When Kim Bowsher throws a football party, she calls a time-out on foods with aggressive fat, unsportsmanlike calories and unnecessary salt and preservatives.
Yet guests never know they are enjoying a lighter game-day line-up until Bowsher, of Ogden, author of The Family Practice blog, tells them.
Take, for instance, her juicy turkey meatballs in a homemade teriyaki sauce (see recipe at left, all others at the bottom of this story). “People are shocked when they found out they’re not beef,” she says.
The appetizer is just one of many lightened up recipes that Bowsher, a mother of two young boys, has posted on her site since it was launched in April 2010.
For the 2012-13 football season, she self-published 20 of the most popular posts into a pocket-size cookbook called “Know Your Line Up.” It’s available on her blog for $6.95, which includes shipping.
The recipes take typical game-day foods, and substitute healthier ingredients, such as low-fat turkey or plain Greek yogurt. Her guests can eat healthy, hearty food without feeling guilty about calories or feeling as if they are on a diet.
We liked the idea so much that we asked Bowsher and two other food bloggers — Kalyn Denny of Kayln’s Kitchen and Dara Michalski of Cookin Canuck — to share their best lighter recipes for Sunday’s Superbowl match-up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Here’s the game plan:
Pre-game bites •Bowsher’s meatballs are made with lower-fat ground turkey, steel cut oats — which holds the lean meat together — and spices. She cooks them in chicken broth, which helps keep them moist. And before serving, she tosses them in a homemade teriyaki sauce for added flavor.
Kick-off appetizers • What’s a football party without buffalo wings? Bowsher’s boneless buffalo bites uses lower-fat chicken breasts and are simmered in a pan — without fatty breading or deep frying. She also makes her own Buffalo sauce, avoiding all the salt and preservatives found in store-bought brands. Bowsher also spends a little time and makes her own Ranch dip with plain yogurt and herbs so fans can indulge without feeling guilty.
Halftime meal •Through the years, Denny has posted dozens of chili recipes on her South Beach diet blog. However, the former elementary school teacher said none of them “knocked my socks off” like the black bean and beef chili. “What really put this chili into over-the-top status was the creamy avocado-cilantro-onion salsa,” she said. With that mixture as a garnish, you can skip the fattening sour cream and grated cheddar.
Late-game dessert • Michalski said she originally found her peanut butter banana quick bread recipe in Cooking Light magazine. But over the years, she has adapted it to make it more nutritious. She substitutes whole-wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour, canola oil for butter and extra bananas to reduce the sugar. She also skipped the traditional glaze. The result is a “moist and tender bread, rich with the flavor of peanut butter and banana,” she says, and just the right amount of sweetness.
Boneless buffalo bites with homemade ranch dip
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup butter
Juice from 1/2 of one lemon
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 small handful parsley
4 cloves garlic
2 green onions, green parts only
1⁄8 cup yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 teaspoons guar gum, optional*
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, combine cayenne pepper, water and vinegar to form a loose paste.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Do not brown. Add the cayenne pepper mixture and lemon juice. Simmer over low heat until well combined.
To make the Ranch dip, combine all the ingredients (except guar gum) in a food processor or blender. Process until creamy. For a thicker dip, add guar gum, and process once more to fully incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Place in a large skillet with 1 cup of the prepared buffalo sauce. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Avoid stirring. Serve with Ranch dip.
Servings • 12, as an appetizer
Source: Kim Bowsher, thefamilypracticeblog.com
*Guar gum is a natural thickener, with eight-times the power of cornstarch. The flour-like substance, made from ground seeds, can be used in puddings, desserts, sauces and gravies. It is available in specialty food stores and in the natural food section at many grocery stores.
Oatmeal turkey meatballs with teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup steel cut oats
2 to 3 green onions
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 pounds ground turkey
48 ounces chicken stock
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Merlot, or other red wine
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
11/2 teaspoons sesame oil
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine oats, eggs, green onions and chile flakes until a paste is formed. In the bowl of a large mixer add the ground turkey and the paste. Mix on low until well combined. Form mixture into bite-size balls.
Meanwhile, pour chicken broth into a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Drop meatballs into boiling stock one at a time. Boil for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove meatball to a large baking dish.*
Combine soy sauce, wine, vinegar, honey and sesame oil. Drizzle over meatballs and bake for on low for 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
Meatballs and sauce also can be heated in a slow cooker.
Servings • 8 as an appetizer
Source: Kim Bowsher, thefamilypracticeblog.com
Black bean and beef chili
3 cans black beans
1 (14.5-ouce) can diced tomatoes (Muir Glen organic preferred)
1 diced chipotle chili pepper (from a jar of chipotles in adobo Sauce, or substitute a pinch of ground Chipotle chile powder)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef (less than 10 percent fat)
1 large red onion, very finely diced
1 tablespoon or more regular chile powder (Penzeys brand suggested)
1 tablespoons or more ground ancho chile pepper ((Penzeys brand suggested)
Pinch ground chipotle chile peppers
2 teaspoons ground cumin or more
2 cups homemade beef stock or 1 can beef broth
1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste
Cilantro, lime, and avocado salsa
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes), divided in half
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Fresh ground black pepper
Drain two cans black beans into colander and rinse well, until no more foam appears. Let beans drain while you use a food processor to puree the third can of undrained beans, diced tomatoes and liquid, and the diced chipotle chile pepper. Process the beans and tomatoes about 2 minutes, until they are fairly smooth.
In bottom of heavy soup pot, heat 1-2 teaspoons olive oil. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, using the back of the turner to break it into small pieces. Remove beef to bowl, then add a bit more olive oil and half the onions (about 1 cup) to the pan. Lower heat a little and cook onions until they are softened but not starting to brown. Add all the chile powders and cumin and saute about 30 seconds.
Add beef stock, browned ground beef, pureed bean mixture, drained beans from colander and tomato paste and simmer, uncovered, for about two hours. Halfway through the cooking time, taste to see if you want additional chile powder.
While chili simmers, dice avocado and place in plastic bowl with 1/4 cup fresh lime juice. Rinse and finely chop the cilantro. Mix rest of the chopped onion (about 1 cup) and half the chopped cilantro (about 3/4 cup) into the avocado-lime juice mixture.
Just before serving the chili, stir in the other 3/4 cup chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup lime juice and cook about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper if desired. Serve Chili hot, with a generous scoop of avocado salsa on top.
Slow cooker option • Reduce the beef stock to 1 or 1 1/2 cups depending on how thick you want the chili. Use an extra teaspoon of regular and ancho chile powder. Cook 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low . Turn to low when you add the lime juice and cilantro.
Serving • 6
Source: Kalyn’s Kitchen, adapted from Fine Cooking Annual 2008.)
Peanut butter and banana whole wheat quick bread
4 medium ripe bananas, well mashed
1⁄3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1⁄3 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 tablespoons canola oil
1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoon ground flax seed (flax meal)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, with a hand mixer), combine the mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, peanut butter and canola oil. Mix on medium speed until combined. Add granulated and brown sugars, and mix again until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Beat until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Tap pan sharply two times on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately one hour. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve.
Servings • 1 loaf
Source: Cookin Canuck, inspired by a Cooking Light