It seems like everyone’s really fired up for football this year. I mean, like more than usual. Maybe we need a distraction from the roller coaster economy and political fanfare. No offense to those of you who celebrate this much every year, but you have to agree, it’s over the top. The entrances to supermarkets and stores like Wal-Mart and Target are piled high with “gear and goodies” for football viewing. Cases of soda, family-size bags of chips, shelf-stable cheese, beer, sports jerseys and more. That got me thinking – instead of potato chips and onion dip, how about food that’s really awesome, easy and healthy? Check out my recipes – a gooey and garlicky broccoli and cheese calzone, crunchy and cheesy parmesan chicken fingers and hearty black bean guacamole with corn and whole grain chips. With these amazing recipes on your team, everyone wins!
This is a great way to use up leftover vegetables and cheese. Use any vegetable or veggie combination you want – I really like the mixed vegetables for stir-fry (like bell peppers and onions) sold next to the other mixed vegetables in the freezer aisle.
Olive oil cooking spray
2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets, thawed if frozen
1 pound fresh or frozen bread or pizza dough, thawed according to package directions
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning or Italian seasoning (preferably salt-free)
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
If using fresh broccoli, blanch the florets in boiling water for 30 seconds or steam in the microwave for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Roll dough out into a large circle, about 1/2-inch thick, and transfer to prepared baking sheet (don’t worry if some dough hangs over the edge – you’ll be folding it in half).
Combine mozzarella cheese and seasoning and toss to combine. Top one half of dough with mozzarella mixture. Top mozzarella mixture with broccoli. Fold over side of dough without toppings and pinch edges together to seal.
Spray top of calzone with cooking spray and sprinkle parmesan cheese all over top.
Bake 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting crosswise into slices.
Parmesan Chicken Fingers
This is basically Parmesan-crusted chicken fingers without any excess breading (why dilute the parm?). If desired, serve the chicken fingers with warm pizza or pasta sauce on the side for dipping.
1 pound chicken tenders or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine Parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, oregano and black pepper in a gallon freezer bag, seal bag and shake to combine. Add chicken, seal bag and shake to coat chicken. Transfer chicken to prepared pan and sprinkle over any remaining Parmesan mixture.
Bake 15-20 minutes, until chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
Black Bean Guacamole with Corn
A marriage of the ultimate black bean dip and guacamole – my two favorite things on earth. I like my guacamole sorta chunky but you can make yours smooth. For a spicy version, add a minced chili pepper or hot sauce. Also, there are gazillions of multigrain chips on the market so choose what you like.
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ripe Haas avocados, halved, pitted and flesh removed from skin
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup frozen and thawed corn (white, yellow or a combination)
2 tablespoons minced white onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces whole grain tortilla chips or any multigrain chip with whole grains and seeds (i.e., flax seeds)
Combine beans, avocados, lime juice and cumin in a food processor and puree until either slightly chunky or smooth (it’s up to you).
Fold in corn, onion and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with chips.
Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.