Everything Bagel Breakfast Strata

This past weekend we went to the last home ECU game for the season.  Might I also add that will be my last mimosa-less tailgate for a very long time.  (wink wink)  Since it was a noon game, I went with a breakfast theme for our tailgate meal.  I love a breakfast casserole since you can usually do all the prep work the night before and simply cook it the morning you want to eat the dish.  I deviated a little from this recipe and next time I would do a few things differently, too.

Some changes I made to the recipe:

  • I simply toasted the bagels and tore them – I did not add butter and honestly didn’t really miss the butter.
  • Instead of bacon, I used sausage because that’s what I had in the freezer.  I think bacon would be excellent and might try that next time.
  • Instead of cooked onion, I had plans to add green onion to the casserole.  But I forgot.  Despite cutting the green onion, I completely forgot to add it to the casserole AND forgot to use it as a topping.  I missed the onion flavor a lot.
  • I felt like 2 cups of a half and half was a little out of control – so I used 2 cups of whole milk.  I don’t think it made a difference.
  • The recipe called for a mix of cheddar and gruyere and that’s what I used.  Since I couldn’t taste the gruyere with everything else going on, I think that next time I’d just use cheddar and perhaps dot some cream cheese on top before baking for that extra bagel feeling.
  • Finally, I cheated and used Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning instead of making my own.  It’s a pantry staple for me these days and I highly recommend using it on your scrambled eggs and avocado toast.


The casserole was delicious and filling and I love the texture that the bagels brought to the casserole compared to your normal breakfast casserole made with sandwich bread.  The biggest thing I missed with a little onion flavor and was super bummed that I forgot the green onion.  And like I said, I think a little cream cheese would be amazing on top.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I know that this year I’m extra thankful for everything that I have – most importantly my family.

Gobble, Gobble!


Potato Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been day dreaming of these cookies for weeks now!  When I first ran across the recipe I knew I had to find a reason to bake a batch.  And football season is the perfect excuse to bake something sweet to share with others.


The cookies are sweet and salty and the perfect combo of crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside (thanks to molasses).  The potato chips don’t really give the cookie any flavor other than saltiness but they do add a little texture.  I simply crushed the cookies between my hands before adding to the batter.  And there’s not one but two kinds of chocolate – dark and mini chips.  I also really appreciated that I didn’t need to allow the butter to come to room temperature – simply cream cold butter with sugar for these cookies.

Make sure not to overcook the cookies – they crisp up as soon as you remove them from the oven.


Now if only I had one right now….

Tailgate Thursday {bourbon-candied ginger and onion dip with homemade sweet potato chips}

With a drink in hand, we cheered loudly for the Pirates this past Saturday but we just couldn’t stand up to our competition.

Regardless of who wins any football game, the food and drink around our house is always winning.

On the drink menu, a French Tropics Summer Punch.  But I like to call it Pirate Punch for a fun tailgate cocktail.

In a pitcher, or small punch bowl, combine 3/4 cup vodka (we are partial to Tito’s), 3/4 cup St. Germain, 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 cup orange juice and 2 cups prosecco.  Serve over ice.

This is a fantastic drink for a tailgate because you can multiple the amounts to make a big batch and it’s a great make-ahead drink.

Warning: this is a potent drink!

(and yes, I have a chipped nail – I promise I will get it fixed this week.)

And to munch, bourbon-candied ginger and onion dip with homemade-homegrown (!!!) sweet potato chips.

This dip is another great addition to any tailgate because you can make it ahead.  (and some parts of this recipe you need to do in advance – like the candied ginger.)

For the candied ginger, thin slices of ginger are simmered in a combination of water, bourbon and sugar.  After simmering for 25 minutes, the ginger is removed from the bourbon simple syrup and transferred to a drying rack.  After about an hour, combine the ginger with 1/4 cup sugar and toss.  Spread that back out and allow to dry.  I did this the night before and let them dry overnight on the drying rack.

For the dip, onions, scallions, shallots and garlic are cooked over medium for about 20 minutes or until golden and caramelized.

The onions are transferred to a food processor and pureed.  The remaining ingredients are then added to the food processor, including Worcestershire sauce, Greek yogurt (I used 2% but you could also use sour cream), Duke’s mayonnaise, soy sauce, a little lemon juice, and the candied ginger.

Pulse until all the ingredients are combined.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed (I added more pepper than salt).

Allow this to chill.

sweet potatoes

During halftime, we fried our thinly sliced homegrown sweet potatoes.  How gorgeous is that purple sweet potato?!?!


This recipe worked perfectly (and the BBQ seasoning was incredible).

