Having a Super Bowl party is a license to eat crazy amounts of junk food, simply put. Here are some ideas on what to serve, and some recipes — surprise! — are actually in the "healthy" category.
BUFFALO CHICKEN TENDERS
Start to finish: 2 hours 30 minutes (15 minutes active)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot sauce (my favorite for this recipe is Tabasco Chipotle), divided
2 cups plus 6 tablespoons buttermilk, divided
1 pound chicken tenders (or chicken breasts cut into 3-by-1-inch strips, 1/2-inch thick)
3/4 cup whole-wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, salt, 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce and 2 cups of the buttermilk. Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the chicken tenders and stir to coat well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 10 hours.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with olive oil cooking spray.
In a shallow bowl combine the whole-wheat and panko breadcrumbs. In another small bowl, whisk together the remaining 6 tablespoons of buttermilk, the mayonnaise, blue cheese and lemon juice. Transfer to a ramekin for dipping. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of hot sauce into a second ramekin for dipping.
Use a colander to drain the chicken, but do not pat it dry. Dip each chicken piece in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure it is coated well on both sides. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, then spritz the tops with olive oil cooking spray.
Bake on the oven’s middle shelf for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until they are just cooked through. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a platter. Serve with both dipping sauces.
Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories; 80 calories from fat (27 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 80 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 33 g protein; 1,120 mg sodium.
The Meyer lemon (named for Frank Meyer, who discovered them more than 100 years ago) is a cross between a lemon and possibly some variety of orange. Thin-skinned, they often mature to a yellow-orange color and are slightly less acidic than common lemons. I like that because the lower acid makes it so much easier to appreciate the vibrant taste of these lemons.
I thought this would be just perfect to get a Super Bowl watching party going. Not only is it a fun drink, but the tangy lemon flavor is perfect for cutting through all the rich, heavy foods we usually eat during the big game.
For ease, the entire recipe can be made in advance and refrigerated. That way when your guests arrive all you have to do is fill a cocktail shaker with ice, shake the drink to get it icy cold, and serve. You also could just serve it poured over crushed ice.
MEYER LEMON MARGARITA
Start to finish: 2 hours (10 minutes active)
1 1/2 cups Meyer lemon tequila (see recipe below)
1 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (4 to 5 lemons)
3/4 cup triple sec
1/2 cup Meyer lemon simple syrup (see recipe below)
6 cups ice cubes
8 lemon twists, to garnish
In a pitcher, combine the tequila, lemon juice, triple sec and simple syrup. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
When ready to serve, fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice and pour in 1 cup of the margarita mixture. Shake, strain into two 6-ounce martini glasses and garnish each with a twist. Repeat for the remaining margaritas.
MEYER LEMON INFUSED TEQUILA
Start to finish: 4 days (10 minutes active)
Makes one 750-milliliter bottle
8 Meyer lemons
750-milliliter bottle 100 percent blue agave blanco tequila
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest (colored layer of skin only) from the lemons in large strips. Place the zest in a large glass jar, then add the tequila and cover tightly. Let stand for 4 days to allow the flavors to blend, tipping the jar back and forth a couple times a day.
Strain out the zest, and the tequila is ready to use. Stored in a glass container or its original bottle, it will keep its vibrant color for 1 to 2 months.
MEYER LEMON SIMPLE SYRUP
Start to finish: 15 minutes
Makes 1 cup
2 Meyer lemons
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest (colored layer of skin only) from the lemons in large strips.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the zest, sugar and water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture reach a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Strain out and discard the zest. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Keeps for several weeks.
(Recipes from Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless’ “Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks,” W. W. Norton & Company, 2012)
What better time to sit down on your recliner with a big bowl of nacho dip?
1 pound ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
2-3 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1 package taco seasoning
Water to thin to desired consistency
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook meat and onions, stirring occasionally, until browned. Drain. Add all other ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cheese melts.
Serve with tortilla chips.
The day of the big game calls for big, stick-to-your-ribs grub.
So we went with that as a theme, creating a recipe for boneless beef short ribs that are inspired by all the sweet and sticky goodness of Chinese-style pork ribs. To keep you in front of the television instead of the stove, we kept the recipe simple. Start by dumping everything in a bowl to marinate. When you’re ready to cook, transfer it to a baking sheet and pop it in the oven. Done.
To make sure the ribs are meltingly tender, they cook low and slow while you watch the first half of the game. They should be good to go right around half-time. And if beef isn’t your thing, the same approach will work with pork ribs and chicken wings (though you’ll need to adjust the cooking time).
SWEET AND STICKY SLOW-COOKED SHORT RIBS
The servings indicated are for appetizer portions. If the friends gathered around the game are hearty eaters, or this is to be served as a main course, plan accordingly.
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (plus marinating)
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 cloves minced garlic
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into long, thin strips (1/4 inch thick by 1 inch wide)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the hoisin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, five-spice powder, sesame oil and garlic. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture in a small bowl. Add the short ribs to the original mixture and toss to thoroughly coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 275 F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and place a rack over each pan.
Arrange the short ribs on the rack and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Brush the ribs with the reserved 1/2 cup of marinade and increase the oven temperature to 450 F. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes, or until browned and caramelized. Thread a skewer through each piece of meat to serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 270 calories; 130 calories from fat (48 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 65 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 23 g protein; 650 mg sodium.
If you're interested in going a little more themed — the Super Bowl is in New Orleans, you know — here are some recipes from Zatarain's:
King Cake Cupcakes
1 ¼ cups cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup milk
Creole Cream Cheese and Root Beer Frosting:
8 ounces Creole or regular cream cheese, softened
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon Zatarain’s Root Beer Extract
Preheat oven to 350F. For the cupcakes, mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds or until softened. Add granulated sugar and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl frequently. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk on medium-low speed just until mixed. Spoon batter into 12 lightly greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and extract; beat until fluffy. Set aside.
Make an indentation in the center of each cupcake using the handle of a wooden spoon or a straw, making sure not to break through bottom of cupcake. Spoon Frosting into resealable plastic bag or piping bag fitted with star tip. If using plastic bag, cut a small piece off one of the bottom corners of bag. Pipe a small amount of Frosting into each cupcake. Pipe remaining Frosting onto each cupcake. Sprinkle with colored sugar, if desired.
Olivia Manning’s Ultimate Jambalaya Bar
Fans can customize their perfect party plate with their choice of different meat and vegetable add-ins. First lady of football Olivia Manning likes to add sautéed onion and green pepper to her jambalaya, along with peeled shrimp and a little tomato sauce for extra color.
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (optional)
1 package Zatarain’s Jambalaya Mix, Original
1 pound meat of your choice: smoked sausage, thinly sliced or cubed chicken or cubed ham or peeled and deveined shrimp, cut into bite-size pieces
AND/OR Vegetables of your choice: bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini or fresh chopped tomatoes
NOTE: All meat, seafood and vegetables (except tomatoes) should be cooked properly before adding into prepared jambalaya
Bring water and oil to boil in 3-quart saucepan. Stir in Rice Mix; mix well. Return to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and rice is tender.
Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving and adding in choices of meat, seafood and vegetables.
Makes 6 servings.*
*Consider doubling the ingredients or using Zatarain’s Family Size Jambalaya to feed a bigger crowd