March Madness is taking over the world, and while I don’t really care about the sports part, I am HERE for the snacks! I will pretend to watch college basketball all day if you keep a steady flow of appetizers coming my way. Thankfully I have friends who love to feed people. Friends like Sarah, always ready with a tray of delicious treats. Today’s treats are wrapped in bacon, so you don’t need to worry about anyone not liking them. They’ll surely be a slam dunk! Okay, Sarah, the ball’s in your court!
Greetings, foodies! I understand there’s some sort of holiday going on, but I CAN’T HEAR YOU – it’s March Madness time!
I am really a one-sport woman, and NFL football has my heart, but I am also very competitive and enjoy beating my friends in basically anything that can be made into a game. My brother, the super-athlete that he is, first introduced me to the joy of winning, and as I grew up, I made friends who would invent new card games with me and run races and play backyard sports. As a bona fide adult, I am really, really drawn to fantasy football, but do you know what the worst part is? Changing your lineup every week! Figuring out when you’re allowed to drop and pick up players off the waivers! I took second place in a league this year without making any roster moves, which had the added bonus of annoying my friends to no end, but was mainly because I couldn’t figure out the waivers.
Do you know what the best part is about NCAA March Madness? You fill out your bracket(s) once, just ONCE, and you’re set for the rest of the tournament! It’s the ultimate set it and forget it, and then watch your wins roll in. I appreciate the risk that your entire bracket can be busted in a few short nights when upsets take place… which inevitably happens to me every year. But if I can take a few other players in my pool down with me, then it’s worth it. (I am not a NICE competitor.)
So when do you host your March Madness bash? How do you theme it up? Tiny basketballs everywhere are a plus, but if you want to delight in seeing others bust their brackets while you conquer all, and have some tasty snacks while you’re at it, I’m advising a Mouth Madness party either during the final Sweet Sixteen games, or during the Elite Eight round. Have your friends bring a dish and face off in your own brackets for favorite bite of the evening.
And if you want to… you know, win? Try these. Traditionally known as Devils on Horseback, these delicious things are easy to make (requiring just three main ingredients) and, if it’s possible, are even easier to eat. Also, the fanciest tools you need here are a baking dish and toothpicks.
These Bacon Wrapped Dates are the perfect treat for your March Madness party!
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Bacon (I prefer thick-sliced, however, there are very few instances where I don’t)
Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
Maple Syrup (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375°.
Cut your dates in half length-wise. Dates have pits in the middle that need to be removed anyway, and half a date is a much more manageable bite. Remove and discard your pits.
Optional – Stuff a small block of cheese in each half-date. [Editor’s note: Cheese is never optional. Use the cheese!]
Roll half a slice of bacon around your half-date and cheese. Spear it with a toothpick to keep the bacon secure.
Line these up in a baking dish (no need to spray it with cooking spray – bacon is GREASY!).
Optional – Once you’re out of bacon or dates, or your dish is full, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup (a little more vinegar than syrup), and pop in the oven at 375° for 40-45 minutes.
Check these often in the oven! Depending on your bacon thickness, these could cook more quickly, and once you’ve burned bacon, it’s burned.
Toothpicks are extra handy to move these things to a plate and serve while hot.
Who’s in your Final Four? What’s your favorite March Madness match-up this year? Would you make these with turkey bacon, or nah?