Disclosure: This post is written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own.
Heading to a football game this weekend? Make these Buffalo Chicken and Waffle Sliders, which are delicious twist on a fan favorite. Plus, check out my best tailgating ideas, recipes, tips and tricks!
As I think it is with most, my college experience was stressful, a time to learn and of course packed with fun! I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to attend my dream college and experience life with my fellow classmates and friends!
My Freshman year was especially challenging as I learned to juggle college life, working part time, a college work load and living with roommates I had never met. For me the roommate thing was especially hard, but the one thing that helped me get to know my roommates better and meet new friends, was the fact that our apartment was literally two blocks from campus and the university’s stadium.
This was great for not only walking to class, but to participate in all the tailgating fun and festivities that took place, home game or not, in the parking lots and blocks all around my apartment.
In order to fully embrace the college life, I bought plenty of college t-shirts, brushed up on my college football knowledge, learned to make killer snacks, and had fun making new friends and coincidentally running into old high school classmates.
It was all fun and games and then life suddenly changed and I moved on. I then met my husband and learned he had NEVER been to a college football game and decided that first year of dating that we would go to a football game at my Alma mater. That has been cough, cough, many years ago and we haven’t been back since.
I decided this year I wanted to attend a football game, any game, in person. Not only did I want to go to a football game, but I wanted to go in style and have our own tailgate,
just like almost like I had when I was a “fish out of water” and finding my way as a Freshman in college so many years ago.
So, I planned some fun tailgating décor and some delicious game day eats and convinced my husband to come (football is really not his thing), as well as found some friends to tag along. We had the best time and I hope to make this authentic tailgating party an ongoing event.
Check out all my tailgating ideas, recipes and tips below!
Obviously a key thing to making a pop up parking lot party a success, is to make things simple and easy. I packed up the trunk of our car with all the necessities for a proper tailgate, as well as a few fun decorations to really show our spirit. Once at the stadium, we parked a little towards the back to claim our spot and have plenty of room to set up.
Since we were tailgating later in the day, we didn’t bring a pop up tent, but I would definitely suggest this for tailgating during the middle of the day. Other recommendations is a portable folding table to set up all your food and folding chairs.
For the décor I made a fabric banner, using brown, green, yellow and black fabric scraps, to decorate my trunk. I kept my banner generic football/football field colors so that I could use it again no matter what game we attend in the future; but you could certainly do the colors of your favorite team. I also had matching pompoms, mega phones and fleece blankets to decorate the trunk and use as we tailgated (that is, if you live where it is cool enough to need a blanket).
For the food and beverage table, I had a tan tablecloth that I topped with a DIY “football field” table runner. For this DIY Football Field Table Runner, I simply cut green felt to 1 ½ feet by 6 feet and added white tape and number stickers to create the “football field” lines.
I then topped the table with all our food and few other football trinkets, like toy footballs and mini chalkboards with football plays and cheers written on them.
Obviously the main entertainment is socializing with friends and then going to the football game, but if you are looking for additional fun ideas to pass time, you could set up corn hole boards, a ladder toss, or a washer toss.
For me, the food and drinks are the best part of tailgating! 😉 For the food I keep things not only easy to prepare but easy to transport too. I dished up chips and salsa, Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes (that I topped with swirled chocolate and mint frosting and topped with a football cupcake topper) and then served classic football food- chicken wings! To keep things easy and affordable, I picked up some boneless and bone-in hot wings from my local Walmart Hot Deli. Not only is this super convenient, as you can just grab some wings on the way to your tailgate, but right now for football season, the wings are on sale- $10 for 20 wings. #winning
Since everyone loves chicken wings, not only did I serve a large platter of bone-in hot wings at our tailgate; but created some Buffalo Chicken and Waffle Sliders (using the boneless hot wings from the Walmart Hot Deli) to serve too. These sliders were a HUGE hit as they were a fun twist on two classic foods- chicken ‘n waffles and buffalo wings- and made it easy to eat the wings at the tailgate without as much of a mess.
Oh, and a platter of hot wings wouldn’t be complete without some celery and carrot sticks. To easily serve these, I poured some ranch and blue cheese dressing in the bottom of clear plastic cups and then inserted the celery and carrot sticks right into the cup with the dressing. This made it easy for people to grab a cup and go.
For drinks, I set up a drink station with a bucket of ice. I then brought individual jars of tea and lemonade to the tailgate. The jars were only about half full and were sealed with a lid for easy transport. Guests could then just grabbed the drink of their choice and topped it off with fresh ice. You could also make this simple and bring bottled drinks and have plastic cups, but I thought the jars and football straws were cute.
Other tailgating tips:
Pack your food, from the sliders to the cupcakes and veggie cups in large disposable foil serving dishes with large lids. This makes it easy to transport the food and for easy clean up.
While I made sure my menu was all finger foods or already pre-portioned out, you may still want to bring plates and utensils. Definitely bring plenty of napkins, paper towels, baby wipes and hand sanitizer for enjoying all those hot wings.
Do you love football season and love to tailgating with friends? Share your favorite tailgating tips, tricks and good eats in the comments below! And don’t forget to grab the recipe for my Buffalo Chicken and Waffle Sliders!
- Cornbread Waffles:
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 eggs separated
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- Blue Cheese Spread and Dipping Sauce:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ tablespoon buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 8-ounce package blue cheese crumbles
- ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- Buffalo Chicken and Waffle Sliders:
- 20 pieces boneless hot wings from the Walmart Hot Deli
- 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
- 20 slider toothpicks
- For cornbread waffles: Heat waffle iron according to according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt and black pepper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir together egg yolks and buttermilk. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients. Add melted butter, stirring until combined.
- In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer, for about 3 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold in egg whites into waffle batter, being careful not over mix.
- Pour batter onto preheated waffle iron, close and bake according to manufacturer’s instructions; cooking to desired crispness. Remove waffles and repeat with remaining batter. Separate cooked waffles into sections and cut each waffle into quarters. Set aside.
- To make Blue Cheese Spread and Dipping Sauce: In a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, buttermilk, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and blue cheese crumbles. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- To assemble sliders: Spread a thin layer of blue cheese sauce onto one of the waffle pieces. Top blue cheese with one boneless hot wing. Pour 1-2 teaspoons buffalo sauce over the wing. Top wing with an additional waffle and secure with a toothpick. Serve with additional blue cheese sauce for dipping.