What to Bring to a Tailgate Party

Some of my absolute favorite things about fall are the colors, weather change, and introduction to the holidays! Fall is a time when people become cheerful (is it because it’s getting less hot?) and unified around pumpkins and football. People begin thinking of giving and gifting. Football season rolls in and for Baton Rouge, that means Saints and LSU games! Who doesn’t love a good tailgate?

Here are some of my favorite things to bring to a tailgate/holiday party:

Bacon wrapped dates

  • These are some of my favorites in a pinch. 2-3 ingredients and ready in under 20 minutes. Although best served warm, they are allergy friendly and DELICIOUS!


  • My favorite brownies are the gluten-free boxed brownies from Trader Joe’s!
  • My favorite cookie recipe is the New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe. It is important to make sure your butter is softened- not melted! And that you refrigerate the dough for a minimum of an hour, but I like to make it the day before! (I replace the sugar for coconut sugar and make sure all of my ingredients are high quality for full flavor results.)

Dip tray: Spinach artichoke dip, salsa, guacamole with fresh cut veggies

  • I opt for store-bought dips in a pinch, but if you have the time then any of your favorite recipes will do!
  • I like to buy my veggies uncut because it’s more cost-effective and actually minimal work! You will also yield more veggies that way.
  • A fun serving idea is to make individual cups for a cute esthetic and for easy serving/clean up!


  • I love coleslaw! It’s like salad’s underrated cousin. A bag of purple and green cabbage with some shredded carrots – so sweet! Then add 1/4 cup of your favorite mayo, salt and pepper, and seasoning of your liking (I prefer hot sauce, garlic, and onion salt)! Mix together, serve and enjoy!

Mexican rice (Spanish version of jambalaya)

  • This is my favorite recipe to bring to a party! It’s a one-pot meal from the Defined Dish! I often add chicken to make it a well-rounded dish.

You can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine or six-pack of your favorite craft beer either!

Whenever I bring a dish to a tailgate or holiday party I make sure of a few things:

  1. I leave the leftovers or alcohol with the host. They worked so hard and all I did was bring the food/alcohol. They deserve the leftovers and do I really want to bring something home that people have rummaged through?
  2. I bring serving ware. My host either will love that I brought it or not need it depending on how big the guest list is.
  3. I bring a disposable container. If for some reason I don’t have one on hand then I make sure my container is labeled if I want it back.

And that’s it! What are your holiday/game day tips?

Nicki Hood
I am a wife and mom to 3 boys. In my free time you'll find me weight lifting or reading. I love going to a good farmer's market on the weekends and traveling is my absolute favorite! I was born in Miami, grew up in Atlanta, went to high school in Texas, and went to college at LSU where I majored in Communication Disorders. After a stint working as an SLP-A, I now focus my energy on raising our sons.


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