Mediterranean-Inspired Tailgating Recipes

Football season is here! *Happy Football Dance*

Also, football food season is here! *Happy Noshing Dance*

As a Texas native and the daughter of a football coach, the start of football season is one of my favorite times of year. As a food lover, the food that goes along with watching football makes it just that much more fun. Whether you’re tailgating or gathered in the living room around the big screen, football and snackage go together like brats and beer, Hook ‘Em and Horns, or, sometimes unfortunately, heartbreaking and loss.

Step Away from the Status Quo

While I’m as much a fan of burgers, wings, and BBQ as the next girl, I’m always on the hunt for new dishes that you can easily consume while cheering, cursing, celebrating, and (let’s be honest) consuming the adult beverage of your choice. And of course any food I’m going to schlep to a tailgate or serve while watching the game (because let’s be clear, I absolutely watch the game), has to be:

  • Mostly make-ahead
  • Able to be eaten with one hand
  • Safe to sit for a while because lord knows when we’re watching football it’s a marathon not a sprint (and that applies to both the cheering and the eating)

As you plan your menus for the next several months of gridiron goodness, consider spicing things up with some flavors of the Mediterranean. Bright citrus, earthy herbs, and fun to eat food like skewers and artichokes may even get your guests to take their eyes off of the game — or their beer — because they’ll be so pleasantly surprised at the unexpected tastes you’ve brought to the game.

Tuscan Lamb and Chicken Skewers

I’ve been making Grilled Bread with Tuscan Lamb from MyRecipes for a couple of years now because the marinade is chock-full of fresh herbs, it sits overnight, and it makes the most of inexpensive leg of lamb. It’s also surprisingly light, when you eat just one serving of course, and perfect for a quick dinner or a summer party. Recently I repurposed the marinade from this dish to marinade miniature skewers of chicken thighs and lamb sirloin. They were, if I do say so myself, oh so tasty and even a bit fun. Because the meat was on skewers it is easy to cook quickly for a crowd and you can make them in batches as food consumption ebbs and flows.

To modify the recipe for mini kebabs:

  • Skewer and marinated the meat overnight; if you’re headed out to a tailgate marinade the skewers in a heavy duty zip top bag and just toss them in the cooler on your way out the door.
  • Cook the skewers over a medium-hote grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Be careful not to get the grill too hot or the herbs will burn.
  • Even though the marinade has a bit of olive oil in it, it’s not enough to keep the skewers from sticking to the grill, so be sure to give them a good once-over with cooking spray.
  • Because the skewers spend so little time on the grill I didn’t soak them before threading the meat on; you certainly can if you’re worried about charred wood – it won’t change the flavor of the dish at all.
  • Serve the skewers with naan (aka flatbread) or pitas so people can make little wraps they can hold in one hand. z
  • A container of fat-free Greek yogurt with the juice and zest of half of a lemon and about a tablespoon of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley makes a lovely spread to go on the naan along with the lamb or chicken.
What are your favorite unexpected football foods? Tell us more in the comments!

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