6 March Madness Recipes Better Than Any Perfect Bracket

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Every year March rolls around (fact) and every year, March Madness comes roaring in promising glimpses of Cinderella, must-see shots, upsets and no perfect brackets. Well, this is the year to just forget the perfect bracket and focus on the food.

Here are some March Madness recipes guaranteed to be better than any perfect bracket:

1. Kentucky Wildcat Mule

The University of Kentucky Wildcats are 34-0 and the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. If they don’t win, it’ll be crazy. Also, watching them play (especially if they are playing your team) will make you crazy. That’s why you need this drink.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 -2 shots Bulleit bourbon

Squeeze of fresh lime juice

Top with ginger beer or ginger ale

Fresh Mint leaves (optional)

Directions:

Build over cubed ice – top with ginger beer. Tear and rub mint leaves. Place and stir drink.

2.  Villanova Cheesesteak

Villanova is coming in as a vulnerable No.1 seed, so if you pick them to go far, and they lose, you might need some consoling. Or if you pick them to go far and they win, you’ll need a celebratory meal. Enter: the Villanova Cheesesteak.

Ingredients:

2 to 2 1/2 pound strip loin, trimmed

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soft hoagie rolls, split 3/4 open

Provolone Sauce, recipe follows

Sauteed Mushrooms

Caramelized Onions

Sauteed Peppers

Provolone Sauce:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk, heated

1 cup grated aged provolone cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauteed Mushrooms:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/2 pounds mushrooms ( cremini and shiitake), coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Caramelized Onions:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoons canola oil

3 large Spanish onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauteed Peppers:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 poblano peppers, thinly sliced

2 Cubano peppers, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Place steak in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes; this makes it easier to slice the meat. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice very thinly.

Heat griddle or grill pan over high heat. Brush steak slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds per side.

Place several slices of the meat on the bottom half of the roll, spoon some of the cheese sauce over the meat, and top with the mushrooms, onions, and peppers.

Provolone Sauce:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the provolone and Parmesan until combined; season with the salt and pepper.

Sauteed Mushrooms:

Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Caramelized Onions:

Heat butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly until golden brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Sauteed Peppers:

Heat the oil in medium saute pan over high heat. Add the peppers and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Wisconsin Badgered and Brie Filled Bacon Potato Skins

The Wisconsin Badgers and their star-forward, Frank Kaminsky, are all meat and potatoes and cheese. This recipe is perfect.

Ingredients:

5 pounds russet potatoes, about 12 potatoes

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1 pound thick cut bacon, cooked, drained on paper towels, chopped into bite sized pieces

1 pound Wisconsin brie cheese, rind removed, torn into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup scallions, white and green parts, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub and dry potatoes. Pierce with fork. Bake potatoes 45 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Set aside and cool 15 minutes.

Slice each potato in half, length wise. With spoon, scoop out most of potato flesh from each half, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh on each potato skin. Place potato halves on baking sheet cut side up (baking sheet may be lined with a silicone liner or parchment paper).

Melt butter. Add salt, thyme and pepper to butter. Stir mixture. Brush each potato half with melted butter mixture. Bake potato skins for 5 to 7 minutes, or until butter bubbles. Remove pan from oven. Flip potatoes over and brush skins with melted butter. Return potato skins to oven and bake 5 to 7 minutes until butter bubbles. Remove skins from oven.

Turn potatoes over. Fill each potato skin with bacon. Add bits of brie to each skin. Top potato skins with chopped scallions. Bake filled skins 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove potato skins from oven and serve warm or at room temperature.

4.  Smoky Blue Devil(ed) Eggs

What– Duke again? Duke, always. And since you can’t eat a Blue Devil, you might as well eat some deviled eggs.

Ingredients:

1 dozen large eggs

Ice cubes

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons crème fraîche

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons finely chopped cornichons

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon pimentón

Directions:

In a large saucepan, cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat; boil for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Drain the eggs and cool them under cold running water, shaking the pan vigorously to crack the shells. Add ice cubes to the pan and let stand until the eggs are cool. Drain and peel the eggs.

Halve the eggs lengthwise. Gently remove the yolks and transfer them to a food processor. Add the crème fraîche and mayonnaise and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the cornichons and onion and season with salt, black pepper and white pepper.

Arrange the egg-white halves cut side up on a serving plate. Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip or a teaspoon, fill the cavities with the yolk mixture. Sprinkle with the pimentón and serve.

5. Buffalo Bull Chicken Sliders

The University of Buffalo Bulls are dancing for the first time and it is a sporting event, so yeah, you need some type of Buffalo chicken something or other.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot

12 small rolls, such as Hawaiian or Parker House rolls, buttered and griddled

Ranch dressing, for serving

1 cup blue cheese crumbles

Tomato slices, for serving

Green leaf lettuce, for serving

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the oil. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, the brown sugar, paprika and cayenne. Sear both sides of the chicken until golden, about 4 minutes. Add in the hot sauce to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and then place in the oven to finish off, and the chicken registers 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Let the chicken cool, and then pull the meat with your hands. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, and then place back in the oven at BROIL until crusty and caramelized on top, about 4 minutes.

Sandwich Build: Place some chicken on the bottom buns, top with ranch, blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes and then lettuce. Serve.

6. Fastest Hog Wild Chip and Dip

The Arkansas Razorbacks and the Fastest 40 minutes of basketball are back in the tournament for the first time since 2008 and that means  you need a fast appetizer to make and one that’ll get eaten fast.

Ingredients:

1-2 bags tortilla chips

1-2 jars pre-made salsa

Directions:

Open up the bags and place on the table.

Open up the jars of salsa and place next to the chips. Guest serve themselves.

In some cases, there’s no need to place the chips or the salsa on the table.

 

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