Category Archives: Tailgate party

Sloppy Joes: An Awesome Party Food

Okay party people, time for some food talk.  Football weekend coming up, and we are all coming off the Thanksgiving leftover binge….time for some FUN Food = the Sloppy Joe.

I found this recipe on the Food Network (  Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri for Food Network Magazine) and it is AWESOME!

This is great for any football party, kid’s sleep-over party, poker night party, AND pot-luck party!  You name it, this dish will be the hit of the party!

I have always doubled this recipe because I hope/pray for leftovers!  It has a heat factor to it, so if you don’t like spicy, leave out the cayenne pepper and the jalapeno!  Also, if you go to the link I provided above, the recipe on the link includes home-made Maui Onion Straws.  I leave that part out and use the French Onion strings instead.


  • 1/4 cup canola oil                                                                                                 
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce                                                                                    
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 24 slider rolls or sweet Hawaiian rolls
  • French’s onion straws


Prepare the Sloppy Joe’: In a large pan, sauté over medium-high heat,

  • Sauté in the canola oil the bell peppers, jalapeno and onion for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in another pan, cook the ground beef and pork and break it up as it browns.  After it is cooked, drain the grease.
  • Add the beef and pork to the sautéed peppers, jalapeno and onions.
  • Add the minced garlic.
  • Stir in the red wine and the red vinegar
  • Add the remaining ingredients: cayenne pepper, paprika, ground cumin, dry mustard, tomato paste, tomato sauce, brown sugar Worcestershire sauce, and season with 1 tablespoon each salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve the Sloppy Joes on Hawaiian rolls and top with the onion straws.



Grilled Potato Skins and Potato Boats

Okay football fans, here is one for your next tailgate or house party.  These potato boats are simply fabulous, and you can  have so much fun making them!  There is NO END to how creative you can get with these delicious creations.

These aren’t just for football parties!  I serve these during almost every party!  They are simple and yummy.  Easy for guests to pick up and eat.  You can prepare these ahead of time and just  heat them up on a grill or in the oven if you need to take a great dish to a tailgate or party.

Three ways to bake the potatoes:  Times will vary for each method as the size and amount of potatoes will dictate when they are done.  I typically check them after 45 minutes…squish the center while wearing an oven mitt.  They need to be very soft.

  1. True tailgaters will grill them.  Takes about an hour on indirect heat.  It can be done as I have done it!
  2. Conventional oven 400 degrees.
  3. Roaster oven – my personal favorite!  I LOVE cooking with my roster oven.  No party queen/king should be without a roaster oven.  I use mine all the time for a lot of things!
  • Once the potatoes are finished, cut them in half – length wise.  I like to do this right away because the center of the potatoes are hot and will melt the butter and cheese that I put in the mixture.  If you wait until they cool, I have found that they don’t mash as easy.  USE AN OVEN MIT or a dish rag to hold the hot potato.
  • Take a spoon and gently scoop out the potato’s center.  You decide how much of the center you want out.  If you like a crunchy potato skin, try to get as close to the skin without putting a hole in it.  Leave a little more of the potato if you want a heartier skin.
  • Place your desired amount of butter in a pot.
  • Scoop the potatoes into the pot.
  • Add desired amount of milk, sour cream, and cheese for mashed potatoes.  I say “desired amount” because everyone likes a different consistency.  But don’t make them too runny.  If you don’t like cheese or sour cream in your mashed potatoes….leave them out!  You are the RULER of your kitchen!
  • Mash the potatoes and then stir until all is blended.
  • Add spices to flavor.  I use garlic salt, garlic powder, and a splash of black pepper.  Again, this is your gig….spice them up like you like them!



  • Take the potatoes and place them on the grill.
  • I use tinfoil, but you can place them directly on the racks.
  • Try to keep the grill’s temperature around 400.
  • I usually cook mine 10 – 15 minutes then turn over for an additional 10 – 15 minutes.
  • You want to get the skins a little firm.  I like mine crunchy.  If you don’t like crunchy skins, don’t cook them too long during this stage.  You’re the boss.  Just remember that these skins will be going back on the grill or in the oven when you stuff them next.
  • If you are making these for a house party or Thanksgiving, then you can cook them in the oven at 400 for the same amount of time.  I have made them both ways…grill and oven.
  • Once they are browned, take off grill or out of oven and prepare for second stage!
  • You now have “potato skins!”  You can melt some cheese in them and call it good, or prepare for the boats…

  These are the skins on the grill.  They have not been grilled yet.


  1. Layer One is cheddar cheese or Mexican Blend or cheese of your choice.  I like cheese, so I put enough to completely cover the bottom of the skin.
  2. PIEROGI BOAT OPTION:  Saute onions in butter.  Once cooked, add the onions as a second layer.
  3. CHILI BOAT OPTION:  Add chili as the second layer.
  4. MEXICAN BOAT OPTION:  Put some salsa  as the second layer.
  5. Create your own second layer…bacon…chives…green onions…BE CREATIVE
  6. If you are having a big party…go for the gusto…do all options!
  7. When I took these photos, I did not add a second layer.  I made a few potato skins and the rest regular potato boats, so you will not see any pics of the second layer.
  8. NOW – Pile on the mashed potato mixture.  Don’t be shy!  Stuff them high. Stuff the mashed potatoes right on top of your second layer, if you have one.   If you run out of mashed potatoes, then make a few skins…like I did.  If you added a second layer, you may have extra mashed potatoes.  That’s always a good thing in my house!
  9. For an added touch, I put additional cheddar cheese on top of the mashed potatoes.  YUMMY.  I gently push the cheese into the mashed potatoes so the cheese doesn’t roll off.
  10. NOW, if you need to take these boats to a party or tailgate, you can stop here and refrigerate them until it is time to go.  You can do the last step at the tailgate.  Or you can keep going and take the fully cooked boats.

  These are the skins once they have been browned and then stuffed.  I did not add the cheese on top yet.

BACK TO THE GRILL OR OVEN!  The timing for this last stage will vary…depending on how many boats you have and how much stuff you stuffed them with.  This batch cooked on the grill for an additional 15 minutes.  They were great.  I could have cooked them a little longer for a more crunchy skin, but the cheese on top was getting brown so I removed them.  Just keep an eye on them.

  The boats back on the grill for their last cooking time.

Once they have browned to your liking, you are all finished!!!  Enjoy!  Don’t forget that these are an awesome selection for any party!

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