These calzones made in a cake pop pan are little pizza-stuffed basketballs. Photo by: sheknows.com
Broccoli pesto dip for pre-game snacking.
Photo by: draxe.com
Brownie tiramisu in individual glasses is a no-muss dessert for TV-watching.
Photo by: myrecipes.com
Try Southern Living’s super-quick chili served in hollowed dinner rolls for game day.
Photo by: Beth Dreiling Hontzas/Southern Living/myrecipes.com
April 2, 2014 10:49:54 AM
The nail-biters can give it a rest for a few days. College basketball fanatics are celebrating or licking wounds, depending on where their allegiances lay this past weekend. But whether their team is still in or long gone from the NCAA Tournament, any fan who relishes the adrenaline rush of battle and buzzer beaters is picking teams for Saturday's Final Four. It's all down now to Florida, UConn, Wisconsin and Kentucky.
But we still gotta eat, right?
Inspired by the number four, here are four recipes today that seem suited for a basketball party, where friends and family are focused on the action, but also hungry for food they can easily consume from a comfortable perch by the TV. We bring you a dip, a basketball-themed appetizer, a clever chili idea and a portable dessert. A broccoli pesto dip flavored with lemon, garlic, hazelnuts and herbs should disappear pretty quickly from the middle of the coffee table during pre-game hype. Follow that with basketball-shaped calzones decorated by you with orange food coloring and a black food coloring marker. These little pizza-stuffed basketballs are tiny bits of cheese and pepperoni baked in balls of pizza dough in a cake pop pan.
I love the super quick chili in hollowed round dinner rolls. We're not talking big, steaming bowls of chili here, but easy eats that suit the change of seasons and are round, like ... well, you know.
To finish off with something sweet, a brownie tiramisu shows off a bit of culinary panache on your part but is also game-worthy, served in individual glasses. Mascarpone gives the topping special flavor, but an equal amount of softened cream cheese may be substituted. Almond-flavored liqueur makes a delicious substitute for coffee liqueur. If you're pressed for time and ingredients, of course, you can always opt for brownie and ice cream sundaes.
Feeling outright lazy? Well then, just buy a box of vanilla wafers and draw basketball lines on them with a black food coloring pen. Put a dollop of icing on the flat side and sandwich another wafer onto it to upgrade your 'nilla wafer roundball.
If you're a basketball fan, best to you and yours as the Final Four hit the hardwood April 5 -- and as the championship game gets underway April 7. Here's wishing you exciting games and good eating.
BROCCOLI PESTO DIP
1 large broccoli
2 stems fresh basil (or sage)
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons water
Sea salt and pepper
1 tube refrigerated pizza crust
3 mozzarella cheese sticks
12-24 pepperoni slices
1 jar pizza sauce
1 black food coloring pen
1 tablespoon butter
Orange food coloring
SUPER QUICK CHILI
Total prep time: 27 minutes
Makes 8 servings
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (16-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion
2 (16-ounce) cans small red beans
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
Toppings: shredded Cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, diced tomatoes
(Source: Southern Living, February 2010/myrecipes.com)
Makes 12 servings
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup coffee liqueur
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 (4-ounce) semisweet chocolate bars, divided
3/4 cup butter
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream
(Source: Southern Living, August 2008; myrecipes.com. Inspired by Karen J. Palasz, Franklin, Wisc.)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.