Top 10 Tailgating Favorites

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Top 10 Tailgating Favorites
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Tailgating parties are at the top of the list of fun things to do. There's the anticipation of what's going to happen once the big game starts, feisty team spirit and, of course, delicious food. Sweet and savory edibles delight everyone's taste buds -- no matter which team they're rooting for. Finger foods and appetizer-size dishes work best at tailgating parties, so skip anything that requires eating utensils if you want to score big with friends and family.

Buffalo Greek Yogurt Dip
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Buffalo Greek Yogurt Dip

Melissa Constantinou, personal chef and owner of Boston's Custom Spoonfuls, recommends serving at least one dip at a tailgating party. Try her Buffalo Greek Yogurt dip, which combines 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup of hot sauce and 1/3 cup of blue cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with chips or veggies.

Melissa Constantinou; Personal Chef and Owner of Custom Spoonfuls; Boston, Mass.

Black Bean Salsa
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Black Bean Salsa

If you have dip, you may as well have salsa, too. Combine cooked black beans with diced tomatoes, onions and cilantro and let it sit overnight to marry the flavors. It's great with chips or on top of brats and burgers.

Barbecue Wings
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Barbecue Wings

What's a tailgate without barbecue wings? To prepare, coat your wings in soy sauce and let them marinate on a sheet pan in the fridge overnight. On game day, bake the wings for a half hour at 325 degrees F. Put your favorite barbecue sauce in a crock pot and let it simmer.

Grilled Bananas
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Grilled Bananas

"This recipe is one of my absolute favorites because there is no clean up, and if you’re already grilling, you’re able to use the last bit of the heat before it goes out," said Constantinou. Make a deep cut down the center of each unpeeled banana. Brush the interior with melted butter and sprinkle sugar or chocolate or both on top. Wrap in foil, grill for 5-to-10 minutes and then remove the peels before eating.

Melissa Constantinou; Personal Chef and Owner of Custom Spoonfuls; Boston, Mass.

Easy Trail Mix
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Easy Trail Mix

Trail mix is great because you can customize it to your liking. Try mixing it up with shoestring potatoes, cheesy crackers, popcorn and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese. Create a spicy mix by combining wasabi peas, nuts and cereals. If you're a trail mix traditionalist, try a standard nut mix with raisins and chocolate or butterscotch chips.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus With Cream Cheese
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Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus With Cream Cheese

Impress your friends with this fancy-sounding finger food. To prepare, drizzle asparagus with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and spread cream cheese over slices of flat prosciutto. Wrap one slice of prosciutto around each spear, starting at the bottom, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. "So many people are obsessed with bacon these days, but prosciutto works better for finger foods because bacon takes much longer to cook," noted Constantinou.

Melissa Constantinou; Personal Chef and Owner of Custom Spoonfuls; Boston, Mass.

Sports-Shaped Sugar Cookies
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Sports-Shaped Sugar Cookies

Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut out the shape of the sport's equipment -- football, basketball or hockey stick -- or a symbol of the team in sugar cookie dough. Bake and then use an icing pipe to create the details. For example, football or basketball stitching. Alternatively, decorate with team colors.

Chocolate-Covered Cheesecake Pops
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Chocolate-Covered Cheesecake Pops

For this tailgating favorite, you need 2 pounds of bittersweet chocolate and one frozen cheesecake -- that's all. "Cut the pie into 10-to-15 wedges and place a lollipop stick in the middle of each wedge," said Constantinou. Place in the freezer until rock hard, about an hour. Melt the chocolate and then dip the cheesecake wedges. Place on wax paper and freeze again for 15 minutes before serving.

Melissa Constantinou; Personal Chef and Owner of Custom Spoonfuls; Boston, Mass.

Spicy Potato Skins
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Spicy Potato Skins

While not necessarily the healthiest option, this finger food is always a hit. Bake or microwave four large russet potatoes. Once cool, quarter them lengthwise and remove the flesh to leave a 1/4-inch shell. Brush with melted butter, salt and pepper and then bake the skin at 450 degrees until crisp. Top with cheese and bake again until melted, then add bacon bits, sour cream, jalapenos, tomatoes and cilantro.

Single-Serving Strawberry Shortcakes
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Single-Serving Strawberry Shortcakes

You'll need strawberries, whipped cream, shortcake and disposable shot glasses or glasses similar to the ones pictured. Mash the strawberries a little bit before layering so the juices seep into the cake. Layer strawberries, whipped cream and the cake in each shot glass for a neat and portable dessert.

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