You can feel the tension and the pressure in the air as the NBA Finals approach. Whether you’re rooting for the East or the West or holding off on picking sides because your home team isn’t playing, the excitement is still building within you. The only way to take full advantage of this time is to prepare your favorite snacks, call over your favorite people and do it together! I have three suggestions for you that will surely make the Finals much more exciting!
The perfect finger food snack is Buffalo wings. You just can’t go wrong with a plate of wings while watching the game. It’s easy to make and even easier to eat. To get started you’ll need the chicken. They sell the chicken pieces in bags and 1 bag usually makes between 50 and 80 wings so depending on the number of guest determines how many bags of chicken you need. What you’ll want to do is defrost your meat and season the way that you like. I then fry the wings in oil with out any flour or bread crumbs this allows the chicken to get a natural crispness to them and if there are leftovers you don’t have to worry about soggy skin! After your chicken is fried you are 1 sauce away from a great plate of wings. Now you can do this a number of ways you can buy a buffalo win sauce premade heat it up and pour or you can make your own. My favorite sauce is homemade and has the right kick to it. You’ll need bottles of your favorite hot sauce, red pepper flakes, butter, white vinegar, honey and minced garlic. To makes sauce for on bag of wind I use half a stick of butter, ¾ of a 1 quart bottle of hot sauce, 1 tables spoon of minced garlic, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes. Melt butter in a sauce pan and then add the remaining ingredients and pour over hot chicken. Move pan to ensure that all of the chicken is coated with the sauce and serve. If your guest will not arrive right away place in the over set on 200º.
BBQ Meat Balls:
In my opinion the perfect meat ball is one that has a thick BBQ sauce on the outside and is moist on the inside. The way I make mine is with a mixture of ground turkey and ground beef. I add salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, a little brown sugar and honey, 2-3 eggs and ¼ to ½ cup of Italian bread crumbs. I mix everything together until I get the consistency that I want and then I roll them up and stick them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. You can make them in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook or cook right away. When cooking I sauté 3 tables spoons of butter in the pan place as many meat balls in as will fit and let nature take its course. I continuously turn them to make sure they are coated evenly and to test the batch I slice into one to make sure it’s done all the way through. Continue this process until all are fully cooked and then move onto the sauce. A homemade BBQ sauce isn’t really hard to make but it is hard to fix once you’ve made a mistake so the easiest way to make all of your guests happy is to take a few of your favorite jarred sauce and add your special touch to it. I prefer a honey or brown sugar based sauce I add hot sauce, butter, red pepper flakes, a spicy brown mustard, honey or brown sugar and added spices if needed. I combine all of my ingredients on the stove until hot and it coats my spoon well then I pour over my meat balls and toss to make sure each one catered to then serve if you’re guests have not arrived place in the oven with the chicken.
Now there are a few ways you can pull these off. You can either cut your own potatoes and fry them or get your favorite bag fries and cook them too……the secret is in the cheeses you use. I prefer to use a medium white cheddar, sharp yellow cheddar, pepper jack, and Colby blend. I grate all my cheese by hand because to me fresh grated holds more moisture. Once your fries are cooked you want to load them with your cheese blend and if you like bacon by all means add crumbles pieces of cooked bacon to the top……if you don’t eat port beef bacon is the perfect substitute. Take the wings and meatballs out of the over set it to 350 and place your fries inside. As the cheese begins to melt you can make your sauce. All I do is take my favorite ranch dressing and add lots of cayenne pepper and there you have a spicy sauce for your loaded fries. Be sure to make these as the guests are getting settled that way they are hot and fresh!
And there you have the perfect NBA Finals snacks! Grab a few cases of beer and the party can begin!
-The Culinary Goddess