Yum Yum! Cocky Cosmos And Baked Potato Casserole!

The most important goal this Saturday, for we faithful Gamecock fans, will be to BEAT GEORGIA! But for tailgaters it's THE PARTY, the food, the fun and the presentation that will reign supreme both before and after the game ...

Tailgating is an art unto itself and, like the opposing football teams, Gamecock tailgaters will be in a battle Saturday against the Bulldogs for the ultimate party. Old traditions like fried chicken, potato salad and wings are staples for the occassion, and certainly meet the caloric intake for the day, but why not treat this day special? The coronation of the football season home opener deserves better. I myself will be entertaining and will place an elegant spin on my spread. Barbequed shrimp, chicken and beef kabobs served hot off the grill with a scrumptious Big Thursday Baked Potato Casserole and spinach salad - which will certainly out-do anything the Bulldogs fans may try to pull-off. I foresee Dawg fans taking the easy way out and using the fast-food drive through … ordering a bucket of chicken with biscuits. Their deviled eggs will be transported via cooler from the red clay hills of Jawh-Jah with enough sweet relish to send any good southerner over the edge. Now isn't that boring?

For those of you wanting to show your own unique flair on the beverage front, why not try a refreshing COCKtail like a "Cocky Cosmo". Cosmopolitans are definitely the female drink of the day and what better way to show your school spirit, than a garnet cranberry liquid treat. If you are in need of a non-alcoholic beverage, cranberry juice with a splash of a lemon-lime soft drink will quench the thirst and provide the same school-spirited presentation. And if you are like me, red wine remains the beverage of choice no matter what the occasion. I recommend Somona County's St. Francis Merlot. The 2000 California Selection is a solid value and can be found locally at any of the Columbia area discount beer and wine retailers.

One word of advice, if you truly want to dominate in your entertaining competition, by no means should you display plastic of any kind. Public Display of Plastic is unbearable! If you want to be successful in your bid for the winner's trophy, use attractive serving pieces. This day is just as important as any party you would host in your own home. Be creative utilizing coordinating platters, hand-painted tin buckets for beverages, fabric table clothes that tie the school colors and centerpiece together. Centerpiece, that's right. Don't forget your guests deserve an attractive focal point to the tailgate table. This can be an expensive but necessary addition. Garnet mums in a simple terracotta pot will do the trick and this is economical.

If you will take this tailgating advice then I will predict the Gamecocks will win Saturday, not only in the football field, but in the tailgating arena as well. Make this Saturday a special day with your own Ultimate Tailgate Party!

"Big Thursday" Baked Potato Casserole

  • · 4-6 large baking potatoes, micro waved until done
  • · ½ stick of butter or margarine
  • · 2 bunches of green onions chopped, including the green tops
  • · 1 lb of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • · 1 pint of sour cream
  • · 2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • · Salt and pepper to taste
Chop cooked potatoes into large chunks and pieces leaving on the skin. In a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients except the cheese. Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish spreading potato mixture evenly. Top with grated cheese, bake for 30 minutes in a 350° oven.

"Cocky Cosmo"

  • · ½ oz. Triple Sec
  • · 1 oz. Premium vodka
  • · Splash of Rose's lime juice
  • · Splash of cranberry juice (for the Garnet color)
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge or lemon twist.

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