March Madness Party Snacks

April 6, 2013 5:43:54 AM PDT
March Madness has seen a lot of surprises. If your bracket was torn up and you don't know for whom to cheer, let your taste buds decide!

Chef Melissa Trimmer, Le Cordon Bleu of Culinary Arts in Chicago ( came into our ABC7 studio to show us how to make Final Four party snacks.

Chef Melissa's Recipes:

Mint Julep Cocktail (Louisville)
Servings: 4 six-oz. servings or 1 pitcher
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup water
3/4-ounce package of spearmint (regular mint will work as well)
16 ounce Kentucky Bourbon

In a pan, combine the sugar, water and spearmint.
Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let infuse for 20 minutes.
Strain and mix with bourbon, and let chill overnight.
On game day, fill a pitcher with ice cubes and a few mint leaves if desired.
Pour prepared drink mix over the ice and serve.

Beer Cheese Dip & Bagel Chips (Syracuse)
Servings: 4
8-ounce package of cream cheese
1 cup processed cheese spread
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream
½ cup beer, flat (ours is brewed in Syracuse)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped green onions for garnish (optional)

Place cream cheese, processed cheese and cheddar cheese in a microwave proof bowl.
Heat in 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring after each interval until the mixture is completely melted and no lumps remain.
Stir in sour cream, beer, and salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the top with green onions.
Serve right away with bagel chips.

Mini Pizzas (Wichita State)
Servings: Makes 24 mini pizzas
1 package of pre-made pizza dough (available at gourmet grocery stores, roughly 22 ounces)
Two 14-ounce jars of pizza sauce
8-ounce bag of shredded mozzarella
8-ounce bag of shredded Italian cheese blend
Salt and pepper to taste
Oregano to taste
Desired toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, artichokes, etc.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
On a floured surface, roll out pizza dough and cut into 4x4-inch squares.
Place squares on baking sheets, and put in oven.
Bake until the dough is just light brown.
Remove from oven, spread sauce on crusts, and sprinkle with cheese, salt and pepper, oregano, and desired toppings.
Place back in oven until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.
Serve warm.

Mini Pasties with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce (Michigan)
Servings: Makes 24-30 mini pasties

2 packs of pre-made pie shells (4 crusts total, the rolled kind)
1 pound of ground beef
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
½ medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
½ turnip (optional), peeled and cubed
7 baby carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil

In a sauté pan, heat the oil until it shimmers, add the vegetables, and cook until they just begin to soften.
Season with salt and pepper, and add the beef, parsley and garlic.
Cook until the beef is brown.
Remove from the heat, and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll the pie dough; punch out 3 biscuit-sized rounds out of each piece of dough.
Stack up the dough, roll out, and punch another 12 rounds (you should have 24 total).
Place 1 tablespoon filling in the center of each round, fold in half, and crimp the edges.
Place pasties on a sheet tray, cut a small steam vent on each one, and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown (around 20 minutes).

Sour Cream Dip Ingredients:
½ clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
1tablespoon chives, minced
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until well combined.