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Party Plan: Throw a Basketball Bash

Get ready to go crazy for basketball again! Kick up the fun this year with a gathering that’s sure to be a slam dunk.

We’ve got a mouthwatering playbook to help you make a championship-worthy spread. Check out a great selection of appetizer and finger food recipes that are perfect for game-day parties, like Reuben Empanadas, Philly Cheesesteak Sliders and Gameday Meatballs & Slam Dunk Sauces. And for your vegetable-loving guests, you can complete your coverage with options like a Zucchini & Corn Veggie Dish and Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Cream Sauce and Bacon.

Plus, you can go beyond the average party beverages with a spectacular Beer Cider Slam. And for the game-winning final touches, check out Coconut Overload Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting and a DIY Basketball Hoop Serving Tray.

Reuben Empanadas with Homemade Russian Dressing Dipping Sauce

Reuben Empanadas with Homemade Russian Dressing Dipping Sauce

Created by: Greggy Soriano, Greggy’s Digest

Want a super yummy appetizer that reminds you of a Reuben from your favorite diner or delicatessen? These ooey-gooey, flaky and cheesy empanadas are a fun way to enjoy your favorite sandwich!

15 minutes | Prep time: 10 minutes | Serves: 6
Ingredients:
  • 1 package (12 oz.) Kroger Flaky Jumbo Crescent Rolls
  • ¼ lb. Kroger Deli corned beef
  • Kroger Shredded Sauerkraut
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • ¼ cup Kroger Sweet Relish
  • 1 cup Kroger Mayonnaise
  • 1 package (8 oz.) Private Selection Swiss Cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 yolk, for egg wash
  • Kroger All-Purpose Flour

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Directions:
  1. Sprinkle or dust the table with flour to keep dough from sticking. Open and roll out crescent rolls on the floured surface into one whole sheet. Try your best to pinch and close the seams together to keep it whole.
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  2. Use a glass, a biscuit cutter or a round cookie cutter to cut out circles of dough.
  3. Tear and layer pieces of corned beef on the bottom half of each circle of dough. Don't overstuff. 
  4. Tear the Swiss cheese into pieces and layer it on top of corned beef. Don't overstuff.
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  5. Place a generous pinch of sauerkraut on top of the Swiss cheese.
  6. Fold the top half of the circle to meet the bottom half of the dough.
  7. Crimp the edges with a fork. You can use water or egg wash to stick the edges together, but it’s not necessary with Kroger crescent dough.
  8. Brush egg yolk wash on top of the empanadas. Using only the yolk gives them a beautiful golden shine and a brown color.
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  9. Bake in the oven at 350˚ F for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. When the bottoms are golden brown and toasted, the empanadas are done.
  10. To make Russian Dressing Dipping Sauce, mix the ketchup, sweet relish and mayonnaise together with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a small condiment bowl next to your empanadas and enjoy!
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Beer-Cider Slam

Beer-Cider Slam

Created by: Cathy Pollack, Noble Pig

By itself, beer right out of the bottle is a perfect, self-contained beverage. Its naturally bitter and sweet taste, effervescence (who doesn't appreciate bubbles?) and lower alcohol content are all a plus. So why mess with a good thing?

Because it's fun to rearrange a classic, that’s why. And when you start experimenting with beer "cocktails," you get surprisingly great results. The combinations are endless, so you’re almost guaranteed to create something really unique.

If you're curious but not yet convinced, start by mixing your favorite beer with nonalcoholic ingredients like citrus juices, spices or even hot sauce. The taste will be eye-opening. Adding a little something sweet to a bitter beer changes it into a completely different beverage. Sometimes just combining two different types of ales can be a welcome change when it comes to taste and appeal.

With basketball playoffs on the horizon, why not root your team to victory with this beer-cider cocktail? You'll be shocked at how a few ingredients can elevate your regular, beloved beer into a flavor powerhouse. I promise this will be a slam dunk with your friends.

