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Game Day Delights



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STORY BY GAY LYONS PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRITT COLE

The football coaches are with the players on game day. Ever wondered how coaches’ wives spend the big day? We asked Casey Pruitt, wife of UT Head Football Coach, Jeremy Pruitt.

“I am usually so busy during game days meeting with recruits and their parents that I have very few minutes that I can take in the tailgating atmosphere,” Casey told us.

“Before becoming a head coach’s wife, I knew I wanted to foster a positive and welcoming tailgate area for our staff families to enjoy,” she continued. “It helps them relax and enjoy what can often be a very intense and chaotic day. Most of us cook several meals for the guests staying at our homes throughout the weekend, so it is nice to know that the tailgate will be catered and the only thing that they have to bring is themselves.”

“Casey does an amazing job organizing these events, and we truly want for nothing,” said Kila Rumph, “but tailgating for a coach’s wife is more than eating and drinking before the big game. It’s about camaraderie, bonding and support. Getting together with other wives and the friends you make in the community is one of my favorite game day practices. It gives you that extra little ‘oomph’ you need before you walk in that stadium and see tens of thousands of people ready to cheer on the team that your husband has been working so hard to perfect.”

Akeia Johnson loves entertaining friends and family from other states who “are in awe at the entire experience and the number of fans who come out hours before the game to show UT love. The icing on the cake for me as well as them is the Vol walk.”

According to Casey, “Tailgating is at the heart of a college team’s fan base, especially in the SEC and especially at the University of Tennessee. I think this is because it is the one time during the week we can all lay down our differences and celebrate what we all have in common: the love of college football!

To help you get ready for game day, Casey Pruitt rounded up her team of coaches’ wives who shared not only recipes but also some tips to help make the day go more smoothly.

CASEY PRUITT’S ROCKY TOP CAVIAR
2 (16 oz.) cans of black eyed peas
1 (16 oz.) can of black beans
2 (16 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (16 oz.) can of corn
I small diced purple onion or yellow onion
1 small diced bell pepper
1 small jar of diced pickled jalapeños (with or without juice)
1 (16 oz.) bottle of zesty Italian dressing
Healthy dash of Lawry’s seasoned salt
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
1 small bundle of diced cilantro (optional)

Store in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve with chips.

NOTE: This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for your crowd. It is also easily customizable to your taste and what you have in your pantry.

CASEY’S CROCKPOT PULLED BBQ CHICKEN SLIDERS
6 chicken breasts
1 (16 oz.) bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 (8 oz.) bottle zesty Italian dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
Buns (optional)

In a large crockpot place washed chicken breasts and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. In a bowl combine the BBQ sauce and the Italian dressing.

Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken breasts. Close the lid and cook on low 8 hrs or on high 4-5 hours. Cook until chicken breasts are done. When chicken is cooked through, remove it from the sauce and shred with two forks.

Add the shredded chicken back to the sauce in the crockpot, stir and it’s ready to serve alone or on buns as a sandwich.

NOTE: You can season the chicken with whatever you prefer. Sometimes I use ranch and sometimes I use Lawry’s seasoned salt. If you double this recipe, cooking time will be longer. I have doubled and even tripled this recipe. It is great for feeding large crowds.

CASEY’S TOUCHDOWN SNACK MIX
Pretzels
Cheerios
Mini marshmallows
M&Ms
Sprinkles
Teddy Grahams
Peanuts

OTHER ADD-INS: bugles, cashews, pecans, luck charms, Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chips

CASEY’S SAUSAGE CREAM CHEESE BITES
1 (8 oz.) container cream cheese, softened
1 lb. browned sausage meat
1 container of 8 count crescent rolls.

Heat oven to 350. Let cream cheese soften on the counter as you brown sausage. Drain sausage and combine with softened cream cheese in large bowl. Mix well. Cut each crescent roll triangle in half so you have 16 mini triangles. Fill each mini triangle with cream cheese mixture and fold the ends to the center. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 mins or until crescent rolls begin to brown.

NOTE: I use turkey sausage and season it so well that Coach can’t tell it’s not pork. Shhhhh! Don’t tell him!)

