Tailgating with Joe Drozda: Tailgating in cold weather


AA-ND-1028-Drozda Tailgating

By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley

So the 10-day forecast is for cold weather on game day. Don’t lose heart; here are some hints to make your tailgate party bearable.

•Dress for success – wear layers of clothes that breathe.

•Wool, cotton and even some of those newly designed materials that you can’t pronounce will work.

•Stay out of the wind – set up on the lea side of your vehicle/s or attach a wind screen to protect you with a trap, bungee cords, and weights.

•Have a heat source – God gives us the sun so use it by setting up so your chairs are in the sunshine. If no sun set up your grill and stoves on the lea side of your windbreak and use them for warmth. A boiling pot of soup throws off a lot of heat.

Here is a great cold weather soup using our favorite health food, sausage.

Italian Wedding Soup



1 package (19 ounce) JOHNSONVILLE® Mild or sweet Italian Sausage.

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed or chopped

1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, minced

1/2  teaspoon Frank’s ®RedHot® cayenne pepper sauce (optional).


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme

1 teaspoon dried sage leaves

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

8 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf

8 ounces orzo pasta, cooked

1 cup spinach, roughly chopped

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded


•Mix meatball ingredients together and roll small meatballs the size of a marble. (If forming the meatball is difficult, cover and refrigerate first.)

•In a medium pan, cook orzo al dente, according to package directions, drain and set aside.

•Prep the vegetables.

•In a large pot, sauté onion, thyme and sage in olive oil. When the onion starts to turn a golden color, add garlic, carrot and celery, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

•Set the vegetable mixture aside on a plate.

•In the same pot, add all the meatballs and cook for 2 to 3 minutes before stirring. (This will keep them from breaking). Gently toss with a rubber spatula to brown on all sides.

•Add reserved vegetables, chicken stock and bay leaf. Simmer gently (do not boil), until vegetables are tender and meatballs are cooked through.

•Add cooked orzo and spinach, stir together. (Adding spinach right before serving will help it maintain its rich green color).

•Garnish bowls/cups with parmesan cheese


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