The end result was perfect for any tailgate.

And I have to admit – I was a little skeptical of this recipe.  I honestly was afraid that the bourbon-candied ginger was going to overpower the dip.  But the good news is that it didn’t.  I’d consider this an upgrade on a typical onion dip.

Now we’re 1-2 and facing Virginia Tech at home on Saturday.  Kick-off time is 3:30pm so I’m preparing a tailgate menu that includes food that travels easy (since we have an hour drive) but that’s hearty enough to count as lunch since we all know Big Guy will probably make me leave the house at 8:30am.







Tailgate Thursday {recipe round-up}

Today marks the official start of college football season with the UNC Tarheels and the USC Gamecocks kicking off this evening in Charlotte.  And while I won’t be cheering my heart out for either (although I will root for the Gamecocks any day of the year as long as they aren’t playing ECU), I will be busy planning my tailgate menu for Saturday evening when ECU kicks-off their football season.  Let’s be honest, college football is my excuse to drink mimosas and chow down on delicious food.  And in honor of football season, I thought I would share a round-up of recipes that will make this football season the most delicious football season you’ve ever had.  I can’t guarantee that your team will end up on top but I can guarantee that if you’re hanging with me, you won’t go hungry.  Let’s get down to business…

Sweet Onion Pizza Sliders

I love these because they can be served immediately or after driving to the game and setting up the tailgate.  They are very similar to these sliders that I’ve made over and over again.

Cheesy Miso Caramelized Corn and Pineapple Chile Dip

I love a cheesy dip.  I would probably save this for watching games at home so that it would be piping hot when served.  The flavors sound incredible!

Bacon and Blue Cheeseburger Potato Skins

Potato skins are such a throw-back to my childhood.  But this version is amped up with all the flavors of a bacon-blue cheese burger.

Sweet Tea-Brined Hot Chicken Wings 

Most people think of wings when they think of football.  And since college football is HUGE in the South, let’s add a little sweet tea to the mix.

Grilled Pineapple Pork Sandwich 

Pulled pork tends to travel well so it’s one of my top picks for ECU home games.

fried cheesy pickles

Does this even need an explanation?

Summer BBQ Chicken Nachos with Buttermilk Onion Rings

Because it’s still 90 degrees outside and therefore it’s still summer.  And who would say no to onion rings ON TOP of nachos?

Spicy Sausage Rolls

Because sometimes you have to party before noon.

Macaroni Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bites with Bacon

Diets aren’t allowed at my tailgates.

Buffalo Cheddar-Ranch Chex Mix

Every tailgate needs a bowl of munchies.

Sriracha Beef Nachos

Because I’ve been obsessed with nachos since the age of 8.

Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Root Beer BBQ Sauce

The messier the better.

Lemon and Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

For a little something sweet.

Rolo Stuffed Ritz Crackers

This is my favorite (and easiest) sweet treat for any and all tailgates.

So…who are you cheering for this college football season?


Baked White Cheddar and Leek Dip plus Pickles in a Blanket

Today it’s all about football food.  Yummy eats that are perfect while watching college football.  Because let’s be honest, no one can cheer on their favorite team with an empty stomach.

This past Saturday I wanted to have one hot appetizer and one cold appetizer.  I’m a fan of balance.

For the hot appetizer, I knew I wanted to prepare a dip that included leeks.  After going through my Pinterest “Football Food” page more than once, I finally decided on Baked White Cheddar and Leek Dip because honestly, who doesn’t love a hot, cheesy dip?

If you’re afraid of leeks – don’t be!  They have an incredibly mild flavor and once sauteed in butter, you’ll want to eat them with a spoon.  The key to leeks is to clean them – they are dirrrty.  Simply fill a bowl with cool water and then add the sliced leeks to the bowl.  The dirt sinks to the bottom and your left with clean leeks floating on top.

The leeks are sauteed in butter and then added to a combination of cream cheese, mayo, cheddar, a little beer plus a little salt and pepper.  Baked until bubbly, this is the perfect addition to any tailgate spread.


And for the cold appetizer – a three-ingredient, super simple finger food.  Despite being easy, Pickles in a Blanket are incredibly addicting with the salty salami and creamy cheese with the crunch from the pickle.  I know there are some pickle lovers out there, but I knew that with the crowd I was working with, pickles were welcome.

Simply cut the salami slices in half, spread on some herbed cheese, and a pickle and then roll it up and secure with a toothpick.  Like I said, super simple.  I prepped these about an hour before serving and let them hang out in the fridge.


In addition to these two appetizers, I had mixed nuts out along with a big tray of veggies.

Let’s be honest, my favorite part about college football is the food.