5 minutes | Serves: 2
Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. fine salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • One bottle (12 oz.) light-colored beer that's not too bitter (such as Hefeweizen), chilled and divided
  • One bottle (12 oz.) hard cider, chilled and divided
  • 2 oz. Cointreau, divided
  • Apple slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)
Directions:
  1. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and salt and sprinkle on a flat plate or surface. Dip the rim of each glass into the vanilla extract, then the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
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  2. Pour 6 ounces beer, 6 ounces hard cider and 1 ounce Cointreau into each glass. Stir lightly with a spoon. Garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick and apple slices.
  3. Serve immediately.
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Zucchini & Corn Veggie Dish

Zucchini & Corn Veggie Dish

Created by: Ashley Torres, Pursuit of Shoes

This time of year means lots of game viewing parties, which means lots of chips, dips and veggie dishes, right? I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my fair share of carrot sticks dipped in ranch.

I’m kinda ready for something different. So this year, to stand out from the usual appetizer platters, I made this savory zucchini and corn veggie dish. You’re going to LOVE it, and so will your guests! Trust me.

10 minutes | Prep time: 10 minutes | Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels, canned, frozen or fresh
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp. dried basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3-4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
Directions:
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the zucchini and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the corn, basil, thyme and oregano to the chopped zucchini. Stir until the zucchini is tender and the spices come together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the zucchini is tender, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a bowl to cool.
  5. Let cool for about 10 minutes; add more salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  6. Drizzle lime juice to coat all the ingredients. 
  7. Sprinkle the fresh cilantro and Parmesan cheese over the top.
  8.  
  9. Serve to your fellow sports fans and root for the home team!

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Homemade Strawberry Mint Soda

Homemade Strawberry Mint Soda

Created by: Elisabeth McKnight, Bella the Blog

Use this simple strawberry syrup recipe to mix up your own batch of homemade soda anytime! This refreshing drink is perfect for get-togethers and cuts out preservatives. 

15 min. | Prep time: 20 min. | Serves: 10
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. strawberries, cleaned with stems removed
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Sprigs of mint for garnish
  • 2-liter bottle of sparkling water or fruit soda
Directions:
  1. Boil water, strawberries and sugar on medium, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Then simmer on low for 20 minutes.
  2. Blend the mixture in a food processor, and then strain through a double cheesecloth to remove any larger parts of the strawberries.
  3.  
  4. Store your syrup in the fridge until you're ready to make your soda. 
  5. Add 2 liters of sparkling water, or fruit soda if desired. Mix well and serve with a sprig of mint. 

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Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

Created by: Nicole Leggio, Cooking for Keeps

The classic combination of steak, sautéed green peppers and onions with melted provolone cheese in an adorable little slider.

20 minutes | Prep time: 20 minutes | Serves: 6
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. sirloin steak
  • 6 slider buns
  • 3 tsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1 large green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ lb. provolone cheese, shredded
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Pop the steaks in the freezer for 15 minutes or until they're partially frozen.
  2. Cut the slider buns in half. Place them face down on a large baking sheet. Cook for 4-5 minutes until they're toasted and golden brown.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium-high heat while the steaks chill. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil. Add the peppers and onions and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
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  4. Use a very sharp knife to thinly cut the meat, then chop it. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Using the same pan you cooked the veggies in, adjust the burner to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add oil. Swirl the pan to coat and add the chopped beef. Cook until the beef is seared a golden brown and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Add the beef broth last and turn the heat off.
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  5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, salt and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off when it's thickened and slowly stir in the shredded provolone cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Pile the meat on slider buns, top with the veggies and spoon the sauce over.
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Game Day Meatballs & Slam Dunk Sauces

Game Day Meatballs & Slam Dunk Sauces

Created by: Greggy Soriano, Greggy’s Digest

Juicy and flavorful meatballs with three different sauces to dip in during the party: An easy, sweet and savory Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce and a yummy Sweet and Sour Sauce.

40 min. | Prep Time: 15 min. | Serves: 30  | Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup or sleeve of cracker crumbs (butter or round crackers are best)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil or olive oil
  • ½ cup Kroger Raspberry Preserves
  • ¼ cup Kroger Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ cup Kroger Honey
  • ½ cup Kroger Mustard
  • ½ cup p$$t… Ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. Kroger Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Kroger Worcestershire Sauce

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Directions:
  1. First, use a rolling pin and a sandwich zipper bag to crush the crackers. Mix ground beef, eggs, crushed cracker crumbs, salt, pepper and onion. Thoroughly mix everything together and shape into 1½” balls. Place the raw meatballs onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. Lining it with foil makes it easy to clean.
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  2. Heat oil in a skillet and add the meatballs. Brown in batches, and make sure they have room to fry to avoid steaming. Allow them to brown on all sides for 4 minutes, and then place back onto the foil-lined cookie sheet.
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  3. Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove and place meatballs into a slow cooker or warmer, and set aside.
  5. For the Sweet and Sour Sauce, mix raspberry preserves with apple cider vinegar, adding salt and black pepper to taste. Serve in a small dipping bowl.
  6. For the Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce, mix the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and brown sugar, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve in small dipping bowl.
  7. For the Honey Mustard Sauce, mix honey and mustard, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a small dipping bowl.
  8. Serve the three dipping sauces next to the slow cooker of meatballs with fun toothpicks. Enjoy!

