Saturday, September 3, 2011

In Less Than 24 Hours...

Kickoff.  College football will be in full swing.  I'll be singing the fight song at the top of my lungs.  Hallelujah!  

I love the butterflies I get when 2001 plays and the sentimental tears when I sing the alma mater with 80,000 other people.  Tomorrow's game (or today's rather) against East Carolina is being played in Charlotte.  We're having a little ladies football evening.  In other words, my mom, grandmother, aunt, and I are going to watch the game together.  Real women watch football.  The rest can stay in the kitchen.  I'll be in the kitchen a good deal but definitely not while the game is goin'.  

This picture is from the Bama-USC game last year.  A glorious day as I recall with an historic win for us.  Will wasn't so thrilled as he's an Alabama fan.  

I've been tailgating and game-prepping a while now, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve.  Since we'll be watching tomorrow's game at my grandmother's, it's a little easier to prep.  I can also make more time-consuming dishes because I'm working with a fully equipped kitchen.  I whole-heartedly recommend making as many things ahead of time as possible.  Of course, this is even more important when you're tailgating in the elements and maybe staying at a hotel.  Making pimiento cheese by a bathroom sink?  I think not.  

Game day food should be effortless and make you smile.  Fried chicken from your favorite spot.  Dips of all kinds with veggies, crackers, and chips.  Some things should be homemade, but not everything has to be.  You want to be able to enjoy going to the game, not stressing about garnish on deviled eggs.  For at-home viewing and tailgating, food that doesn't necessarily require a fork is ideal.  

I thought I'd share tomorrow's game day menu.  Again, I'm going to have the luxury of time in a full kitchen.  
  • Pimiento cheese with football-shaped Ritz crackers (oh yes, I did)
  • Quick French onion dip with chips- Note: I prefer a ruffled or wavy chip for dip because they're sturdier
  • Fried chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce- This is one of those dishes where I balance the store-bought with homemade.  I'm making the chicken but bought a gourmet dipping sauce.  If you're tailgating, get your favorite fried chicken and whip up some honey mustard sauce for dipping.  
  • Ham rolls- These are always a favorite and super duper easy to whip up.  They're fantastic after the game when you're hungry again.  And the next day when all you want is ham and bread.  Not that that's ever happened to me...
  • Crack pie courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar's Christina Tosi
We might have some fruit for something a little healthy, but there's only four of us.  We'll have a balance of hot and cold items, as well as spreadables and more substantial dishes.  

The most important part:  Cheer as loudly and fervently as you can for your favorite team...unless it's Clemson.  Go Gamecocks!

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