Janet's Notebook
2, 4, 6, 8! Let's Get Ready to Tailgate!

Grilled Mexican Pizza!

This time last year the Crew and I were happily up to our elbows in entries for the Just A Pinch Sporty Snack Showdown recipe contest. We received so many wonderful entries - including Gail Herbest's Grand Champ Antipasto Squares - and we indulged like we'd never indulged before. By the end of that judging we knew who the real game day winners were.... US!

Well, football weather is here again, and so to are more decadent game day snacks! Even without the convenient excuse of having a tailgate recipe contest to judge this year, we have been loading our plates high with some special all-star eats.

When it comes to tailgating, burgers are the perennial king, but why not add some extra zing to your everyday patty? And we do mean ZING! Stormi Choate of Amarillo, TX blends the flavors of hot wings AND burgers into her Buffalo Cheeseburgers, Crunchified. "We love burgers but not just a plain burger," says Stormi. "We also love hot wings, so the thought of both together only made my mouth water more-- I have requests for the recipe every time I make them." And what puts the kick into Stormi's recipe? Well, she adds cubed pepperjack and a healthy amount of hot sauce straight to the meat mixture! A cooling spread of mayonnaise, dressing mix and blue cheese adds that true Buffalo flavor while also providing a creamy richness. But what makes this recipe "crunchified," you ask? Well, potato chips, of course! Top your burger with a layer of chips for a salty, ridiculously indulgent crunch. "The chips give them a special touch that you have to try to appreciate." The fan club line forms here, Stormi!

For those burger lovers looking for a lighter take on the perfect patty, try Tasha Kaye's Vegan Black Bean Veggie Burger! Don't let the title fool you; these are hearty and delicious burgers that even the manliest meat lovers in your life will dig into. A delicious mixture of zucchini, beans, mustard, peppers and onion, these burgers don't contain a single ingredient not already found at a traditional cookout. Top them with your favorite cheese for an unusual (and healthier) twist to your game day eats.

Looking to break out of the tailgate mold entirely? How about upping your game and making pizza for the gang?! Surprisingly, grilling pizza can do wonders for its flavor. The slight char you get adds a rustic feel and really gets you in the mood for the game. A favorite pizza recipe of ours comes from Lynn Socko of San Angelo, TX. Her yummy Grilled Mexican Pizza is easy, Easy, EASY! Not only is the pizza itself cooked on the grill, but so are the other ingredients! To create your masterpiece, simply season and grill steak and veggies, then cook as you would any other pizza... only using delicious tomatillo salsa in place of tomato sauce. The result is half steak taco, half veggie pizza... and entirely divine.

Round out your cook out with a platter of Green Chile Cheese Squares and a big kettle of Sweet and Spicy Chili. While shared by two different cooks, these recipes go so darn well together! Home cook Diana Smith suggests serving her fluffy cheese squares for brunch, but we've found that they're also dynamite served with Monica Valenti's soul-warming chili. "This is a super meaty chili that really satisfies even the heartiest of football fans," says Monica. "Great recipe to prepare the day before then put in crockpot to warm up on game day." No power at the game? No problem! Chili is great warmed up in a kettle over indirect heat right on the grill.

How's that for a game day game plan? A few unexpected additions to your usual fare will not only show off your mad cooking skills, but also guarantee a big W-I-N for all the hungry fans in your very own kitchen crew. Go team YOU!

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Nancy Douglas - Sep 25, 2011
new to this page like what i see---
Arlene Meuchel - Sep 21, 2011
Hi Janet,
My name is Arlene Meuchel, I need to change my Email Address and I can't find a place to do so. I really need help; The Email address that is on file for me with Just a Pinch, is . My
new address is "." If you could email me at this address and tell me how to change my address I would be so thankful.
Many Blessings,
Colleen Sowa - Sep 21, 2011
Congratulations everyone! Great job! Love them all and love all of you!!
Norma DeRemer - Sep 21, 2011
Great article Janet and congratulation to all that are in it. Great recipes and most of all they well deserved.
Dee Stillwell - Sep 21, 2011
congrats to u too Gail for ur recipe recognition
Dee Stillwell - Sep 21, 2011
congratulations to all of u listed in this article..and a special shout out to our girl Lynne...u go girl!!! U deserve this recognition for all the hard work u do in the kitchen and on the grill. : D
Helene Mulvihill - Sep 20, 2011
Once again, a lovely article by the JAP crew! Wonderful to read about my friend Lynn's recipe, and the others as well!!!
Jane Whittaker - Sep 20, 2011
Lynn you rock girl. Congrats on being in this article, well deserved I might add.
Lynn Socko - Sep 20, 2011
CONGRATS to all the awesome cooks in this article!!!! JAP rocks!
Monica H - Sep 20, 2011
Hey, Lynn, Stormi, Tasha, Diana and Monica; thanks for sharing such great recipes :o)
Carol Junkins - Sep 20, 2011
Congrats lynn ~ great recipe ~
Aurora McBee - Sep 20, 2011
Yeah Lynn!!! Woot Woot!!!!
Lynn Socko - Sep 20, 2011
I'm a little kid again today, screaming with excitement, but no one home right now to tell, lol. I'll hit them when they come in from work. THANKS!!!!
Didi Dalaba - Sep 20, 2011
Allright Lynn!!! Woohooooo!!!!
Lynn Socko - Sep 20, 2011
Thank you Janet for including my pizza in your article, I've made it many times since and never grow tired of making or eating it. Thanks!!!