Appetizers


From the sound of the title, I probably sound like a sports fan. I’m not. I know nothing about football, baseball, or basketball. I am incredibly annoying when sports are on TV because I either a) fidget b) ask questions. So when a friend of mine decided to host a game day party, I offered to prepare the food (much more entertaining). The idea of making game day food healthy is a side project that I am interested in (which unfortunately is on hold, but learn more here and here). It was a good deal on both ends- my friend had the equivalent of a caterer and I got to use the guests as guinea pigs. As many of you already know, sometimes healthyfying a recipe works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you need a little butter or cream to make something work and its a matter of figuring out how little will still bring a yummy result. So here we have Game Day Appetizers.

#1 Butternut Squash Dip

I loosely followed the recipe found at Framed. I kept the quantity of butternut squash, onions, and garlic the same and I sprayed with olive oil spray. Once I was working in the food processor, I did not add any additional olive oil and I substituted 3 tbsp of sour cream for about 1/2 cup of non-fat greek yogurt. I used a tiny bit of cayenne, some cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and was pretty generous with the salt. The key is to keep tasting as you puree so you don’t go to heavy on the salt.

The dip was a success. Most people love squash and this dip was a unique way to eat squash. I would recommend making this for any party.

#2 Cheeseburger-in-one-bite Skewers

Well, they are adorable. I’ll give them that much credit. And, they have potential. But this is an example of when cutting out too much fat goes wrong. I used about 2lbs of 0% fat ground turkey and mixed that with about 1/3 cup of bbq sauce and an array of meat/poultry spices because I knew from past experience the flavor had to come from somewhere and it wasn’t going to be the turkey itself. After kneading the meat, I broke it into quarter sized meatballs and to grill them used cooking spray. Pretty disastrous. There just wasn’t enough fat for the meat not to glue itself to the pan. I cooked them about 80% of the way and then stuck in the oven on broil. After about 2 minutes on each side, I topped each meatball with a small slice of cheese (again using 0% fat cheddar). After the meat and cheese cooled, I stuck on a toothpick with red onion, half a cheery tomato, and a pickle. I personally think these would have been significantly better with 93% turkey, but despite my disappointment, all 45 skewers were eaten. Moral of the story – make these, they are cute, use some fat.

#3 Mushroom and Thyme Phyllo Wraps

I love working with Phyllo dough and a variety of mushrooms seasoned with 1 thyme and rosemary is delicious, so the two came together. To make this chop up a variety of mushrooms, spray with olive oil, and on medium heat, cook mushrooms (about 5 cups) with salt (to taste), thyme (1 tsp), and rosemary (1/2 tsp) until everything is soft and fragrant. Drain the mushrooms using a strainer to avoid getting the phyllo dough soaked through. Take 4 phyllo sheets per roll and spray lightly with olive oil between each sheet. Take about 1/4 of mixture and lay at the bottom of the sheet. Roll up the mixture and cut into 4 to 5 pieces per roll. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until phyllo starts to golden.

Delicious! If you are ok with adding a little more calories sprinkle mixture with Parmesan cheese before baking. You could make this dish with anything wrapped inside: artichoke and spinach, chicken and sundried tomatoes, etc.

#4 Mexican Phyllo Tarts

Did I mention I liked working with Phyllo? Another super easy recipe. 1 can of black beans and 1 can of corn (low sodium and strained with water). Mix with 1/2 can of medium salsa, 3 tbsp chopped cilantro, and 1/2 red onion finely chopped. Drain for extra liquid to avoid soaking through phyllo cups. Take mixture and fill phyllo cups (they are so easy to work with, the day you are going to use them you take them out of the freezer, and 3 hours later they are ready to use). Just like the rolls above, you could fill these with anything. I chose the mexican filling to replace the typically unhealthy nachos you find on game day.

#5 BBQ Chicken Pizza

This healthy version of BBQ pizza is so good that you get the taste you want out of pizza with none of the unhealthy fat. One person commented that if there was a way to get this pizza in a NYC pizzeria, he would be getting it everyday. Recipe can be found at my on-hold-project.

Please share any ideas you have for healthy appetizers. I’m already looking for something new!

You may have seen the Healthy BBQ Pizza last week, and this is a continuation to that healthy game day party you just might throw.  There’s no reason to leave a Game Day party feeling gross and if you’re hosting not only does everyone leave feeling good but you have a chance to show others how to “make-over” traditional bar food into a healthier version.

To make a healthy buffalo wing, we went through 4 different recipes and enlisted 8 tasters. We tried everything: grilling, light frying, baking, broiling, panko, cornflakes, wings, breasts, sauces. (This effort is part of a bigger project: A healthy lifestyle blog for sports fans).

4 types of wings

As shocking as it was – the simplest of the four recipes was best. 2 ingredients and a few steps is all you need.

