The Fan Zone - March Madness Nibbles
I’ll be honest, I treat the filling out of March Madness brackets as a team sport. I huddle with my friends, look on their papers, check out stats, look on their papers again and then make my choices. They aren’t always close and I’ve never won an office pool but it’s fun. And, there are snacks.
Yes, my friend! When you invite folks over to plan out your brackets, you must have nibbles! You want something quick and easy and plateless-- just use your fingers and go. My favorite go-to’s are pimento cheese and pigs in a blanket. They require very little effort and can be small plated or plateless.
Pimento cheese spread is pretty easy. I normally run to the store and grab a few containers but if you like to manage ingredients, just find a recipe online and get to stirring. Honestly, it’s more stirring than anything else.
I found a recipe on Foodnetwork.com for a pretty good Pimento Cheese. For my first time making anything I follow the recipe to the letter. As I go, I’ll let you know what I’d change.
1 lb of cheese (half Colby and half pepper jack was recommended)
1 - 4 oz jar of diced pimentos
½ red onion diced
1 cup of mayonnaise
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground celery seed
Salt & pepper
The ingredient list was pretty simple. It was mostly things I had at my house. I didn’t have celery seed or a jar of pimentos so I did run out and get those items. Then you had to do the very complicated step of dumping it into a large bowl and mixing it. That’s it! You mix it and then pop it in the fridge to let all the flavors mingle and marry. You buy a box of crackers and add them to a tray and tada! It’s done!
Now, what I’d change is that I’d add a touch more cheese (maybe another ¼ of a pound). Part of the reason that I’d add more cheese is because I’d only use ¼ cup of onion diced. Half is REALLY a lot of raw onion! I’d also only use 2 cloves of garlic, ¾ cup mayo and ¼ cup of either plain yogurt or sour cream. The mayo is really thick and the tank of yogurt or sour cream will help the recipe.
The other quick recipe that I found on Foodnetwork.com was for Pigs in a Blanket. It’s the ultimate finger food.
1 - 8 oz can of crescent roll dough
¼ cup Dijon mustard
Mini hot dogs/cocktail franks
1 egg, beaten
Poppy seeds or sesame seeds
Tangy dipping sauce
½ sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
It’s super easy to make pigs in blankets. You just cut the crescent roll dough into strips, brush a touch of Dijon mustard on the dough and wrap the piggie inside.
You put them on a cookie sheet, seam side down, brush with the beaten egg, sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame seeds on them and bake for about 15 minutes.
While it cooks, you make the tangy dipping sauce. I took some liberties. I only used the Dijon mustard because I felt like the whole-grain mustard might be too much for my delicate sensibilities. You can add it in if you’d like. I also added a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. It was perfect.
These are easy and delicious and your guests will enjoy them. You can make a lot and save the leftovers if you need to. And, you should snack before hand so that while everyone is eating and enjoying your creations, you can copy off of their papers and finish your bracket.
What? Am I the only person that does that?