This is part 2 of the “Tailgates and Fender Feasts” series. Part 1 includes packing and planning tips for bringing food appropriate for eating at events, clinics, lessons or get-togethers for cross country schooling. The recipes I’ve included usually work well when you can’t use a knife and fork and don’t have a table to sit down and eat formally but are tired of eating gas station junk! Part 2 here is Dips, Sandwiches, Wraps, Cookies and Breads, and Part 3 will include recipes for Cakes and other make-ahead treats.
These are favorite finger-ready foods I’ve brought to tailgates and events. Many are from my mother’s famous and respected recipe collection — she was an incredible cook and many are quite old. I try to make things that are tasty and hearty, where a couple of bites will taste good and are a bit healthier than a bag of chips or stale donuts from the only convenience store with a parking lot big enough for the trailer.
Recipes included here: Apples and Sweet Peanut Butter Dip, Sandwiches For Hungry Riders, Wraps For Everyone, Oatmeal/Cranberry/Nut Cookies, Criss-Cross Peanut Butter Cookies, Mini BLTs, Banana Nut Bread.
Apples and Sweet Peanut Butter Dip
4 to 6 Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, or other sweet apple such as Jona Gold or Honey Crisp; skin on. Slice into quarters and then into 8ths, discarding the core. Place in an airtight container with a small slice of lemon to prevent browning.
1 pk. (8 oz) softened cream cheese
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream all, refrigerate overnight, allow to come to room temperature at serving. Serve with apple wedges as dippers. You can wait to cut apples until serving, too and give the cores to your friends in the trailer! This usually disappears quickly! Serves about a dozen people.
Sandwiches for Hungry Riders
2 dozen Hawaiian type sweet dinner rolls, sliced in half
Sweet hot mustard in squeezeable dose container
1 pk. roll of summer sausage, sliced thin (don’t be cheap, use the whole thing!)
Sharp white cheddar 2-inch square slices, or any savory cheese in one-inch squares
Pack the rolls, cheese and meat in separate containers and meat and cheese in your cold pack. Put the sandwiches together once you arrive or just before serving – one slice of meat, 2 pieces of cheese in each sliced roll. A drop of sweet-hot mustard can be added, or just put out the squeezable mustard container so eaters can choose it if they want. Crackers can be used instead of bread. Makes about 2 dozen finger sandwiches depending on how thick you slice the summer sausage.
Sub/Hoagie Hint: It’s perfectly OK to purchase turkey or italian subs at the deli and toss in your cooler for later. (Turkey by far is the most preferred.) Avoid ordering with dressings like mayonnaise or oil – instead, ask for those on the side in a to-go container, so you keep the bread from getting soggy. And ask for an extra paper wrap on the sandwich. This makes a sturdier serving surface once you unwrap, then add the desired dressings, and take your sharp knife and cut the sandwich into 2-inch portions. Feeds more folks and is easier to pick up!
Wraps: My Crowd-Sourced Recipes
I asked a few friends for their tortilla-wrap recipes. Tortillas travel well, don’t get soggy like bread, and can be shared easily. Use the regular sized 10-inch flour tortillas. If you make them ahead of time (I think it’s hard to put together sandwiches on a tailgate and I don’t like the help from flies), wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate in a stack, then put in the cooler to travel, and then when you open them, cut in diagonal quarters to serve.
Paige’s Curried Chicken Salad Wraps
About 2 lbs. of shredded chicken (Paige pulls all the meat off one rotisserie chicken)
1 cup of finely chopped celery
3 green onions, minced
Optional: 1 cup diced apple (golden delicious)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (or slivered almonds)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Stir the curry powder into the mayonnaise, mixing well; add salt and pepper, celery, onions, apples, cranberries and nuts and mix. Gently fold in shredded chicken, stirring to coat. Refrigerate several hours. Serve about 1/4 cup of chicken mix on an iceberg lettuce leaf on a regular 10-inch tortilla, roll up, then cut in half or thirds. I think this should make about 10 servings, but Paige says it goes so fast, it’s hard to keep count!
Lisa Burnett: Turkey, hummus, cheese, lettuce and tomato wraps
Erika Keller Thomas: Buffalo chicken, bleu cheese dressing, lettuce, tomato; roast beef, carmelized onion, horseradish garnish, lettuce (can also use spinach leaves instead of lettuce, and dijon mustard instead of horseradish); turkey, cream cheese with pepper jelly
Cheryl Microutsicos: a great low-calorie option, a wedge of Laughing Cow light cheese, open and spread on wrap, top with spinach, cucumbers and turkey
Amy Warringon: BLT on a wrap – crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato slices and mayo
These do contain mayonnaise, so you will need to make sure they stay refrigerated until served, but it’s a make-ahead favorite that ships well and tastes just like a BLT without the toast!
10 Roma tomatoes, small in size, cut in half lengthwise, with pulp scooped out
6-8 slices of crispy bacon, crumbled fine
4 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded fine
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
Stir together the mayonnaise, chopped lettuce and bacon crumbles. Add salt or pepper (optional) to taste. Place a spoonful of the mixture in the hollowed out roma tomato half, continue filling each until mixture is gone. Garnish with cracked pepper, paprika, or dill. Pack tightly in a flat container with a piece of plastic wrap on the top before putting on the lid to keep the filling from spilling out of the tomato halves. Keep cold until served.
Oatmeal Cranberry Nut Cookies
3/4 stick shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Beat shortening, sugars in large bowl on medium speed until creamy; beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat into shortening mixture until well blended. Stir in oats, cranberries and nuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 3 dozen. Substitute raisins for cranberries or leave out the nuts!
Criss-Cross Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup butter
2 cups peanut butter (creamy best)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk*
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Blend butter, peanut butter, sugars, vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Add buttermilk* and mix well. Stir dry ingredients together, add to buttermilk mix and blend until smooth. Drop from spoon to a prepared baking sheet. Flatten each cookie with a fork dipped in flour in a criss cross pattern. Bake for 15-20 minutes until edges are golden brown. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack, store airtight. Makes about 3 dozen.
(*Buttermilk substitute: Add to 1 cup of regular milk 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes.) This is a very old family recipe.
Banana Nut Bread
1 1/3 cup mashed ripe bananas (3-4 usually)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
2 2/3 cup Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Grease the bottom of a 9 in. x 5 in. loaf pan. Stir the bananas, sugar, milk, oil, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in Bisquick and nuts. Pour into loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then loosen the sides from the pan and remove, cooling on a wire rack. About 10 servings, serve with butter or softened cream cheese as a spread. Packs well and also can be frozen.