Ingredients

  • 24 Wings (used non frozen)
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce – (buffalo wing sauce is different that just hot sauce. It already includes the butter flavoring so you don’t actually have to use butter.)
  • Total Cost:  $10.18 – and that is for 24 wings.  Most bars charge almost that for just 12…

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet, broiler pan, basically anything that can go in the oven with out blowing up by placing some aluminum foil over it.  Place this pan in the center of the oven.
  3. Take the NAKED wings (don’t add sauce), place them on the aluminum foil and BAKE them for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees measured with a meat thermometer, but really, as men you should be able to eyeball when chicken is done by now
  4. Move the baking sheet to the top rack of the oven.
  5. BROIL the wings for ~10 minutes, Flip the wings, and BROIL for about ~5 minutes. You are looking for the wings to start to crisp up — but don’t burn them.  This step is the key to getting the wings crispy and tasting like they do at the bar.
  6. Remove wings from oven, and throw into a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of buffalo wing sauce (just pour generously). Toss the wings around until they are thoroughly coated.

wings in bowl

Nutritional Information – about 100 calories per wing compared with the typical bar wing that is 180 calories.

If you’re smart, than by now you should be thinking what about the blue cheese? A blue cheese dunk adds an additional 90 calories to each bar wing, bringing a dozen wings (ordered at a bar) to a total of 3,240 calories.

To find a healthy dip we tried several low-fat and non-fat dressings, but the clear winner was a 2 ingredient homemade dip. (It was so good several tasters started eating it by the spoon full).

Ingredients

  • 1 container of non-fat Greek Yogurt (6 oz)
  • 1 small block of reduced fat Blue Cheese

Directions

  1. Using a grater, grate about 1/3 cup of blue cheese.
  2. Stir blue cheese into yogurt to give it a nice chunkiness.
  3. Store dip in fridge until ready to eat so it provides the coolness against the hot wings.

Nutritional Information – about 15 calories for a tablespoon. The traditional blue cheese dip at the bar is about 90 calories a tablespoon. Not bad, huh?

Do you have any healthy game day recipes you’d like to share?

Buffalo Chicken Wings on Foodista

Game Day isn’t something I identify with. I don’t have a favorite team. My moods aren’t affected by scores. However, there are hundreds of millions of people that love being sports fans. Sometimes these people are your friends and they want to come over and watch sports. When that happens, here is a great thing to serve: BBQ Chicken Pizza!

bbq pizza

This recipe is from a series of recipes that were developed for a new site: (Don’t Look Like A Lineman). This site is for the typical guy that loves beer and bar food but not the stomach tire and love-handles that come along with it. There’s thousands of healthy living sites for woman, but not very many practical ones for men. Check it out and please share with your male friends and significant others.

Shopping List

  • Whole Wheat Pita (comes in packs of 8, slice in half, make 16 individual pizzas.
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Non-fat Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1 Red Onion

Directions

  1. Chop chicken breast into small chunks.  Spray some non-stick canola oil into the pan and place chicken into frying pan with a little salt.  As you are cooking, pour some of the BBQ sauce into the pan and stir.  Should take about 5-7 min minutes until its cooked through
  2. Chop Onion
  3. Preheat oven to 400
  4. To assemble pizza- spread about 1 tbsp of bbq sauce on pita, spread handful of chicken and half a handful of onions on bbq sauce and cover with cheese
  5. Place pizzas on baking rack in center of the oven.  Bake for about 10 minutes and then change setting to broil
  6. Move the baking rack to the top of the oven.  Broil for about 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown
Nutritional Information125 Calories for 1 pita pizza (Compare that with the typical 350 calories per slice)

Friday night in New York City: temperature in the 50’s, raining, and it feels like fall. I love it. All I can think about is sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and pumpkin. For some reason my friend coming for dinner can only think about guacamole. Hmm…really? We decide to make an appetizer night of it. On the menu:

  • Sweet Potato Fries with 2 dipping sauces
  • Guacamole with Tortilla Chips
  • Hummus with assortment of veggies

Does this sound fancy or complicated? Its not. Not even a little bit. But it is delicious and extremely healthy. The spread takes 20 minutes to put together and the hilarious part is it cost less than $2. I’m not kidding! The sweet potatoes were purchased for $1.30, everything else was in the fridge and needed to be used up.

Sweet Potato Fries

1.Preheat oven to 425 and stick a baking sheet with parchment paper in so it gets hot while you are preparing the potatoes.

2. Wash potatoes and cut them into large sized sticks (leave skins on, its gets tasty when crunchy and holds many nutrients- double bonus) sweet potatoes

2. In a big bowl mix cut potatoes with assortment of spices and oil. Whatever you have on hand will work, I used:

  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • Sprinkle of cayenne
  • 1 tsp roasted red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

3. Take out baking sheet and spread out sweet potatoes. Bake for about 10 minutes, flip fries, and bake for another 10 minutes. That’s it!

Dipping Sauces for Sweet Potato Fries

Dip 1: Cool Yogurt dip to balance the hot and sweetness of the fries – by Dana Treats

1. Stir together the following ingredient:

  • 2/3 cup non-fat plain organic yogurt
  • 1 tbsp crushed walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Dip 2: Ketchup

As you can see from the picture below we also made guacamole and served with chips and some freshly cut veggies with Sabra Hummus. To drink a bottle of dry white wine from South Africa – 50% sauvignon blanc, 50% chenin blanc (2007 Groote Post, The Old Man’s Blend). The wine was refreshing and crisp, the lemon and lime aroma of the wine was a perfect addition to the lime of the guacamole and the sweet potatoes fries that were also drizzled with a lime. Compliments to my favorite wine store owner for the recommendation!

apps night with claudia