(Family Features) Casual and diehard sports fans alike can all agree one of the best parts of game day is the tailgate. Whether you’re heading to the game to take part in the action or tuning in on the big screen, you can light up the scoreboard this season with these tips for a fun, easy and downright tasty tailgate (or home-gate).
Start early. There’s likely no easier way to send a tailgate spiraling out of control than to get a late start, which puts the party in a rush ahead of game time. Prepare early, and if you’re heading to the stadium, leave yourself plenty of time to find the ultimate parking spot, light the grill and enjoy the atmosphere.
Keep it simple. A true tailgate experience starts with flavorful foods fit for a crowd, which calls for ready-to-go ingredients like Eckrich Smoked Sausage, crafted with just the right blend of spices for a rich, savory and smoky taste. Because it’s pre-cooked, just heat it up and pair with other simple ingredients, such as a hoagie bun and some peppers for an easy Grilled Smoked Sausage and Pepper Hoagies.
Share the responsibility. Preparing shouldn’t fall on one person’s shoulders. Instead, ask each attendee to bring something useful for the entire group, such as plasticware, trash bags, napkins, cups, drinks and games.
Make it customizable. Especially if you’re bringing a large group, creating a spread that allows for personalization can help ensure everyone leaves happy. These Deluxe Nacho Dogs call for an abundance of topping options, giving guests full freedom to concoct their own creations, and they pair perfectly with Nathan’s Famous Beef Franks – made with 100% premium beef, no artificial flavors or colors and no fillers or by-products.
Ensure an easy cleanup. When the tailgate is winding down and the game is about to start, it’s almost inevitable there’ll be a rush to pack up and head to the stadium (or the couch). Make things simpler and quicker by using disposable plasticware, plates and cups, and strategically placing trash bags in easily visible areas for everyone to clean up as the party continues, rather than scrambling to pick everything up at once.
Grilled Smoked Sausage and Pepper Hoagies
Cook time: 22 minutes
- 1 package Eckrich Smoked Sausage
- 1 red or green bell pepper, halved and seeded
- 4 slices (1/2-inch thick) large red onion
- 1/4 cup bottled hickory or spicy barbecue sauce
- 4 hoagie rolls or 8-inch French bread rolls, split
- Heat grill to medium-high heat and oil cooking grates. Cut each sausage link in half crosswise.
- Grill sausage, peppers and onions, covered, 5 minutes. Turn; continue grilling, covered, 5 minutes, or until sausage is heated through and vegetables are crisp-tender.
- Brush barbecue sauce over both sides of sausage and vegetables. Arrange rolls, cut-sides down, around edges of grill. Continue grilling, covered, 2 minutes, or until rolls are lightly toasted. Cut bell peppers into strips; separate onion slices into rings.
- Serve sausage and vegetables in rolls.
Deluxe Nacho Dogs
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 1 head lettuce
- 1 tomato
- 1 red onion
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1 package (8 hot dogs) Nathan’s Famous Skinless Beef Franks
- cheese sauce
- 1 package hot dog buns
- sour cream
- Heat grill to medium-high heat.
- Wash and dry lettuce, tomato, red onion, jalapeno peppers and chives. Chop lettuce. Dice tomato and red onion. Remove jalapeno stems then slice. Chop chives.
- Grill hot dogs 4 minutes, turning once halfway to warm through.
- Heat cheese sauce according to package directions.
- Personalize hot dogs with desired toppings. Spoon cheese sauce over entire dog then layer lettuce, tomatoes, onions and jalapenos. Add sour cream and garnish with chives.
Tip: To add heat, slice jalapenos and fry in skillet over medium heat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook until slices begin to blacken.
Use on-hand ingredients for a quick-fix meal
(Family Features) Between juggling the ever-shifting to-do list and busy weeknights, there’s not always time left in the day to comb through cookbooks to find the perfect recipe. Even with a potential meal plan in mind, life can get in the way, and running to the grocery store might not be a top priority.
