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Featured Cookbook

Plated with Rebecca Turner: Homegating

By Rebecca Turner

Plated with Rebecca Turner: Homegating

Blue Cheese Onion Dip

Homegating: Graze and grab-n-go grub perfect for football season


Fall is in the air, which means football season is back! And with football comes game-watching parties. The traditional tailgating party happens on campus, outside the football stadium in designated areas like The Grove, The District, The Junction, or The Roost. However, as long as football has been televised, fans have hosted parties from the comfort of their own home. Now, thanks to an ongoing global pandemic, more football fans are embracing the idea of “homegating” and scoring extra points for safety with at-home game-day festivities.

Hosting your football tailgate at home gives you a chance to stay safe, avoid crowds, and keep your budget low and the fun high.

Food is the life of the party on game day, but fans want to graze and gab about the game instead of sitting down for a meal. That is why making everything buffet-style or grab-n-go is the best setup. You can never go wrong with bite-sized appetizers, delicious dips, miniature main courses, and dessert. The best part, you can try new recipes with each game day while keeping the MVPs in rotation.

Classic tailgating foods include chili, ribs, hamburgers, wings, chips, and cheese dips. This year give rookie recipes a starting position on your table — kickoff the party with sausage and cheese cups, bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts, and creamy blue cheese onion dip. Go for the goal with walking tacos and air-fried corn on the cob. Keep dessert simple with crowd favorites like individual ice cream cups, brownie bites, and chocolate chip cookies.

Tailgating may still look and feel slightly different, but that doesn’t mean the party is over. Whether you’re headed to campus, ready to host a tailgate at home, or watch alone, throw on your school colors, get a plate of festive foods, and enjoy a game-day adventure.


Sausage and Cheese Cups


12-ounce package wonton wrappers

1 pound sausage

3 tablespoons dry ranch dressing seasoning mix

8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese shredded

8 ounces cheddar cheese shredded

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup milk

Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick spray. Carefully press wonton wrappers in the tins and fold edges back and flat. Should look like a cup.

Bake empty at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Brown sausage and drain off fat. Cool.

In a large bowl, mix ranch dressing mix, cheeses, yogurt, milk, and sausage.

Fill wonton cups with sausage mixture.

Bake again at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Remove from tin to a wire rack to cool.

Tip: Pre-bake the cups and store in an air-tight container until ready to fi ll. You can also mix your filling together the night before, refrigerate, and do steps 5-7 on game day.


Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts


8 slices of bacon

16 Brussels sprouts


Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Trim, wash, and pat dry Brussels sprouts. Cut bacon slices in half.

Line a baking sheet in tin foil.

Wrap bacon around Brussels sprouts and secure with a toothpick. Place on a baking sheet. Salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until bacon reaches desired crispness.


Air Fryer Corn On The Cob


6 frozen corn on the cobs


Salt and pepper

Place your frozen corn on the cob into the air fryer basket and cook for 12 minutes at 360 degrees.

After 12 minutes remove the corn. Place a layer of tin foil into your air fryer basket and then sit your cooked corn on the cob on it. Season your corn with salt and pepper and add some butter to each corn cob.

Cook for an additional 3 minutes at 400 degrees.

After 3 minutes roll your corn in the butter that has dropped down into the tin foil.

If not done enough, cook for another 3 minutes. All air fryers are different.


Blue Cheese Onion Dip


16 ounces sour cream

1 packet onion soup mix

1/4 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt

4 ounces blue cheese crumbled

1/2 teaspoon dry dill weed

1 teaspoon dry parsley flakes

Mix all ingredients together and let chill.

Serve with assorted veggies and/or chips for dipping.


Walking Tacos


1 pound lean meat

1 taco packet (or 2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning)

Individual sized Frito chips

Favorite taco toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, pico, salsa, etc.

1 cup milk

Prepare meat as directed on the taco packet. On game day, place prepared taco meat into a slow cooker and turn on warm. Allow guests to build their tacos with individual-sized chips bags, and taco toppings. The chip bags can be their serving container.



Rebecca Turner is an author, registered dietitian, radio host, television presenter and a certified specialist in sports dietetics with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A lifelong Mississippian, she lives in Brandon and has spent the last decade offering no-nonsense nutrition guidance that allows you to enjoy good health and good food. Her book, “Mind Over Fork,” challenges the way you think, not the way you eat. Find her on social media @RebeccaTurnerNutrition and online at

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