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Chewing Up the Chargers - A Broncos Tailgate Theme

For this week's Tailgate theme, I thought we could go back to the basics. Stewing over last Sunday's loss won't get us anywhere and we don't need to make any turnovers. No, in this game, we will need to run around the edges and avoid running up the gut. Going long is an option, but why call for takeout when a simple gameplan will sate your appetite? I'm talking about a "Trips Right" play call of appetizers that will be well received by your Tailgate guests at the Denver Broncos game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. So let's get Grillin'. Light em up!

Chicken Roulades

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 (3-ounce) log goat cheese, softened
  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 8 large fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 jar of roasted sweet red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 1 onion
  • Additional fresh spinach leaves (optional)

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Stir together goat cheese, cream cheese, and basil; spread evenly over each chicken breast. Top each with 2 spinach leaves and roasted red peppers.

Roll up the chicken breasts like a jellyroll, starting from the short side. Secure rolls with wooden picks, and place, seam side down, in a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

Bake, covered, at 350°F (or Grill on medium heat) for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 more minutes or until chicken is done.

Slice crosswise into 6 to 8 pieces, and serve on a spinach-lined plate, if desired and enjoy the game.

Makes about 24 roulades.

No Huddle (No cook) Roll-Ups

Roast Beef:
  • 4-ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons horseradish
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced cooked roast beef
  • 1 head, Romaine lettuce
Ham and Turkey:
  • 8-ounces Philadelphia Garlic & Herb cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Dill pickles, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of dill
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced honey ham
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced black pepper turkey
  • 1 head, Romaine lettuce

For the Beef: Combine the cream cheese, horseradish and garlic in a bowl. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Place a slice of beef on a leaf of Romaine. Spread about 2 tablespoons on each slice of beef. Roll up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap.

For the Ham and Turkey: In another bowl, combine cream cheese, shallots and dill. Place a slice of ham and/or turkey on a leaf of Romaine. Spread about 2 tablespoons on each slice of ham and turkey. roll up tightly; wrap in plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Before game time, slice into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Arrange on a platter and pig out during the game.

Makes 6 to 7 dozen appetizers.

Chicken-Avocado Sandwich Wraps

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large green bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 large purple onion, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 8 (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • Avocado Mayonnaise (recipe follows)

Whisk together first 6 ingredients. Place the chicken breasts in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; pour half of vinegar mixture over chicken.
Place bell pepper, onion, and avocado in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Pour remaining vinegar mixture over vegetables.
Seal the bags, and chill in the refrigerator, marinating at least 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Remove chicken and vegetables from marinades, discarding marinades.
Grill chicken and vegetables, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.
Remove vegetables from grill when done. Let the chicken and vegetables cool.
Cut the chicken and vegetables into strips.
Spread tortillas with Avocado Mayonnaise. Place chicken and vegetables on tortillas; roll up. Cut in half diagonally.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Avocado Mayonnaise:
  • 2 small avocados
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the avocados, and mash in a small bowl; stir in mayonnaise and remaining ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

There you have the first 3 play calls scripted for the game on Sunday. If you don't make it, go for it on fourth down. Don't punt. You will score a touchdown with your guests. So enjoy watching the Broncos Chew up the Chargers tomorrow. Good eats and...

Go Broncos!