Recipes for March Madness
Category: Recipes

Best Bites for March Madness

From dips to desserts, these recipes are the perfect snacking fare to put out before tip-off.

March Madness is in full swing, and if you’re lucky enough, your team is still dancing at the Big Dance! But even for those without a dog in the fight, we’ve got some delicious dishes, submitted by our readers, that will make any game-watching party a hit! From dips to desserts, these recipes are the perfect snacking fare to put out before tip-off. 


Pepperoni Dip

Brittany Hencken—Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. 

  • 1 bag Hormel® Pepperoni
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 block of plain cream cheese
  • 1 box of Ritz® crackers

Cut up pepperoni into small pieces. Using kitchen scissors is the easiest way. Mix all ingredients into small crockpot. Stir every 10 minutes or so. Dip will be ready in roughly an hour to one and half hours, depending on your crockpot. Serve hot right from the crockpot. Enjoy with Ritz® crackers. Try not to eat the whole batch!


Byron Dixon—Hoover, Ala. 

  • 1 6-pound bag of frozen meatballs
  • 1 jar of grape jelly 
  • 2 cans of chunked pineapples 
  • 5 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1 bottle of ketchup
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Cook meatballs in 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for 35-45 minutes. 

In a large pot, mix jelly, pineapples and juice, Sriracha, ketchup, sugar, and lemon, and bring to a slight boil. Stir occasionally to ensure sauce does not stick. Add meatballs to the mixture and cook on high. 

Cheryl’s Cheese Ball

Cheryl Cornelius

This recipe is a 40-year-old Christmas tradition!

  • 2 8-ounce package cream cheese (very soft)
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, very well drained
  • ¼ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion or ½ tables of dried onions
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
  • 2 cups chopped pecans

Combine cream cheese, pineapple, green bell pepper, onion, seasoning salt, and  1 cup chopped pecans. Roll into a ball. Spread remaining 1 cup of pecans upon parchment paper. Roll cheese ball in chopped pecans until well coated. 

Cheryl’s Grecian Orange Cake

Cheryl Cornelius

This Grecian Orange Cake recipe is one passed down from my 85-year-old mother. She has been making this cake for as long as I can remember. It is oh-so good and very easy to make!

Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 Duncan Hines® white cake mix
  • 13.4 ounce box of Jell-O® Lemon Instant Pudding
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup of oil
  • ¾ cup hot tap water
  • Icing Ingredients: 
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 1/3 tablespoons thawed frozen orange juice concentrate. 

Combine ingredients and pour into a greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes (toothpick should come out clean). 


Combine ingredients to make icing while cake is baking. As soon as the cake is done, remove it from the oven and poke as many holes as you can as quickly as possible (I used three wooden skewers and hold them just a bit apart, that way I triple the holes in the same amount of time).  Pour icing over the cake, using a spatula to ensure all icing is spread into the holes and soaks into the cake. 

White Chicken Chili

Joe Montefusco­—Birmingham, Ala. 

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
  • 4.5 ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 15 ounce can white corn, drained
  • 2 15.5 ounce cans white beans, drained (Cannellini or Great Northern are good)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon Better Than Bullion® chicken base
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Place chicken breasts on the bottom of a crockpot, and add chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chicken broth, green chilies, corn and beans. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

About an hour before serving: In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Whisk in flour, and allow to bubble and brown a bit. After a few minutes, gradually whisk in the milk and chicken base.

Allow the sauce to simmer for 4-5 minutes, whisking frequently until it is slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper.

Pour sauce into crockpot and mix to combine.

Add sour cream and mix.

If chicken has not already shredded with stirring, take out large pieces, shred them with two forks, and return to the crockpot.

Let the chicken chili cook on low 1 more hour if you can.

Compost Dip

Amy Goodrich—Birmingham, Ala. 

  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 4 cans black beans
  • 2 cans white shoe peg corn
  • 2 red peppers chopped
  • 1 purple onion chopped
  • 2/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin 

Combine and enjoy with your favorite chips!

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Christine McFadden—Birmingham, Ala.  

As the recipe title might suggest, this may be the easiest cookie recipe around! These are perfect for last minute visitors that pop in for a night of game watching. These cookies are always a crowd-pleaser, and no one has to know how simple they really are!

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/8 cup Sugar In The Raw® (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. 

Combine peanut butter, egg, and sugar in a large bowl, stirring until sugar has dissolved and egg is mixed in thoroughly. 

Roll portions of the dough into 2” balls and place upon a foil lined or greased baking sheet. Using a fork, create a “criss-cross” pattern on the tops of the cookies, slightly flattening the dough. 

Sprinkle Sugar In The Raw® granules over cookies. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes, remove from heat, and let cool! 


Carol’s Chocolate/Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Pam Brown

A family-favorite recipe for all gatherings!

Combine in a small bowl:

  • 1-cup cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3-cup sugar
  • 1/8-tsp. salt
  • Sift together:
  • 1½-cup flour
  • 1-cup sugar
  • ¼-cup cocoa
  • 1-tsp. soda
  • ½-tsp. salt

Add to sifted mixture:

  • 1-cup water
  • 1/3-cup oil
  • 1-tsp. vinegar
  • 1-tsp. vanilla

Beat together until well combined

Fill cups 1/3 full of chocolate batter

Top each cup with heaping teaspoon of the white (cream cheese) mixture

Sprinkle with sugar and (sliced) almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bake 30 to 35 minutes

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes


Cheese Dip

William Stampley

My family has been making this for about 25 years! 

  • 2lb block of Velveeta® cheese original
  • 1lb of ground turkey or beef 
  • 1 can of Rotel® diced tomatoes and green chilies (mild, medium, hot based on your preference). 

Cook the meat first and drain. While meat is cooking, begin steps 2 and 3. 

Cut up the cheese into about half inch squares to make it easier to melt.

Place cheese in large microwavable bowl and heat for about one minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Repeat this process until the cheese is melted completely. (Or if you have a crockpot, place the cheese in crockpot, heating and stirring until fully melted.)

Combine the drained meat and the can of Rotel. Pour the meat and Rotel mixture into the bowl of melted cheese and stir until all is well blended.

Enjoy with your favorite chips!

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