Find comfort in these easy tailgating recipes

By Cassie Reichert, Contributing Writer

One of the most popular times for tailgating is coming up — homecoming! It’s time to start thinking about what food you’re going to whip up to enjoy before the game. Whether you’re a football junkie or you can’t seem to sit through a game to save your life, we can all agree the grub is one of the best parts of game day. Branch out from burgers and hotdogs, and try out these simple recipes to step up your homecoming tailgate!

 1. Rumaki (Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts)

What you need:

3/4 – 1 cup of soy sauce

Two 8-ounce cans of whole water chestnuts, halved

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3/4 – 1 cup of brown sugar

1 pound of bacon



Add water chestnuts to a bowl, and pour soy sauce over them until they are completely covered. Let them soak for at least 20 minutes, go for an hour to get the most flavor. While waiting, line a sheet tray with heavy-duty foil, and preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut each strip of bacon into thirds and set those aside. Place brown sugar in a bowl, and when the water chestnuts are done marinating, roll them in the brown sugar and then wrap each chesnut in the bacon strips. You can roll them in the brown sugar again for extra sweetness. Secure with a toothpick, and place on a sheet tray. Cook in the oven until bacon is to the desired doneness, around 20 minutes.

2. Ham and Cheese Sliders

What you need:

Two packs of 12-count Hawaiian sweet rolls


24 thin slices of deli ham

Sx slices of Swiss cheese, cut into fourths

1/2 cup of butter, melted

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon of poppy seeds

2 teaspoons of onion powder


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the sheets of sweet rolls in half vertically without separating each roll from each other, and place the two bottom halves into two baking dishes. Spread a thin layer of mayo on each of the sheets of sweet rolls, and place a piece of cheese and a slice of ham on each roll. Place the tops of the rolls over the ham and cheese. Mix the remaining ingredients and evenly spread over the tops of the rolls. Cover with aluminum foil and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake until cheese is melted, about 20 minutes, and then remove foil and bake for another three minutes or until the tops of rolls are golden.

3. Layered Taco Dip

What you need:

16-ounce can of refried beans

16-ounce can of black beans

8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

1 packet of taco seasoning

1 1/2 cups of sour cream

1 1/2 cups of guacamole

1 1/2 cups of salsa of choice

1 cup of shredded cheese, preferably Mexican blend

Optional toppings:


Black olives



Diced tomatoes

Green onions


Mix the beans, cream cheese and taco seasoning. Spread mixture onto the bottom of the dish. Spread the sour cream on top of the bean mixture and then the guacamole layer on top of that. Evenly pour the salsa on top and then sprinkle cheese and other toppings over the salsa. Refrigerate until ready and, serve with tortilla chips.

No matter if the Illini or the Badgers win the game, you’re sure to win the tailgate with these delicious recipes!

Cassie is a sophomore in Business. 

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