Tailgating at the Total Eclipse

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Planning to view the celestial event? These fresh, homemade snacks will eclipse your expectations!

A once-in-a-lifetime event is going to happen later this month. Are you ready for the solar eclipse?
Reservations? Check!
Blanket? Check!
Protective glasses? Check!

Cleverly themed picnic menu? We have you covered! These make-ahead treats are easy to pack and eat so you can keep your eyes on the sky.

Stellar Sunflower Seed Flatbread

Yield: 4 servings

1 (6.5-ounce) package pizza crust mix
½ cup hot water
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Lightly grease a cookie sheet or pizza pan and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the pizza crust mix and hot water. Stir vigorously with a fork until blended. Shape dough into a ball and coat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. With greased hands, press the dough on the prepared pan. Pinch the edges to form a rim. Drizzle with the remaining oil and spread evenly with your hands. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and press lightly into the dough. Sprinkle with the chives and pepper.

Bake on the lowest rack for 12-14 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving warm or at room temperature.

Cosmic Sun-Dried Tomato Goat Cheese

Yield: 4-6 servings

1 (8-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
12 ounces plain goat cheese
¼ cup chopped black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Assorted crackers

Drain the oil from the tomatoes into a pie plate, tilting to evenly distribute. Slice the goat cheese into ¼-inch slices and place in a single layer on top of the oil. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and place over the goat cheese. Sprinkle with the olives and basil. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Serve at room temperature with assorted crackers.

Out-of-This-World Sunchoke Hummus

Yield: 6 servings

1 pound sunchokes, peeled
1 cup canned chickpeas
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the sunchokes and cook for 12-15 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Drain and cool 15 minutes.

Place the sunchokes, chickpeas, garlic, oil, juice, cayenne, salt and black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve with flatbread or blue corn chips.

Celestial Frittata Squares

Yield: 12 servings

1 cup broccoli florets
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 zucchini, peeled and diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup whole kernel corn
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
6 eggs, beaten
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons snipped chives
1 cup grated Parmesan

Over high heat, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add broccoli and cook 3 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.

Place the oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, mushrooms, zucchini, squash and bell peppers. Sauté 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the short ends. Lightly grease with cooking spray.

Add the reserved broccoli, spinach, corn, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook 3 minutes longer. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, chives and Parmesan. Stir the vegetables into the egg mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake 28-30 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let rest on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Using the foil “handles,” lift the frittata out of the baking dish and place on a cutting board. Remove the foil and cut into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Sunshine Fruit Salad

Yield: 8 servings

1 small cantaloupe, peeled and diced
1 small honeydew, peeled and diced
2 red apples, cored and cut into chunks
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
½ cup sour cream
½ cup plain yogurt or mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest

Place the cantaloupe, honeydew, apples, raspberries, blueberries and grapes in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, yogurt or mayonnaise, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Spoon over the fruit and toss gently to evenly coat. Serve cold.

Heavenly Milky Way Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 8 servings

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 egg
⅓ cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1½ cups chopped Milky Way candy bars
1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine the crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake 8 minutes and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, egg, sugar and extract. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes until smooth. Fold in the chopped Milky Way bars and ½ cup of the chocolate chips. Transfer to the cooled crust and top with the remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 30-33 minutes or until the center is set and the edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing and serving. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

Sunflower Seed Bars

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups sunflower seeds

Place the sugar, syrup and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine and attach a candy thermometer to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer reaches 320 degrees. Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside. When the syrup mixture turns light brown and reaches 320 degrees, remove from the heat and stir in the butter, salt and baking soda. The baking soda will cause the mixture to bubble. Add the sunflower seeds and mix thoroughly. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Cover with another piece of greased parchment paper and, using a rolling pin, roll to an even thickness. Cool completely on a wire rack. Break into pieces to serve.

Sundrop Biscuits

Yield: 4 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut in pieces
½ cup sour cream
½ cup Sundrop soda

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Generously grease a cast-iron skillet or biscuit baker and set aside. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or two forks, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the sour cream and Sundrop and blend well. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and roll to an even thickness. Cut into rounds with a 1½-inch cutter and transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 12-13 minutes and serve warm.

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About Author

Tammy Algood

Originally from Starkville, Miss., Tammy Algood is a viticulture and wholesale produce specialist for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture's Market Development Division. She has a Bachelor’s of Science from Mississippi State University and a Master’s from Middle Tennessee State University. She writes about food for The Tennessean and monthly for The Tennessee Magazine. As the spokesperson for the statewide “Pick Tennessee Products” campaign, Tammy also develops recipes for their website at www.picktnproducts.org. Broadcast appearances include Nashville’s local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates as well as statewide on PBS. Tammy can also be seen nationally on the HGTV and DIY networks.

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