UNH chefs, dietitian share their favorite tailgating recipes

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The leaves are beginning to change, footballs are flying  and you've begun wearing socks again: It must be tailgating season. Since food is the main attraction at most tailgates, UNH Today asked campus chefs Nelson Barber and Charlie Caramihalis and dietitian Rochelle L'Italien to share recipes for their favorite tailgating foods. 

Nelson Barber, UNH professor

Nelson Barber in the kitchen at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire. Photo: Jeremy Gasowski, Communications and Public Affairs

Ready for Texas Red?

Nelson Barber is chair of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics hospitality management program and he’s a professor in the program as well, teaching such classes as International Food and Culture, International Wines and Advanced Food and Beverage. Barber sent us this recipe for “Texas Red.” Here’s what he had to say about it:

During my short time living in Texas, one thing I came to appreciate: Texans take their chili seriously and opinions vary on what makes a perfect bowl of "red" — a common nickname for this dish. Some add a variety of meats including pork (my favorite), while others insist on beef (true Texans). Many use commercial seasonings and powders for convenience, but purists grind their own chile peppers.

The trick to any chili is to slowly build flavor by letting your seasonings simmer awhile so they can fully cook. Given this is for a tailgate party, no need to rush the process.

I suggest, if still available, serve this with fresh corn on the cob or, if not, make fresh corn bread with real corn!!!

Texas Red


1 pound penne or corkscrew shaped pasta

2 pounds ground pork (loin with some fat)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow Spanish onion, chopped 

3 jalapeno peppers (whole)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

4 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons cumin 
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper sauce 
Coarse salt 
1 cup beer (lager) 
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice 
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes 
Chopped scallions, for garnish 


In a large pot, boil pasta until al dente.

While pasta is cooking, in a big, deep pot, brown pork (lightly coated in flour) in oil over medium-high heat. Remove pork, leaving fat/juices in pot. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Season mixture with chili powder, cumin, cayenne and salt. Add back pork and cook together 5 minutes. Stir in beer and reduce liquid by half, 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain pasta. Add hot pasta to pot and stir to coat pasta evenly. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped scallions (or grated cheese and/or sour cream for non-traditionalists). 

A Well-Seasoned Bird

Charlie Caramihalis

Charlie Caramihalis in the kitchen at the UNH Thompson School of Applied Science  Courtesy photo 

Charlie Caramihalis is professor of culinary arts and nutrition at the Thompson School of Applied Science. He’s been there for 26 years, but he keeps a leg in the food biz as well, as a restaurant owner, executive chef and seafood purveyor — he's a lobsterman on the side!

You don’t have to be a chef or lobsterman to make Caramihalis’s recipe for cilantro chicken. “I chose it because it is light and goes particularly well with most any other tailgating food,” he says. You'll want to get a head start on this one — the meat marinates for three days.

Cilantro Chicken

Makes 2 cups marinade


2 bunches fresh cilantro

2 cups salad oil

½ cup fresh, chopped garlic

Sweet chili sauce (available at specialty stores such as Asian grocery stores)

5 lbs. boneless chicken thighs


Rinse cilantro and chop; place in a large bowl, add oil and garlic and mix.

Add chicken, stirring to ensure all chicken is coated with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.

Grill chicken on char-grill until done, turning frequently so it does not burn. Transfer to serving platter.

Drizzle chili sauce over chicken or place sauce in a bowl and serve on the side. Enjoy! 

UNH dietician Rochelle L'Italien

UNH Dining Services dietitian Rochelle L'Italien (second from left), with UNH chefs in a UNH high tunnel. Courtesy photo 

Vegans Tailgate, Too

Rochelle L’Italien ’88 is the UNH Dining Services dietitian. She helps students make smart eating choices and assists those with special nutrition concerns. We asked L’Italien for a relatively healthy tailgating food option, and she came through with this idea for a zesty bruschetta topping, which, instead of sitting atop carb-heavy bread can be scooped up with whole grain chips or thick cucumber wedges with the centers scooped out of them. The addition of beans adds protein and fiber to this very veggie dish.

Bruschetta Dip


A couple of fresh tomatoes, diced

A handful of basil leaves, chopped

Half of a chopped Vidalia onion, diced

½ cup of black beans, white beans or chickpeas

Olive oil

Sea salt

Black pepper

Garlic powder 


Mix all ingredients together, adjusting seasonings and oil to taste. Top with freshly grated Parmesan or another sharp cheese if desired.

Scoop up with whole grain chips or scooped out cucumber wedges and enjoy!

Thinking of whipping up one of these dishes for Homecoming this weekend? Share your results on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the #UNHHomecoming tag!