7 Game Day Dishes from Local Fans

For these seven die-hard college football fans, it isn’t game day without the right food on the table. Here are the dishes — and teams — they can’t live without.

University of South Alabama

Tiquera poses with SouthPaw in front of Alumni Hall on the USA campus.

Just about everyone knows that family — the one that’s always throwing the football watch parties. If you don’t, you might be that family. Or you might be Tiquera Hall.

“Growing up, my house was always the place of gathering for football games and events,” Tiquera remembers. “My mom loves to cook and always made sure she made everyone’s favorite dish. My absolute favorite is hot wings, and one day my mom didn’t have time to prepare my wings, so she prepared an alternate dish, the bacon-wrapped chicken-stuffed jalapeños. From that day on, that became the dish that everyone loved.”

Tiquera, who earned her undergraduate and masters degrees from the University of South Alabama, now works as an education and training specialist in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. “Being a South Alabama fan is close to my heart,” Tiquera says, and it’s something she gets to share with husband Kadeem and their two children
Roman and Kori.

“There are so many memories I have and look forward to creating with my family and friends this year,” she says. These spicy, easy-to-grab snacks will be right there with her.

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Bacon-Wrapped Chicken-Stuffed Jalapeños

Jalapeno Poppers
Food photos by Elizabeth Gelineau

12 jalapeño peppers, approximately 3 to 4 inches long
1 10-ounce canned chicken breast, drained 
1 8-ounce block cream cheese, softened
1 cup Colby-Jack cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon Frank’s RedHot sauce 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
12 slices thin-cut bacon 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat it with cooking spray. 

2. Cut the jalapeños in half, lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and ribs. 

3. Sautè the chicken in a medium pan greased with cooking spray.

4. In a medium bowl, mix chicken breast with next six ingredients. Fill each jalapeño half with the cheese mixture.

5. Cut the slices of bacon in half, crosswise and wrap each pepper half in a slice of bacon, using a toothpick to secure the bacon.

6. Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and browned. Serve immediately with your favorite dressing. Makes 12

Auburn University

Danielle and husband Shane Nicholas cheer on the Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

For Mobile’s Danielle Nicholas, Auburn football truly is a family affair. Danielle and her Auburn alum husband Shane have three daughters who, you guessed it, are all Auburn Tigers themselves.

“Being an Auburn fan is truly like being in a great big family,” Danielle says. “We still have a huge group of college friends that we see several times a year. Some are our daughters’ godparents, and we are godparents to some of their children.”

When watching a game at home or attending a friend’s party, Danielle likes to prepare Tiger Toast, a recipe given to her by a family friend with three Auburn daughters of her own.

“I love this snack because it can be prepared ahead and frozen. The tray is usually empty before the first down!”

Tiger Toast

Tiger Toast

1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 mini loaves Arnold thin-sliced bread 

1 pound sharp grated cheese
8 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
1 small onion, grated fine
1 package (about 3/4 to 1 cup) grated almonds
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread butter evenly on all slices of bread. Mix remaining ingredients until blended, and then spread on mini bread slices. 

2. Put slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until spread is melted and bubbling. Serve hot or room temperature. Serves 15 – 20

Tip: This snack can also be frozen before baking and pulled out as needed (just bake) for a game day-ready appetizer.

University of Alabama

Cheering on the Tide, from left to right: Largay Douglas, Mara Outlaw, Robbie Outlaw, Grey Cane and Mary Cane.

You won’t find any passive football viewers in the Cane household in Point Clear.

“I’m standing up and screaming at the TV during ‘Bama games,” says realtor Mary Courtney Cane, “and so is the rest of my family.”

Mary and husband Grey, who both attended the University of Alabama, have two children who are currently enrolled at the University, making game day visits to Tuscaloosa even more special for the couple. But when they can’t make it to T-town, where the Yellow Hammers flow like water, Mary is forced to take matters into her own hands.

