10 Budget-Friendly Tailgating Tips

People don’t always believe me when I say that in Alabama, football is like a “religion.” Tailgating is an integral part of the fall weekend routine in the south, and it’s a great way to spend time with family and friends outdoors. This week is the SEC National Championship game with Alabama and Georgia. I think just about everyone in my hometown is going to the game in Atlanta. Since tickets are a premium, try some of my favorite money-saving tailgating tips for a party that costs less but is still full of fun for everyone.

1. Plan ahead: One of the most important things you can do to save money on your tailgating party is to plan ahead. Make organized lists of essentials so you won’t have last minute expenses.

2. Shop smart: Buy meats, drinks, plastic cups, napkins, etc. in bulk to save money. Preparing recipes at home such as pasta salad, potato salad, chili or sandwiches will also cut back on expenses.

3. Store it: Use Ziploc® Brand Sandwich Bags for easy transportation of foods to the game and pack leftovers that can be reused at home.

4. Enlist help: Join forces with your friends to save money. Ask each person or couple to bring a dish or beverage that fits into your menu. Everyone loves a potluck, especially while tailgating and the more the merrier. Driving to the game with other people also saves money on gas.

5. Keep it simple: Don’t try to overdo or outdo your friends. Tailgating is all about fun, being outdoors and being with friends with minimal amenities. Less is more. In this case, try sticking to one main dish and three to four sides max.

6. Bake: Bake homemade treats and deserts, such as cookies and brownies instead of buying them. Store them in Ziploc® Brand Containers with the Smart Snap® Seal or bags for easy transport. You’ll save money and impress your guests at the same time. Who doesn’t love a homemade treat instead of store-bought?

7. Use your slow cooker: If you’ll have access to electricity, prepare dishes ahead in a crockpot or slow cooker. You can then bring the entire pot of chili, pulled pork or baked beans straight to the event and serve your team right from the pot. Just don’t forget your extension cord!

8. Park farther away: Parking spots closer to the stadium usually cost more money. Pick a spot a little farther away and jump on a shuttle. Just be sure to plan ahead and allow extra time so you don’t miss kickoff!

9. Assign an entertainer: Have someone bring an iPod speaker dock for music, a frisbee and of course a football to help entertain kids of all ages.

10. Decorations DIY: Instead of worrying about expensive decorations, visit your local discount store to purchase plate.

8 Healthy Gluten-Free Tailgating Recipes

Happy first college football weekend! I have had so many friends asking for tailgating recipes this week, so I decided to compile a list of recipes starting with my Chipotle Vegetarian Chili. Since I have been eating mostly gluten-free lately, I thought I would share 8 healthy Gluten-Free tailgating recipes for this football season. With Alabama playing in Dallas tonight and Auburn playing in Atlanta, it’s a big night for our state. I smiled last night when my oldest son, Alec, told me to be sure to wake him up in time for the start of ESPN College Game Day this morning. Enjoy these tailgating recipes, and please leave me a comment telling me what are some of your favorites!

Gluten Free Chicken Skewers via Family Fresh Cooking

Caprese Skewers via With Style and Grace

Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip via Two Peas & Their Pod


Roasted Chickpeas via Ingredients, Inc.

Quick and Easy Salsa via Mountain Mama Cooks 

Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies via Fast Paleo

SCD and Paleo Vanilla Almond Granola via Against All Grain

Game-Day Favorite: Basil Bloody Mary

Happy football season to everyone! We are excited about the Alabama/Penn State game and Auburn/Mississippi State tomorrow. I thought I would share this fun game-day recipe for Basil Bloody Marys. I made these on television a couple of times last year for some tailgating shows, and I thought they would make the perfect tailgating drink for this weekend’s games. This recipe rocks-just try it and you will see. Enjoy the weekend!

Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese Recipe

Since it’s Labor Day weekend (and the start of college football), I thought I would share a lightened-up version of pimiento cheese perfect for a game day appetizer, Labor Day picnic, or weekend snack with crackers. Most of our friends will be at the Alabama game, Auburn game, the lake or the beach (that is how it goes around here in the south). I will be at the Auburn game because my daughter’s cheerleading team gets to cheer during the Auburn halftime show. How cool is that? Anyway, this Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese uses Greek yogurt and mayonnaise. It tastes great, and no one will know the difference. I also like to add smoked paprika or chipotle seasoning for an added kick. Have a great, safe weekend!