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The Madness of March

POSTED: March 26, 2014 1:00 a.m.

We are a sports-loving family, be it football, baseball or basketball. We like it all.

So you would think that when my husband mentioned the urgency of getting home to look at the brackets a week ago on Sunday, I would have immediately thought of March Madness. Instead I asked if he needed my help to repair brackets, thinking of brackets that hold things up.

I apparently didn’t get the memo that it was Selection Sunday and I needed to be ready with my sharpened pencil when that kind of bracket rolled off the printer. He was studying it like it was a seventh-grade science project: delicately picking apart the “seeds” and lining them up like there was, in fact, a science to it. Which we all know there most certainly is not.

As in the past, the No. 1 seed may fall in an early round and the runt of the litter, the underdog, will limp along and win the whole caboodle. But isn’t that what makes it the most fun to watch? When the camera gurus run that slow-motion slam dunk that wins the game at the buzzer and sweat is flying off the player’s face, that’s what great sports moments are made of.

And while watching picture-perfect hoops moments, we also want the perfect sports-watching food — sliders.

We love hamburger sliders, pork tenderloin sliders, barbecue sliders, chicken sliders and our featured recipe, the meatball sliders. These little sandwiches are just the right size.

To make a good slider, you have to start with a good base. The dinner rolls from King’s Hawaiian are perfect slider-size. They are our neighbors down in the south part of Hall County, and since our family business is locally owned, we feel strongly about supporting locally produced products.

So by now you probably know whether or not you are in the running for the billion dollars for picking the perfect bracket. My chances of that were pretty much squelched when Mercer beat Duke, but that won’t stop me from watching all the way to the finals. It will undoubtedly be a great ride; watching some teams step up while others will fall back. It is after all, The Big Dance. And I don’t even have to repair a bracket.

Minimeatball sliders

2 pounds ground round

1/2 cup panko or Italian-flavored breadcrumbs

1/2 cup skim milk

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped fine

1 (24-ounce) marinara sauce

24 dinner rolls, recommended King’s Hawaiian

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Combine beef, breadcrumbs, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Combine mixture with your hands. Shape into tablespoon-size balls (mixture should make about 24).

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it is transparent, about 5 minutes. Remove onion to a plate.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the meatballs. Cook the meatballs until they are completely browned all over. Drain the grease from the skillet.

Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet with the meatballs and add the onion. Stir together and simmer about 15-20 minutes over low heat.

When serving, split the rolls, add a meatball and sauce. Top the meatball with mozzarella cheese. Serve immediately.

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at crevolyn.wiley@jandjfoods.com.


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