“I’ve been making Yellow Hammers for as long as I can remember,” Mary says. “I don’t even measure out the ingredients anymore. It’s just a lot of liquor and more pineapple juice than orange juice,” she says with a laugh.

The classic drink has been served at Gallettes, a bar near Bryant-Denny Stadium, since 1976. Besides the obvious appeal of a potent, delicious, sweet game day libation, Mary says she loves this recipe because it can be made quickly and in large quantities, depending on the size of the weekend’s crowd. One thing that never changes is the intensity of Mary’s family and guests.

“No one is going anywhere until the game is over,” Mary says. With a Yellow Hammer like this, can you blame them?

Yellow Hammer

4 ounces vodka
4 ounces dark rum
4 ounces amaretto
18 ounces pineapple juice
12 ounces orange juice
cherries, for garnish

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve over ice in glass mugs and garnish with a cherry. Makes 8 – 10

Ole Miss

The Rocconi family enjoys some time on the Grove after an Ole Miss game. From left to right: Isabella, Ty, Olivia, Courtenay and Rod.

Parties on the Grove at the University of Mississippi have become even more fun (who knew that was possible?) for Courtenay and Rod Rocconi ever since their son Ty joined the football squad. Upon performing his first Walk of Champions through the Grove, Ty dished out high-fives to awestruck kids who reminded the family of another youngster they once knew. “I think our whole family cried over that moment!” Courtenay says.

Courtenay and Rod met as students at Ole Miss and now live on Dog River with their two daughters, Isabella and Olivia. When hosting a day-long tailgate party or kicking back on the Grove, Courtenay breaks out this filling white bean chicken chili, which has become a family favorite.

“This recipe is great for a cold November game because you can bring it in a crockpot and serve a warm meal prior to the game,” she says. And if the game is early enough, Ty might even be able to score himself a bowl of chili.

“As a mom, I get excited when we have day games because it means  our family gets time with our son after the game!”

White Bean Chicken Chili

White Bean Chicken Chili

3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
3 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 
2 tablespoons minced garlic 
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chile peppers 
1 teaspoon chili powder 
2 teaspoons cumin 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano 
2 (14.5-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken stock 
1 package reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese blend
fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
corn chips (optional)

1. Add chicken (could use a rotisserie chicken) and white beans to crockpot.

2. Add onion to a large skillet with olive oil over medium-heat. Add minced garlic and chile peppers to the skillet and continue to heat. 

3. Add in chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and oregano (if ingredients seem to be burning while heating, add a little chicken stock to the skillet). Once this mixture is heated well, pour it into the crockpot and add the rest of chicken stock. Stir ingredients.

4. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Place chili in a bowl and serve with shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream and corn chips, if desired. Serves 8

University of Tennessee

Miller Callaway with sons Hunter and Gaines at the 2021 Senior Bowl.

Growing up a Tennessee fan in the state of Alabama isn’t for the faint of heart. But according to Midtown resident Miller Callaway, who was indoctrinated by Tennessee-dwelling grandparents, being a Volunteer in Mobile did have its perks. During Senior Bowl practices, Miller and his brother were always the lone speck of Tennessee orange on the sidelines, guaranteeing they’d leave the field with the autograph of every visiting UT player.

Though a graduate of Furman University, Miller has passed on his Tennessee fandom to his two sons, Hunter and Gaines — with the permission of their mother Brittany, an Auburn Tiger. “I guess in marriage you make sacrifices for the one you love,” Brittany says. “My boys will be both Auburn and UT fans if I have anything to say about it.”

For game day at the Callaway house, it’s hard to beat jambalaya. Miller’s father-in-law Danny Rickert was more than happy to pass down this crowd-pleasing recipe.

“Once made, it’s a hands-off, serve-yourself type meal that lets the hosts enjoy game day as much as their guests,” Miller says. “Serve with plenty of Tony’s and some crusty French bread, and you’ve got an easy meal to serve both kids and grown-ups.”

