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It’s football season so I’m bringing you 15 Tasty Tailgating Kabobs to make on game day! I know that burgers and hot dogs are the go-to for your pre-game cookout, but if you’re feeling adventurous I have some recipes for you!
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Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I love skewers! They’re super fun to eat and easier to serve. So, why not have them at your next tailgating party! They’ll make your life easier and your party a blast. The nice thing about most of these recipes is that you can make them before you leave the house, and then warm up when you get to the stadium.
1. Bunless Burger Bites Forget sliders! Grab all your favorite burger toppings, some skewers and hed to the grill. This Delish recipe has you cook the mini patties first and then assemble them on kabobs.
2. Loaded Tater Tots You can’t go wrong with tater tots, cheese and bacon! If you want to snack on these before the game you could try cooking them on the grill or just make them ahead of time and warm them up.
3. Rainbow Veggies Here’s a great tailgate snack that won’t break your diet. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love grilled veggies!
4. BBQ Chicken Pineapple This classic is a must-have at any grilling party. Sweet pineapple, tangy BBQ sauce and savory chicken are one tasty combo!
5. Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajita Hello fajitas! Serious Eats is grilling up some serious flavor with this recipe. Just marinate everything ahead of time and pop them on the grill when it’s game time.
6. Caramel Apple and Brie Who doesn’t love caramel apples in the fall! This kabob version is easier to eat and has a little twist. The creamy, nutty flavor of Brie is such a great complement to the salty caramel and sour apple. For your tailgate party, skewer the apple and brie beforehand and then bring the caramel as a dipping sauce. Yum!
7. Steak and Potato Here’s a hearty meal on a stick! Steak and potato kabobs are sure to be a hit at your tailgate party. And don’t let the name fool you, there are mushrooms on those skewers too!
8. Shrimp Boil Bring the boiled packets out to the grill with these spicy kabobs. You get all that great cajun flavor plus the smoky char from the fire!
Grab the skewers and the grill! These tasty tailgating kabobs are surefire hits for the pre-game cookout.
9. Chicken Club That’s right: sandwich on a stick! No need to worry about all your toppings falling out or your bread getting soggy. Just bring some mustard for dipping and you’re all set.
10. Gummy Candy So far we’ve got tater tots, burgers, club sandwiches and fajitas on a skewer – why not candy too? The Candy Blogger uses gummies but I suppose you could use just about any sweet that will stay on a stick.
11. Rainbow Fruit While we’re at it, let’s put fruit on a stick too! This way you don’t have to bother with bowls and forks and it’ll be a lot more fun for the kiddos. Just make them before you leave and keep them in the cooler.
12. Easy Bratwurst If you feel like something other than beef or chicken, give bratwurst a try. This recipe also includes balsamic mustard which would be fantastic for dipping!
13. Antipasto Here’s a slightly fancier option just in case you like a little wine at your tailgating kabobs party. These skewers have got it all: tortellini, tomatoes, olives, salami. They’re super easy to throw together and positively delicious!
14. Korean BBQ Chicken These Asian-inspired kabobs are ready in a jiffy! They would be perfect for game day. Just make marinate the chicken and slice the veggies ahead of time and they’ll be ready in 5 minutes once you’ve got the grill going.
15. Sunshine Chicken I love these skewers for their gorgeous display but they don’t skimp on flavor either. Serve them with some sweet chili sauce (which if you haven’t dipped everything you can think of in sweet chili sauce, you’re missing out!) and they’ll really steal the show!
If you couldn’t get tickets to the game celebrate good tailgating food at home! Check out these other game-day snacks and crafts:
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Collection produced by Megan Wald
This post on Thai Beef Salad includes affiliate links. See my disclosure agreement for more information.
Marinated flank steak gets a burst of flavor from authentic Thai flavors, sweet fruit and crunchy veggies. Arrange on a platter for an impressive, family-style situation that everyone will love.
Summer dinners are tricky. You want them to be filling, but light at the same time. This composed Thai beef salad hits both spot on. Plus I love composed salad (salads arranged on a platter) because they’re inviting and served family-style. No fussiness with individually portioned plates.
I marinated flank steak in garlic, ginger and lime juice to really give it some juicy appeal. I’ve called for cooking it in the broiler (it only cooks a few minutes, so the oven isn’t on long), but you can throw it on the grill as well. You do you.
