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Thank goodness for college basketball tournament season. It serves as the bridge between the end of football season and the NFL Draft and Rockies baseball.

Without it, March would be bleaker than bleak.

So we need to fire up some app’s that will get us through the Mountain West Tournament this week in Las Vegas. Even if our teams don’t win the whole thing, we will watch as 64 other teams play in the NCAA Tournament.

Those glorious Thursday-Sunday doubleheaders are March 15-18 and 22-25, and then the Final Four is Holy Saturday and Monday, April 2. So at least there will be beer while we watch the championship game. Praise the Lord.

I know there are people who are as nuts about college basketball as I am about football. And that’s great. The world needs more varieties of nuts.

If you are entertaining for a particular game — or let’s just say it — playing hooky from the office for the 13-hour marathons on Thursday and Friday, here are some factoids you might find useful.

Plan on 12 servings total per person. So, if you are having four people who eat, you’ll need 48 different bites. But seriously, make more, for the guys or gals who need more than 12.

Plan on two 12-ounce beers per person per hour, if you don’t have to go back to the office or drive home. Have one bottle of wine per two guests, which is about three glasses per person.

For a veggie platter, plan on six pieces of vegetable per person. For dips and salsa, figure 1⁄3 cup per person.

And if you want folks to eat throughout the game, time your hot appetizers so they come from the oven every 10 to 15 minutes.

The above tips are from, a community of home cooks, so if you run out or have leftovers until Cinco de Mayo, don’t tell me.

Here is a restaurant favorite to make at home. And it’s good for Friday games as well.

Artichoke and Spinach Dip,

restaurant style

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  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
  • 1-1/4 cups Alfredo-style pasta sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 350.

Bake garlic in a small baking dish until soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven. When cool enough to touch, squeeze softened garlic from skins.

Stir together roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, spinach, pasta sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and cream cheese in an 8- by 8-inch baking dish; spread evenly.

Bake until cheeses are melted and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with sturdy veggies and good crackers as dippers. Serves 12.

(Recipe courtesy of

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS


Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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