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The football big game last week is now in the history books. Now it’s time to think about the next exciting sporting event… the big college basketball tournament, coming next month! I love to watch the end-of-season excitement with Tom. But what I love even MORE is hosting a basketball party to celebrate with friends!
I love creating several small-plate recipes for big game day parties instead of one big meal. This makes for great palate-pleasing variety and plenty of food to last a few hours while we cheer on our favorite team.
For this party, I featured Southwest Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (recipe below!), BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders, Stuffed Jalapenos and Cajun Chicken Wings with celery, carrots and dipping sauce, plus Chocolate Cupcakes for dessert! Everything on the menu paired perfectly with Black Box Chardonnay. I also served Black Box Pinot Noir for my red wine loving friends.
Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of boxed wine (at least not since we were 20-something or so!). But I have to tell you… Black Box is altogether different. Why, you ask? Well let me tell you! I’ve tried several Black Box varietals, and the flavors are all delish! (My fave is the Chardonnay). In fact, these wines have won over 50 gold medals for their quality.
The boxes are super convenient and portable (perfect for tailgating and picnics) and they stay fresh for six weeks… a definite plus! What could be better than a wine that lasts from the first game of the tournament through the last, with every glass as perfect as the first? I also love to serve Black Box Wines at game day parties because there is less hassle factor than with multiple bottles, and these wines literally cost 40% less than comparable bottles!
Everything on my menu was a hit, especially the Southwest Buffalo Cauliflower Bites.They were the perfect game day appetizer… spicy, crispy, flavorful and HEALTHY! (Learn about ALL the healthy attributes of cauliflower here… a fascinating read!) Plus they were really easy to make. Now that’s a winning combo in my book.
- 1 head cauliflower, stem and leaves discarded, cut into small florets
- 3/4 cup light ranch dressing
- 1/4 cup grated mexican cheese blend
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce, plus extra for serving
- 1 cup black beans
- 1/4 cup black olives
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1 cup roasted corn kernels
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Toss cauliflower florets with the buffalo wing sauce and 1/2 cup of the light ranch dressing.
- Mix together the cheese and breadcrumbs.
- Place coated cauliflower in a large, resealable plastic bag.
- Add breadcrumb mixture.
- Shake and toss to coat cauliflower completely.
- Place cauliflower in a single layer on large baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
- Roast for 20 minutes.
- Toss cauliflower, then roast 20 minutes more or until well-browned.
- Top cauliflower with roasted corn kernels, black beans, and olives.
- Drizzle with buffalo sauce and ranch, then and top with green onions and cilantro.
- Serve remaining ranch dressing as a dipping sauce.
- Some of the cauliflower might get crispy while roasting. No worries... that's the yummiest part!
Basketball Party Printables
One of my favorite things to make for game day parties are free printables to share! For our basketball tournament big game party, I created printable cupcake toppers, party favor tags and a SLAM DUNK bunting you can use are your own event!For the cupcake toppers, simply download my free pdf, print on card stock. Then cut out the basketballs, attach to a party pick and insert one in each cupcake.I loved how my big game party favors turned out! I ordered orange gum balls and cellophane bags online to make it easy. To assemble, I cut off the excess cellophane, placed 10 gum balls in each bag, printed the tags, cut them out and folded them in half. Last, I taped a tag to each bag. To make your own favors, download this free printable party favor tag and print out on card stock.
The bunting was fun, too! To make your own, just print out all the pages of this printable file. Then, use a paper cutter and scissors to trim each piece. Punch two holes in the top of each, and then thread string through the holes. I hung mine in my shrubs, but I also love how these look indoors.
To add to the decor, I incorporated black and white striped “referee” plates and napkins, as well as black, white and orange paper straws in mason jars for tea and water. It was just an added bonus that my Black Boxes worked into my party color scheme!
From tip off to the exciting end, your basketball tournament party is sure to be a success with tasty small plates paired with this party-perfect wine! For endlessly more vino pairing inspiration, just visit Black Box Wine!
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