The tender butter lettuce, sweet pineapple, tangy tomatoes and crunchy beans and cucumbers are the perfect salad combo to go with steak. Light and flavorful so nothing is overpowered.
The authentic dressing for the Thai beef salad is a blend of flavors including fish sauce (or nuoc nam). Thai and Vietnamese cooking use it abundantly, and I find a little goes a long way; but it’s imperative to authentic flavor. There’s nothing like it. It has depth
A cool trick I learned the other day about blanching beans: You can actually freeze fresh beans and when you’re ready to use them, pull them out, let them thaw and voila, blanched beans! Here’s the deal––freezing vegetables expands the liquid they naturally hold inside. The cell walls break down from the liquid expanding and freezing (very similar to what happens when veggies are cooked…the cell walls break down and the veggies soften), and the frozen veggies, when thawed are slightly more tender than when they were fresh.
This is the perfect trick to try on this salad! So if you’ve bought more beans than you can eat at Costco (often my issue), then just freeze them! Next time a recipe calls for blanching them, ignore it! Thaw those babies and you’re done. Tender, cold, crunchy beans at the ready.
Summer is the perfect time for fresh veggies and tender grilled meats. Other ideas for tasty summer foods that your family and guests might enjoy are my Mini Greek Pita patties with Greek Yogurt Sauce and my mom’s all-time favorite sandwich Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken Sandwich.
Arrange everything on a pretty platter for a stunning presentation.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 tsp light brown sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 2-lb flank steak
- ½ lb green beans, trimmed
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1½ tsp fish sauce (nuoc nam)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 head (4 cups) Bibb or Boston lettuce
- ¼ of a pineapple sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup (5 oz) cherry tomatoes halved
- ⅓ of a seedless cucumber, sliced
- ¼ cup sliced scallions
- Stir together garlic, ginger, 3 tbsp lime juice, pepper flakes, 2 tsp sugar and salt. Pour over steak in an ovenproof dish, coating both sides. Marinate in refrigerator 20 min.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 min; immediately submerge in a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and set aside.
- For the dressing, whisk together 5 tbsp lime juice, soy sauce, 2 tsp sugar, fish sauce and oil. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Heat broiler to high. Broil steak 6 inches from heat, turning once, 5 min per side. Remove from oven and let rest 5 min.
- Arrange lettuce leaves on a large platter with green beans, pineapple, tomatoes, cucumber and scallions. Slice steak across the grain and place on platter. Serve with dressing on the side.
Recipe by Tara Bench & Vanessa Seder
Originally published in LHJ April 2009
Photography Miki Duisterhof
Food Styling Jee Levin
Prop Stylist Pamela Duncan Silver
Juicy grilled chicken and peppery arugula salad make for a tasty open-faced sandwich. As sandwiches go, I like mine with cheese, melted cheese. It just makes them better!
This sammy is a glorious combination of chicken, Gouda (there’s the cheese!) and a green salad. As much as I like cheese on a sandwich, I also like open-faced sanwiches. It feels very dinnery to eat (because you have the option of using a knife and fork), and you can get a heck-of-a-lot more piled on that one slice of bread.
You can buy grilled chicken in the prepared food section of your deli counter if you want a super fast dinner.
I actually used a panini maker, or countertop grill for the chicken. A grill pan like this one here, is also a great alternative to an outdoor grill during these winter months. I really like this grill pan because it doesn’t have a tall edge. I can use it for chicken, burgers and even kabobs because it doesn’t have the rim of a typical skillet. It’s cast iron, so follow directions for treating and cleaning it!
Also, if your bakery has a raisin walnut loaf–whooo-eeee that makes this sandwich good! I get in trouble when I buy this bread. I could eat the entire thing. Thus I create breakfast, lunch and dinner options using it! I love the crunch of nuts and savory-sweet burst from the raisins. A cranberry pecan loaf works too. Any type of fruit and nut combo your bakery might have will work.
Save prep time and buy grilled chicken at the supermarket. Just warm it in the oven before you make the sandwiches.
- 4 small (4 to 5 oz each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 1½ tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ cup apricot preserves
- 4 slices crusty whole-grain bread or raisin-nut bread
- 6 oz gouda, sliced
- 4 cups (3 oz) arugula
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- Season chicken with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil; grill on grill pan or grill press until completely cooked, 5 to 6 min.
- Heat oven to 375°F. For the dressing stir together mustard, vinegar and preserves; season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside. Toast bread in toaster or oven. On a baking sheet, arrange cheese on toast and place one piece of chicken on top. Cook in oven until cheese begins to melt, about 4 min.
