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Wow The Crowd With Tailgating Treats

by and on September 19, 2015 6:00 AM

Tailgating, especially in Happy Valley, isn’t just an excuse to eat and drink — to some, it’s a religion and way of life.

When you adopt this way of life, you realize that the food is just as important as who wins the game.

Even though I grew up in Happy Valley, I admit I was never really introduced to the tailgating way of life until I was 17. Along with a lot of my friends and classmates, I had my first tailgating experience just up the road in the Bellefonte Area High School parking lot. We knew what it meant to support the football team by being there, enjoying the tradition of tailgating prior to the game.

From that point on, I was hooked on the tradition. It went from being a new experience in my high school days to a way of life for me, as I cheered on the Nittany Lions through the reigns of Joe Paterno, Bill O’Brien and, now, coach James Franklin.

When you go to Target, Wegmans or Wal-Mart on the eve of a Penn State home game, you'll see those parking lots packed with RVs, out-of-state plates, and an abundance of Penn State magnets, flags and blue-and-white everything. These proud spectators — each a 12th “phantom member” of the team — are loading up on necessities so they can begin celebrating the tailgating way of life. These fans know how to show their pride and support their team.

People live for this time of year, and some people plan out their tailgating menus months ahead of time.

Here are some recipes to add to your own tailgating menu that your crowd is guaranteed to enjoy.



This blue-and-white cocktail is the perfect way to show your Penn State pride! This drink tastes like a chocolate-covered orange, but it’s got Penn State pride.

2/3 ounces vodka

2/3 ounces cream de cacao liquor

2/3 ounces blue curacao

blue crystal sugar granules

Make sure all ingredients are well-chilled in order to make sure blue and white colors stand out.

In a shot glass, pour vodka, followed by cream de cacao. Slowly pour in blue curacao.

Place sugar granules on top or, prior to pouring, dunk wet rim of glass into granules.



8 ounces whipped cream cheese

7-ounce can white crab meat

cayenne pepper, to taste

pinch of white pepper

2 teaspoons garlic paste

heavy cream

blue corn chips

Place first five ingredients in a food processor on high until combined. Slowly add heavy cream until desired thickness is reached.

Place in a bowl and serve with chips.



2 8-ounce containers whipped cream cheese

8 ounces sour cream

2 12.5-ounce cans chicken, drained

1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

1-1/2 packages dry ranch dressing mix

blue corn chips

Mix first five ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with chips.



2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground beef, cooked and crumbled 
1 pound portobello mushrooms, chopped
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 pound cream cheese
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

toasted baguettes, cut into sandwich size, or toasted slider rolls
Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray. Melt butter over medium heat in a non-stick pan. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms; cook for about 4 minutes until onions are tender. Place in slow cooker.
Stir in ground beef, bacon, cream cheese, blue cheese and sour cream. Cover and cook on high for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve with baguette slices or slider rolls.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Ciara Semack is the owner of The Blonde Bistro in Bellefonte. She is the mother of one and a lifelong resident of Centre County. Her column appears every other week in the Gazette. Questions, suggestions and comments can be directed to [email protected]
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