“Oh, by the way, the guys are coming over to watch the game in 30 minutes…” Is March Madness driving you bonkers? The guys are coming over might be a common ‘FYI’ in your house these days. Unlike the Super Bowl, an event you have months to prepare for, the weeks of March Madness can result in a parade of last-minute house guests. Just because the gathering is less “formal,” doesn’t mean that you won’t be expected to provide something to snack on during the game.
A simple solution for any last-minute gathering is to have simple snacks that you can throw together from your pantry with little to no preparation. Here is our collection of game day snacks that will make you look like a super host without any effort. We promise you won’t even have to put real pants on.
Game Day Snack Ideas from Your Pantry
1. Flatbread Pizza. If you keep flatbread or pita bread on hand, you can have a snack in a flash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the flatbread or pita rounds on a baking tray. Top with whatever you have on hand and bake for 8 minutes. Here are a few combinations to get you started:
- pasta sauce and shredded mozzarella with pepperoni
- olive oil and parmesan topped with olives or roasted red peppers
- shredded sharp cheddar with ham or bacon
- ricotta, red onion, and asparagus finished with arugula after baking
2. Chips and Queso. What is Velveeta? Who cares. It’s ‘cheese’… we think. It has a long shelf life so you can keep it in your pantry for entertaining emergencies. Drop the block of Velveeta in a small pot or microwavable bowl, top with a can of your favorite chili, and heat until melted while stirring every so often. In five minutes or less you will have a tasty dip to go with chips, a jar of salsa, and beer.
3. Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp. Bacon, frozen shrimp, and toothpicks will make an amazing snack to serve alongside cheese and crackers. Thaw out the shrimp, cut the slices of bacon in half, roll up the shrimp in the bacon and secure with a toothpick. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or wax paper, line with the wrapped shrimp, and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes — done!
4. Easy Poutine. For a poor man’s version of this Canadian indulgence, just keep a bag of frozen fries on hand. Bake according to instructions on a baking sheet, remove from oven and create a pile of fries. Drizzle with a can of brown gravy and top with shredded cheese (the real deal is made with cheese curds, but use any cheese really). Pop under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Serve on the baking sheet and let the animals have at it.
5. White Bean and Rosemary Dip. An alternative to hummus, this is the best dip to make if you don’t want to invest in a tub of tahini and have fresh rosemary on hand. Simply drain a can of cannellini beans and add to your food processor with a squirt of lemon, and 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary. Blend and add olive oil until you reach the consistency you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with veggies, crackers, chips, pita bread, or toasts.
6. Easiest Cheesiest Bean Dip. If there’s anything we learned from our parents or grandparents, it’s that you can make a meal in minute with a can of condensed soup. Keep a can of condensed bean with bacon soup — you know the brand — in your pantry. Stir together the soup, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon of minced onion, and 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning mix in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high until hot, about 3 minutes. Stir again and microwave an additional 3 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve with chips and you’re done!
7. Easy Mini Meatballs. Keep Italian sausage in your freezer to thaw as you need it. Cut off the casing of the sausage and cut the link into quarter size pieces, rolling them into balls. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place balls on a wax-lined baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with toothpicks and a small bowl of warm pasta sauce for dipping. You can also use Italian turkey or chicken sausage for a lighter option!
8. Hot Crab Dip. Dips that you can bake require minimal effort on your part. Crab dip may sound complicated, but you can make it with items in your kitchen that have a long shelf life. In a bowl, combine a block of softened cream cheese, ⅓ cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, 1 ½ cups shredded cheese of your preference, 1 can of crabmeat, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh onion (red, white, yellow, or green). Mix together then transfer mixture to an oven-friendly baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Stir. Sprinkle sliced almond on top and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot with crackers!
For more recipes and ideas for entertaining, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.