15 March 2023
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) began a tournament in 1939 with eight teams competing. By 1951 there were 16 and today we have around 60 teams participating. The madness comes from multiple games being played simultaneously all across the country. The group known as Cinderella are the outliers that no one expected to make it as far as they do, which serves to generate even more excitement. It is estimated that around 100 million Americans will be watching.
Whether it is your alma mater, arch rival, or just love of the game, March is a great chance to watch some of the best collegiate basketball. If you are hosting a gathering or adding to the feast at another party, here are some ideas.
Buffalo Chicken Rolls
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing
- 2 tablespoons Buffalo wing sauce
- 2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- In a small saucepan, combine chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, ranch dressing and wing sauce. Cook and stir over low heat until cheeses are melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Unroll tubes of crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles. Place 1 tablespoon chicken mixture in the center of each triangle; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon blue cheese. Bring corners of dough over filling and twist; pinch seams to seal (filling will not be completely enclosed). Place on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
- 4 cups fresh Spinach, stems trimmed
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, capped and sliced into quarters
- 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup candied pecans
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white or champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey or white sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- To create dressing, combine mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and poppy seeds in a small bowl and whisk until well combined and smooth. An alternative is to combine these ingredients into a mason jar and shake until well mixed.
- Place spinach, strawberries, feta, and pecans in a large bowl. Drizzle half of the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad, toss, and serve.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef, ground turkey or chicken
- 1 cup instant white rice
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 packet (1.5 oz) meatloaf seasoning
- 1 1/4 cup water, divided
- 1 jar (24 oz) pasta sauce
- Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until tender.
- In a large bowl combine onions, beef, rice, egg, seasoning and ¼ cup water; mix gently by hand until well blended. Shape into medium-sized meatballs.
- Pour pasta sauce and remaining water into the same 3-quart saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil. Add meatballs and return to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
Samoas®-Inspired Bundt Cake
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips, melted
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well until incorporated. With the motor running, slowly add the dry ingredients in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, until a smooth batter forms.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips and toasted coconut, then pour into a greased 9-inch Bundt pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
- In a 4-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbling, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, lemon juice and salt. Let cool completely.
Transfer the cake to a serving platter and drizzle with the caramel sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the melted chocolate and coconut oil. Drizzle the chocolate in parallel lines over the cake, then sprinkle with toasted coconut. Slice and serve.