Couchgating: Football Party Food That’s Easy to Execute and Healthy, Too
What a Chef Nutritionist Serves at Her Football Watch Party When She Has No Time to Cook
Post sponsored by Sabra. Written 100% by me.
Confession: I get more excited about football party food than the actual game. I love having people over to watch the game and putting on a good food spread, served on my famous Astroturf table cover that I made with a couple supplies from a home improvement store. But just because it’s a football party, doesn’t mean it has to be a grease ball of saturated fat and excess calories. And while I know my guests aren’t afraid to indulge a bit, they appreciate having a balanced menu with some vegetables and fruit.
Confession #2: After the fully slated (which includes scheduled relaxing) weekend routine, there’s not much time left to make the food from scratch. So, what’s a gal to serve? Here is my game day food playbook for mouth-watering dishes (with a touch of healthy) that are easy to assemble or ready to serve that your partygoers will love.
1. Chips and Dips
Rule numero uno: one must serve a variety of awesome chips and dips on game day; which are also really easy appetizers if you have vegetarian guests.
Sabra® hummus. All of my friends love hummus, and my family goes bonkers for it. I keep at least two flavors of Sabra hummus stocked in my fridge at all times, year round. Supremely Spicy, Roasted Pine Nut, and their new Lemon Twist offer a nice range to please different palates. And hummus’ dipping capabilities are quite versatile. Tortilla chips for the guac can also double for the hummus. And I love hummus with whole-grain pita chips. The veggie tray also pairs perfectly with hummus, with my favorite dippers being cucumber sticks, carrots, bell pepper strips and sugar snap peas. Romaine hearts are also a fun and light option. Remember, two heaping spoonfuls of hummus brings you to the USDA-recommended 1 1/2 cups of legumes per week, and adds a boost of fiber, protein and good fats.
You can even use hummus on baked nachos. In fact, the other night, I made hummus nachos for my dinner for one, topped with diced avocado and salsa. Oh, so good.
Guacamole and tortilla chips. If I’m having just one other family over and I’m super strapped for time, I may buy the guacamole already made. If I’m having a crowd, I mash up an 8-avocado bowl of guac (there’s a great recipe for it in my cookbook). Or I mash an avocado right into the hummus, to make guaca-hummus! When it comes to tortilla chips, look for simple three-ingredient chips with corn, expeller-pressed oil and salt, like Tostitos Simply line—my fave. #nom
A creamy dip. My husband likes to make spinach dip with light sour cream and pair with pumpernickel bread and veggies. Or he simply combines French onion soup mix with light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and pair with reduced-fat potato chips.
2. Shrimp Cocktail
Chilled, poached shrimp is a crowd-pleasing protein that almost everyone looks forward to at parties. Here is my recipe for Court Bouillon Poached Shrimp with Creamy Dijon Sauce. Or just buy the shrimp precooked and crack open a bottle of cocktail sauce.
3. Colorful Vegetable Salad
I’m “famous” for my chopped salad at parties. My friends and family request it year after year. This time of year, I like to go with a seasonal mix of baby spinach, cucumbers, grapes, sliced almonds, and pomegranates, with a light vinaigrette.
4. Seasonal Fruit Salad
Since a lot of kids are particular in the vegetable department, I offer a bowl of mixed seasonal fruit. This time of year, I combine kiwi, oranges, pomegranate and grapes.
5. A Couple of Main Dish Proteins
We usually order Buffalo chicken wings and either pizza or calzones. Calzones are a fun, unexpected twist and can be ordered with spinach and ricotta, the classic onion, pepper and olive, or Caprese style with tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil.
6. Easy-to-Serve Desserts
Cookies and bars are easy-to-serve options that make both kids and adults happy. Small chocolate chip cookies, brownie bites or rice crispy treats are always a hit.
Finally, if one of my guests volunteers to bring a dish, I almost take them up on their offer and assign them either a salad or dessert, depending on what they like to make. #score
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