For a quick meal without a lot of hassle, an option such as Eckrich Smoked Sausage can be paired with whatever you have in the refrigerator or pantry for a fast, foolproof meal the whole family can enjoy. Since it is pre-cooked, all you have to do is heat and eat, taking the guesswork out of cook time while offering a rich and savory protein option for a balanced and delicious meal.
With flavors and forms ranging from the Original Skinless Smoked Sausage Rope to spicy Jalapeno & Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links, a home-cooked breakfast, lunch or dinner is just moments away – no instructions or plans needed. You can be a rebel without a cookbook and deliver diverse and delightful meals for your loved ones, such as this Veggie Smoked Sausage Stir-Fry.
For more mealtime inspiration, visit Eckrich.com.
Veggie Smoked Sausage Stir-Fry
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 package Eckrich smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 servings premade white or brown rice
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen stir-fry vegetable mix
- 1 package stir-fry dry seasoning mix
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- sliced green onions (optional)
- In pan over medium-high heat, brown sausage; set aside.
- Heat white or brown rice according to package instructions.
- In same pan over medium-high heat, heat peanut oil and stir-fry vegetable mix. Add stir-fry dry seasoning mix, honey, vinegar and sesame oil.
- Divide rice, sausage and stir-fry mixture among four bowls.
- Sprinkle each with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions, if desired.
(Family Features) There’s not much that tastes better during the summer than a meal hot off the grill. If you’re in the mood for a delicious backyard dish, try adding versatility to your grilling game with a few simple tips.
Try a new cooking method. If your usual preparation involves a basic flame, you may be surprised by all the different flavors you can evoke just by changing the method. Whether you’re using gas or charcoal, switch from standard grilling to smoking over indirect heat. You can also use seasoned wood chips with most grilling methods to build a completely different flavor profile.
Look for non-traditional ways to use your favorite proteins. Instead of the traditional steak or chicken on a kabob, you can create a whole new flavor experience using smoked sausage. For example, Eckrich offers a variety of smoked sausage flavors in traditional ropes and bun-length links, all with just the right blend of seasonings for a rich, savory taste.
Explore new condiments and toppings. Ketchup, mustard and relish may be staples at the condiment station, but there’s no reason you can’t add a little something extra. Grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers are all simple and delicious ways to add flavor. Or try something entirely new, like this sweet, tangy marmalade made with bacon and onions.
Find more summer grilling ideas at Eckrich.com.
Smoked Sausage Links with Bacon and Onion Marmalade
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- 2-3 strips bacon
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 6 onions) Vidalia onions, diced
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cane syrup
- 1 package Eckrich Smoked Sausage Links (bun-length)
- 6 hot dog buns
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lay strips of bacon flat. Cook until crispy, about 20-25 minutes. Chop bacon into small pieces and set aside.
- In dry pot over medium heat, toast mustard seeds until slightly browned.
- Add bacon, vinegar, onions, brown sugar and cane syrup to pot. Cover, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook about 20 minutes at medium-high heat. Remove pot cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook until liquid is reduced and onions are dark in color, about 50 minutes.
- Oil grill and bring to medium heat. Grill sausage 12 minutes, or until heated through.
- Place smoked sausage in hot dog bun and cover evenly with marmalade.
Note: Marmalade can be made in advance for easier dinner preparation and can be kept up to 2 weeks in a refrigerator or 3 months in a freezer.
Grilled Kabobs with Smoked Sausage and Veggies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
- 6 wooden skewers
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 package Eckrich Original Smoked Sausage (rope)
- 1 medium zucchini
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 2 large yellow bell peppers
- 1 large red onion
- Soak skewers in water 1 hour. Spray grill and heat to medium.
- Cut smoked sausage diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Slice zucchini, bell peppers and onion into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Thread smoked sausage, peppers, zucchini and onion onto skewers.
- Grill kabobs until smoked sausage is hot and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and serve immediately.