Making March Madness Less Maddening
If you love college hoops, then this article is not for you. If you are currently sunning yourself on the deck of a cruise ship, I hate you. If you detest hearing the terms “Sweet 16” to “Final Four,” and are not able to skip the whole mess, let’s make this month a little easier.
First, if you are subjected to hosting play-off parties at your home, set some ground rules. Who is supplying the food? Cleaning up? Buying the booze? If your sweetie looks at you sheepishly when you ask these important questions, this means YOU are. You then have 2 choices, take the easy route and kick him to the curb now, or make it easy on yourself by making the food and clean up as easy as possible.
If you are hosting a game, let whomever know, you will not be hosting ALL the games. These are a boat load. DOn’t get sucked in to having to feed them every night. Ask for a trade off, or better yet, say that you will put on a fabulous spread to end all spreads for the final game, if you don’t have to deal with it till then. Also, make a steadfast rules of BYOB, generally beer, in this case. This will save you a lot of moolah, to use to take yourself shopping while they watch the game.
Let’s be honest, most men watching sports want food that is easy to eat, barely resembles healthy, nothing that will involve getting up off their rump, and anything that goes with beer. Lots of beer. The easiest meal on the cook as well as easiest to clean up is a big pot of chili. (I am not touching the effect on your bathroom tomorrow, so that’s on you.) This can be made days in advance, and actually gets better with age. Chili can be made up to to 5 days beforehand, if not planning to freeze. If you make chili, my easiest recipe is below, which doubles and triple easily. I cannot stress this strongly enough, buy plastic bowls and spoons. The only clean up you will have is washing the pot, serving spoons, and sweeping, because some lunkhead is going to drop cracker crumbs all over.
Easiest Chili Ever
2# ground chuck, cooked and drained
2 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes with jalepenos
1 can beer
1 16 oz. can tomato sauce
1-2 c. water
3 16oz. cans of beans..I use 1 can dark kidney, 1 can pinto and 1 can black beans…use what you like
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green or red bell pepper, chopped
4 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. cumin
1 Tbs. sugar (takes the acidity out of the tomatoes)
Mix all ingredients in a large stock pot, or even a crock pot, and simmer for 1 hour (longer if in crock pot on low) , stirring occasionally.
This recipe is basic, and not too spicy. Be sure to set out a jar of red pepper flakes, and/or hot sauce so each person can heat it to their own palate.
I usually set out a bowl of shredded cheddar-jack cheese, crackers, tortilla chips and sour cream as accompaniments.
If you don’t plan on feeding the maddening hoards a real meal, I recommend cheese and crackers, chips and salsa, chips/dip and perhaps some cookies. If you are planning on feeding them for more than one game, cater, or ask for a caterers fees. I’m serious. It is a lot of work to feed a bunch of sports fanatics night after night.
When you get it ready, get the heck out of the house till it’s over. Go to the movies, a friend’s house, the mall, or otherwise make yourself scarce. Let the games begin!