Once upon a time in a land far far south there lived a mild-mannered, tennis-playing salesman named Mike. Together we lead a fairly normal life at the beach until a certain Saturday each fall when he turns into a face painting, cape-wearing, chomp stomping, swamp monster I call d’ Super Fan!!!
This story is a salute of the special time we spend together watching The Florida Gators. I have learned to embrace his ‘somewhat’ over-the-top shenanigans as we prepare for a HomeGate ‘Date Night’ event. HomeGating is the newest, oh so hip way to tailgate at home…a favorite new activity we can enjoy together.
Did I mention obsessed fan…
The Gangs All Here HomeGate
Sometimes we have a crowd over and really do it up BIGGG… with invitations…
a complete homegate backyard makeover…
including games like The Swamp Hole….the bean bag toss game for all ages…
Sir Chancelot dresses up…
I wear my lucky pink gator hat…Gators have a lot of championships to show for it!!!
and our lucky gator gnome welcomes our guests…yes over-the-top indeed!!!
The HomeGate Date Night
And sometimes we just make it a couples date night….where it’s just the two of us, dressed in orange and blue of course, with the Gator Hole, Make Mike Dance and Find the Gnome games, huge amounts of food and drink and The Florida Gators!!! The Florida Gators football team represents the University of Florida located in Gainesville, Florida.
We love, love, love to play Gator Hole…the bean bag toss game shown above. It is especially cut-throat around here. Two can play or teams can play. Our very favorite activity is our “Make Mike Dance” game. We yell out words after a touchdown and watch d’Super Fan do a dance acting out the word. If you didn’t see the movie above, go back and watch it…you can’t miss the dancing fool!!! We also play Find the Gnome…the winner takes home a whole DiGiorno pizza!
So let’s get this party started…
For our couples date night HomeGate we decided to keep it simple…yeah right! Our menu includes enough for a crowd…but we always want our favorite HomeGate foods. Most of these are great snacks or meals on their own.
If you haven’t tried DiGiorno pizzas, let me tell you what you are missing. We love the rising crust pizzas, the flatbread pizzas and most of all the garlic bread pizzas. We love making new and unusual game time food with them…but they rock just as a pizza. We also like using Miller Lite beer in recipes too. You won’t believe what we came up with for this game. Here’s what we prepared:
Spicy Cheese Log
1 pkg. Cream Cheese
1 jar Corn, Mango or Raspberry Chipotle Salsa
1 pkg. DiGiorno Shredded Cheese
Cover the log of cream cheese with the mango salsa. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top. Chill. Serve with crackers.
Gator Flatbread Rollups
1 DIGIORNO PIZZA CRISPY FLATBREAD SUPREME
6 pre-cooked smoked sausages cut in half or little smokies
Prepare the pizza as directed except remove from oven 5 minutes before suggested bake time. Let cool for 5 minutes and slice into 6 pieces. Roll each slice around a sausage and secure with toothpick. Put back into oven for remaining 5 minutes. Remove to serving dish. Serve with extra marinara sauce for dipping.
Mike’s Pizza Sandwich
2 DIGIORNO PIZZA RISING CRUST SUPREME
18 1″ meatballs – cooked completely
1 pkg. shredded cheese of choice (we like cheddar)
Bake pizza as directed. Let cool a few minutes and slice into quarters. Place 3 or 4 meatballs and some shredded cheese on one slice. Place another slice upside down on top to create a sandwich.
Garlic Pizza Bread Squares with Spicy Garlic Beer Butter
1 DIGIORNO GARLIC BREAD PIZZA PEPPERONI
1 stick butter
2T minced garlic
Hot Sauce to taste
While pizza bakes, melt stick of butter in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and hot sauce and saute while stirring for 4 minutes. Cut baked pizza into 2″ squares and serve with the dipping sauce.
Leigh’s Gator Gumbo
3 cans of Chicken and Rice soup
3 soup cans of Miller Lite beer + 1 cup (reserved for roux)
1 onion chopped
1 each green, yellow, red pepper chopped
1 pkg. smoked Kielbasa sliced into 1/4″ pieces
3 small cans of chicken meat
Creole seasoning to taste
Worcester Sauce to taste
Hot sauce to taste
Teriyaki sauce to taste
Soy sauce to taste
1/2 C oil or butter
1/2 C flour
Put soup and beer into large soup pot. Heat on medium heat. Place onions and peppers in saute pan with butter. Saute until onions are transparent stirring occasionally. Put onion mixture into soup mix and continue heating. Add chicken and seasonings. In the saute pan place the oil or butter and heat about 1 minute. Slowly add flour stirring with a whisk until it is blended. Continue to stir until this mixture is golden brown. It can burn easily so keep stirring. slowly add the reserved 1 cup of beer to this mixture…stir constantly until gravy like. Slowly add this mixture to the soup pot stirring to blend thoroughly. Bring mixture to boil. Cover and reduce to medium low heat. Cook for at least 2 hours.
HINT: This is great prepared ahead of time and put in the refrigerator overnight. This allows flavors to really blend. It is also good for a crock pot or slow cooker.