Jacks: New recipes to share at tailgates

Jacks: New recipes to share at tailgates

The first week of football is complete and fall weather seems to be here. I can’t remember the first game being cool and not in the 90s in a very long time. I’m sure it has something to do with the bad weather in Texas. My prayers go out to all those people who have lost their homes and now must rebuild their lives. I’m looking forward to a great football season at Georgia.
A belated birthday wish goes out to a very special young man. My grandson, Tucker Jacks, turned 15 on Sept. 1. Tucker is a freshman at Apalachee High School where he is on the football team.
Fall football means good times shared with friends before, during and after the games. Nothing like a great tailgate with some good food. I’m always looking for new recipes to try and share with my friends at a good tailgate.
I usually make the desserts, but try to make something not sweet from the many recipes I’m sent from friends or have in one of my many recipe books.
I have found that wonton wraps are good for making all kinds of great appetizers. I’ve tried several of these and they have all been keepers. These definitely will be some I share at the “Bulldawg” tailgates this year.
Crunchy Taco Cups
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 envelope (3 Tbsps.) taco seasoning
1 (10 oz.) can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (or Mexican blend)
24 Wonton wrappers
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously coat a standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine cooked beef, taco seasoning and tomatoes in a bowl and stir to combine. Line each cup of prepared muffin pan with a wonton wrapper. Add 1.5 Tbsps. of the taco mixture. Top with 1 Tbsp. of cheese - press down and add another layer of wonton wrapper, taco mixture and a final layer of cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 11-13 minutes until cups are heated through and edges are golden.

Chicken Salad in Wonton Cups
12 Wonton wrappers
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast, cooled
1 cup chopped marinated mushrooms or fresh sautéed mushrooms
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 12-cup cupcake pan with baking spray. Place wonton wrappers in prepared cupcake pan. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until slightly browned. Prepare the chicken salad by combining all the ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Mix well. Fill baked wontons with chicken salad. Serve.

You can’t have a good tailgate without a good dip for crackers or chips. Found a good simple one for this year’s tailgates.
Million Dollar Dip
5 green onions, chopped
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup bacon bits
1/8 cup slivered almonds
Add green onions, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, bacon bits and slivered almonds to a small bowl. Mix until combined and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with your favorite crackers.

I think if I only made one batch of this next recipe I’d have a lot of mad friends at the tailgate. I’ll be probably making this recipe with four times the recipe for a big batch because this is a big hit especially if you like spinach and most of my friends do.
Spinach Cheese Puffs
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried dill
2 cups chopped spinach, packed
3/4 cup crumbled feta
2 tsps. bacon bits
Salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
Spray 9 cups in a muffin pan with cooking spray. Microwave your cream cheese 10 seconds at a time until it’s soft and melted, not steaming. Add egg, oil and dill into the cream cheese and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl combine spinach, feta and bacon. Pour your cream cheese mixture on top and season with salt and pepper. Use a fork to mix and combine it together.
Cut pastry sheet into 9 squares. Line muffin pan with your cut squares (you might need to stretch them out a little). Press into the bottom of the muffin cups. Evenly divide the spinach among the cups. Bring your 4 pastry points together covering the filling, press them together lightly and brush with melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees about 20 minutes until golden and puffy. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then use a small knife around the edges to loosen and help pop them out.

Joyce Jacks is a native of Barrow County and a graduate of Winder-Barrow High School, Athens Technical College, and the University of Georgia. She can be reached at [email protected]

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