Husker Corner’s own Big Red Sous Chef, Kelli Anne Francis is back with some fantastic ideas to make this week’s 11:00 A.M. husker football kickoff a tasty one if nothing else. Without further adieu:
With the first game and a win under the belt of the Husker football team, good feelings carry over into the next week. There were several morning games last year which enabled most tailgaters to explore all the different ways to spice up breakfast.
Some people simply use a griddle attachment and chef up scrambled eggs and sausage, pancakes or french toast. One of the staples here in the Midwest is, of course, biscuits and gravy.
Make the biscuits before the event and simply heat the gravy on the grill or cook it fresh on the grill. Nothing better to bring around a crowd than a good-smelling sausage cooking. While all of these ideas will please, they involve time and effort at the grill for the chef.
Breakfast foods need a lot of attention on the grill. If you’re not good at cooking, everyone loves doughnuts, doughnut holes, cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats sold all over.
If you are more akin to chatting during the early and shortened tailgate of a morning, heating something premade is an easy solution. One of my favorite all time recipes is a breakfast casserole.
I will pair it up with some tasty ham sausages specially ordered from Neuske’s which are amazing. I make the casserole the night before and cut it into sections wrapped in pre-greased foil for reheating.
Tailgate Morning Casserole
- ¼ pound bacon
- 1 package ham pieces **
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bag (30 ounces) frozen country style hash brown potatoes, thawed and patted dry
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 9 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- 8 oz. container of sour cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13-by-9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a 10-inch skillet, cook the few strips of bacon with the ham pieces and onion over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until bacon is crisp and onion is tender. Drain on paper towels.
In a separate large bowl, toss ham mixture potatoes and cheeses. Spoon into the baking dish. In the same bowl, beat eggs, milk, sour cream, salt, mustard and pepper with a fork or wire whisk until well blended. Pour over potato mixture. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or longer until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes 12 large servings.
With morning tailgates, not everyone is interested in indulging in alcoholic beverages so make sure you have plenty of orange juice (which, when added to champagne, becomes a tasty Mimosa) and coffee on hand. Most bagel or doughnut shops sell large containers for such an occasion as well.
Professional carafes are rather pricey, but worth it if there are a lot of morning events. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere and there’s even a coffee flavored jello shot for such an occasion. I recommend a nice vanilla coffee rather than a stronger roast blend.
Dark Russian Coffee shots
- 1 cup hot coffee
- 1 envelope Knox Gelatin
- 1/3 cup of iced coffee
- 1/3 cup of Vodka
- 1/3 cup of Kahlua
Dissolve the envelope of Knox Gelatin in the hot coffee and stir until fully dissolved. Add 1/3 cup of Iced coffee, vodka and Kahlua. Stir well and wait until the liquid has cooled before pouring into jello shot cups. *if one is so inclined, you can top with whip cream before serving.
Etiquette tips for early morning tailgating are: BE ON TIME. No one likes getting up early, setting up, and then waiting on people to slowly show up. If you’re not sure you will be in attendance, RSVP so the host can plan accordingly.
If you have run into traffic, have your passengers text your host so they know to save you some, or to just go ahead and pack up.
BONUS TIP: Inquire whether the host plans to open back up after the game. If so, offer to bring more of a snack appropriate item for later instead (chips & dip, popcorn, nuts, etc.). Many times people “re-gather” to avoid the exit rush of traffic. As always, communication is key.
*Lagniappe* (which is LSU talk for “a little somethin’ extra”) – if you are lucky enough to have some Southern friends, they will offer to share their beignets (pronounced Ben – yeahs). My friend, Joy Hammett rolls the dough and fries it up for breakfast goodness every tailgate morning with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
A tradition in Café du Monde in New Orleans and other southern kitchens.
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Tags: Nebraska Cornhuskers