College Kitchen: Tailgate Treats

Kick off football season with these small bites.

Maroon and Gold Skewers, Goldy Dogs and Touchdown Toasties are three tailgating treats that will leave a good taste in your mouth even when the Gophers lose.

Blake Leigh

Maroon and Gold Skewers, Goldy Dogs and Touchdown Toasties are three tailgating treats that will leave a good taste in your mouth even when the Gophers lose.

Lucy Nieboer


The season of “Who hates Iowa?” chants and Golden Gopher first-downs is upon us once again. In tradition as old as the gophers-badgers rivalry, we turn to the old tailgate standbys of beer, chips and hot dogs. If we want to start winning some games, something has got to change. Why not start that change with better cuisine?

The recipes below are all small bites, so whether we’re at home or away, we can enjoy our treats without worrying about dropping chunks of chili down our striped overalls or drips of dip on our jerseys.


Goldy Dogs

Turkey makes a great imitation gopher-meat in these tiny takes on the state fair classic. Your deep fried goldies will be so widely received, you’ll have to keep running back to the kitchen to whip up a fresh batch.

1 lb ground turkey

1 tablespoon mild paprika

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Olive oil

1 cup flour

2/3 cup corn meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup canola oil


Using your hands, mix the ground meat and the spices until you have an even mixture. Roll into slightly oblong logs about one inch wide and three inches long. As soon as you have all your sausage logs ready to go, place them in a nonstick pan on medium-high heat with a dash of olive oil. Brown on all sides and make sure they are done all the way through. Set aside and let cool. (This step can be done a day ahead of game day). In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and sugar. Slowly add the mixture of the remaining dry ingredients. Dip each goldy roll into the batter and drop it into the hot oil. Remove from the oil when golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with toothpicks.


Touchdown Toasties

A daylong baking blitz isn’t necessary to put together this tasty dessert. Whole wheat bread makes a carry for the cinnamon and chocolate spread, and decorative icing makes these toasts look like the real pigskin. Eat up — these may be the only touchdowns we see all year.

Whole wheat bread

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 stick butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar



Mix together sugar, cinnamon, cocoa and softened butter. In a separate bowl, mix powdered sugar and a tablespoon of water. Add more water a teaspoon at a time until you have a thick paste. Set aside. Cut an oblong, crescent line in a slice of bread using a sharp non-serrated knife. Make an identical cut in the opposite direction to create a football shape. You should be able to get two football look-alikes out of a single slice. In an oven preheated to 350 degrees, toast the bread for about eight minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and spread it with the chocolate spread. Put under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and let cool. Fill a small sandwich bag with the icing paste. Cut a hole no bigger than the tip of a pen in one of the corners. Use an icing bag to draw the stitching on your football toasties. Serve on a tray of green Easter basket grass for the full field effect.



Maroon and Gold Skewers

Illinois fans are stuck with blue Kool-Aid and cheese puffs if they want to show some school spirit in their tailgate fare, but luckily for Minnesota fans, Goldy’s green earth has been blessed with many more healthful items in the colors of maroon and gold. Hold the waist line with these kebabs, and fill up your super bowl with delicious and nutritious veggies.

3 golden beets

3 regular beets

2 red potatoes

3 yellow potatoes

1/4 red onion

1/4 yellow onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon thyme




Cut up all the veggies into square bite-sized pieces. Arrange in a single layer in a shallow pan or on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with oil and spices. Make sure every piece has some seasoning coverage. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once in the middle to ensure both sides are done. Remove from the oven. Put all the veggies onto thin skewers, alternating maroon and gold every other color. Serve warm with a side of mustard or cold with a side of ranch.


When the game day rolls around, it’s easy to get stressed out and fumble in the kitchen. Make sure you have a great team of offensive dinemen to tackle the big day. When you’ve reached the end zone of meal prep, just sit back and watch the Gophers sprint up and down the field. These mini treats are so simple to eat that they won’t run interference with your enjoyment of the game.