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Tailgating with Your Slow Cooker: Must Haves

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Few events mark the beginning of fall quite like football - and there's no better way to celebrate your favorite team than tailgating before the big game with your friends. Before you hit the streets (or the stadium parking lot), however, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure your celebration is as productive as it is festive.

Pack Your Trunk with Care
There are a few essentials you likely won't forget when tailgating - like your portable slow cooker, blanket and cooler - but there is a variety of items that you may not remember to bring along during your journey. 

For your first bag, bring bandages, antibiotic ointment, hand sanitizer, a flashlight, batteries, a poncho, sunscreen and wet wipes. Your cooking utensils should include the obvious - plastic spoons, forks, knives, plates and bowls - as well as those you require to serve your meals, which may include spatulas, large spoons, ladles, tongs and a bottle opener. Finally, as you're picking the perfect recipes to bring along your tailgating adventure, make a list of the condiments and seasonings you'll need, including salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce and mayonnaise.

Think Ahead
From the way you serve your meals to the number of people joining, planning your tailgate beforehand is crucial to reducing any confusion and ensuring your time is as successful as possible. As you're picking which recipes to make with your slow cooker, look for ways to simplify the serving process. For example, if you're making chili or stew, consider tweaking the recipe to make it thicker than usual - this will reduce spillage and make for a heartier meal. You could also consider making mini bread bowls out of rolls to cut down on disposable goods. Anything that needs to be chopped, sliced or prepared should be done beforehand and packed in containers. 

Coordinate Dishes with Your Friends
Planning who will bring what to your tailgate is one of the most important parts of your event, as this ensures you don't end up with 10 different dips and only one entree. If you're expecting a larger crowd to come to your trunk, consider creating a spreadsheet to share with your friends, which breaks down who will be bringing which dishes, who is responsible for the cooler and who will be bringing the cleaning supplies. 

The Huffington Post reported that coordinating beforehand is a great way to stay healthy as well, as this provides you the opportunity to cover your food basics among friends to ensure you're not subsisting on greasy or fried foods alone. 



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