dip
hot cheddar dip
Texas Brownies
cole slaw
Fudge cake w/ ice cream



Photo Credit: Pinterest

1 head broccoli
6 to 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup raisins, optional
8 ounces sharp Cheddar, cut into very small chunks
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim off the large leaves from the broccoli stem. Remove the tough stalk at the end and wash broccoli head thoroughly. Cut the head into flowerets and the stem into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add the crumbled bacon, onion, raisins if using, and cheese. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Add to broccoli mixture and toss gently.

(Adapted from Bon Appetit)
Photo Credit: Gourmet

1/2 cup olive oil1/4 cup fresh lime juice4 lb sweet potatoes (~ 8)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cover potatoes with cold salted water in a large pot, then bring to a boil.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Simmer until slightly resistant in center when pierced with a sharp small knife, 25 to 30 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain well. When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes with a sharp small knife and quarter lengthwise.
Prepare grill for cooking.
Whisk together lime juice, salt, and pepper and add oil in a slow stream, whisking. Whisk in cilantro.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
When fire is hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 1 to 2 seconds), grill potatoes in 2 or 3 batches on lightly oiled grill rack (over coals if using a charcoal grill), uncovered, turning, until grill marks appear and potatoes are just tender, 3 to 6 minutes total.
Serve potatoes warm or at room temperature, drizzled with vinaigrette


pinterest image

1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 TBSP Dijon mustard
1-2 TBSP prepared horseradish
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 1/2 cups water
1 TBSP salt
1 1/2 tsp liquid shrimp/crab boil seasoning
1 1/2 lbs unpeeled medium fresh shrimp
6 cups shredded lettuce

Combine first 9 ingredients in food processor until smooth. Cover and chill.
Combine water, salt and seasoning in large pot, bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain well; rinse with cold water. Chill. Peel and devein shrimp.
Combine mayo mixture, shrimp, and lettuce, and toss to coat. Serve on big lettuce leaves. 8 appetizer servings.


When my son played college football at UK, as best I could, I tried to organize the entire football season in advance, so that A)there would be no repeat menus during the season, and B) I could be organized and prepared and not haggard come game day.

 Here was a sample season of menus:

August 7th - Fan Day (which means hot, as you can imagine, with high humidity in the south)
Prosciutto Dip with crackers and chips (recipe follows)
Buffalo Wings
Assorted Sandwich platter
Pork BBQ with rolls
Cole slaw (recipe follows)
Fruit Salad

September 1st, EKU game in Lexington, KY
Sundried Tomato Dip
Marinated olives
Cold shrimp with cocktail sauce
Pasta Salad
Assorted cheeses and crackers
"Neiman Marcus" chocolate chip cookies (recipe follows)

Post-game (to feed ourselves along with our football player sons)
Grilled hotdogs and hamburgers
Assorted chips
Fruit salad
Baked Beans

September 8th, Kent State game in Lexington, KY
Prosciutto Dip with crackers
Blue Cheese dip with Fritos
BBQ Sandwiches
Grilled Pork Tenderloins with rolls and sauce
GORP (peanuts, M&Ms, raisans)
Texas Brownies

September 15th - Louisville game in Lexington
Tailgate began at 4:30PM (we flew to this game so improvised a bit)
Platter of deli sandwiches
Platter of Chick-Fil-A nuggets
Bacon-Blue Cheese Dressing with crackers and chips
Chicken-Pasta Salad
Couscous-Cranberry Salad
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies
S'Mores Bars

September 29th - Florida Atlantic in Lexington at 1PM
Tailgate began with a 10AM Brunch
Fruit Skewers
Cheese grits
Mini bacon quiches (see recipe below)
Country Ham Biscuits
Sausage Balls
Spinach Squares
My Grandma Wimee's Banana Bread
Bloody Marys and Madras'

Chicken Salad Croissants
Honey Baked Ham served with rolls, mayo, mustard
Proscuitto Dip with crackers
Hello Dolly bars

October 13th - LSU in Lexington at 7PM
Honey Baked Ham
North Carolina BBQ (brought by our friend's family from NC)
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Shrimp spread finger sandwiches
Mexican Roll-ups with salsa
Cole Slaw
Baked Beans
Gooey Cake
Blizzard Cookies

Post Game
White Chicken Chili
Tortilla chips
sides: sour cream, scallions, monterey jack cheese, jalepeno peppers, black olives

October 20th - Florida - in Lexington at 3:30PM
Pregame began at 10:30AM
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Pigs in a blanket
Fruit salad
ham rolls with biscuits
sausage/egg dish
Bloody Marys and Mimosas

