Bring on tailgate season. Whether it’s a youth league game or your alma mater homecoming, tailgate season is all about the food. So that you can effortlessly balance your cocktail and your foam finger, making food that is easy to eat and even easier to prepare is key. Here are two of our go-to easy and delicious tailgate dishes. Cheesy Bean Dip and BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders, Both of these dishes can be prepared in your crock pot, instapot or even your rice maker, (mine doubles as a slow cooker). This makes it totally easy to transport, keep warm and serve.
Dishes big on flavor and simplicity are the absolute best. Today I’m making my gang’s favorite bean dip. Combine all ingredients and cook. It doesn’t get any easier than that. You can vary the beans to suit your palate or use what you have available in your pantry. I like using both refried beans and whole beans to add a little texture. It is good cold before it’s even cooked. Taste it to be sure the seasonings are as you would like them to be. Once cooked the melty nature of the cheese makes it even better.
I’m also making the easiest BBQ pulled chicken for sliders. Seriously, one of the easiest dishes you can make. Again, place the ingredients into the slow cooker, turn it on. That’s basically it! When it’s done pull the meat apart with a pair of forks then place the meat back into the sauce to keep warm.
To make delicious sliders the secret lies in toasting the buns with butter. We like to top them off with slaw and pickles. If you are trying to decide what BBQ sauce to use I was very pleased with Heinen’s Two Brothers Barbecue. It is vegan and gluten free. In fairness I write many recipes for Heinen’s and often include their products but I am not paid for my opinion. All the products I recommend are recommended because we truly loved it. This is one of one of them.
Now with sliders and bean dip you’re ready for the game. Who are you rooting for? In our house it’s Barrington High School, Cowboys or Navy and, of course, the Bears.
BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders
- 3.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 cups BBQ sauce
- 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar packed
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- buns for serving, taosted
- slaw and pickles for serving
- Combine BBQ sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper in the basin of a slow cooker
- Place chicken breast in sauce and use a spoon to cover with sauce.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high 3-4 hours. Chicken is done when it is easily shredded with a pair of forks.
- Shred chicken and stir well to coat with BBQ sauce. Serve.
Cheesy Bean Dip
- 1 can 16 oz refried beans
- 1 can 16 oz black beans
- 1 small 14 oz can white beans
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin or more for taste
- tortilla chips for serving
- In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients; transfer to a small (1-1/2-qt) slow cooker.
- I like to give all the ingredients a whirl in a food processor before adding to the slow cooker to thoroughly incorporate all the textures and flavors but it is not necessary if you don’t feel like adding this extra step, simply smash some of the whole beans with a fork or mash
- Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or until heated through, stirring intermittently. Serve with tortilla chips and salsa.
- Optional ways of preparing: The slow cooker is ideal because it keeps the dip warm but you can also prepare this in the oven or even microwave. My kids actually like it cold too.
- For the Oven: Bake dip at 350°F for 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Microwave: Heat in a microwave safe bowl for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and smooth. Stir every couple of minutes.
About the Author
Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. Her Blog, Table and Dish is a website devoted to celebrating and curating the many ways that food binds us. Sally hopes that her recipes and images will inspire you to gather your friends and family in the kitchen to make memories, use the time to connect with busy kids, chat over mixing bowls, get messy, laugh, sing, set the table, clear the table, pass the salt, debate the days topics and pray. You can follow her here as a weekly contributor to 365Barrington and Heinen’s as well as via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at TableAndDish.com.
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Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meatheads) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit Heinens.com.