Tailgating at Sunrise

I know I’ve already complained about getting up early once this season, but 5:30 is so early to be up on a Saturday.  Soooo early…  But alas, the fans must be fed.  The big game starts at noon for us this weekend, so we are going diner style and serving up good old fashioned breakfast.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is you can cook just about anything at a tailgate party.  No need for humdrum burgers and dogs when you can have French toast kebobs!  Our menu Saturday includes home fries (see my blog from week 2 for the recipe), cheesy scrambled eggs, pepper bacon, French toast kebobs, and pumpkin muffins.  We’ll also have our favorite before noon cocktails; bloody marys and vanilla screwdrivers.  And since it is going to be cold and rainy this week, we’ll also have hot apple cider spiked with Captain Morgan’s.  It will be early, but we’ll make the most of it and go into the game with plenty of energy for all four quarters.  And if your team doesn’t play until evening time, well, I always love breakfast for dinner.  Maybe your fans will too.

French Toast Kebobs

1 loaf French bread, cut into 1” cubes

4 eggs

1 cup milk

2 tsp pumpkin butter (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)

20 – 4” wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

Beat eggs, milk, pumpkin butter, vanilla, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice until well-combined and pour into a bowl or pan long enough for the skewers.  Heat your grill to medium heat.  Put 4 pieces of bread on each skewer, making sure to leave a little room in between.  Roll the skewers of bread in the batter until the bread is covered.  Grill until golden and crispy.  Serve with warm maple syrup or vanilla yogurt.

Hearty Pumpkin Muffins

For Muffins:

½ cup white whole wheat flour

½ cup old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup pumpkin puree

2/3 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

For Frosting:

4 oz Neufchatel cheese, at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp each cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the dry muffin ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the center. Mix the wet muffin ingredients and spices in a separate bowl.  Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Batter will be lumpy.  Spoon batter evenly among 12 lined muffin cups.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and set.  While the muffins cool, mix the frosting ingredients with an electric mixer until creamy.  Frost the muffins and store in an air tight container, refrigerating any muffins that aren’t eaten the same day.

Spicy Scratch Bloody Mary Mix

3 – 15 oz cans stewed tomatoes with onion, celery & bell pepper

3 tsp minced garlic

4 tbsp horseradish

4 slices canned/jarred jalapenos

1 tbsp jalepeno juice

1 tsp Celery salt

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Tabasco sauce

Cracked black pepper

1 large bottle Spicy V8

Vodka

Celery sticks, green olives, spicy beans, etc. for garnish

Blend the first five ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Add the next four ingredients, adjusting the amounts to taste, and blend for a few more seconds.  Pour the mixture from the blender along with the bottle of V8 into a large container and stir. If the mix is too spicy for your taste, add plain V8 or tomato juice to tone it down.  Serve Bloody Marys with a shot of your favorite vodka and garnish with celery, spicy beans, olives, etc.

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