- Combine arugula and onion and toss with some of the dressing. Place sandwiches on plates, top with salad and drizzle generously with remaining dressing.
This post may include affiliate links. For more information please see my disclosure statement.
Recipe Tara Bench and Vanessa Seder
Photography Rita Maas
Prop Styling Tiziana Agnello
Food Styling Anne Disrude
Even the simplest things can look fantastically impressive on the table with a little thought. These chicken skewers are great for dinner, but make such a fun party platter that they scream to be served in a giant circle for a crowd! And have you tasted sweet chili sauce? …with, like, everything!
These are great warm or at room temperature, so you’re set for a potluck, party or game day! [Insert favorite team cheer here]
Simple skewers of chicken, pineapple and tomatoes become a work of art when arranged in a sunburst on the platter.
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp ground ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1½ lbs boneless chicken breast
- ¾ ripe pineapple, cut into small wedges
- 2 pints grape tomatoes
- Cooking spray
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Combine the spices, garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice; stir into a paste.
- Slice the chicken into about 36 thin strips and place in a ziptop plastic bag with the spice paste. Seal the bag and turn the chicken to it gets well coated with the spices. Chill for 1 to 2 hr.
- Soak bamboo skewers in water, then thread each skewer with a piece of pineapple, a strip of chicken and a tomato. Heat grill to medium high. Spray chicken with cooking spray and then place on the grill. Cook just until done, turning once, 7 to 8 min total.
- Arrange on a round platter with a bowl of sweet chili sauce in the center for dipping.
Pesto Presto! This savory herb sauce is super easy to whip up. And classic pesto isn’t just for pasta, so blend and enjoy!
Summer hits and all I want to do is eat from the garden. I don’t have a garden though. HA! However, I do have a New York City terrace and have become the best potted gardener ever.
I usually have one big pot of basil growing, along with my tomatoes and other herbs. Last year I tried peas and beans, but they didn’t make it to the kitchen because I ate them as I picked them! The basil grows really well so about every month I get enough to make my classic pesto.
A block of Parmesan lives on the back of my cheese shelf, so I already have that. I keep my pine nuts in the freezer so they don’t go rancid. But if I don’t have pine nuts on hand I use almonds or walnuts! The nuts add a buttery, rich texture to pesto, so mixing it up is just fine.
It blends up in minutes and you can keep it in the fridge for several weeks. Make a double batch if you have the basil, because it will freeze for up to a month.
TIP: To intensify the green color of your pesto, blanch the basil for five seconds in boiling water; then shock them in ice water and squeeze dry; continue with the recipe.
Although is at it’s best on a good bowl of pasta, I use this classic pesto on grilled shrimp or lamb chops, even steak and chicken. I mix it into tomato soup and spread it on bread when I make sandwiches. It’s really the spread and condiment of the summer. Get creative and let me know how you use it in your meals!
To intensify the green color of your pesto, blanch herbs for five seconds in boiling water, then shock them in ice water and squeeze dry; continue with the recipe.
- 4 cups packed basil leaves
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- ¾ cup (3½ oz) pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the feed tube. Use immediately or freeze for up to a month.
Recipe by Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal, August 2010
Photo Credit Antonis Achilleos
Food Stylist Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop Stylist Paige Hicks
A slightly spicy and sweet pepper jelly is the secret to this ultimate chicken sandwich. Well…and the bacon!
Pounding the chicken thin before grilling makes it the perfect thickness for stacking…with bacon. No slicing and mess required.
Make sure you assemble these quickly, as cooked bacon laying around doesn’t last long. (wink)
These easy sandwiches mix a little salty bacon with sweet and spicy pepper jelly for the perfect combination.
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves, cut in half horizontally
- Garlic salt and ground black pepper
- 4 slices Havarti cheese
- 8 slices country white bread, toasted
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 4 tbsp pepper jelly
- 8 slices cooked bacon
- 2 cups baby arugula
- Heat grill, or grill pan to medium high. Pound chicken to create thin cutlets about ¼ inch thick. Season with garlic salt and pepper and grill until cooked through, 4 to 6 min. Place one cheese slice on top of each cutlet to melt.
- To make each sandwich, spread one piece of toast with mayonnaise and one piece with a generous layer of pepper jelly. Fill with chicken, bacon and arugula.