A Fresh Tailgate Menu

Quick and tasty ideas for game day

(Family Features) Take your tailgating game to new heights this season with fresh dishes that are easy to make and serve, whether your tailgating tradition takes place at the game or at home.

Fast prep times and short ingredient lists make these recipes a cinch to prepare in advance and have ready to go as soon as you reach the parking lot or before guests arrive. The star ingredients are naturally hardwood-smoked sausages and seasoned deli meats from Eckrich, which offers a variety of smoked sausage flavors in traditional ropes and bun-length links as well as gluten-free deli meats such as Black Forest ham and oven-roasted turkey, all with just the right blend of seasonings for a rich, savory taste.

You can switch up the flavors of these recipes by subbing in different varieties of smoked sausage, such as replacing the original rope-style smoked sausage with Eckrich Jalapeno & Cheddar Links. The roll-ups are also easy to customize for guests using any type of deli meat, and they’re easy to enjoy on the go if you need a quick bite on the way to the stadium.

Tailgate Like a Pro

Try New Toppings
Smoked sausage and deli meats are easy to add to a bun for an instant meal, and there’s plenty of ways to dress your tailgate menu up or down based upon the preferences of your guests. Be sure to keep some basics on hand for those who prefer traditional preparation, but for the more adventurous types, try out these ideas for toppings that create a new dimension of flavor.

  • Grilled onion
  • Grilled peppers
  • Grilled, roasted or sauteed mushrooms
  • Spicy mustard
  • Flavored ketchup (think spicy, fruity or sweet)
  • Ethnic flavors like curry or marinara sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Roasted corn relish
  • Crumbled or shredded cheese
  • Bacon crumbles

Handy Hacks

  • Repurpose coffee filters as holders for your sandwiches. They’re easy to hold and help keep your favorite toppings contained.
  • Up-cycle an empty six-pack container into a convenient cookout caddy to hold napkins, condiments and utensils. Not only is it quick to grab and place on the table, but it helps keep napkins from blowing away in a breeze.
  • For kabobs, keep wooden skewers from charring by soaking them in water before threading on ingredients.
  • Prepare toppings the night before and arrange them in a disposable foil pan for a quick and easy DIY topping bar.

Million Dollar Moment

This season, Eckrich – the official smoked sausage and deli meat sponsor of the College Football Playoff – is once again hosting the Road to the National Championship sweepstakes. Fans around the country will have the chance to make a 20-yard throw for $1 million at some of the biggest college football games of the season, including the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta. Visit EckrichFootball.com for your chance to win.

Find more game-day recipes at Eckrich.com.

Grilled Sausage Skewer Sandwiches

Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage
  • 1          small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1          red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6          wooden skewers, 10 inches long
  • 1/2       cup Italian salad dressing, divided
  • 6          bolillo or sandwich rolls, split
  • 1          avocado, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/4       cup cilantro leaves
  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Cut sausage into 1/2-inch thick slices. Thread sausage, onion and bell peppers alternately onto skewers. Brush 1/4 cup salad dressing on skewered sausage and vegetables.
  3. Grill until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes, turning once.
  4. Brush remaining salad dressing on rolls. Fill rolls with grilled sausage and vegetables. Divide avocado and cilantro onto each.

Tip: To broil sausage rather than grill, heat broiler to medium-high, follow the same skewer preparation instructions and broil about 10 minutes, or until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender.

Ham and Turkey Roll-ups

Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 4          ounces Eckrich Deli Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • 4          ounces Eckrich Deli Black Forest Ham
  • lettuce leaves
  • 2          tablespoons chunky guacamole
  • 1/4       cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1          tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2          slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Layer turkey and ham slices. Layer lettuce, guacamole, cucumber, cheese and bacon crumbles. Roll meat and secure with toothpick.

Potato Salad with Smoked Sausage

Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 3/4       regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 3          small red potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), cooked and quartered
  • 1          can (4 ounces) pitted ripe olives, drained and halved
  • 2          cups Italian dressing
  • 1          green onion, sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 2          teaspoons ground black pepper
  1. In large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in potatoes; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  2. Add olives, dressing, onions, garlic and pepper; mix lightly.

SOURCE:
Eckrich

Sweet Meets Spicy

(Family Features) There’s no better way to spice up a party than by using unexpected ingredients in fun, flavorful dishes and drinks. For your next fiesta, celebrate a star of the party with sweet and juicy watermelon.

Not only does versatile watermelon lend a unique taste to your menu, it’s a healthy ingredient that provides natural hydration with 92 percent water content, along with the antioxidant lycopene and the amino acid citrulline.

These recipes show how, with a little creative carving, you can use the whole melon, including flesh, juice and rind, for big value and zero waste.

