When the temperatures are cold and the forecasters are calling for freezing wind chills, faithful and loyal tailgaters don’t give up! Instead, they reach a little deeper into their bags of tricks. They find ways to make the cold-weather tailgate party just as warm and welcoming as it is in the beginning of the season, when summer is only beginning to wane. The colder weather calls for a change from portable fans to portable heaters, from shorts and t-shirts to jeans and sweatshirts, and from grilling hamburgers and hotdogs to serving piping hot soups and wintertime comfort foods. When the weather is chilly and damp, don’t call it a day; instead, turn up the heat, and call it Game Day with these easy crockpot recipes!
When the mercury takes a nosedive, I tend to go for hearty foods and beverages that warm us from the inside out and that are easy to keep warm and easy to eat. When dining in cold weather, tailgaters’ hands will be wrapped in gloves and mittens, which can be a challenge when using utensils or when meant to use bare hands. My answer to that is to serve bowls of warm cereals, soups, and stews (since spoons are still doable), and none of which need bare hands to eat.
Perfect for a morning game but also delicious really at any time of day, this tasty and filling oatmeal will keep sports fans full of energy to cheer their team on to victory! (https://bellisaris.com/pages/slow-cooker-apple-fig-oatmeal)
If you’re looking for something that really lets you sink your teeth into it, this recipe for the ultimate comfort food in a crockpot is just what you’re looking for. Macaroni and cheese reimagined with our Saigon Street Sauce will be your new tailgate favorite! (https://bellisaris.com/pages/slow-cooker-mac-cheese-with-saigon)
Another quintessential comfort food that’s perfect for a tailgate is a classic -- Chicken & Dumplings! I just love a bowl of this delicious, thick, and hearty soup/stew on a cold day and so will your tailgate guests. (https://bellisaris.com/pages/balsamic-chicken-dumplings)
As far as beverages go, tailgating makes me think of beer, but ice cold beer seems like more of a warm-weather libation. Beers may freeze when exposed to the elements, and they do nothing to help maintain body heat. Instead of a cooler full of drafts, I suggest thermoses full of toddies and other hot drinks. Mulled wines, spiked cocoas, and warm hard ciders are better mugs to chug in chilly temps.
I think we can all agree that the food and drinks should be the best part of any tailgate, but there are some easy little touches that can take your cold-weather tailgate from everyday to epic! Having a few little extras on hand can help keep guests comfortable despite brisk temperatures. Offer fleece, wool, or faux-fur blankets (ideally in team colors!) for snuggling up under both before and during the big game. Since moving around is one of the best ways to stay warm while tailgating on a cold winter day, bringing a football for a game of catch and other popular tailgating games like corn hole that will warm folks up throughout the day too. Happy tailgating from all of us at Bellisari’s!