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franklin county times

Tailgating, football party ideas

By By Patty Swearingen / MSU extension service county director
October 3, 2004
At my household this fall it's time to play ball football, that is and that means tailgate parties and friends gathering around the television to watch their favorite teams.
With a little preparation, you can make tailgating a lot easier on you.
Be sure you arrive early. Allow time to get there this includes allowing time for any traffic you might encounter on the way to the parking lot. You want to get a good spot to park, maybe at the end of a row so you will have additional room to party. Arriving about three hours early will enable you to unpack, get set up, fire up the grill and start serving food at least an hour before the start of the game. This way you have time to clean up, too.
Pack up the car the night before with any tables, chairs, grill, charcoal, lighter fluid, utensils and non-perishables you will be bringing. Have coolers cleaned and ready to be filled first thing in the morning. It's a good idea to have two coolers handy one for drinks and ready-to-eat foods and one for raw foods like meats that will have to be cooked. This will prevent contamination of cans, bottles and foods by any bacteria from raw meat.
Marinate meats in heavy-duty zipper style plastic bags. If you are going to be brushing meat with the marinade or barbecue sauce, bring extra in a separate container. Don't use the marinade or barbecue sauce that the meat has been sitting in to brush on while it's cooking. And, never marinate meat at room temperature always in the refrigerator. You also can freeze meat right in the marinade. Toss the bag in the cooler the meat should thaw and marinate during travel time.
Cut up fresh fruits and vegetables and store in plastic bags in the cooler. When serving, put them out on a plastic plate or platter.
Pack up leftovers in clean, resealable bags or plastic containers and put in the cooler with ice. If any food has been sitting out for more than two hours, though, toss it.
After the game, waiting for traffic to clear can be a drag. Bring stuff to keep people busy and entertained. Some ideas are a Frisbee, football, magazines, deck of cards or a radio.
One of the following make ahead dips is sure to please your football fans.
Easy Taco Dip
11⁄2 cups Miracle Whip dressing
11⁄2 cups sour cream
1 package (11⁄2 ounce) taco seasoning mix
Mix all ingredients until well blended; cover. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled. Serve with cut-up fresh vegetables or assorted chips.
BBQ Black Bean Salsa
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 package (10 ounce) frozen whole kernel corn, thawed, drained
3⁄4 cup barbecue sauce
1⁄2 cup salsa
Mix all ingredients until well blended. Serve with tortilla chips.
Hopefully, you will have a winning season in the great sport of tailgating. If you would like more information, please call our office at 482-9764.

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