Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snacks for the Big Game!

When I was growing up, joining my family and friends for a Super Bowl party meant not paying close attention to the game (well, maybe only the commercials) and making multiple trips to the food table which was filled with an array of salty snacks and sweet treats. Sound familiar?

If you are maintaining that resolution to lose weight, Super Bowl parties can put your defensive game to the test. By doing a little game planning in advance, you and your friends will still feel completely satisfied without overindulging.


These dishes pack flavor, and you will still feel good about serving these selections to your guests:

Chili Cheese Dip

Serves 16

All you need:
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 (15 oz) cans vegetarian chili with beans
2 (8 oz) packages fat free cream cheese
4 oz. 2% Colby Jack shredded cheese

All you do:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the chili and heat to combine, 1-2 minutes longer.

2. Spread cream cheese on the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Spread chili mixture over the cream cheese. Finish with a layer of shredded cheese. Microwave for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve with veggies and whole grain crackers.

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread

Serves 16

All you need:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
4 whole grain flatbreads
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 celery ribs, sliced thin
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 500.
2. Melt butter in the microwave for 15 seconds. Combine with the hot wing sauce and pour over the shredded chicken. Toss to combine.

3. Lay flatbreads on a baking sheet. Top with mozzarella cheese, chicken mixture, celery and blue cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts.

Turkey Sliders with Apple Chutney and Smoked Gouda

Serves 16

All you need:
Apple Chutney:
2 large Granny smith apples, diced small
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
Salt and pepper, to taste
16 slider buns, split
4 oz. smoked gouda cheese, sliced thin

All you do:
1. Bring the chutney mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Allow to cool.

2. Form ground turkey into 16 small patties. Season with salt and pepper. Grill or saute the patties in a nonstick skillet until golden brown and juices run clear.

3. Top each slider bun with a turkey patty, a slice of smoked gouda cheese and a spoonful of apple chutney.

Cheddar Sliders with Chipotle Cherry BBQ Sauce

Serves 16

All you need:
BBQ Sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
3/4 cup cherry preserves
1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo, seeded and minced
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 1/4 pounds 93% lean ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
16 slider buns, split
4 oz. 2% sharp cheddar cheese, sliced thin

All you do:
1. Bring BBQ sauce ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Form ground beef into 16 small patties. Season with salt and pepper. Grill or saute the patties in a nonstick skillet to desired doneness (I recommend medium).

3. Top each slider bun with a burger patty, a slice of cheddar cheese and a spoonful of BBQ sauce.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spinach Salad with Clementine Vinaigrette and Homemade Croutons

It's citrus season! There are so many delicious varieties of citrus fruits to choose from, but my favorite are clementines. They're sweet, juicy and super easy to peel. After visiting a local co-op which had some beautiful fruit and veggies to choose from, I decided to make a clementine vinaigrette and serve it over leafy greens. This makes a perfect lunch or light dinner. Enjoy!


Spinach Salad with Clementine Vinaigrette and Homemade Croutons

Serves 6

Zest and orange segments of 2 clementines (or your favorite orange variety)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Salt and pepper

2 cups crusty bread, cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used garlic flavored olive oil)
Salt and pepper

4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 avocado, diced
2 clementines, peeled broken into segments
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled

1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Set aside.

2. Heat oven to 350. Lay bread cubes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake 10 minutes (or until golden).

3. Toast pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant.
4. Top spinach with clementine segments, dried cranberries, goat cheese, avocado, pecans and croutons.

Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Moroccan Spiced Skirt Steak Tacos

I figured it was only fair to my meat lovers to post what I made for dinner tonight. Red meat is sometimes seen as an unhealthy choice, but it doesn't have to be. This meal uses lean beef which fills you up quickly and provides less than 10g of fat (mostly the "good for you" monounsaturated fat) and 25g of protein in a 3 oz serving!


Moroccan Spiced Skirt Steak Tacos

Serves 6-8

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 lb. skirt steak, cleaned and trimmed

2 yellow onions, sliced thin
1 each green, yellow and red pepper, sliced thin
1 jalapeño, sliced
2 (4 oz) cans diced green chiles
2 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt

2 avocados, peeled and sliced
Extra lemon slices for serving

12 (6 inch) corn tortillas

1. Combine marinade ingredients in a shallow tupperware container (could also use a 13x9 baking dish).
2. Add the skirt steak and cover with the marinade. Refrigerate 4-6 hours.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, peppers and jalapeño and saute until soft, 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add green chiles and Greek yogurt and remove from heat.

4. Grill the steak 5 minutes on each side and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

5. Dice the avocado and squeeze lemon over. Microwave corn tortillas for 30 seconds. Assemble tacos and serve.