Attending a school like Ole Miss gave me such a deep rooted appreciation for football games.
The SEC (Southeastern Conference)does not mess around when it comes to football season, and each game weekend was a holiday in itself. From chandeliers in the tents to extensive spreads of tailgating food and people dressed to the nines, you could say that I adopted a huge love for the sport.
With the Super Bowl upon us, I thought it would be a great time to share some of those delicious tailgating recipes, but instead of snacks that make you feel weighed down during the entire game and commercials (I know I’m not the only one who looks forward to them..) I’m going to share some healthier versions of the classic football game dishes! I promise none of your guests will know the difference ☺
One of my personal favorites is buffalo chicken, but instead of the wings having around 100 calories per piece, below is a recipe that won’t derail your diet and will keep you feeling good way past the half time show! Swapping out the wings for cauliflower is a great alternative and can still satisfy the craving for a spicy snack!
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
1 head cauliflower
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon dried mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon onion powder
⅓ cup Louisiana hot sauce
1 teaspoon melted light butter (I use light flaxseed earth balance)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. – Wash cauliflower and remove stems. Chop into florets.- Sprinkle chopped cauliflower with salt and pepper and place on a cookie sheet in oven for 10 minutes. – While baking, mix all spices and hot sauce together. Add in butter. – After 10 minutes, rotate and bake another 12 minutes. – Remove from oven and place in bowl. – Cover with sauce. Coat thoroughly.- Turn oven to broil setting. – Place back on cookie sheet and broil for 5-8 minutes (until slightly charred).
Going along with the spicy theme, the next recipe is one that is sure to please all! You can never go wrong with pizza during a football game, and especially one that incorporates buffalo chicken and whole grain crust that will keep you satisfied!
The Best Buffalo Chicken Pizza
1 whole wheat pizza crust
1/3 cup marinara sauce
8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup spinach or kale, shredded
1/4 cup red onion, diced
For the buffalo sauce:
1 tablespoon nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon Frank’s Buffalo Wing Hot Sauce
1. Preheat oven to 400-450 degrees F (depending on type of crust used.) Spray pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray and lay crust out flat on top.
2. Grill 8 ounces of chicken in skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Flip frequently and use salt and pepper as desired. Once fully cooked, remove chicken from skillet and lay to cool slightly on cutting board. Shred chicken into very small pieces.
3. Spread marinara sauce on crust. Add the shredded chicken, cheese, shredded kale/spinach, red onion, and any other vegetables desired. Cook in oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on crust) until lightly browned on top.
4. Make buffalo sauce to drizzle on top of pizza after baking by mixing 1 tablespoon nonfat Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon Frank’s Buffalo Wing Hot Sauce together in small bowl. Use a spoon to drizzle on top and enjoy!
A protein based dish is always a good call too, particularly ones that are low in saturated fat and high in flavor! I’m a huge fan of turkey meatballs, and these are extra tasty due to the teriyaki glaze. A different twist on a classic is always a nice surprise for guests!
Terrific Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs
¼ cold cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
1½ pounds lean ground turkey
½ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup finely minced onion
½ cup finely minced green bell pepper
½ cup grated carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce (see recipe instructions below)
For the teriyaki sauce
1. Whisk together the water and the cornstarch in a small cup or bowl, set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, water, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and honey. Bring to a simmer, then slowly whisk in the water/cornstarch mix. Continue to whisk until the sauce starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
For the meatballs
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with nonstick cooking spray).
2. In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, eggs, panko, onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger, black pepper and teriyaki sauce. Using clean hands (or a wooden spoon), mix ingredients until well combined.
3. Form meatballs into 1½ inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meat is fully cooked (a thermometer inserted into the center reaches 165 degrees F).
4. Remove meatballs from the oven and toss with teriyaki sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired. Serve immediately.
Watching football should be enjoyable, and everyone should take part in celebrating the Super Bowl. Just be mindful of the snacks you consume, and eat what you want in moderation. I’ll be the first to acknowledge my love for tailgating food and cannot wait to veg in front of the TV with family and friends to watch the game this year! After all, the Super Bowl is a time to celebrate no matter which team you’re rooting for!
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