Treat Yo’ Self Tailgate

Kathy’s Shortcut Caramel Bars

My mother Kathy used to make these all the time growing up! Lucky for me, I never knew how easy they were to make! Something this yummy shouldn’t be this easy! My mum got this recipe from an old church cookbook, and that IS where we find the best culinary treasures, is it not?

You will need:

  • 1 german chocolate cake mix
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 11 oz unwrapped caramel candies
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix cake mix, remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk and melted butter in a stand mixer. Add half of the nuts. Press half of the batter into the bottom of a 9×13 pan and bake for 6-7 minutes.

Unwrap the caramel candies and melt with 1/3 cup of evaporated milk in a medium saucepan, stirring often.

Remove pan from the oven and top with the melted caramel, chocolate chips, and remaining nuts. Break the rest of the batter into chunks and distribute evenly over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. You’re welcome!!

Liesl approved!

Upgraded Club Sandwiches

You will need:

  • A hot grill
  • 1 baguette
  • olive oil
  • sliced deli turkey
  • sliced deli ham
  • 4-6 slices prosciutto, and or salami
  • sliced, sharp cheddar cheese
  • bib lettuce
  • sliced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 2 jarred sundried tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 375. Heat your grill, indoor or out, but if you’re grilling outside don’t forget your bread! Check it every 60 seconds. I’m serious. You. Will. Forget. Set a timer. Begin by slicing your baguette along the middle, and drizzling your grill and the bread with olive oil. Press the bread down onto the grill to get those crusty, brown grill marks!

Place your prosciutto on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes at 375 or until fragrant and crispy.

Remove two sundried tomatoes from their jar, and chop into as small of pieces as you can manage. Mix it in a small bowl along with the mayonnaise. Add 1-2 TBS of the oil from the jar and mix it in there as well.

Hopefully by this time this is all done, your bread is nice and toasty! Remove from the grill and cut the baguette into your desired length of sandwich. Spread the top and bottom with the mayo mixture. Then on the bottom slice, layer your turkey, ham, cheese, then run to the oven for the prosciutto, because you forgot it! Layer that on as well when it’s cool enough to handle. Then add your lettuce and tomatoes, and you’ve got one gorgeous sandwich!

Wrap it in wax paper and you’re ready to picnic with the littles, or romance your guy/gal on the tailgate!

NOLA Snack Mix

Sweet and hot, just like New Orleans.

You will need:

  • 2 cups of corn chex
  • 2 cups of rice chex
  • 2 cups pretzels or popcorn
  • 1 cup of cheez-its
  • 1/2 cup nuts

For the flavoring:

  • A stick of butter
  • 5-6 dashes hot sauce
  • 3 TBS brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Preheat oven to 250. Melt butter, hot sauce, brown sugar, cayenne and garlic salt in a small saucepan on medium heat. Whisk until bubbling and combined.

Add snacks to a large mixing bowl and pour contents of saucepan over and mix thoroughly with a spatula or your hands. Pour mixture onto one or two baking sheets. Bake at 250 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes until everything is toasty and fragrant. Cool for 30 minutes and enjoy!

Layered Pea Salad

Depending on how you want to present this, you may have to up your portions if you’re layering in a trifle bowl. This salad is WONDERFUL for potlucks. It travels well, and keeps in the fridge. I got lots of compliments on it at Easter. You could sub in the sour cream for plain Greek yogurt. I did once, no one was ever the wiser, and I felt ever so clever! Yields 5-6 medium mason jar salads.

You will need:

  • 1 cup cooked pasta
  • 1 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas
  • a head of iceberg lettuce
  • chopped red bell peppers
  • chopped fresh zucchini

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 strips chopped cooked bacon

Start by chopping your iceberg (or any leafy green you like, really) into bite size chunks and put those in the bottom of the jar. Then paying attention to the outside of the jar, layer in the peas, peppers, zucchini, pasta, dressing, bacon and cheese. Garnish with chopped bacon. Leave a little room at the top of the jar so it all doesn’t come spilling out when you dig in! Fresh, hearty, delicious!

All these are deliciously transferable to your nearest tailgate, deck, picnic, playdate, or kitchen table. Enjoy! I know I did šŸ˜‰


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