Thank goodness for March Madness! The NCAA basketball tournament provides a great opportunity to get together with friends and get rid of the cabin fever we all have at this time of year. Kentucky is ranked #3, Ohio State #6 and Wisconsin #15 so three great teams for our household to cheer for.
March Madness entertaining is fun for the host because entertainment is taken care of and the menu is mostly munchies and appetizers. Here are a few ideas for planning a March Madness party:
1. Lots of TVs - Have a TV in each room. Provides great sound and encourages mingling throughout the house.
2. Brackets - Each guest can fill out a bracket and bring to the party. Post the brackets for all to see and discuss. It doesn't matter when you have the party during the tourney - you can award prizes to the person who has the most correct picks at that point. There are many online bracket manager sites. Start with www.cbspsorts.com .
3. Dress for Success - Dress in sweatshirts or colors of a favorite team or Alma Mater.
4. Food - The menu is everyone's favorite - lots of chicken wings, chips and dips with cream cheese. If serving dinner try chili, Italian beef sandwiches or sloppy joes. Whitefish Bay party guru, Peg Rolfs suggests asking guests to bring an appetizer related to their favorite team, so a Syracuse fan could bring chicken wings or a Kansas fan could bring a barbecue appetizer.
Here is a great recipe that has had rave reviews:
Buffalo Chicken Dip
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, poached and shredded
1 12 ounce bottle hot sauce
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1 16-ounce bottle Ranch dressing
1/2 cup chopped celery
8 ounces Monterey Jack or Cheddar, grated
In a 13x9x2 inch baking pan, combine the shredded chicken with the bottle of hot sauce, spreading to make an even layer. In a saucepan, combine cream cheese and ranch dressing over medium heat until smooth. Pour this mixture evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle with celery, then shredded cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. (Watch that the top doesn't get browned.) Let stand 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm with Doritos "Scoops" (you need a sturdy chip for this!) or celery sticks.
Selection Sunday is March 14 and the first rounds games start on Thursday, March 18. The first round games run for about 10 hours per day so plenty of time to party! Go Cats! Go Bucks! Go Badgers!