Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Game Day Snacks

The Super Bowl is right around the corner and that means lots of yummy food and drinks. Although comfort foods are often seen as bad choices, I say why not still serve those items but incorporate healthier ingredients? Most of the time, no one will be able to tell the difference. Some of my favorite "trick" items are chicken or turkey sausage, yogurt-based salad dressings and low-fat cheeses.

Fruits and vegetables often get let out off of the menu, but if you bring a tray with an array of vegetables and fruits along with dips (like hummus and fruit dip or yogurt) people will take notice.

These three recipes are bite-sized so they're fun for kids to help prepare as well. Let's get snacking!

Mini Potato Skins 
Serves 12

All you need:
1 (1.5 pound) bag Hy-Vee Smart Bites baby blondes potatoes*
1/4 cup Bolthouse Farms chunky blue cheese yogurt salad dressing, plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce
6 oz. 2% sharp cheddar cheese
4 green onions, sliced thin

All you do:
1. Microwave the potatoes (in their packaging) for 8 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before handling.
*If you can't find this kind of potato, simply buy 1.5 pounds of baby Yukon Gold potatoes, poke each once with a knife and cook in a microwave-safe bowl for 8 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Cut the potatoes in half and use a small spoon or melon-baller to scoop out the insides, leaving a 1/4-inch rim around the edge. Arrange the potato kins cut-side-up on a heavy baking sheet. Brush the insides with blue cheese dressing. Bake 10 minutes; flip the potatoes so the cut side is down and bake another 10 minutes.

4. Turn the potatoes over so the cut side is up. Sprinkle with hot sauce and fill with shredded cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

5. Top with scallions. Serve with additional blue cheese dressing, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving (4 potato skins): Calories 154, Total fat 4g, Saturated fat 2g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 307mg, Carbohydrate 19g, Fiber 3g, Protein 10g

Beer Braised Hot Links
Serves 12

All you need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (13.5 oz.) package Johnsonvile smoked turkey sausage, sliced into rounds
3/4 cup red pepper jelly
1/2 cup honey
1 (12 oz.) Amber Bock beer (or choose your favorite)

All you do:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage rounds and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes.

2. Add pepper jelly and honey and stir to combine.

3. Top with beer and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce has thickened and is slightly sticky. Transfer sausage to a platter and serve with toothpicks.

Nutrition information per serving (4 sausage rounds): Calories 130, Total fat 4g, Saturated fat 1g, Cholesterol 22mg, Sodium 375mg, Carbohydrate 17g, Fiber 0g, Protein 5g

Cheese Poppers
Serves 8

All you need:
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
8 Weight Watchers jalapeƱo cheese sticks
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup pizza sauce, warmed

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In one bowl, combine both types of bread crumbs and thyme. In two separate bowls, place eggs and flour.

3. Cut each cheese stick into three pieces. Dip each piece into flour, then egg, then crumb mixture. Arrange coated pieces on a prepared baking sheet. Spray cheese poppers with cooking spray.

4. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until cheese is softened. Serve with pizza sauce.

Nutrition information per serving (3 poppers and 2 tablespoons sauce): Calories 125, Total fat 4g, Saturated fat 1g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 341mg, Carbohydrate 13g, Fiber 1g, Protein 9g 

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