FanPost

Tailgate Party - Part 1 (Spicing up the Tail)

Welcome to my first post. I've been thinking about posting for a while now, and was waiting for the right topic. With all the current football debates going on within TST, I thought I would come up with something different. Something to get our minds off the stats and opinions of the Rams players and coaches for a moment. Something that speaks to all of us. FOOD!

Outside of football, one of my favorite things to do is cooking. What goes better with football than food and your favorite beverage? Whether you are at the parking lot outside the EJD waiting for the game to start or sitting at home with family and friends, here are a couple takes on my favorite tailgating food. Each are based off my original version and they are varying degrees of heat, so you can pick one that fits your pallet.

I noticed an article a couple years ago (sorry, I don't have the link) that a guy won some tailgating food competition with a recipe very similar to the one I had created and have always used. That said, I have a fairly high confidence in you liking any of these variations that I have made over the years. They are always family favorites when I make them. Two of them have been featured on my wife's blog Skirt in the Kitchen. Funny, the original has yet to make an appearance, but the other two are linked below.

Yep, I'm married to woman who created Skirt in the Kitchen, so I guess that makes me Pants on the Ground, well, when she lets me in the kitchen. I'm usually relegated to the grill. In the interest of time, some of the steps are pretty much cut and paste with the changes made for each. Sorry if some seems redundant, but I wrote in a way that each stood on their own.

On to the food.

Hot Pants Poppers (hot)

This is my favorite take on Jalapeno Poppers. Its where it all started, and it's also the hottest of the 3 recipes. Sorry, I don't have a picture of this one.

Ingredients

  • 20-30 decent sized Jalapeno peppers
  • 36 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (You can use any, but I like the Mexican blends)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic minced (essential ingredient as the garlic enhances everything)
  • 1 Tsp of Kosher salt (you can season to your liking)
  • 1 Tbsp of dried basil (if using fresh basil, take about a half cup and chop)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2 lbs Applewood Smoked Bacon (can substitute any bacon, but the Applewood is awesome and my favorite)

*Other ingredients you can add for variety (diced tomato or green chilis)

Putting it together

  1. Put your cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and set it out in room temperature to soften. This will make later steps a lot easier. While the cheese is softening, take your Jalapenos and after you rinse them, cut the stem side off. Now comes the question. Just how hot do I want these suckers? For those adventurous types, you can stop here, for those that want some decent heat, but not insane, you can take a knife and slice down the side of the jalapeno from stem to tip. Gently pry open enough to scrape out the seeds and white membrane from the inside of the jalapeno and repeat for all the rest. The heat from the jalapeno resides mostly in the seeds and white membrane, so make according to your taste.
  2. Next comes the filling to put into the pepper. You already have the cream cheese in the mixing bowl, add the shredded cheese, garlic, chives, salt, and basil into the bowl. If at home, you can use a hand mixer, but if out and about or like me, use a fork to mix together. I like to push the fork down through the mixture and mash against the bottom of the bowl. Do this until all the ingredients are mixed consistently and the cheese is soft enough to work with.
  3. Now we have to use a pipe (no, not that kind, the one for icing cakes) to put all the good stuff into our awaiting jalapenos. Don't have a pipe, not a problem, I actually prefer using a clean gallon zip lock bag anyhow. Put your filling into the pipe or bag. If using a bag, cut about an inch off one of the bottom corners and you now have a homemade pipe. Fill each pepper, then wrap a slice of bacon around it (depending on size of the peppers and bacon you may have to cut the bacon slice in two). I wrap the end of the pepper with the hole first and then go around the pepper. Secure it with a toothpick and finish the rest of the peppers in the same fashion.
  4. Almost there, just have to cook it now. You can do this by broiling in the oven (on a shallow baking sheet) or on an open grill. The trick is to cook it fast so that the bacon cooks without the filling melting out of it. I start it with the slit part down, and rotate it to the top for the finishing touch. This keeps the slit part up and the filling in as the filling is at its hottest. When the bacon is done, so is your treat. Enjoy!

Taco Stuffed Pablano (med)

Up_close_peppers_frame_medium

via 2.bp.blogspot.com

This one is featured on Skirt in the Kitchen and was the result of wanting something different one day and having fun with another version which is also featured. Pablanos are milder than the jalapenos, and you can make them even milder by taking the seeds and membrane out of them, just like the jalapenos. Being it has meat in it, it is also the more filling of the three.

Ingredients

  • 6-7 decent sized Pablano peppers
  • 1 lb of hamburger meat
  • 1 packet of your favorite taco seasoning (or make your own)
  • 36 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (You can use any, but I like the Mexican blends)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic minced (essential ingredient as the garlic enhances everything)
  • 1 Tsp of Kosher or coarse salt (you can season to your liking)
  • 1 Tbsp of dried basil (if using fresh basil, take about a half cup and chop)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 can of Rotel (mild or hot) strained
  • 2 lbs Applewood Smoked Bacon (can substitute any bacon, but the Applewood is awesome and my favorite)