7-layer taco dip with tortilla chips
Dried beef dip with crackers
Chicken Gumbo with rice (see recipe below)
Mississippi Mud (recipe follows)

October 27th - Mississippi State - in Lexington at 12:30PM
It poured rain this game, and we had no RV. Our friends' son
had just had surgery on his shoulder, so we were a skeletal crew
that day. We made the best of it, and here's what we enjoyed:
Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps (big hit!)
Chips and my salsa (recipe follows)
Salmon Dip and Crackers
Pigskin Mexican Dip and chips
Blonde Brownies
Rugelach (recipe follows)

Game 10 - Away at Vanderbilt
we attended a tailgate at some friends of ours' tailgate

Game 11 - UGA - in Athens (close to OUR home)
Beef Tenderloin sandwiches
Shrimp Dip (see recipe below)
Chicken Chili (see recipe below)
Couscous Salad
Chips and salsa
Assorted nuts
Chocolate Chip Brownies

Game 12 - Tennessee - in Lexington at 1PM
Hot Apple Cider and Hot Chocolate (spiked or not)
Sausage pinwheels (recipe follows)
Blintz Souffle (recipe follows)

Post-game party:
Hamburgers and Hotdogs
Apple Crisp (recipe follows)

Bowl Game
Beef Roll ups (see menu in appetizer post)
Pizza Dip
White Chicken Chili and Regular Chili (see recipes below)
Muddy Buddy Mix
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake


(Adapted from Ursula's Cooking School)

Easiest appetizer in the world, AND it's my personal favorite.

3-4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into pieces
8 oz softened cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
1 TBSP dry minced onion
1 TBSP dry chives
1 1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Mix cream cheese and sour cream in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and pulse just to blend.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

 Chill to let flavors marry; then serve with crackers.

(Recipe from Bobby Flay)

Love, love, love this dip!  I found this recipe years ago in a magazine, and it's probably my favorite way to serve smoked salmon.  Be sure to use fresh dill - it MAKES the dip!

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP minced fresh dill
1 tsp prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 lb. (4 oz) smoked salmon, minced
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Cream the cream cheese in food processor until smooth.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add the sour cream, lemon, dill, horseradish and salt and pepper.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Spoon in the smoked salmon and mix well.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Chill and serve with chips, crackers and/or crudites. Better if prepared ahead and chilled, then garnished with a sprig or two of dill.

(adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow)

1 bag premixed cole slaw
1/3-1/2 cup veganaise
1 TBSP sour cream
1/2-1 TBSP lime juice (to taste)
Sea salt to taste

Mix together. Add more salt and lime juice if necessary. Chill until ready to serve. Light and delicious.

(Adapted from Neiman Marcus)

So, the story behind these cookies is apparently an urban myth, but the story is that a woman came into a Neiman Marcus cafe, and she loved the cookie so much that she asked if she could have the recipe.  The waitress told her that she could, for "TWO FIFTY"- and the woman thought she meant $2.50.  The waitress then gave the woman the recipe, and later the woman got her credit card bill and had been charged $250.00.  She supposedly was incensed at the charge so she distributed the recipe around as much as she could.

Neiman Marcus has squashed the tale and has the cookie recipe in their cookbook, but the name $250 chocolate chip cookie has stuck.  But - - - that are really really great!  Check the quantity of ingredients though before you make these - they make a lot!  You can always cut the recipe in half like I'm doing here.   ***Side note: this cookie dough is THE best there is!  I mean, IF you like that sorta thing...;)

This recipe feeds a crowd!  It usually makes about 60 cookies, so if you don't need that many, cut the recipe in half.

2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
5 cups oatmeal, ground in a blender or food processor
24 ounces good chocolate chips
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 (8 ounce) good quality milk chocolate bar (grated)
4 large eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
Measure 5 cups oatmeal and blend in a food processor to a fine powder.
Cream the butter and 2 cups sugar and 2 cups brown sugar.
Add 4 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla.
Mix together with 4 cups flour, the oatmeal, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder and 2 tsp baking soda.
Add chocolate chips, grated milk chocolate bar and nuts.  Mixture will be very dense.
Roll into 1 inch balls, and place 2-inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F or until golden.  They freeze beautifully.

1/2 lb. unpeeled, medium size fresh shrimp, cooked
1 (8oz) container sour cream
1 (3oz) pkg cream cheese
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 pkg Italian dressing mix (1 packet from Good Seasons is what I use)
1/8 tsp Tabasco (or more, to taste)
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Peel shrimp and devein if desired. Chop shrimp.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Stir together sour cream, cream cheese, lemon, Italian dressing mix and hot sauce.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cover and chill 8 hours. Serve with celery, carrot sticks, potato chips and/or crackers.


