Game Day Eating

For most, football season means mindlessly munching on anything from chicken wings to handfuls of greasy chips at a tailgate. Some eat in celebration and others eat in mourning for a lost game. Whatever the reason, a serious amount of junk usually makes its way into our systems every Friday and Saturday night. (Who doesn’t love greasy food, though?!)

Unfortunately, these kinds of indulgences, plus those holiday feasts from November through December, can really add up at the end of a season. So this year, try some of these healthy spins on classic tailgate and football party foods. I promise, you’ll thank your stars when you don’t have to start the New Year with yet another weight resolution!

Chile Con Queso

· 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 medium onion, chopped
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· ½ cup pale ale, or other light-colored beer
· 1 ½ cups low-fat milk, divided
· 3 tbsp cornstarch
· 1 ¾ cups shredded sharp Cheddar
· 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained, or 1 ¼ cups drained petite-diced tomatoes
· 2 tbsp lime juice
· 1 tsp salt
· 1 tsp chili powder
· Cayenne pepper, to taste
· ¼ cup scallions
· 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to brown, 4-5 minutes. Add the beer and cook until reduced slightly, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of milk and bring to a simmer.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining ½ cup milk and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pan and cook, stirring vigorously, until bubbling and thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add cheese and cook, stirring, until melted. Stir in drained tomatoes, lime juice, salt, chili powder, and cayenne.
3. Serve warm, garnished with scallions and cilantro.

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Per ¼-cup serving: 84 calories, 5 g fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 5 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein

Recipe on eatingwell.com

Meatball (or Mushroom) Heros with Tri-Colored Peppers

· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 1 small onion, sliced
· 1/2 green pepper, sliced
· 1/2 red pepper, sliced
· 1/2 yellow pepper, sliced
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1 (12 ounce) loaf Italian bread (preferably whole-grain)
· 8 meatballs or sautéed (or grilled) Portobello mushrooms
· 1 cup Marinara or tomato sauce
· 1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions

1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, and salt and saute for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If using mushrooms, throw them in with during this step.)
3. Cut the bread into quarters crosswise and cut each quarter in half, being careful not to cut all the way through, so the 2 haves stay connected. Scoop the soft center out of the bread.
4. Put the bread, open-faced, on a baking sheet. Place 1 meatball (or mushroom) and some sauce on 1 side of each piece of bread. Top with some of the pepper mixture. Moisten the other side of each sandwich with a little sauce and sprinkle with the cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.

*This recipe was altered to accommodate a vegetarian diet.

Mountaineer Oatmeal Cookies

· 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/3 ounces)
· 1 cup regular oats
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
· 1/4 cup butter, softened
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1 large egg
· **3/4 cup chunked dried or fresh blueberries, depending on preference
· 1/3 cup premium white chocolate chips (such as Ghirardelli)
· Cooking spray
· Yellow and blue sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended. Add fruit and chips; beat at low speed just until blended.
3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Sprinkle yellow and blue sprinkles on top of the cookies and put back in the oven for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until cookies are browned.
4. Remove from oven; cool on pan 1 minute. Remove cookies from pan; cool completely on wire racks.

*I took this idea from a recipe from Laura Zapalowski, Cooking Light Issue May 2007.

**Use fruit and sprinkles that match your favorite team colors.

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