Putting it together

  1. Put your cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and set it out in room temperature to soften. This will make later steps a lot easier. While the cheese is softening, take your pablanos and after you rinse them, cut out the stem. Leave the end of the pablano and only take the stem part. It will help hold in the stuffing. you can take a knife and slice down the side of the pablano from stem to tip if you intend to take out the seeds and membrane. I would suggest making the cut on the short side of the pepper so that when it is cooking, the slit is on the side which will help hold in the filling. If you choose to take out the seeds and membrane, gently pry open enough to scrape out the seeds and white membrane from the inside of the pablano and repeat for all the rest. The heat resides mostly in the seeds and white membrane, so make according to your taste.
  2. Brown your hamburger and add your taco seasoning, prepare as directed on the packet.
  3. Next comes the filling to put into the pepper. You already have the cream cheese in the mixing bowl, add the taco meat, shredded cheese, garlic, chives, salt, strained Rotel, and basil into the bowl. If at home, you can use a hand mixer, but if out and about or like me, use a fork to mix together. Work it good, I like to push the fork down through the mixture and mash against the bottom of the bowl. Do this until all the ingredients are mixed consistently and the cheese is soft enough to work with.
  4. Now we have to use a pipe (no, not that kind, the one for icing cakes) to put all the good stuff into our awaiting pablanos. Don't have a pipe, not a problem, I actually prefer using a clean gallon zip lock bag anyhow. Put your filling into the pipe or bag. If using a bag, cut about an inch off one of the bottom corners and you now have a homemade pipe. Fill each pepper, then wrap bacon around it (depending on size of the peppers and bacon you may have to use more than one slice in a cris-cross pattern). I wrap the end of the pepper with the hole first and then go around the pepper. Secure the bacon and hole with a toothpick and finish the rest of the peppers in the same fashion.
  5. Almost there, just have to cook it now. You can do this by broiling in the oven (on a shallow baking sheet) or aver an open grill. The trick is to cook it hot and fast so that the bacon cooks without the filling melting out of it. I start it with the slit part down, and rotate it to the top for the finishing touch. This keeps the slit part up and the filling in while the filling is at its hottest. When the bacon is done on both sides, so is your treat. Dig in!

Stuffed Pablano Pepper (mild)

Stuffed_peppers_jpg_medium

via 1.bp.blogspot.com


This one is featured on Skirt in the Kitchen and was the result of wanting something with a little less bite for the family members who couldn't tolerate the jalapeno version. Pablanos are milder than the jalapenos, and you can make them even milder by taking the seeds and membrane out of them, just like the jalapenos.

Ingredients

  • 6-7 decent sized Pablano peppers
  • 36 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (You can use any, but I like the Mexican blends)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic minced (essential ingredient as the garlic enhances everything)
  • 1 Tsp of Kosher or coarse salt (you can season to your liking)
  • 1 Tbsp of dried basil (if using fresh basil, take about a half cup and chop)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2 lbs Applewood Smoked Bacon (can substitute any bacon, but the Applewood is awesome and my favorite)

Putting it together

  1. Put your cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and set it out in room temperature to soften. This will make later steps a lot easier. While the cheese is softening, take your pablanos and after you rinse them, cut out the stem. Leave the end of the pablano and only take the stem part. It will help hold in the stuffing. you can take a knife and slice down the side of the pablano from stem to tip if you intend to take out the seeds and membrane. I would suggest making the cut on the short side of the pepper so that when it is cooking, the slit is on the side which will help hold in the filling. If you choose to take out the seeds and membrane, gently pry open enough to scrape out the seeds and white membrane from the inside of the pablano and repeat for all the rest. The heat resides mostly in the seeds and white membrane, so make according to your taste.
  2. Next comes the filling to put into the pepper. You already have the cream cheese in the mixing bowl, shredded cheese, garlic, chives, salt, and basil into the bowl. If at home, you can use a hand mixer, but if out and about or like me, use a fork to mix together. Work it good, I like to push the fork down through the mixture and mash against the bottom of the bowl. Do this until all the ingredients are mixed consistently and the cheese is soft enough to work with.
  3. Now we have to use a pipe (no, not that kind, the one for icing cakes) to put all the good stuff into our awaiting pablanos. Don't have a pipe, not a problem, I actually prefer using a clean gallon zip lock bag anyhow. Put your filling into the pipe or bag. If using a bag, cut about an inch off one of the bottom corners and you now have a homemade pipe. Fill each pepper, then wrap bacon around it (depending on size of the peppers and bacon you may have to use more than one slice in a cris-cross pattern). I wrap the end of the pepper with the hole first and then go around the pepper. Secure the bacon and hole with a toothpick and finish the rest of the peppers in the same fashion.
  4. Almost there, just have to cook it now. You can do this by broiling in the oven (on a shallow baking sheet) or aver an open grill. The trick is to cook it hot and fast so that the bacon cooks without the filling melting out of it. I start it with the slit part down, and rotate it to the top for the finishing touch. This keeps the slit part up and the filling in while the filling is at its hottest. When the bacon is done on both sides, so is your treat. Enjoy!

Well, I hope this post gave you some ideas of how to spice up your next tailgating party, or simply trying something new for you or others. I have a couple other similar posts in mind, let me know in the comments if this is something you'd like me to continue. Until then, let me know which foodie you are below. Are you hot, medium, or wimp mild.

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