MARY FITZGERALD’S “POWER T” CUPS
1 ¾ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ c. butter, softened
½ c. white sugar
½ c. peanut butter
½ c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T. milk
40 mini chocolate covered peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter, sugars and peanut butter. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla. Add flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well and shape into small balls; place each into ungreased mini muffin pan. Bake for about 8 minutes or until slightly golden on top. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each cookie. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

ALI POSTELL’S 5 CUP SALAD
Cup of mini marshmallows
Cup of sweetened shredded coconut
Cup of sour cream
Cup of pineapple chunks, drained
Cup of mandarin oranges, drained
Mix everything. Add oranges last. They are most delicate.

CARRIE FRIEND’S QUINOA TABBOULEH WITH FETA
1 c. quinoa
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ c. good olive oil
5 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
1 c. chopped fresh mint leaves
1 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, medium diced
2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved through stem
8 oz. medium diced feta (or use 1 block of boursin)

Pour 2 cups water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and 1 teaspoon salt. Lower the heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes until the grains are tender and open (with curly tails). Drain, place in a bowl and immediately add lemon juice and olive oil. In a large bowl combine scallions, mint, parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes, half teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the quinoa and mix well. Carefully fold in the feta and taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

LU ROCKER’S MANGO SALSA
1 English cucumber
1 large tomato
1 mango
¼ red onion
½ bunch of cilantro
1 serrano chili (optional)
1 can sweet corn
1 can black beans
1/3 c. rice wine vinegar
¼ c. olive oil
Salt and pepper

Chop the cucumber, tomato and mango into small chunks. Finely chop the red onion, serrano chili and cilantro and add all to the bowl. Drain the corn and black beans and add to the bowl. Measure out the vinegar and olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Add to the bowl and toss. Refrigerate for next day or pack to go. Don’t forget the tortilla scoops!

TOYA MARTIN’S SAUSAGE CREAM CHEESE DIP
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. bulk sausage
14.5 oz can Rotel, undrained
16 oz. cream cheese cut into pieces

Drizzle olive oil over a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Once skillet is heated, add sausage and cook until browned, breaking apart the meat as you cook. Drain off excess grease and return to stove top over medium-low heat. Add cream cheese and Rotel and stir frequently until cream cheese is completely melted and mixture is evenly combined. Serve warm with chips.

LAEA ANSLEY’S MINI CHILI CHEESE DOGS
CHILI:
1 (4 oz.) package McCormick Chili Mix
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans
1 (14.5 oz.) can cut tomatoes
2 c. cooked ground beef or ground turkey
2 c. water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add all ingredients to a roasting pan and stir together. Bake until desired thickness is reached (about 1 hour).

HOT DOGS:
8 hot dogs and buns
Chili
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 c. chopped tomatoes, heaping
2 avocados, chopped
2 c. chopped green onions, including the green part

Cook the hot dogs on a grill or boil them in water. Put each hot dog in a bun. Cut each hot dog (and bun) in thirds. Top each hot dog with the hot chili. either right out of the oven or reheated before use. Add the cheese over the hot chili. Top with the tomatoes, avocado and green onions. Serve the extra chili in small bowls topped with sour cream.

CARRIE SHERRER’S CHEESY CHICKEN DIP
2 (10 oz.) cans chunk chicken, drained
¾ c. pepper sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot)
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. ranch dressing
1 ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4-inch pieces
1 (8 oz.) box chicken-flavored crackers

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat until heated through/ Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring, until well blended and warm. Mix in half the shredded cheese and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the to, cover and cook on low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.

CHRISTIE WATSON’S CHICKEN RANCH DIP
1 large can chicken, drained
1 package dry Hidden Valley Ranch mix
8 oz. cream cheese

Combine ingredients and serve with wheat thins. Can be made into a ball and topped with nuts.

CHRISTIE’S CARAMEL APPLE DIP
1 c. light brown sugar
1 (8 oz.) block of cream cheese
1 container caramel dip (found in produce section)
1 bag Heath Toffee Bits (found in baking section)
Chopped pecans, walnuts, peanuts (optional)

Mix cream cheese and brown sugar. Layer in dish (bottom to top): cream cheese mixture, caramel dip, Heath pieces, nuts.

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