Your own back yard is the perfect setting for a Southern Tailgater where food, friends, family and fun is the name of the game.
Pregame festivities begin at 3:00 PM with a ballgame (touch football, kick ball, soccer) outside. The first rule: everyone must be outside and participate in something. Section off an area to play croquet or Baci – your artsy friends will love this. Offer jump ropes, pogo sticks, and sidewalk chalk for the kids. Set aside a table for munchies.
For pregame snacking, set a buffet table outside and decorate with fall colors: a brown table cloth, freshly fallen leaves scattered about, pine cones, and twigs. Start by grilling some cheese quesadillas outside using flour tortillas and shredded cheese. Line baskets with the inner leaves of a head of iceberg lettuce or cabbage and fill with crudités by grouping carrots, peppers (mix the colors of orange, yellow, and red), broccoli, celery, and cucumber. Line bowls with lettuce or cabbage for veggie dips, there are many prepared ones or you can make your own. Add salsa and chips too. Serve the grilled cheese quesadillas pizza style with guacamole and sour cream, cut with a pizza cutter on a large tray or cutting board and you have a great munchies buffet while everyone plays.
Start grilling for your fajita dinner so everyone can smell the lovely food in the air while playing games. Grill chicken, beef, and veggies, then wrap then tightly in a pan until dinner is served at halftime.
Play games for about an hour or so, then bring the family and friends inside for the make-your-own-fajita dinner.
Fill platters or a large cutting board with slices of chicken, beef, and vegetables, with warm corn and flour tortillas in front. Offer some salsa from mild to hot, sour cream, guacamole, and a variety of shredded cheeses, chopped tomatoes, and chopped onions for toppings.
Invite your friends and family outside for more games and dessert. Serve hot chocolate with toppings: homemade whipped cream, marshmallows, with both chocolate and caramel sauce to drizzle on top. On a large tray, assemble a variety of sweets including brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and sliced fruit.
Your Southern Tailgater will be a huge success with family and friends, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Mersene Norbom is the owner of Indulge by Mersene in Westport.