Cooks Exchange

Consider these tailgating ideas to make your football weekends the best

Burgers, chipotle chicken wings served with blue cheese dip at a USC tailgate party.
Burgers, chipotle chicken wings served with blue cheese dip at a USC tailgate party. TNS

Friday night lights are shining bright, and Saturdays and Sundays mean trips to the stadium or simply to the couch to watch game after game, college or pro. Does it really matter which?

Football is back and always in a big way. Big football fans easily are spotted in the neighborhoods. Cars are parked in the drive and down the streets.

Big games call for big grub.

Jambalaya, sliders or dips, football and food go together. While some people like to keep a large pot of jambalaya or gumbo on the stove, others prefer the easier chips, dips and snack foods.

One thing is for certain, paper plates, cups and napkins are the way to go. These make for a no-fuss cleanup, and that’s a must.

Today’s recipes offer a few suggestions for the big games, whether at the stadium tailgating or at home partying. The pizza casserole is one from Kraft Foods, but I wanted more flavor so I added extra herbs and spices.

I made it for church Sunday, and there was not a morsel left. The hot wings cook in the slow cooker in two to three hours on high. The beef open-face sandwiches are a go-to of mine. I have been making them for years.

Tiffany Burgess shared her mom’s potato salad, which also is good for game-day fare. She uses chopped carrots, radishes and French dressing in hers for a different twist on potato salad.

Fiesta salad with lime, please

Mary Ellen Thornhill of Gulfport tells me about a fiesta salad that she had at a recent lunch that would be great for game day. She said it had beans, corn, tomatoes and was dressed in lime juice and topped with avocados.

“You can’t believe how wonderful the lime made the salad. It was a huge salad,” she said. “Everyone loved it.”

Readers, if you have this recipe or a similar one, please share it. This would lighten up game days and be easy to pack for tailgating without fear of spoilage.

Restaurant requests

Readers still want more restaurant recipes. These are ones I am still searching for.

“I would love to have the recipe for the Greek dressing at the Phoenicia in Ocean Springs,” said Georgia Day. “It is fabulous. Good on everything.”

I will check with the chefs and see what I can find. Readers, do you have the recipe or a similar one?

“Could you get the original recipe of crab meat au gratin from Angelo’s Restaurant, said Shirley Dedeaux. “It was the best. Thanks.”

Ann Brown wants the shrimp salad recipe from the now-closed Hook Line and Sinker restaurant in Biloxi. Readers, if you have this old-time Biloxi recipe, please share.

Deep dish pizza casserole

1 pound hamburger (I prefer 93 percent lean)

1/4 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 can Grands buttermilk biscuits

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

1 can diced tomatoes

1 15-ounce can black olives

Shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon sugar

In large skillet, cook hamburger, onions, garlic and mushrooms until hamburger is no longer pink. Set aside.

In 9-by-13-inch baking dish, press biscuits into bottom of dish, forming the bottom crust. Bake for 12 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven.

In small bowl, put tomato sauce, oregano, basil, chili powder and sugar. Mix well. Spread on top of baked crust. Top tomato sauce with hamburger-mushroom mixture, black olives and diced tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Should be bubbly, but please don’t burn the biscuit crust.

Andrea’s note: The original recipe did not let biscuit crust bake before adding other ingredients. I like the crust to have some crispness, so I recommend baking the crust first. I also added all the spices and herbs.

Note: Pepperoni, Canadian bacon or sausage can be substituted for the hamburger.

From Kraft Foods and me


1 bottle hot sauce

1/2 cup butter

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons oregano, crushed

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

4 pounds frozen chicken wings

Combine hot sauce, butter, Worcestershire sauce and dried herbs in a medium-sized skillet and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and let simmer for 4 to 6 minutes. Place wings in slow cooker. Pour hot sauce mixture over the wings and cook on low 5-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Save-A-Lot chefs


1/3 cup light mayonnaise or salad dressing

1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard (I like the kick Dijon gives.)

4 slices crusty Italian or sourdough bread

1/4 cup olive tapenade

12 ounces sliced deli roast beef (Again, I like the Cajun style beef.)

2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh baby spinach

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise and mustard. Lightly spread on one side of each bread slice. Spread with tapenade. Top with tomato slices and spinach. Serves 4.


5 pounds red potatoes

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons French salad dressing

3/4 cup carrots, diced or sliced thin

3/4 cup diced celery

3 boiled eggs, chopped, plus 1 extra boiled egg, sliced for garnish

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped radishes

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sprinkling of paprika

Boil potatoes until they can be pierced easily with fork. (about 40 minutes)

Dice cooled potatoes and add diced carrots, celery, scallions, radishes and chopped eggs. Mix together well. Add mayonnaise, French dressing, parsley flakes. Add extra mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with egg slices and paprika.

Submitted by Tiffany Burgess