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Thursday Tailgates: Week 1

August 30, 2012

Great news people, college football season is here! It has been a long, hard summer without one of our nation’s favorite pastimes, but tonight, teams will take the field for the first college football game of the season.

Throughout the season in my Thursday Tailgates series, I will highlight fans traveling to various parts of the country to tailgate.  Each week, I will also feature a tailgate recipe for you to try.

Think you love college football?  Do you have plans to visit every Division I stadium?

Al Botta and Jarrett Singer are on a quest to visit every Division I stadium and tailgate there.  Each year, the two visit about four different stadiums and document their journey on their website, CollegeFootballQuest.com

Tomorrow the two are headed to Tennessee for Vanderbilt’s home opener against South Carolina.  According to Botta, they are “pulling for the upset big time!”  That should make them popular amongst other Vandy fans that are tailgating.  At each stadium they visit, Botta and Singer work to have the home team’s fans “sell” the pair on their team.  While at the Vandy campus, Botta and Singer will explore the campus, have some meet-and-greets with Vandy fans, attend an organized tailgate party at Vandyville.

Vandyville is the name for Vanderbilt’s designated tailgating site.  Fans are allowed to gather three hours before the game and are encouraged to don all gold.  Along with tailgating, the area features scheduled events, such as inflatable games, live music and a giant screen upon which fans can watch other games.  One hour and five minutes before kick-off is when the “Star Walk” takes place, where fans in Vandyville cheer on the Commodores as they enter the stadium.  All in all, the event sounds tremendously organized and fun for all ages.

Hopefully Botta and Singer will have some pictures to share for next week’s Thursday Tailgates and will keep us apprised of their journeys.

Tailgating on the fly

Does tailgating sound like a lot of fun to you but something that requires too much effort to put together?  The good news is that there are a variety of companies that essentially provide tailgates “on-the-go.”  Southern Tradition Tailgating is one such company.  Brad Vickers of the company explains that for a fixed price, “Fans have all the amenities of home without the setup and most importantly the breakdown and hauling off of all the equipment.  Flatscreen TV sizes ranging from 32 inches-55 inches, caterers that deliver directly to your tent and a friendly game day staff that make every tailgating experience hassle free!”  The company provides its services at a variety of locations and says that it expects thousands of people to tailgate with the company this season.  It sounds like fun!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

One thing is certain:  The greatest thing about tailgate parties is the food.  Another thing is true:  Quick, easy and delicious recipes are the best for a fall day centered around football.

I was first introduced to buffalo chicken dip by my Twitter friend, Ashley Colley (@AshleyColley).  She provided me with an awesome recipe that I tweaked a bit for the Super Bowl.

Ingredients

2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup Ranch dressing (you can also substitute Blue Cheese dressing)

1 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce or another buffalo-flavored hot sauce (more or less to taste)

1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Mix chicken and hot sauce in a skillet.  Heat the two over medium heat until heated through.
  2. Add cream cheese and dressing into the skillet and stir.
  3. Continue cooking the mixture in the skillet until it is blended.
  4. Mix in cheese and allow it to melt.
  5. Transfer the mixture from the skillet to a slow cooker.
  6. Place the remaining cheese on top of the mixture.
  7. Cook on a low setting until the mixture is hot.

The dip can be served with a number of things:  Celery, carrots, crackers, pita bread or just about anything that sounds delicious!  It is so easy to make and a big hit with crowd!

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