Having friends over to watch the game, priceless.
We’re all feeling the pinch of the current economic downturn. So instead of making the trip to Dallas for the Red River Rivalry pitting No. 1 Oklahoma against No. 5 Texas, I decided to throw my own tailgate party and invite a bunch of friends over.
Since my first job out of college was at Oklahoma State in Stillwater, I don’t have many OU friends (the two schools are HUGE rivals). But Southern Living is full of Texas Exes, ex-students who attended that little burnt orange school in Austin. So I invited all my UT friends to put on their orange and come over for lunch.
To craft my menu, I consulted our very own www.myrecipes.com, then came up with a line-up to fit the occasion.
• Texas Caviar. I picked up some Zipper Cream peas at the Farmers Market this week. I used the leftovers to make this yummy Lone Star favorite.
• Afterburners. You can’t beat a jalapeno pepper stuffed with shrimp and wrapped in bacon. I first sampled this appetizer years ago at a party in Dallas and decided to experiment. I grilled mine instead of broiling them as the recipe suggests. YUM!
• Troy’s Beef Brisket. My friend Troy Black is the face of Southern Living’s Barbecue-On-Tour. I let my fingers do the walking and asked Troy “where’s the beef.” He sent brisket, but threw in a little pulled pork for the Alabama contingent. [Watch Troy on YouTube!)
• Potato Salad. I like a simple potato salad that’s mostly potato with just a hint of dressing. We use the add-and-taste method at my house, but here’s a Southern Living recipe that closely resembles the one my mother taught me.
• Baked Beans. I’m notorious for making things from scratch, but guess where Bush’s Baked Beans is headquartered? That’s right…Knoxville, Tennessee. That’s as good as homemade in my book. Thanks, Jay, for making the beans.
• Dressed Eggs. Y’all call them Deviled Eggs, but in Middle Tennessee, they’re Dressed Eggs. Where that comes from, I can’t say for sure, but that’s what we call them. I used my family recipe, but decorated them to resemble tiny footballs. Try it! It takes a little time, but is so easy!
• “Little Cassie” Pecan Pies. I’m famous in these parts for my pecan pies, but instead of using a 9-inch shell, I use small, pre-made individual shells I buy at the grocery store. My former boss offended me by suggesting I was serving Little Debbie’s pies instead of my own at a party once, hence the name, Little Cassies. They’re so easy, I can make them in my sleep.
My grocery bill, including a bundle of mums and a couple of pumpkins for the table, came to $52.27. Sure, I spent a few hours standing in the kitchen, but at the end of the day, it was worth the effort to entertain my friends.
Naturally, I missed actually attending the game, but we screamed and shouted and high-fived each other just like we would if we’d been at the Cotton Bowl. I may have missed the pre-game madness and the post-game celebration (and tears!), but I got to watch half a dozen other games. Speaking of which, I’ve got to run now. LSU’s playing Florida and Oklahoma State is taking on Missouri, and I don’t want to miss the action!
Editor’s Note: Pardon the lack of personal photos. We had a camera misfire. Please post your own pictures, menus, or recipes.