Find more fiesta-ready recipes at watermelon.org.

Cactus Carving

  • Medium-large oval or oblong watermelon (seeded or seedless)
  • Cutting board
  • Paring knife
  • Dry erase marker
  • Kitchen knife
  • Scoop
  • Cactus cookie cutter
  • Small flower cookie cutters
  • Toothpicks
  • Fire and Ice Salsa (recipe below)
  1. Wash watermelon under cool, running water and pat dry.

  1. On cutting board, place watermelon on its side and cut off 1/4 inch-1/2 inch from stem end; this will provide a sturdy base. Reserve end piece to make into small cactus.
  2. Stand watermelon upright on base. Use dry erase marker to draw simple outline of cactus shape.
  3. One-third up from bottom of watermelon, draw straight line around back, being careful not to go through cactus outline; this will create a serving bowl for watermelon salsa.
  4. Use kitchen knife to cut around outline, leaving just bowl with cactus attached. Scoop out base to form bowl.

  1. From pieces of watermelon that were cut away, use cookie cutters to make cactus pieces and flower pieces to decorate with, and chop remaining watermelon to make watermelon salsa and watermelon margaritas, or juice.

  1. Attach toothpicks randomly around cactus to make thorns and decorate with watermelon flowers. Decorate bottom rind scrap with toothpicks to resemble short, round cactus.
  2. Fill bowl with Fire and Ice Salsa and serve with tortilla chips.

Fire and Ice Salsa

Makes: 3 cups

  • 3          cups seeded and finely chopped watermelon
  • 1/2       cup finely diced green peppers
  • 2          tablespoons lime juice
  • 1          tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1          tablespoon finely sliced green onion
  • 1-2       tablespoons finely diced jalapeno peppers
  1. Combine ingredients; mix well and cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Nachos with Watermelon Avocado Salsa

Makes: 8 servings

  • 1          avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2          teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4       cup chopped cilantro
  • 1          minced garlic clove
  • 1          can (4 ounces) diced green chilies, drained
  • 2          tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1 1/2    cups diced watermelon
  • 16        ounces fat-free refried beans
  • 11        ounces corn tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2    cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3       cup fat-free sour cream
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. To make salsa: In medium bowl, combine avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, chilies and red onion; toss to thoroughly mix. Add watermelon and toss gently. Set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, heat beans until hot. Mash if preferred.
  4. Place chips on flat, oven-proof plate or cookie sheet and top with beans and cheese. Repeat layers as desired. Heat in oven 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and chips are hot.
  5. Top with salsa mixture and sour cream.

Tip: Reserve some salsa to place in bowl for dipping.

Blended Watermelon Margarita

Makes: 2 margaritas

  • 2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed and frozen
  • 1/2       cup water
  • 3          ounces silver tequila
  • 1 1/2    ounces lime juice
  • 1          ounce elderflower liqueur
  • pinch of salt
  • lime slices, for garnish
  1. In blender, combine watermelon, water, tequila, lime juice, elderflower liqueur and salt. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into two chilled margarita glasses and garnish with lime slices.

Watermelon Margarita on the Rocks

Makes: 2 margaritas

Watermelon Simple Syrup:

  • 2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1          cup sugar

Watermelon Juice:

  • 2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2       cup water

Margarita:

  • lime wedges
  • coarse salt
  • ice
  • 4          ounces silver tequila
  • 4          ounces watermelon juice
  • 2          ounces lime juice
  • 1          ounce watermelon simple syrup
  1. To make watermelon simple syrup: In small saucepan over medium heat, combine watermelon and sugar. Use potato masher to mash watermelon and sugar together, pushing out liquid and dissolving sugar. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour mixture through fine mesh sieve set over bowl or jar, pressing watermelon to extract all liquid. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. To make watermelon juice: In blender, combine watermelon and water. Blend until smooth then pour through fine mesh sieve set over bowl or jar.
  3. To assemble margaritas: use lime wedge to line rims of two glasses with juice. Dip glasses in coarse salt and carefully fill glasses with ice.
  4. Combine tequila, watermelon juice, lime juice and simple syrup in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until thoroughly chilled, about 30 seconds, and pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with lime wedges.

SOURCE:
National Watermelon Promotion Board

Add a Tex-Mex Favorite to Your Menu

(Family Features) A tortilla plus a tasty filling makes a household favorite – a taco. This simple, casual, versatile, fun food knows no boundaries. Tacos can be right for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks and dessert, depending on the filling.

