The NCAA tournament is in full swing, and no viewing party should be without one important thing: delicious food. It is a March Madness must, which is why we’ve compiled 7 recipes that cover everything from a spicy nacho bake to cheesesteak crescent rolls to guacamole-goat cheese toasts. It won’t make a difference if you are winning or losing your bracket pool — with dishes as delicious as these, you’ll be cheering either way!
1. Beer-Cheese Fondue
No March Madness party should be without Recipe 4 Living’s beer-cheese fondue. It’s filled with French bread, cheese, broccoli, pimientos, and mustard, and either regular or nonalcoholic beer, depending on your preference. The best part? Minimal prep time ensures you won’t have to miss a minute of basketball.
Toast your bread, melt your cheese, and stir in your remaining ingredients until it’s heated through. Make sure you place your cheese mixture in a ceramic fondue pot or a slow cooker to ensure it stays nice and warm. We recommend serving your fondue with pretzels, bread sticks, and veggies.
- 1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 (16-ounce) loaf prepared cheese product, cubed
- 1½ cups frozen chopped broccoli, cooked, drained
- ¼ cups regular or nonalcoholic beer
- 1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In an ungreased 15-by-10-by-1-inch pan, place bread cubes. Bake about 10 minutes, stirring twice, until lightly toasted. Transfer to serving bowl or basket. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, melt cheese over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Stir in broccoli, beer, pimientos and mustard. Cook, stirring occasionally, until hot. Pour cheese mixture into ceramic fondue pot over low heat or into 1½-quart slow cooker on low heat setting. Cheese mixture will hold in slow cooker on low heat setting up to 2 hours.
2. Brown Sugar Smokies
Sweet and salty flavors combine in AllRecipes.com’s brown sugar smokies, resulting in a mouth-watering appetizer that only takes 30 minutes to make. The recipe yields 12 servings. If you’re looking for a tangy sauce to pair with your smokie sausages, we recommend preparing Kraft’s honey dijon dipping sauce.
- 1 pound bacon
- 1 (16-ounce) package little smokie sausages
- 1 cup brown sugar, or to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut bacon into thirds and wrap each strip around a little sausage. Place the wrapped sausages on wooden skewers, several to a skewer. Arrange the skewers on a baking sheet and sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar. Bake until bacon is crisp and the brown sugar melted.
3. Spicy Nacho Bake
Taste of Home transforms plain nachos into a hearty, layered casserole, which consists of a ground beef-and-bean filling, and a crunchy, cheesy topping. The recipe yields 2 casseroles, but you’ll be thankful it feeds a large crowd; this spicy dish will go quickly! Don’t forget to serve a side of sour cream and Simply Recipes’ perfect guacamole alongside your Spicy Nacho Bake.
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 large green peppers, chopped
- 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 (16-ounce) cans hot chili beans, undrained
- 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 (11-ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained
- 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 2 envelopes taco seasoning
- 2 (13-ounce) packages spicy nacho-flavored tortilla chips
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Directions: In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onions, and green peppers over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. In each of two greased 13-by-9-inch baking dishes, layer 5 cups of chips and 4⅔ cups of meat mixture. Repeat layers. Top each with 4 cups of chips and 2 cups of cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Cheesesteak Crescent Rolls
Basketball fans will go crazy for Favorite Family Recipes’ cheesesteak crescent rolls. Sautéed onions and peppers are combined with chopped roast beef, beef, broth, and cream cheese, creating a gooey filling that’s surrounded by a flaky, melt-in-your mouth crescent roll. No one will be able to resist this creative take on a classic sandwich.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- ¾ pound sliced roast beef
- ⅓ cup beef broth
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 (8-ounce) tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
- 4 slices Swiss cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large skillet, sauté onion and pepper in butter over medium heat until they become soft and onions become transparent. Coarsely chop roast beef and add to onion/pepper mix. Stir for about 2 to 3 minutes or until roast beef becomes hot. Add beef broth and cream cheese, stirring until cream cheese is melted and coats the roast beef. Remove from heat.
Separate dough into triangles and press flat. Slice Swiss cheese into 4 strips and lay each strip over each crescent triangle. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of roast beef mix over each triangle and roll up, pinching the sides of the crescent so cheese doesn’t ooze out. Place crescent rolls on an un-greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Preparing Chow’s slow cooker pulled pork is a great way to spend more time watching the NCAA Tournament and less time slaving over your stove. This recipe, which yields 6 servings, finds the perfect balance between sweet and spicy; brown sugar and cinnamon give it warmth, while chili powder adds a welcome kick. The barbecue sauce is optional, but if you are going to use it, consider topping your sandwiches with Cooks.com’s Easy Homemade Barbecue Sauce.
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (4½- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder, twine or netting removed
- 2 cups barbecue sauce (optional)
Directions: Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth. Combine the sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside. If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it.
Using forks, shred the meat into bite-size pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, if using, and mix to combine. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add ¼ cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened. Taste and season with salt as needed.
6. Guacamole-Goat Cheese Toasts
Put a sophisticated spin on a standard bowl of guacamole by preparing Southern Living’s guacamole-goat cheese toasts. Homemade guac, which consists of onion, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, seasonings, and goat cheese, is paired with tomatillos and placed on top of baked pita rounds. The end result is an appetizer that is just as visually appealing as it is delicious. The recipe yields 10 servings.
- 2 ripe avocados
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, divided
- ½ medium-size jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 2½ teaspoons fresh lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1 fresh tomatillo, husk removed
- 1 (7-ounce) package miniature white pita rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped
Directions: Cut avocados in half. Scoop pulp into a bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork until slightly chunky. Stir in 2 tablespoons red onion and next 5 ingredients. Gently fold in cheese. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of mixture, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Finely chop tomatillo.
Separate pita rounds lengthwise into two halves. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted. Top each with 1 rounded teaspoonful avocado mixture. Stir together tomatillo, tomato, and remaining 1 tablespoon red onion. Top avocado mixture with tomatillo mixture. Sprinkle with coarsely ground pepper to taste.
7. Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
The NCAA tournament only comes but once a year, meaning normal-size cookies just won’t do. You need something that’s larger and sweeter than an everyday dessert, which is why we suggest making Martha Stewart’s giant chocolate chip cookies.
There are two things to keep in mind when preparing this recipe: First, make sure you leave plenty of space between your mounds of dough to prevent them from running into each other. Second, halfway through the baking time, you’ll want to rotate your cookie sheets from front to back and top to bottom. It’s the only way to ensure your cookies all have the same golden-brown hue.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed light-brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 (12-ounce) bag chocolate chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until combined; mix in vanilla.
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture; mix until just incorporated. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chips. Drop ¼-cup mounds of dough onto ungreased baking sheets, at least 4 inches apart and away from edges of pan. Bake until golden, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets front to back and from top to bottom of oven halfway through. Cool 1 to 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.