Even if you're not a football fan (me), you'll likely tune into the Super Bowl this Sunday. I have no choice because my husband loves it, but I do enjoy the anthem, the cute QB's (ahem Brady), the commercials, the half-time show, and of course the food.
Back in the day we would go to a bar to watch, and I would indulge in too much beer, a big plate of nachos and wings. Ugh, going to a bar sounds so good right now. BUT, I would wake up Monday feeling crappy - bloated, groggy, sluggish. Not a great start to the week.
One of my favourite challenges as a nutritionist is to take classic "treat" foods like nachos and wings, and re-create them into delicious, healthier versions that don't leave you feeling yucky the next day. This year I'm making Nacho "Cheese" Dip (it's made with cashews & carrots, but just trust me), and Crispy Chicken Bites with a Garlic Aioli Dipper - think shake & bake, but better.
No matter the outcome of the Super Bowl (I'm cheering for Tampa because you know, Brady, oh and I love Florida - take me there!), the food will not disappoint!
Nacho “Cheese” Dip
1 cup raw cashews, soaked*
1 cup carrots, peeled & diced
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. Garlic powder
½ tsp. Onion powder
¾ tsp. Chilli powder
1 ½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
⅔ cup water
1 cup marinara tomato sauce
2-3 handfuls baby spinach, chopped
Black or green olives, sliced
⅓ cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled (optional for vegan)
Tortilla or Root Veggie Chips
Fresh tomatoes, diced
*Place cashews in a bowl, cover with water and soak for 2 hours or overnight.
Method (steps 1-4 can be done a few hours ahead)
Preheat the oven to 400F, and lightly grease a glass or cast iron dish (2L) with cooking spray (I like coconut oil spray) or olive oil or ghee or butter.
Cover carrots with water, and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, or until soft.
In a food processor or high powered blender, combine cashews, cooked carrots, yeast, lemon juice, garlic, spices and water. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Transfer mixture into prepared glass or cast iron dish. Stir in marinara sauce, and baby spinach. Top with olives and feta or goat cheese. At this point, mixture can be refrigerated until ready to bake.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Top with avocado, fresh tomatoes, cilantro and green onions. Serve warm with tortilla or root veggie chips. Enjoy!
Crispy Chicken Bites with Greek Yogurt Garlic Aioli
6-8 Free-From Chicken thighs
Crispy chicken coating:
3 cups whole-wheat or sourdough or panko breadcrumbs or a mix (whatever leftover bread you have in your freezer will do!)
3 tbsp. Corn meal
3 tbsp. Corn starch
2 tsp. Onion powder
1 ½ tsp. Garlic powder
1 ½ tbsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Parsley
1 tsp. Chili powder
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Raw veggies, like carrot sticks, celery and snap peas
Greek Yogurt Garlic Aioli Dipper
½ cup Greek yogurt
Juice from 1 lemon
1-2 garlic cloves, minced or ½ tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp. Honey
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can place your chicken on a wire rack (make sure to use cooking spray), but it's not necessary.
Combine ingredients for the crispy coating in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil and continue stirring until all the oil is incorporated.
Divide mixture into four portions, about 1 ½ cups, setting aside one portion into a medium size bowl. Put remaining portions into small Ziplock bags and freeze.
Using tongues, take one piece of chicken and rinse with water (I keep my tap trickling - this doesn't take long). Open up the chicken thigh so it’s flat, and place it into the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture. Turn over until both sides are coated.
Place coated chicken onto the baking sheet.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all the chicken is coated. If you run out of coating, simply drizzle remaining chicken thighs with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper (coating should cover 8 pieces of chicken).
Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
While chicken is baking, whisk together all the ingredients for the aioli until well combined. Taste, and adjust seasonings and ingredients to your liking.
Cut chicken into "bites" and serve warm with the aioli dipper and raw veggies. Enjoy!
One more pic of Brady, cause why not.