Game Day Jambalaya

2 pounds uncooked chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 pound uncooked Conecuh sausage, sliced
1 (10-ounce) can Campbell’s French onion soup
1 (10-ounce) can Campbell’s beef broth soup
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1/2 cup green bell peppers, diced
1 stick butter
2 cups uncooked Uncle Ben’s converted rice
Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning, to taste

1. Put all ingredients into a Dutch oven or oven-safe stockpot with lid. Sprinkle Tony Chachere’s on top of the ingredients (can add more to taste later).

2. Cover pot and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out of oven, fold rice and ingredients over once, and place back into the oven, covered, for 30 more minutes.

3. Remove pot from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Season with additional Tony Chachere’s, to taste. Serves 10 – 12

University of Georgia

Brant and wife Taylor cheer on the Bulldogs at the 2018 Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

“One of my favorite parts of being a Georgia fan is just being in the city of Athens, the Classic City,” says attorney and Georgia fanatic Brant Richerson. “Athens is the best college town in the country, in my humble opinion.”

Though Brant’s married to a Florida State Seminole, Taylor, he’s adamant that their two daughters Sibley and Mamie “will have no choice but to be Georgia fans.” When they can’t make it to Athens for game day, Brant does his best to impart the UGA lifestyle on his girls in Daphne. He helps his case by serving his family a recipe that showcases what the state of Georgia is known for: great peaches.

“Everyone likes a kabob off the grill on game day,” Brant adds.

As for the 2021 Georgia football season? “Dawgs on top,” he predicts.

Balsamic Pork & Peach Skewers with Pecan Butter

2 tablespoons Georgia pecans
1 tablespoon maple syrup
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (1- to 1 1/2-pound) pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 to 3 large Georgia peaches, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 tablespoons mint, chopped

1. Make the compound butter. Put pecans in a food processor and blend until they’re the consistency of dust. Add the maple syrup and the butter. Pulse until it all comes together. Dump the butter mixture onto plastic wrap and form into a log. Wrap it and refrigerate for at least one hour. 

2. Whisk the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes together in a large bowl. Add the pork and the peaches and press down so they’re covered in the liquid. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

3. Heat a grill pan or grill to medium-high. Alternately thread the pork and peaches onto the skewers. Each skewer should have roughly three pieces of pork and three peaches. Grill the skewers for about 3 minutes on each side or until pork is cooked. 

4. Cut the butter into small pieces and place all over the warm pork and peaches. The heat will melt the butter over the top. Garnish with the chopped mint. Serves 6 – 8

Louisiana State University

LSU superfan Brian Ward and wife Jennifer visit Death Valley.

“College football is a staple for this family,” says Brian Ward, and that’s no exaggeration. The CEO of Mobile’s DocRx played football for the LSU Tigers in the early 1990s, and his brother-in-law backed up Brett Favre at Southern Miss. 

Brian and wife Jennifer, who serves as president of DocRx, have also passed on a love for college football to their two children. Their son Brady plays football for Auburn, and their daughter Caroline has worked in recruiting for South Alabama.

In true Louisiana form, Brian’s favorite game day dish involves, of course, crawfish.

“Jennifer was looking for ways to use crawfish tails in a dip and put this together,” he says, and it’s been a feature of the family’s tailgate parties ever since. 

“Jennifer likes making this dip because it’s guaranteed to disappear before the game is over.”

Crawfish Casserole

Crawfish Casserole

1/2 cup butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6-ounce roll jalapeño cheese
1 pound frozen or fresh crawfish tails, cooked and shelled
toast or corn chips, for serving

1. Melt butter, then saute green onions and garlic. Add flour and mix well. Slowly add half-and-half, stirring constantly. Add Creole seasoning, wine and lemon juice. Stir well. Add cheese to mixture and blend well. Cook for 15 minutes.  

2. Add crawfish and cook an additional 15 minutes. Serve with toast points or corn chips in a chafing dish. Serves 6 – 8

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