IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR…COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT TIME


I love this time of year.  College basketball tournament time.  After hours spent around the water cooler (as in Mad Men) discussing who should be in, who should be out, why this conference is best, and why that conference had too many teams, we are ready to move on to the final level.

The first game of the finals pitted Duke against Michigan State.  Two great coaches with lots of basketball tradition.  Duke won that game, but congratulations to the Michigan State team for their fantastic year.

I have been craving meatballs lately and wanted to make a meatball appetizer for the final game on Monday.  While searching Pinterest I found this wonderful picture and recipe from Creme de la Crumb.  Please click here to view more recipes from Tiffany.  I love the name Creme de la Crumb, her recipes, and her photography.

Mozzarella stuffed meatballs photo by Creme De La Crumb

Will be serving these meatballs during the Final game of the season…The National Championship!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (panko or regular, Italian seasoned or plain)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 mozzarella cheese sticks (string cheese)
  • marinara or alfredo sauce, for dipping

Instructions

  1. Chop each cheese stick into half inch pieces (about 6-8 pieces for each cheese stick). Place on a plate and chill in the freezer until ready to use.
  2. Add ground beef, bread crumbs, egg and egg yolk, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to a bowl. Mush the ingredients together with your hands until everything comes together.
  3. Remove cheese from freezer. Scoop out about 4 tablespoons of meat mixture and roll into a ball. Gently push a piece of chilled mozzarella into the middle of the meatball. Roll the ball in your hands to cover the hole where the mozzarella cheese was pushed in. Place inside a greased slow cooker and repeat with remaining meat and cheese.
  4. When all meatballs are in the slow cooker (*see note for alternate cooking method), cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or on low 3-4 hours until meat it cooked through (no longer pink). The cheese may start melting out of the meatballs, that's okay.
  5. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of fresh chopped parsley or dried Italian seasoning for garnish and serve with your favorite marinara or alfredo sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Notes

*For a quicker method, the meatballs can be baked. Follow directions to make meatballs, but instead of placing in the slow cooker, place meatballs 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until browned and cheese is melty. **These can also be made ahead and frozen! Prepare the meatballs as instructed in the recipe but instead of putting them straight into the slow cooker (or the oven if baking), just place them side by side in a zip lock bag ( you may need two), seal and place in the freezer. When ready to cook them, follow recipe instructions and increase cooking time slightly to allow for thawing. *This recipe makes about a dozen large meatballs. This works great for an appetizer or side dish. If you want to use this for a main dish, I'd recommend doubling the recipe to be safe.

By Tiffany- Creme de la Crumb

KathyMillerTime

Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

Most of my readers know my loyalty to my husband’s school and team means I will be rooting for Duke. Go Blue Devils.

The second game of the Final Four was a fabulous game to watch from a spectator’s point of view.  Wisconsin played Kentucky toe to toe the entire game and recorded the victory over the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats. There was a feeling of deja vu as we remembered last year’s semi final between Kentucky and Wisconsin.  Wisconsin missed the first of 3 free throws, made the next 2 to go ahead by 2.  With 5 seconds to go,  Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison made a 3 pointer to win the game.

This year  Kentucky once again played well, but the Wisconsin Badgers were determined to win.  Congratulations on a great game.

I tested this Bratwurst appetizer with a nod towards Wisconsin’s German heritage.

Bacon Wrapped Bratwurst Bites from Sidelines commentator Paige Wendle.

I tested using  Johnsonville Brats, Original Bratwurst.

 Bacon Wrapped Bratwurst Bites photo by Kathy Miller

Ingredients

  • 4 bratwurst
  • 3 (12 ounce) cans light beer
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 slices bacon, cut in half

Instructions

  1. Boil bratwurst in beer 15-20 minutes.
  2. Combine brown sugar, cayenne pepper in a bowl.
  3. Slice bacon in half.
  4. Slice each bratwurst into 3 pieces.
  5. Wrap each bratwurst with a half slice of bacon; secure with toothpick.
  6. Coat each bratwurst bite in sugar and cayenne pepper mixture.
  7. Cover a baking pan with foil. Place a baking rack/cookie rack on top of foil.
  8. Place each bratwurst bite onto rack in pan.
  9. Bake in 350 degree preheated oven 30 minutes.

Notes

I doubled the recipe which uses the entire pound of bacon. I placed foil, then cookie baking racks in a sheet pan. Place the bratwurst bites on baking racks. This allows the fat from the bacon and the caramelized sugar to fall away from brats onto the foil for less mess.

By Paige Wendle- Sidelines Commentator
Adapted from KathyMillerTime

KathyMillerTime

Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

The seasoning, a mixture of sweet and spicy has just the right juxtaposition.

 These are delicious and were a huge hit at my testing get-together.

Don’t think these are low fat, but how many National Championship games do we get to celebrate in a year?

Coming soon…A Picnic In The Grass In A Vintage Model A…

Kathy and Dave Miller with Mike Broucke photo by Steve Leimberg Unseen Images.com

A Trip To A Special House In Charleston…

Kathy Miller tests a joggling board at The Thomas Rose House, Charleston, SC photo by Kathy Miller

Come celebrate with me I’ll save you a seat at the table.

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