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A Man, A Can, A Tailgate Plan

A Man, A Can, A Tailgate Plan 
by Zachary Schisgal

Mexican Pita Pizza:
Makes 4 servings

4 6” pitas
2.25-oz can sliced black olives
4-oz can chopped green chilies, drained
1 1/3 cups fresh salsa
4 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups (8 oz) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

How to Make It:
Fire up your grill to medium heat. Brush one side of each pita with the oil. Place the pitas on a disposable aluminum baking pan and top each with 1/3 cup salsa, ½ cup cheese, 1½ Tbsp olives, and 2 tsp chilies. Place the pan on the grill, close the grill cover, and grill the pizzas for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust begins to crisp. Remove from the heat and cut into quarters.

Six-Layer Dip:
Makes 8 to 10 servings

16-oz can refried beans
8-oz prepared guacamole
1¼-oz package low-sodium dry taco seasoning mix
2 cups (8 oz) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1 16-oz container nonfat sour cream
1 medium ripe tomato, chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced

How to Make It:
Spread the refried beans on a 12” round serving platter, then spread the guacamole over the beans. In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream and taco seasoning; mix well, then spread over the guacamole. Sprinkle with the cheese, the tomato, and then the scallions. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Hot Artichoke Spread:
Makes 16 servings (with 24 100% whole wheat crackers)

1 cup light mayonnaise
2 14-oz cans water-packed artichoke hearts, drained
dash of hot pepper sauce
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp lemon juice
½ cup grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

How to Make It:
Dump all the ingredients in a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour into an 8” square disposable aluminum pan; cover with aluminum foil and keep chilled until just before serving. Fire up your grill to medium heat. Heat covered artichoke spread for 10 minutes on the grill, or until warmed through, stirring occasionally.

Cola Roast:
Makes 8 to 10 servings

4 to 5-lb beef bottom round roast
12-oz can cola
12-oz bottle low-sodium tomato chili sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp hot pepper sauce

How to Make It:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a small bowl, dump the salt, pepper, and garlic powder; mix well and rub over the surface of the roast. In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the roast on all sides. Transfer the roast to a roasting pan that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; mix well and pour over the roast. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 2½ to 3 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender.

Substitutions: Any kind of cola works just fine- regular, diet, or caffeine-free.

Apricot-Glazed Ham:
Makes 4 servings

8-oz can pineapple slices, drained with ¼ cup juice reserved
½ cup apricot preserves
¼ cup dark raisins
4 7-to 8-oz ham steaks, cut ½” thick
1 tsp dry mustard

How to Make It:
Fire up your grill to medium-high heat. In a disposable aluminum pie plate, combine the reserved pineapple juice, the preserves, the mustard, and the raisins. Cook on the grill, stirring frequently, until the preserves melt. Grill the ham steaks for 10 to 12 minutes, turning them over occasionally. Grill the pineapple slices for 5 to 6 minutes, turning them over halfway through the grilling. Serve the ham with the pineapple slices and top with the sauce.

Extra Points: Serve this with rice so you can enjoy the sauce.

Skillet Beans:
16-oz can pork and beans or vegetarian beans
14½-oz can green beans
¾ cup bottled barbecue sauce
1 cup (4 oz) shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp light butter
1 16-to19-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

How to Make It:
In a large skillet, sauté the onion in butter for about 5 minutes. Add the pork and beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, and barbecue sauce; heat until bubbly, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese; heat until the cheese melts.

Substitutions: You can use white beans or black-eyed peas instead of the garbanzos.

Salmon Burgers:
Makes 6 sandwiches

1¾ cups dry bread crumbs, divided
15½-oz can red salmon, drained and large bones discarded
10¾-oz can condensed low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
6 sandwich buns, split and toasted
2 eggs
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried dill weed
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
non-stick cooking spray

How to Make It: 
Preheat the broiler. Place ½ cup bread crumbs in a shallow dish, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the cooking spray and buns; mix well. Form the mixture into 6 equal-size ½”-thick patties. Coat the patties completely with the reserved bread crumbs and place on a rimmed baking sheet that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Spray the patties lightly with nonstick cooking spray and broil for 8 to 12 minutes, or until browned, turning halfway through the cooking. Serve on the buns.

Patriotic Apple Pie:
Makes 6 servings

2 20-oz cans apple pie filling
6 single-serving graham cracker tart shells
Canned refrigerated whipped cream
½ tsp ground cinnamon

How to Make It:
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Pour the pie filling into an aluminum pan; stir in the cinnamon. Cook the mixture on the grill, stirring constantly, until heated through and a thick dark sauce forms. Remove the mixture from the heat and spoon into the tart shells. Serve warm, or make in advance and keep chilled until ready to use. Serve topped with whipped cream.

A Man, A Pan: A cast-iron skillet really works best, but whatever type you use (with a heat-proof handle), use a pot holder and be careful- the handle gets really hot.

Sweet-and-Sour Hot Dogs:
Makes 4 to 6 servings

12 gingersnap cookies, crushed
6-oz can salt-free tomato paste
1-lb miniature hot dogs (cocktail franks)
1¾ cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup low-sodium ketchup
½ cup raisins
¼ cup water
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp ground ginger

How to Make It:
In a soup pot, combine all the ingredients except for the hot dogs over medium heat; mix well. Stir in the hot dogs and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the hot dogs are thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.

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