Pregame practice yields mostly positive results

buffalo quinoa balls, Mountaineer margaritas and steak tacosWhile our beloved Mountaineers are busy running through their offensive and defensive schemes, Dave and I are brushing up our recipe playbook.

On Sunday, we made two new eats – an appetizer of buffalo chicken quinoa balls and an entrée of steak tacos with cilantro-radish salsa.

Mountaineer MargaritaI also concocted a sublime signature margarita, which I dubbed Mountaineer Margarita. In honor of the gold and the blue, I used tequila gold and blueberries. You can find the recipe here.

I think, all in all, the meals were a success. And the buffalo chicken quinoa balls can definitely be made ahead of time so you only have to warm them up on the grill or in a crock pot on game day.

Dave wasn’t as big of a fan of the steak tacos, especially because of all the prep work. So you probably won’t ever see those at one of our tailgates. However, I’ll share the recipe below. You can decide for yourself whether it’s a suitable cuisine for your tailgate.

Buffalo chicken quinoa balls

buffalo chicken quinoa ballsI got this recipe from Miki’s Kitchen. I really like this one because it’s pretty healthy for a tailgate. Quinoa is a supergrain that’s stuffed full of complete protein, fiber, iron and more.

Here’s how you make them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce (I used Texas Pete’s)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note: I recommend using a food chopper, rather than chopping the onions by hand like Dave did. They need to be really fine.

Muffin tin of buffalo chicken quinoa ballsDirections

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cook the quinoa.
  3. Cook the chicken as you prefer.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients together.
  5. Make miniature balls with your hands and put into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top. Press down gently to compact.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Serve warm with blue cheese or ranch dressing. We used blue cheese and buffalo ranch. Both were delicious.

Andy eating a buffalo chicken quinoa ballSteak tacos with cilantro-radish salsa

We forgot the Cotija cheese and extra cilantro, but they were still good.

We forgot the Cotija cheese and extra cilantro, but they were still good.

This recipe came from Epicurious.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil, divided (we substituted with olive oil)
  • 1 lb skirt or flank steak (we substituted with filet)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems, divided
  • 4 radishes, trimmed, chopped (we only used 3 because Dave doesn’t really like radishes)
  • 2 spring onions or 4 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
  • ½ Serrano chile or jalapeno, seeds removed, finely chopped (we used jalapeno)
  • 2 tbs fresh lime juice
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed (we used chia seed flour tortillas from Trader Joe’s, but Dave thought they were too thick. I thought they worked well.)
  • 2 oz queso fresco or Cotija cheese, crumbled (I went to 3 stores before I found Cotija cheese, and I forgot to use it. Doh!)

Directions

Dave eating the steak tacosDave grilled our steak, but the Epicurious recipe calls for cooking it in a skillet. If you do that, heat 1 tbs oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes per side for medium rare.

After the steak is cooked, let it rest 5 minutes.

For the salsa, chop half of cilantro and toss with radishes, onions, chile, lime juice and 1 tbs oil in a medium bowl.

Season radish salsa with salt and pepper.

Slice steak and serve on tortillas topped with radish salsa, cheese and remaining cilantro.

In case you’re wondering, one serving contains 440 calories, 21 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber. With calories to spare, Dave likes to pair with a nice craft beer.

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