Preparing for the Season

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August is here. It’s been months since you’ve thought about tailgating, hasn’t it? There were things that came to mind at the end of last season that you meant to do, but now the days have passed by and you don’t even remember what they were. Fear not! Here are simple ideas to get you started:

  • Make a list of your equipment. There will be tables, chairs, tents, grills, coolers, flags and much more.
  • Get this equipment out of storage and check each piece for cleanliness, wear and tear and its importance in your tailgate set-up.
  • Is there something you need to replace or even eliminate?
  • Is there a new gadget on the market that is better than what you’re using?
  • Check for end-of-summer bargains online and in the sale tabloids. This time of year, cookout and camping gear generally goes on season-ending sales.
  • Get out the schedule for home games and check the times. 8 p.m. and noon starts may require entirely different menus.
  • Contact your tailgating companions to get their thoughts.
  • Start planning the menu for the first game.

This week’s recipe is pasta salad which is good for early season, warm-weather tailgating. This pasta has a bite from the ranch dip, but it won’t overpower your main courses like sausage, burgers or chicken.

Ingredients: One package of ranch flavor party dip, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of milk, 1 pound of your favorite pasta, 3 cups assorted veggies, 1 cup of large pitted olives, 1/4 cup crisp chopped bacon pieces

Preparation: Prepare the party dip per directions with a wire whisk. Let the mixture thicken in the refrigerator. Cook the pasta al dente and then drain it in a colander. Using a large, plastic, re-sealable container, add the pasta, chopped veggies and bacon. Chill the mixture in the fridge overnight. On game day, mix in the party dip and put the container into your cooler. It’s ready to go, and by tailgate time it will be great with any sandwich or chicken.

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