Since March Madness games and food seem to go hand-in-hand, that got us thinking…
what if each school in the tournament had an official food?
What food would you associate with each team?
Here are some ideas. Since we are all about keeping it healthy and delicious, we have also included some ideas on how to serve these foods to your family or guests and add some creative flair to your March Madness get-togethers. Try serving some of these dishes representing the teams that are playing and see if your guests can make the connection!
If you are watching the Fighting Irish, you probably feel the urge to enjoy a frothy Guinness. For a great meal, serve Guinness Marinated Steak Sandwiches. Simply marinate some rib-eye steaks in 1 cup of Guinness, along with soy sauce, molasses, chopped onion, rosemary and garlic. Then, cook the steaks and, separately, sauté or grill some mushrooms and red onion. Warm the marinade and serve the sliced steak on rye bread, along with the mushroom-onion mixture and some of the warmed marinade.
What else could the Blue Devil’s official food be but Deviled Eggs? So, it’s the perfect time to enjoy Blue Deviled Eggs! Mash the yolks with a little mayo and blue cheese, and then serve the deviled eggs topped with hot sauce, sliced celery and more blue cheese if desired.
Maryland seems to always come into the tournament with high expectations and does well in the first round, but they often find kryptonite when they get to the second-round. So, their food has to be Asparagus! Why asparagus? Many of us know asparagus is fantastic going in, but it contains a compound that gives it a distinct odor coming out (just like Maryland after some of those second-round losses).
Serve up a Springtime Strawberry Couscous Salad by roasting some asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Combine it with Israeli couscous, toasted almonds, fresh spinach, sliced strawberries and a dressing made of orange juice, white wine vinegar, dijon, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.
The Jayhawks are always in the running for the Final Four — they are one of the “go-to” teams when you are filling out your brackets. So, their official food must be Pizza, which is a “go-to” food when it comes to March Madness watch parties.
Any 16 seed:
Let’s face it…we don’t give teams like Texas Southern or Mount St. Mary’s a chance against the No.1 seeds. So, the official food for these 16-seeds has to be Liver! Even though liver is healthy, most of us don't give it a chance! Let’s face it…no one is going to serve liver at a watch party, so let’s just move on…
It may sound crazy serving a meatless version to a bunch of ravenous basketball fans, but there is a good chance they won’t even notice. Give these Portobello Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches a try!
Assuming Princeton gets a ticket to the dance, their food would have to be something that supports healthy brain function…like Salmon! After all, only 7% of applicants are accepted to Princeton, so there must be some brain-healthy foods going on there! In case you were wondering, other brain-healthy foods include avocado, blueberries and walnuts.
Serve up the Tropical Salmon Sandwich and your guests will rave about this fantastic sandwich…everything is grilled including the salmon, pineapple, jalapeño and avocado!
What else could be the official food of Kentucky, but Fried Chicken! Since fried foods don’t qualify as healthy, whip up some Pecan Crusted Chicken by processing pecans, rosemary, salt and pepper in a food processor. Brush some plain Greek yogurt on each side of the chicken and coat both sides with the pecan mixture. Bake at 375 degrees until cooked through and add your favorite topping!
You thought we would say Orange, right? Sorry, but their official food has to be the Egg! A couple years ago, Syracuse was put in the penalty box and was banned from post-season play, but now they are trying to get their respect back. Just like Syracuse, eggs were “penalized” because people thought they contributed to high cholesterol, but this thinking has now changed and eggs are getting their mojo back!
Especially if it’s a late morning game, serve up a Sweet Potato Hash with Egg on Top. For a quick and easy way to make poached eggs for a crowd, bake them in the oven using a muffin pan. Spray the pan with cooking spray, pour 1 Tbsp of water into each muffin cup opening, crack one egg into each opening, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then bake at 350 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and place on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any remaining water. Simple, easy and delicious!
Even though they have played in two NCAA championship games, many aren’t taking them seriously. Just like a Spaghetti Squash has something unexpected inside (crisp-tender “noodles”), Butler may have an unexpected run that people aren’t expecting.
For a simple and delicious side dish, try the Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Squash -- cook a spaghetti squash in the oven or microwave, add the “noodles” to a skillet with olive oil, garlic, white wine vinegar, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, until heated through, and then top with fresh parmesan and toasted pine nuts!
An argument could be made for the eggplant as Wichita State’s official food because it is under-appreciated, just like the impressive, but often overlooked, WSU basketball program. But with a campus full of “Shockers,” the official food of WSU has to be Wheat Beer!
Use your wheat beer to make a crowd-pleasing Steak and Sausage Beer Chili! Cook some veggies like onion, bell pepper, carrots and garlic, and then add sirloin and ground sausage. Next, add seasonings, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans and beer and simmer for 30 minutes or until meat is tender. Then, enjoy with an ice-cold beer and cheer on the Shocks to advance to the next round!
Get your game on and enjoy the madness!
Be creative with your team, pick a theme, and have some fun…while keeping it healthy and delicious!
Share with us! Do you have ideas for the official foods for other teams likely to be in the NCAA tournament this year?