1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 slices cooked crumbled bacon
2 1/2 TBSP onion, minced
1 TBSP green pepper, minced (optional)

Quiche Shells
1 (3 ounce) package of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Combine the butter and cream cheese. Cream until smooth.

Add in flour, and mix well.

Form the dough into 30 - 1 inch balls.

Put the balls in lightly greased muffin tins. Press dough in cups to form a shell. With a fork, pierce bottoms, sides of shells. Bake shells at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Combine all the quiche ingredients: egg, milk, salt, pepper, cheese, bacon, onion and green pepper (if using). Stir mixture well.

Pour or spoon into the ready made shells. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.


google images
1 lb hot smoked link sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
4 skinned chicken breast halves
1/4-1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 qts hot water
2 tsp Creole seasoning
1 TBSP Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2-1 tsp hot sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup sliced green onions
hot cooked rice
Gumbo file (optional)

Cook sausage in large pot over medium heat until browned. 

Remove sausage, reserving drippings. Set sausage aside. Cook chicken in drippings until browned, then remove and reserve drippings.

Measure drippings, adding enough oil to measure 1/2 cup. Add oil mixture to pot and place over medium heat until hot. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until roux is chocolate colored (about 30 minutes).

Then add chopped onion, green pepper, celery and garlic to roux.

Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring often. Gradually stir in hot water, and bring to a boil. Add chicken, creole seasoning, and next 4 ingredients.

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Add sausage to pot and cook uncovered, 30 minutes.

Stir in green onions, and cook, uncovered an additional 30 minutes. Bone chicken and coarsely shred. Add chicken to gumbo, and cook until thoroughly heated.

Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve over rice with gumbo file (if desired). 8 servings


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

This dessert is BY FAR my most requested recipe!  It's decadently delicious, and I've been making it since I first had it at a girlfriend's house in high school.  It's crazy good!!!

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
1 (10.5-ounce) bag miniature marshmallows

1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

For cake:
Mix butter and sugar.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add eggs and mix well.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Sift and add next 4 ingredients, then add vanilla (and nuts if desired).
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking pan.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Remove from oven; top warm cake evenly with marshmallows. Return to oven, and bake 5 minutes. While cake is baking, prepare the frosting.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Remove from oven. Drizzle Chocolate Frosting (see directions below) over warm cake. Cool completely and then cut into squares.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Once cake comes out of the oven spoon the frosting over it immediately.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
PARTY SALSA (with cheese)

This recipe is one that's been around for a while too. My husband had it at an office function years ago and brought home the recipe.  Thank you Drew Veght wherever you are! It's so good and different from any other salsa.  There will be none left if you serve it! I could probably sit down and eat it with a spoon I love it that much!!!

1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 4oz can chopped black olives
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles
1 can Hot Rotel tomatoes
1 pkg dry Good Seasons Italian Dressing (mixed according to the directions - - - I use less of the required oil however).

Mix together - better if you let it sit for a bit prior to serving.

Serve with tostitoes or corn chips.


Another recipe favorite from my best childhood friend's Mom.  She was like a second mother to me and was one of the best cooks I've ever known.  Here's to you Leila!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Cut cold butter or margarine and cream cheese into bits. In food processor pulse flour, salt, butter or margarine, cream cheese and sour cream until crumbly.

Shape crumbly mixture into four equal disks.

Wrap each disk and chill 2 hours or up to 2 days. Roll each disk into a 9-inch round, keeping other disks chilled until ready to roll them.

Combine sugar, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and finely chopped raisins (may substitute miniature chocolate chips for raisins).

Sprinkle round with sugar/nut mixture. Press lightly into dough.

With chefs knife or pizza cutter, cut each round into 12 wedges. Roll wedges from wide to narrow, you will end up with point on outside of cookie (they'll look like crescent rolls).

Place on ungreased baking sheets, and chill rugelach 20 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. After rugelach are chilled, bake them in the center rack of your oven 22 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers...they freeze very well.



Easy peasy chili recipe that everyone loves! This recipe feeds a crowd so cut it in half it if you're only feeding 4 people.  Nothing like this chili for cold weather games...

