Kick off the big game with big food

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 29, 2019

By Deirdre Parker Smith

Big game Sunday. Big eats. This is one of those days when the diet can take a break and you can indulge.

What’s a football game without cheese, salty snacks, a bowl of something hot and a taste of something sweet?

Make some or all of the recipes and help yourself out with a veggie tray from the grocery store and favorite beverages.

The chili and the cheese dip can stay warm in a slow cooker. The popcorn and brownies can be made ahead.

Pass the napkins, make your bets and have a good time.

Creamy White Chili

2 (15 oz.) cans no-salt added great northern beans, rinsed, divided

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces

1 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

3/4 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. salt

3 cups no salt added chicken stock

1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles

4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

Mash 1 cup beans in a small bowl with a whisk or potato masher.

Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 4-5 minutes. Add onion, celery, garlic, cumin and salt. Cook until the onion is translucent and tender, 4-5 minutes.

Add the remaining whole beans, the mashed beans, stock and chiles. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Serve topped with cilantro.

This could turn out a bit bland, although the sodium level is very healthy. To brighten it up without adding additional salt, season the chicken with a little black pepper, and stir in the juice of half a lemon or a whole lime before adding the cream cheese.

Eating Well

Beef Jerky Chili Popcorn

8 cups unsalted, unbuttered popcorn

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup butter

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup chopped beef jerky

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; spread popcorn evenly on baking sheet. Sprinkle cheese on top.

In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter; stir in chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt. Bring to a light boil; remove from heat.

Drizzle hot butter mixture over popcorn. Sprinkle with beef jerky. Bake, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until popcorn is dry and crisp. Toss gently and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Popcorn Board

Super Cheese Dip

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. chipotle chili powder

1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 lb. pasteurized cheese product

1/2 pound ground beef or pork sausage

1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans drained and rinsed

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro, plus more for serving

8 ounces shredded Mexican style cheese

2 avocados, diced

4 tsp. favorite hot sauce (or more)

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef or sausage until no longer pink. Remove from pan. Add vegetable oil, onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander and chili powder and stir until garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion mixture and the beef or pork to a slow cooker, then add diced tomatoes, the pasteurized cheese and cook on high for 1 hour or low for 2 hours. Stir in the black beans, cilantro and hot sauce. Then stir in the shredded cheese, just until melted. Serve with avocado and additional cilantro and pass the hot sauce. Best with sturdy tortilla chips.

Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza

1 gluten free pizza crust (or a regular crust)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in large chunks

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

3 cups kale, washed, dried, stems removed

1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. brown or coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the sweet potato. Allow to boil for 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is fork soft. Remove from heat and mash with almond milk, salt and pepper until spreadable.

Spread onto the pizza and top with the kale, onions and cheese.

Bake pizza for 10 minutes or until kale begins to crisp.

While the pizza is baking, prepare balsamic drizzle. Heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a pot over high heat. When it comes to a bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer about 2 minutes, stirring. The mixture will thicken. Remove from heat.

Remove pizza from oven and drizzle with balsamic sauce.

Jessica in he Kitchen

Touchdown Brownies

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

2 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cup caramel bits, divided

1 cup crushed pretzels

3/4 cup chopped pecans, divided

1 (12-15 oz.) jar caramel sauce

35-40 mini pretzels, football shape if you can find them

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and lightly grease with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large microwavable bowl, melt the butter and 1 cup chocolate chips in 30 second intervals until completely melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sugar then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Gently stir flour mixture into the wet ingredients until well incorporated.

Fold in 1 cup caramel bits, 1 cup crushed pretzels, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup chopped pecans, Spread batter evenly into prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Place baking dish on a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes before spreading caramel sauce evenly over the top of the brownies. Place additional pretzels evenly over caramel and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips, caramel bits and chopped pecans. Let brownies cool for at least 30 minutes before lifting out of baking dish with parchment paper. Cut into squares.

The Baker Mama