Tag Archives: party food

Tailgate Sandwich Wrap Ideas

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who look forward to fall and football tailgating, then you’re likely already making your game plan for the dishes in this season’s playbook.

Of course, I have lots of suggestions and some personal favorites, many of which I have shared in some previous blogs:

I’ve also shared one of the VERY best Baby Back Rib Recipes on the Planet. If you haven’t tried it, it’s right here:

Today, I want to share some of my recipe ideas for one of tailgate’s best choices for a hungry crowd–one that takes the burden off you having to do so much preparation and cooking on site. You can prepare these earlier on the morning of the event, or in many cases, even the night before.

And that would be sandwich wraps.

Wraps are a perfect fit for tailgates because they’re easily held in the hand, you can cut them into smaller portions to allow your guests to enjoy more flavor choices, and they generally hold up better than regular sandwich bread. This affords you the opportunity to make them further in advance, which again, gives you time for other things (or just to relax).

Now, everybody has enjoyed or made sandwich wraps at one time or another. Many have made a wrap of sliced sandwich meats with lettuce, tomato and mayo or mustard, and no doubt they were just fine. But I’d like to share with you some NEW wrap ideas that I think fit just as well into a tailgate environment. I KNOW your crowd will enjoy these tasty ideas.

Try one of these 7 NEW wrap ideas:

Chilled Chicken Fajita Wrap

The Wrap: Flour Tortillas. White Lavosh or Tumaro’s Brand Chipotle Chili Pepper Flour Tortillas
The Spread: Eat Well Brand Sweet & Spicy Black Bean Hummus & Sour Cream
The Filling: Nino’s Prepared Chicken Fajitas (Gourmet to Go)
The Garnish: Sliced Avocado, Shredded Romaine Lettuce

Grilled & Chilled Chunked Salmon With Smoked Salmon Spread

The Wrap: White Lavosh or Flat Out Brand Italian Herb Wraps
The Spread: Nino’s Smoked Salmon Spread / Dip or Nino’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip
The Filling: Nino’s Prepared Grilled Salmon (Gourmet to Go)
The Garnish: Sliced or Julienned English Cucumber, Shaved Red Onion, Spicy Sprouts, Ranch Dressing, Chopped Fresh Dill

Country Meatloaf Wrap With Egg Salad & Crisp Bacon

The Wrap: White or Tomato Lavosh
The Spread: Honey Mustard
The Filling: Nino’s Prepared Country Meatloaf (Gourmet to Go), 2 Strips of Crisp Nino’s Butcher Shop Brand Maple Bacon
The Garnish: Prepared Egg Salad, Iceberg Lettuce

BBQ Pulled Pork Wrap With Baby Spinach & French’s Crispy Onions

The Wrap: White or Tomato Lavosh or Flat Out Brand Sun-Dried Tomato
The Spread: Sour Cream (optional)
The Filling: Nino’s Prepared Pulled Barbecue Pork (Gourmet to Go)
The Garnish: Shredded, Smoked Gouda Cheese; Shredded Romaine Lettuce; Baby Spinach Leaves and French’s Brand Crispy Onions

Shrimp With Lobster Dip

The Wrap: White or Spinach Lavosh
The Spread: Nino’s Lobster Dip/Spread
The Filling: Cooked, Chopped Shrimp (Nino’s Seafood Department)
The Garnish: Sliced Avocado, Shredded Romaine Lettuce, (optional) Squeeze of Fresh Lemon

Blackened Chicken Breast With Black Bean & Corn Salsa

The Wrap: White, Tomato or Spinach Lavosh
The Spread: Black Bean & Corn Salsa
The Filling: Nino’s Blackened Chicken Breast (Gourmet to Go)
The Garnish: Sliced Avocado, Shredded Romaine Lettuce, Nino’s Chipotle Ranch Dressing

The Healthy One

The Wrap: Flat Out Brand “Harvest Wheat”
The Spread: Cooked, Mashed Sweet Potato
The Filling: Nino’s 7 Grain Salad
The Garnish: Diced Tomato, Shaved Red Onion, Matchstick Carrots, Shredded Tuscan Kale and Baby Spinach. Dressing: Cardini Brand Light Balsamic or Mucky Duck’s Garlic Vinaigrette

Tailgate parties are always fun, especially when your guests are enjoying great food and you’re enjoying the compliments!

Let me know which are your favorites or share your creations with me in the comments below.

Have a wonderful fall tailgate season!

What Do Chefs Bring to a Tailgate Party?

I hate anxiety. And when you’re a chef and expected to bring something to a tailgate party? Well, the pressure is on.

Forget about the fact that what everybody REALLY wants is something normal–something like barbecued ribs. And I can forget about copping out and bringing the coleslaw or the potato salad. The last time I was able to play THAT card was back in high school, when no one had any expectations that I might actually know what I was doing. Back then, I was just a chubby, goofy kid who just kinda liked to cook. No one took me (or my food) seriously.

