Even formally trained chefs take great pleasure in the kind of simple fare found at tailgate parties. Chefs like to get out of the kitchen and cook outside, just as they like to eat finger food or use paper plates and plastic forks as a break from the china and linen of their restaurants. Chef Kashia Cave, who trained at culinary schools in Italy and Connecticut, has never forgotten that she first learned to cook at her grandmother’s side in Trinidad. She knows that simple family fare is still the best – and keeps that in mind when she prepares food for tailgate parties. Here are her personal top three recipes for easy entrees to bring to a tailgate party.

Chef Kashia Cave
My City Kitchen
384 Pratt St.
Meriden, CT 06450
(203) 630-2870

Chef Kashia Cave knows what people like to eat. She first learned how to cook at her grandmother’s apron strings in her native Trinidad, and despite her later formal training, has kept her focus on making the kind of simple, wholesome food that brings families together. For the last five years, she has worked with children in Connecticut to teach them about the joys of cooking and eating right. At her non-profit My City Kitchen in Meriden, Chef Cave takes what she learned at the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners and the Lincoln Culinary Institute to help and inspire kids to plan and make healthy, nutritional and affordable meals for themselves and for their families. Chef Cave devotes a lot of time to charities but also likes to get out of the kitchen and go outside, away from the table, to enjoy barbecues, picnics and tailgate parties. Here are three of her personal recipes for those who want to make a big splash at a tailgate party. The last of the three, the Jerk chicken wings, is a particular favorite, as it reminds her of where she grew up in the Caribbean.

KC’s Meatballs

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 chopped onions small dice
  • 3 clove garlic minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp of chopped scallion
  • 2 tbsp of chopped recao herb
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • A/P (all purpose) flour for dusting 


Place ground beef in large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the beef. Add all ingredients and mix well. Heat a deep frying pan with oil to cook the meatballs.

In your hand, make 1-2-ounce meatballs. Roll each meatball in the flour and fry until golden brown, completely cooking the inside so the meat is no longer red or pink. Set the meatballs to the side and keep warm, serve hot with your favorite sauce.

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KC’s Sliders with sautéed mushrooms and cole slaw


  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 chopped onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp of chopped scallion
  • 2 tbsp of chopped recao herb
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 pint of portabella mushrooms sliced thin
  • 2 large onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 a red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup of mayo
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 3 tbsp chopped raisins
  • 8 mini rolls
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 sandwich toothpicks 


Place ground beef in large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the beef. Add the and chopped onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, scallion, recao, Worcestershire sauce and mix well.

Make eight 2-ounce mini patties and set aside in the refrigerator. In a medium mixing bowl, add the cabbage, carrots, mayo and raisins, then season with salt and pepper and place the cole slaw in the refrigerator.

In a hot sautéed pan, add the oil to cook the mushrooms and onions together for 2-3 minutes and set aside. Heat grill, then place the patties on the grill and cook to your desire (well done, medium well).

Place each patty on the bottom of the rolls and add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top of the patty. Next, add the sautéed mushroom/onions, top with the cole slaw and then the top of the bun. Place a toothpick on each slider to hold it together. Serve immediately.

KC’s Jerk Chicken Wings   


  • 1 lb chicken wings
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • 3 tbsp blackened seasoning
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 habenero peppers or scotch bonnet peppers (use a pair of gloves when handling the peppers)
  • 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 bunch of scallion (green part only)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/8 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of organic ketchup
  • salt to taste
  • 1/8 cup of water (if needed)


Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the gloves on your hands. In a food processor, add all of the ingredients and mix well. If the paste is too thick, add a little bit of water.

Place the chicken wings in a bowl, then add the jerk seasoning to the wings and mix well. Place the wings on an ungreased baking pan cook for 1 hour in the oven. Use any leftover juice from the pan to brush the chicken wings. Serve hot.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.