Tailgate Party Appetizers

by Christine DemosAugust 23, 2012

Hello!  It’s Chris here from Celebrations At Home, and I’m thrilled to be sharing some ideas and recipes with you for tailgating season.  Whether you’re taking it on the road to the event itself, or staying home and watching on tv, I have ideas that will make it fun, festive, and delicious for all.

Every good party starts with appetizers, right!  And tailgating is certainly one of those occasions where you want food to be readily available the entire time so guests can eat on their own timeline.  For this type of outing or home party I love having several options for appetizers.  The options need to appeal to males as well as females, and most men I know like things simple but hearty.

To begin, set up a small buffet using a folding table, covered with a throw.  This is a fun casual way to set the tone of the party.  Use a throw that feels like Fall, or one that has your team emblem or colors on it.

Use found items to help elevate and display food.  Here I’ve stacked vintage crates for height, and used the compartments to hold snacks and festive cheering paraphernalia.

Speaking of snacks, provide something that is easy to grab and go, like these small bags of popcorn.  They can be particularly attractive for kids and they allow you to walk around and mingle freely.

For more substantial fare, nothing says “party” or “tailgate” like dips & chips or crackers.  Here are two recipes that have been in our party menu rotation for years.

Dried Beef Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 Tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2  teaspoon garlic powder

2 1/2 oz. jar dried beef, diced {looks similar to pepperoni but is sold in the “canned meat” section}

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine cream cheese, milk, pepper, garlic powder, dried beef, and about 3/4 of the pecans.

Mix in sour cream and transfer to a small baking dish.  Top with remaining pecans and drizzle butter over top.

Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Serve with Wheat Thin crackers.

Bean and Corn Salsa

1 can black-eyed peas – drainde & rinsed

1 can black beans – drained & rinsed

1 can yellow corn – drained

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers

1 can petite diced tomatoes – do not drain

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 – 8oz. bottle Italian salad dressing

Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Serve with tortilla chips.

These are just some of the ideas to help get you started planning your tailgating party.  Stay tuned; in the coming weeks I’ll be sharing lots of others!  In the meantime visit CelebrationsAtHomeBlog.com for more ideas for stylish entertaining.  Cheers!


Chris Nease is a home entertaining expert & creative party stylist who has spent 15 years specializing in small celebrations. As the Editor & Creative Director of Celebrations At Home blog, Chris shares ideas & tips for celebrating all occasions with unique & accessible style.  She’s also a freelance writer and editorial stylist for the web and print, and has been published in Woman’s World, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, Cottages & Bungalows, and authored a chapter on holiday party planning for the book Clutterbug’s Guide to an Organized Christmas.

About The Author
Christine Demos
Christine is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Homes.com. She's a small town girl at heart, who currently lives in Norfolk, VA with her husband and their fur baby. When she's not working, she enjoys cooking, decorating, traveling, and binge watching Netflix. As a proud Virginia Tech alum, she also loves cheering on the Hokies!

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