March Madness

March Madness is just another opportunity to get together with a bunch of friends have some dinner and watch some great basketball.  It also happens around my husband’s birthday so just another reason to get together.  Because it was a semi birthday celebration, I wanted to provided the food and let my friends off the hook, although they all offered.  We purchased steak tips at BJs.  If I haven’t said it before, we like their meat.  We cut them up and marinaded them in our typical way: Ken’s Italian Dressing, a package of Good Seasons Italian, and a ton of garlic.  For ease I use the freeze dried garlic flakes but of course freshly minced garlic is best.  I load the meat in a zip lock bag and pour the marinade over and refrigerate.  I will take them out of the fridge about 1/2 hour before they are to be grilled. We grill exclusively now over charcoal using a chimney to light the coals.  If you use a webber grill, the chimney is the only way to go – no need for lighter fluid.

My friends potato recipe is my husband’s favorite so, like a good wife I prepared them for him.  Usually, my friend takes care of them but she was arriving late so I was on my own. I cut six large potatoes into six spears and soak them in a bowl of water until ready to bake.  In a ziplock bag mix 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.  Heat the overn to 450 and using a Pampered Chef cookie sheet(large) melt a stick of butter.  My friend swears by the Pampered Chef sheet but if you don’t have one, use what you have.  Dredge the spears in the flour and line each on its side in the cookie sheet, single layer.  Cook for 20 minutes until golden brown and then flip them over and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Other than a salad I had prepared, I served asparagus spears roasted in the oven for 10 minutes.  I just sprinkled olive oil over the asparagus and seasoned with garlic and salt and pepper.  My husband cooked the tips* when I put the asparagus in the oven and everything was ready at the same time. For dessert I served my always successful, always enjoyed Key Lime Pie, see earlier post for that recipe.

We were able to serve it buffet syle and we all ate off our laps while we watched the NCAA semi finals. An easy meal, delicious, enjoyed by all and some great basketball to boot!

* I’m told steak tips are a New England thing.  I have no idea what cut of meat it is but we get them in strips about 2 inches wide and we cut the strips up into chunks. Maybe a butcher would know what cut they might be.  Good Luck!!