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Thai Spring Rolls

Thai Spring Rolls

Created by: Emily Buys, Clever Housewife

Homemade spring rolls add a little class to any gathering! They’re fairly easy to make, and so good that nobody can turn them down.

5 minutes | Prep time: 20 minutes | Serves: 15
Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup bean thread noodles or rice noodles
  • ¾ lb. ground chicken
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, finely grated
  • 3 cups green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup red cabbage, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 25 spring roll wrappers
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Directions:
  1. Prepare noodles according to package instructions. Drain.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients except wrappers and oil. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Open package of spring roll wrappers, being careful not to let them dry out. If needed, place a damp paper towel over the top of the wrappers while assembling rolls. If you work quickly or have help you may not need to do this.
  4. With a wrapper in front of you in the shape of a diamond, add 2 tablespoons chicken mixture just below the middle of the wrapper. Fold bottom corner of wrapper over mixture. Roll up, folding the sides over as you roll. Seal with the remaining egg white by dipping a finger in the egg white and running it along the edge of the wrapper.
  5. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Make sure there is enough oil to cover the spring rolls. When the oil is nice and hot, cook the spring rolls until golden brown for 2-5 minutes.
  6. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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DIY Basketball Hoop Serving Trays

DIY Basketball Hoop Serving Trays

Created by: Greggy Soriano, Greggy’s Digest

Want a sporty way to serve snacks for basketball season? These DIY basketball hoop serving trays are a clever and easy way to pull out all the stops on your table display for the game. They’re made out of paper plates and will definitely be a slam dunk at your party!

Tools:
  • Kroger Paper Plates, 8.5” size 
  • 20-25’ parachute cord rope or any type of thick white rope
  • 1 large plastic martini glass, plastic tumbler or candlestick wide enough to hold the plate as a serving tray
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper glue
  • Glue gun
  • Black permanent marker
  • Hole punch (optional)
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Directions:
  1. Use a hole punch to evenly make 12 holes on the edge of a paper plate. You can also make slits with scissors by folding the edge of the paper plate under and cutting a small V-shape then opening it back up. Make sure the holes are the right size for the rope to pass through. If you want a more sturdy plate, do this to one or two additional plates, then layer them on top of each other, matching up the holes.
  2. Cut 12 pieces of rope 20” in length. 
  3. Hot-glue a paper plate to the bottom of your tumbler or martini glass. If you're using a candlestick, glue it to the top.
  4. Insert a cord from beneath the hole and tie a knot at the top. Continue to do this with all 12 holes.
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  5. Gather two strings together about 2 inches from the top and tie a knot. Continue to do this for the other strings, making sure the knots are at approximately the same level.
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  6. Grab a string from one knot on the right side and gather it with a string from the knot on the left side. Tie another knot, just like the last step, about 2 inches down from the last set of knots, forming a diamond shape. Continue to do this with the remaining strings.
  7. Repeat to make another row, creating another set of diamond shapes until you reach the bottom. This should be the last row, but go ahead and do another set of knots if there’s enough slack for one more. 
  8. Cut out a shape from another paper plate to look like a basketball hoop backboard. Decorate the backboard with construction paper and paper glue. You can also outline the backboard with a black permanent marker. Arrange the serving trays on your table, place treats on them and enjoy! Slam dunk!
Bonus basketball-themed decor:
  1. Use a cup as a stencil to make circles on orange construction paper in different sizes. Draw lines onto the circles so they look like basketballs and cut out the circles.
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  2. Fold black construction paper into an accordion.  
  3. Close the accordion-folded paper and fold it in half.  
  4. Open the fold and glue one side, then attach it to make a round paper medallion. Repeat on other side to complete the medallion.
  5. Glue a paper basketball to the center of the medallion.

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