1 lb dried navy beans (or 3-4 cans, drained and rinsed) *Note: I had canned cannellini beans on hand so that's what I'm using instead
4 (14 1/2 oz) cans chicken broth, divided
1 lg onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP white pepper
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cloves
5 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken (can use 1-2 rotisserie chickens here)
2 (4 oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (I'm using pickled jalepenos since I was out of fresh this time)

Optional toppings:
shredded monterey jack cheese
red and green salsa
sour cream
sliced green onions
Sort and wash beans (if using dried), and place in a large pot. Cover with water 2 inches above beans and let soak 8 hours. Drain beans and return to pot.
Add 3 cans chicken broth, chopped onion, garlic, white pepper, oregano and cloves.
 Bring to a boil - then cover pot, reduce heat and simmer 2 hours (if using dry beans) or until beans are tender (~15 minutes if using canned beans). Then add remaining can of chicken broth, shredded chicken, chiles, water, salt and jalapeño pepper.
Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour stirring occasionally. Serve with sides of cheese, salsas, sour cream, green onions, chopped or sliced jalapeño pepper, sliced and chopped cilantro. I like to have hot sauce like Tabasco handy as well.


These sausage pinwheels have been around a while.  My mother used to make them when I was little, and she'd wrap the uncooked rolls in wax paper, and then tie the ends with ribbon.  Then she'd freeze them and give them as Christmas presents.  What a lovely gift for someone to enjoy Christmas morning!
google images
2 c all purpose flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 lb hot bulk pork sausage at room temperature
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.

Cut into shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add milk, stirring until well blended. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 3 or 4 times.

Roll dough into an 18"x12" rectangle. Spread sausage and cheese (if using) over dough, leaving a 1/2" margin on sides. Roll dough lengthwise, jelly fashion, pinch seams and ends to seal. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Slice into 1/4" slices. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until brown.

***Note: these are easy to overcook.  Depending on how thick you slice them, adjust your cooking time accordingly.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen. Can be made ahead and frozen.


I got this recipe from my best childhood friend's mother.  It's perfect for a brunch!  Top with warm apples or blueberries or whatever fruit you like.

3 TBSP butter
2 (13 ounce) packages frozen cheese-filled blintzes
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBSP orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a 2-quart casserole, and place the frozen blintzes on top of the butter in a single layer.

Mix the eggs, sour cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and orange juice in a bowl until thoroughly combined, and pour the mixture over the blintzes.

Bake in the preheated oven until the top is lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the casserole comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Serve with warm fruit and extra sour cream.


6 cooking apples, peeled and sliced
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2-1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 TBSP walnuts (optional)
6 TBSP butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking pan with Pam. In a bowl, combine apples, lemon juice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Transfer mix to pan. In the same bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, oats, nutmeg, walnuts, if you like, and remaining teaspoon cinnamon.

Add butter and quickly work in with fingers or pastry blender until moistened but still crumbly.

Sprinkle on apple mixture. Bake for 30 minutes (or until apples are tender).

I make this stromboli in advance and wrap in foil.  It's still warm when I get to my tailgate, and all I have to do there is slice it and enjoy.  So good...

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (32 oz) pkg frozen bread dough, thawed and divided
2 TBSP prepared mustard, divided
12 (3/4 oz) slices cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzerella cheese, divided
2 (3 1/2 oz) pkgs sliced pepperoni, divided
1/2 lb thinly sliced ham
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, divided
Vegetable oil

Brown ground beef and onion. Drain well and set aside.

For each stromboli, place one loaf of bread dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12-inch square.

Spread 1 TBSP mustard over dough to within 1/2 inch of the edges.

Layer 3 slices cheese, 1/2 cup mozzerella, half of pepperoni, half of the ham and half of the beef mixture lengthwise down center third of dough leaving a 1/2 inch border at top and bottom.

Sprinkle with 1 tsp of Italian seasoning. Fold each side of dough over filling; pinch seam and ends to seal.

Repeat for a 2nd stromboli. Place on greased baking sheets and brush loaves with oil. Back at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cut each loaf into 8 slices. ***If taking to a tailgate - allow to cool slightly then transfer to heavy duty tin foil. At your destination, open the foil and then slice.

(Adapted from Silver Palate)

Serves 20 and is so so good! This recipe is one of my favorite chile recipes and it's from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Silver Palate.

2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
4 pounds beef chuck, ground
1 can (12 ounces) tomato paste
1 1/2 TBSP minced garlic
1/3 cup ground cumin
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 TBSP dried basil
2 TBSP dried oregano
1 1/2 TBSP salt,
or to taste
1 1/2 TBSP freshly ground black pepper
3 cans (28 ounces each) Italian plum tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cans (16 ounces each) dark-red kidney beans, drained
2 cans (5 1/2 ounces each) pitted black olives, drained

Heat the olive oil in a very large pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 minutes.

Add the sausage meat and ground chuck; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the meats are well browned. Spoon off any excess fat and discard.

Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley and kidney beans.

Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Add olives; simmer for 5 minutes more to heat through. Serve immediately.