For tacos with a unique, delicious twist on tradition, try these Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa that are ready in 30 minutes. The antioxidant-rich Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets lend color, as well as a refreshing sweet-tangy flavor that’s complementary to the lime juice, cilantro and red onion in the salsa. This sassy salsa is a perfect partner for rotisserie, roasted or grilled chicken, arugula and a dollop of jalapeno mustard-sour cream sauce nestled inside a soft flour tortilla.

For your taco fiesta, just set out the tortillas, salsa and other toppings and let everyone help themselves to a fun and delicious dinner.

For other versatile recipes, visit AuntNellies.com.

Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Salsa:

  • 1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets
  • 2          tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2          tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper

Tacos:

  • 1/3       cup sour cream
  • 1          tablespoon jalapeno mustard
  • 4          soft flour tortillas (6-inch diameter)
  • 2          cups fresh arugula
  • 2          cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken (hot or cold)
  • 1/4       cup crumbled queso fresco
  1. To make salsa: drain beets and chop. In medium bowl, combine beets, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  2. To make tacos: In small bowl, stir together sour cream and mustard; set aside.
  3. On one half of each tortilla, place equal amounts of salsa, arugula, chicken and cheese. Top with dollops of mustard-sour cream. Fold over.

Substitution: Sliced pickled beets or three single-serve cups of Aunt Nellie’s Diced Pickled Beets may be substituted for baby whole pickled beets.

Nutritional information per serving: 380 calories; 20 g protein; 28 g carbohydrates;
20 g total fat; 650 mg sodium; 80 mg cholesterol; 1 g dietary fiber; 2 mg iron; 0.15 mg thiamin;
460 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C.

SOURCE:
Aunt Nellie’s

Simply Tasty Time-Saving Dinners

Fish Stick Taco
Honey Mustard Beer Batter Fillet Sandwich

(Family Features) If another busy night has you stressed about what to put on the table, it may be time to broaden your dinnertime repertoire. There are options in the frozen food aisle that can help you prepare a real, nutritious meal even when you’re pressed for time.

With more and more companies listening to consumers and finding ways to make their products with simpler ingredients while still maintaining a great, family-pleasing taste, you can find prepared food in the frozen section that you can feel good about serving to your family. And one of the simplest, healthier proteins that is found in the freezer aisle is seafood.

Fresh from the sea and available in several varieties – including fish sticks, fillets and shrimp as well as a range of styles, such as breaded, battered, sauced or grilled – there are frozen options for every taste, lifestyle and occasion. Seafood not only cooks quickly compared to other proteins, but numerous health agencies recommend eating seafood at least twice a week due to its health benefits. Seafood contains natural omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein and critical vitamins and minerals that can aid brain development, promote heart health, help fight obesity and improve overall health.

These health benefits, combined with the convenience and simple goodness of prepared seafood products, such as Gorton’s Seafood, make it easy to serve a better-for-you meal for the family in no time at all. Gorton’s also listened to consumers and made its ingredients even simpler and ingredient labels easier to read and understand.

"Delicious, quality seafood isn’t just about the seafood," said Mary Beth Gangloff, who is leading the simplification charge at Gorton’s. "This effort is about doing everything we can possibly do to ensure that nothing gets in the way of our real, authentic ingredients and great taste. Our goal is to ensure that the goodness of our seafood reaches our consumers in every single bite."

Cooking with seafood also lets you keep other ingredients simple, so you can let the distinct flavor of the seafood be the star. Keep it simple and pair seafood with a salad or easy side dish, or check out one of these family-friendly recipes that require just five ingredients and less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook.

Find more simple, time-saving recipes your busy family will love at gortons.com.

Fish Stick Taco

Ingredients

  • 24 Gorton’s Classic Breaded Fish Sticks
  • 12 hard taco shells
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups salsa
  • 3 cups lettuce, shredded

Preparation

  1. Prepare fish sticks according to package instructions. Place two cooked fish sticks in each taco shell followed by 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup salsa and 1/4 cup lettuce. Serve immediately.

Serves
Servings: 6

Preparation Time:
5 minutes

Cook Time:
20 minutes

Honey Mustard Beer Batter Fillet Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 10 Gorton’s Beer Batter Fillets
  • 1/2 cup honey mustard
  • 5 sandwich rolls, sliced
  • 5 lettuce leaves
  • 10 slices of tomato

Preparation

  1. Prepare fillets according to package instructions.
  2. Spread half of mustard onto bottoms of sandwich rolls and top with lettuce leaf. Spread remaining mustard on cooked fillets and place two cooked fillets on each roll.
  3. Place two slices of tomato on each sandwich. Top with remaining half of roll and serve immediately.

Serves
Servings: 5

Preparation Time:
5 minutes

Cook Time:
25 minutes

SOURCE:
Gorton’s Seafood