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What's for Dinner: Football season inspires tailgating recipes

By Beverly Glaze

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As football season starts, everyone is looking for great tailgate recipes. Taco in a Bag, Chicken Quesadillas, White Chili, Oven-Fried Parmesan Chicken and Turkey Sliders are all nutritious suggestions for tailgates and end-of-the-season barbecues and sure to appeal to people of all ages.

Beverly Glaze has a master's degree in human nutrition and food science and is a WVU Extension specialist in the FNP adult program. Reach her at or 304-634-8449.

Taco in a Bag

Makes 12 servings. Source: West Virginia University Family Nutrition Program.

     12   1-ounce bags baked Doritos

     1     pound extra lean ground beef

     1/2     package taco seasoning mix

     Lettuce, chopped

     Tomato, chopped

     Onion, chopped


     Fat-free sour cream

BROWN ground beef in a skillet and drain well.

ADD taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water and simmer.

CRUNCH the chips in the bag and add a spoonful of desired garnishes. Eat taco out of the bag.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 183 calories, 8 grams fat, 10 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 2.5 grams fiber, 217 milligrams sodium.

Chicken Quesadillas

Makes 20 servings. Source: West Virginia University Family Nutrition Program.

     1     pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

     1     packet fajita seasoning mix

     2     green bell peppers, chopped

     2    red bell peppers, chopped

     1     onion, chopped

     10   10-inch flour tortillas

     1 1/2     cups low-fat shredded cheese

     1     tablespoon bacon bits

HEAT the broiler.

CUT the chicken into small cubes and prepare with the fajita seasoning mix. Broil 5 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside.

HEAT the oven to 350°.

MIX, in a large saucepan over medium heat, the seasoned chicken, green bell peppers, red bell peppers and onion.

COOK slowly and stir 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and chicken is thoroughly cooked.

LAYER half of each tortilla with chicken mixture and bacon bits.

TOP with cheese and fold the tortilla.

BAKE in a heated oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 115 calories, 3.5 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 9 grams protein, 12 grams total carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 180 milligrams sodium.

White Chili

Makes 6 servings. Source: West Virginia University Family Nutrition Program.

     1    10-ounce can white chunk chicken

     3    cups cooked white beans

     1     14.5-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes

     4    cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth

     1     medium onion, chopped

     3/4  cup green pepper, chopped

     1/2  cup celery, chopped

     2     garlic cloves, minced

     2     teaspoons chili powder

     1     teaspoon cumin

     1     teaspoon oregano

     6     tablespoons reduced-fat cheese

     Baked tortilla chips

ADD the chicken, beans, tomatoes and chicken broth in a soup pot. Cover and simmer over medium heat.

ADD, in a skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray the onions, pepper, garlic and celery; sauté until the vegetables are tender.

ADD the vegetable mixture to the soup pot. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and oregano.

SIMMER for 15 minutes. Check the vegetables for tenderness. Spoon into individual bowls, sprinkle with cheese, serve with baked chips on the side.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 355 calories, 4 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 25 grams protein, 55 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams fiber, 485 milligrams sodium.

Oven-Fried Parmesan Chicken

Makes 8 servings. Source: West Virginia University Family Nutrition Program.

     4     boneless skinless chicken strips

     1    cup nonfat plain yogurt

     3/4  cup bread crumbs

     4     tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

     2     tablespoons flour

     1     teaspoon paprika

     Nonfat vegetable spray

HEAT oven to 425° and spray cookie sheet with vegetable spray. Place chicken strips in yogurt and refrigerate while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

MIX in a medium bowl the remaining ingredients. Coat each piece of chicken well with yogurt and dredge in crumb mixture, pressing down on both sides to get a thick coat of crumbs on the chicken.

PLACE chicken strips on the cookie sheet, spray lightly with vegetable spray.

BAKE for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is fork tender and the internal temperature has reached 165°.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 140 calories, 3 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 17 grams protein, 12 grams total carbohydrates, 210 milligrams sodium, 38 milligrams cholesterol.

Turkey Sliders

Source: West Virginia University Family Nutrition Program

     1 1/2     pounds ground turkey breast

     3     garlic cloves, minced

     1     tablespoon olive oil

MIX ingredients together and form into 6 patties. Grill on a barbecue or under a oven broiler. Serve on a whole-wheat bun.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 222 calories, 10 grams total fat, 18 grams protein, 15 grams total carbohydrates, 215 milligrams sodium, 58 milligrams cholesterol.

Shopping list




Green bell peppers

Red bell peppers

10-inch flour tortillas


Taco seasoning mix

Fajita seasoning mix

Canned diced tomatoes

Bacon bits

10-ounce can white chunk chicken

Ground beef

Chicken breast

Chicken strips

Ground turkey breast

Chicken broth

White beans, canned or dried and cooked

Baked Doritos, small bags

Baked tortilla chips

Shredded cheese

Nonfat plain yogurt

Fat-free sour cream

Pantry staples: garlic cloves, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, flour, nonfat vegetable cooking spray, olive oil

Programs and activities offered by the West Virginia University Extension Service are available to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, political beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin and marital or family status. This material was funded, in part, by the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP provides nutrition assistance to people with limited income. To find out more, contact your local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.


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