Ask A Philadelphia Expert: Top Easy Tailgate Food

August 27, 2014 8:00 AM

Brownie File Photo (Credit: CBSPhilly)

Christina Dimacali, chef and instructor at Clean Your Plate, offers up some of her favorite recipes for a tailgate party. These recipes can be made in advance and then simply set out for your guests to enjoy.

Christina Dimacali
Clean Your Plate
937 N. 6th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 284-9586

Christina Dimacali is the founder of Clean Your Plate, a cooking instructional school and personal chef service located in Philadelphia. Each class takes on 6-8 students and features a different theme each time. If you’re interested, check out the schedule for upcoming class themes. It’s best to register far in advance, since classes typically sell out. If you’d rather hire someone to do the cooking, Christina will come to your home and cook a meal for a special occasion or cocktail party. She has, in fact, cooked for many Super Bowl parties and tailgate events and is also available as a personal chef to assist you in time-consuming activities like grocery shopping and preparing everyday meals.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Pomegranate Beef Satays
Makes 32 pieces 

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 pound beef (or lamb) cut into thin strips, 1/2” wide x 3” long
  • 32 small bamboo skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes, drained


  1. Mix pomegranate, honey, olive oil, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper in a gallon re-sealable plastic bag. Add beef; chill at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  2. Remove meat from the marinade. Thread meat strip on each skewer.
  3. Prepare a grill over medium high heat. Brush the grates with canola oil.
  4. Grill satays 2-3 minutes per side.

Related: Essential Tailgating Foods In Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Tart and Tangy Purple Slaw
Makes 2 quarts

  • 6 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


  1. Combine cabbage and cranberries in a large bowl.
  2. Combine vinegar and next 4 ingredients (vinegar through pepper), stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over cabbage mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill 2 hours.
  3. Add apple, and toss well to combine. Sprinkle with pecans. 

Chili Chocolate Brownies
Makes one 8 x 8 pan

  • 1 stick butter, cut into pieces
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coffee or espresso
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Using a double boiler or a small heavy sauce pan, melt chocolate and butter together over low heat. Just before the chocolate melts completely, remove from heat. Cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a food processor, grind sugar, almonds and espresso powder until fine.
  4. Stir almond mixture into chocolate mixture and add eggs, one at a time, beating well until mixture is glossy and smooth.
  5. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon and cayenne. Stir chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until just combined.
  6. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake in middle of oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it. 
  7. Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack before cutting into squares. 

Related: Philadelphia’s Top Sports Bars

Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on

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