It’s tailgate party season so here are some fun and festive tips to get you going!
WHAT TO SERVE
Here is a super simple and special way to feed a crowd at your next Tailgate Party. Serve our Balsamic Chicken and Pasta Primavera Salad which includes your meat, veggies and salad/side in one easy to eat dish. Make all ingredients bite size, prepare ahead of time and pre-pack in Chinese food take-out containers which can be easily held in one hand. Attach a napkin and a fork to the container and let guests grab their meal and go back to the fun. The bonus for you, no messy clean up. Store any leftover containers in a cooler, when it’s time to pack up, you’re all ready to go. Better yet, offer as a “boxed snack” to guests with a long car ride home.
Balsamic Chicken with Pasta Primavera Salad
(Makes 8 Servings)
- 1 lb. mezze penne or gemelli
- 1 lb. grilled balsamic chicken, sliced and cut into bite size pieces
Assorted Grilled Veggies
- 2 large peppers (any combo of green, red, orange, or yellow) cut into large bite size pieces
- 1 large sweet onion sliced and cut into large bite size pieces
- 2 large carrots, sliced on the diagonal (cut the larger slices in half for bite size pieces)
- Thoroughly coat boneless chicken breasts in 1/4 cup balsamic dressing, season additionally with salt and pepper. Marinate 4-6 hours in refrigerator. In separate container, combine all chopped vegetables with 1/4 cup balsamic dressing, salt and pepper, stir to fully coat veggies, marinate for a few hours.
- Preheat grill on medium. Grill boneless chicken breasts until juices run clear (cooking time may range from 7- 15 minutes depending on thickness of breasts). Using a nonstick grilling pan or basket, grill veggies until softened but not mushy, about 7 minutes on medium (the veggies can burn quickly, so don’t leave unattended and frequently turn).
- While chicken and veggies are grilling, boil pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta (make sure to salt the water for boiling pasta).
- When pasta is cooked, drain off 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Pour pasta into a large mixing bowl (don’t worry about thoroughly draining pasta). Slice and chop grilled chicken into bite size pieces (make sure juices run clear – otherwise put it back on the grill), add chicken along with any juices and small pieces (basically what’s ‘left on your cutting board – this adds further flavor) to the pasta. Add chopped grilled veggies and gently toss.
- Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water to 1/4 cup remaining balsamic dressing and mix thoroughly. Add 1/2 of this mixture to the pasta salad toss gently. Keep remaining 1/4 cup dressing and reserved pasta water in refrigerator for future use. Cover pasta salad and refrigerate.
- When thoroughly chilled removed from refrigerator and toss with remaining dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Pasta absorbs liquid easily so you may also need to add some of the reserved pasta water for additional moisture.
- Thoroughly mix and fill Chinese takeout containers with Balsamic Chicken Pasta Primavera, close containers securely, and pack up in cooler.
- This dish can be prepared one day in advance, but wait to add the final dose of dressing until you’re ready to pack containers a few hours before leaving.
Ingredients: 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme,
sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Set aside.
I love these football treats from Cheryls.com- they are delicious!
WHAT TO BRING
Depending on the size of your tailgate party and how far you need to go, think about packing the following items…
First Aid Kit
Order Hay Bales (doubles as seating)
Plates/ Cups/ Utensils
Water ( to rinse or wash items)
Remember, even though you are not entertaining at home, a tailgate really is an extension of your home so provide your guests with a few “creature” comforts. Wrap up Hotties (hand warmers) as a favor, your guests can break them open if it’s a cool day. Offer a basket filled with some outdoor necessities: hand sanitizer, hand wipes, bug spray, suntan lotion, and, yes, a roll or two of toilet paper. For an added special touch, display some blankets, wraps, pashminas so your guests can feel cozy on a fall day.