Yep, back in the days of my culinary innocence I was, culinarily speaking, a “nothing”…AND a bag of chips.

And a bag of chips is exactly what I brought.

It was safe.

Things are different nowadays. Tailgate parties are food events, (at least the ones I get invited to), and depending on the team and how well the season is going, it’s perhaps the ONLY game in town worth enjoying.

Still, there are expectations. “What do you think Chef Pete is gonna bring?”

I must admit, I’ve done some pretty wacky things over the years, and to that extent, I’ve set the bar pretty high for myself. It’s almost to the point that the party is a “production” and the food is almost “theater.” Themes can do that to me. I get carried away with this crazy vision, which starts with food and then ends up with me building props and sets weeks in advance (and those who know me know I’m not kidding here).

But at the end of the day, in spite of my own crazy “theatrics,” I really know that it’s all about the food. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of my favorite selections from:

“Pete’s Greatest Tailgate Hits Collection”

(…insert theme music here…or a fight song, if you prefer)

Before I decide what to bring to a party, the number-one rule I try to remember is KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! That is, Ethiopian food doesn’t rock 6th graders. Also, know the timing.
If something I’m doing requires the assistance of a grill or some other assembly, I’d better be sure I have the space and time to execute it. (A hungry crowd can turn on you in a SECOND when the carrot sticks and dip are gone.)

Chef Pete’s tailgate favorites

Having said that, in no particular order, here are some of my “safe” favorites:

  • Char-Grilled Mongolian Pork Tenderloin – Everyone loves this; it’s slightly sweet, perfectly mainstream “Asian” and a great alternative to BBQ pork.
  • Pete’s BIGGIE Sandwich Pie – Ok…I lied; it’s really not a pie, but it cuts like one. What it is, is a large, round bread (about 10” in diameter) cut in 3 slices through the equator (I like Nino’s Tuscan Semolina Bread.) and filled with layers of meats, cheeses, lettuces and tomatoes. I insert a dozen or so tall, wood skewers in a circle with triangular pennants at the top (like the top of a stadium) and cut it into wedges like a pie. People really get a kick out of this sandwich.
  • Guy Fondue – This one is a bit trickier because you need to set up a small deep-fat fryer using a propane burner and a sauce pan with canola oil. I have wooden skewers with 1” hot dog pieces or 1” meatballs at the end, and I make my Corn Dog Batter and my Nino’s Chili Cheese Dip, which I call “Guy Fondue.” Each person dips his or her meat of choice in the batter and then fries it in the oil until golden. From there, you can dip it into the Chili Dip like fondue and enjoy! It’s way cool and WAY fun!

And here’s a brand-new one I’m going to use this year. I’m calling it my Thai “Flutes” with Chicken & Colorful Vegetables. Here’s how to make them.

Thai “Flutes” with Chicken & Colorful Vegetables

Makes 6 “Flutes”

  • 1 Nino’s Rotisserie Chicken, pull and shred the meat, then chill.
  • 6 6” Soft Flour Tortillas
  • 4 Cups Finely Julienned Vegetables to include:
    • Carrot
    • Bok Choy
    • Pea Pods
    • Red Bell Pepper
    • Red Onion
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro, Sprigs
  • 2 Cups Fried Rice Noodles (La Choy)
  • 2 Cups Thai Peanut Curry Sauce

Set up the pulled chicken, vegetables, cilantro sprigs and rice noodles in separate bowls. You can leave the flour tortillas in their package to keep them from drying out. The Thai Peanut Curry sauce can be placed in a bowl, but I’ll be using a squeeze bottle (like the kind used for ketchup or mustard).

Make the “flute” like you would any roll-up (wrap). Use the cilantro and rice sticks as interior garnishment and squirt some of the sauce on the ingredients (like mayonnaise) before rolling up.

Ready-for-tailgating fare:

If, however, you’re NOT culinarily motivated or you’ve just decided to focus on the “liquid” libations, Nino’s has you covered. We LOVE providing our customers with some of the best tailgating fare in town! And we have lots to choose from too! Here’s just a sample to whet your appetite!

  • 3- & 6-Foot Party and Italian Subs
  • Barbecued Ribs, Chicken & Pulled BBQ Pork
  • HUGE Meaty Kabobs in our Great Marinades!
  • All-Beef Meatballs & Buffalo Wings
  • Southern Fried Chicken
  • An ENORMOUS selection of Lunch Meats!
  • Chip and Dip Choices that amaze people!

And of course, our beverage selections, from waters to sodas, wines and liquors (Troy and Clinton only), are not only impressive, but our liquor prices are also the lowest in town–GUARANTEED!

Try my new recipe and let me know how it went! I love to hear from our customers!