The Perfect Pregame

Photos by Brennan Booker

Contrary to what the temperature would have you believe, September has arrived and with it, football season. I’ve never been that much of a sports person, but nevertheless, I’m here to spread some Gamecock spirit. While I lack the attention span to enjoy an eternity-long quarter, there’s something that always will pull me out of the house and into the stadium on Saturdays: 

Tailgate food. Fun, easy, and versatile. Fellow homebodies, feel free to rejoice. We’re about to start the season off right with some recipes that’ll get even the biggest couch potatoes on their way to the game.


Anyone who knows me knows I’m a burger girl, so of course we’re going to start this off with some sliders. This burger recipe is buttery, spicy, and bound to please. 


1 lb ground beef 

1 tsp salt & pepper 

1 tsp cumin 

1 tsp mustard powder 

½ tsp paprika 

1 whole onion 

3 garlic cloves 

1 can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles, drained 

12 slices of cheddar cheese 

12 dinner rolls 

Guacamole (optional) 


1. Preheat oven to 350 oF. Coat baking dish with cooking spray. 

2. Place a large skillet on the stovetop over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the beef and season. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is browned and onions are golden. Stir in drained tomatoes until well combined. 

3. Place bottom half of buns in pan. Top with beef & sliced cheese. Finish off with the top half of the bun.


I know y’all are out there and deserve a good snack like the rest of us. Even if you aren’t vegan, I highly recommend giving these nachos a try, especially if you’re interested in some healthy variations on some of your favorite dishes. 

The Cheese


1 cup potatoes, peeled & diced 

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped 

¼ cup water 

2 tbsp olive oil 

1 tsp salt 

½ tbsp lemon juice 

¼ cup nutritional yeast 

¼ tsp onion powder 

½ tsp garlic powder 

½ tsp paprika 


1. Boil the carrots and the potatoes. 

2. Blend the potatoes and carrots together until very smooth. 

3. Add remaining ingredients until the cheese is smooth, adding more of the reserved water as necessary until desired consistency is reached. 

4. Season to taste with salt, cayenne and paprika. 

The Nachos


Tortilla chips 

Vegan nacho cheese sauce 

2 Tomatoes, diced 

Refried beans 

2 Green Onions, chopped 


1 Jalapeño, chopped 



1. Spread out half of the tortilla chips onto a dish or serving tray. 

2. Add spoonfuls of refried beans. 

3. Drizzle vegan nacho cheese. 

4. Add a second layer of nachos, add spoonfuls of refried beans and sprinkle like you did on the first layer, along with a generous amount of cheese. 

5. Add jalapeños, green onions, and sprinkle of tomatoes. 

6. Top with cilantro for garnish. 

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