Thursday, January 31, 2008

Low-Cal Superbowl Party Snacks

I am not a football fan. If I didn't live in Connecticut, midway between the homes of the New York Giants and New England Patriots, I may not even know who was playing in this Sunday's Superbowl. However, liking football is certainly not a prerequisite for hosting or attending a Superbowl party. I'm game for any kind of party that involves flip that coin and count me in!

While normally I'm all over the chips and guac, the Buffalo chicken wings with a side of blue cheese, and the deep-dish pizza, this year I find myself in a bit of a different mind-set. I just don't want to consume 5000 calories in one evening, which is easy to do at a Superbowl party. Funny how as we get older those wings and pizza seem to stay put a little longer than in past years! While I can't expect everyone else to give up those things on this holiest of football days, I am going to put up a good fight and control the munchie mania.

One way to do that is to prepare a big colorful veggie platter, with baby carrots, sweet sugar snap peas, strips of red and yellow bell peppers, and some sliced up jicama. The key is in the dip. Forgo the sour-cream and mayonaise based dips for something lighter like my Herbed Cannellini Dip. It whirrs up in your food processor (or blender) in seconds, can be made in advance, and keeps well for a few days afterward. The best part, is that it is full of protein, very low in fat, and absolutely bursting with flavor.

I also love to serve chilled shrimp as a low-cal option for my guests (it is also a perfect thing to bring to a party--- no one turns away shrimp!). Shrimp is low in fat and cholesterol, and amist the pork-rinds and beer, tends to "class-up" the joint a little. You can certainly serve it with a store-bought cocktail sauce for a classic combination, or try my Cilantro Dipping Sauce, for something just a little different.

So, this Sunday, enjoy the game (if you're watching), enjoy the snacks, and know that you can still have a good time without hating yourself the next morning!

Herbed Cannellini Dip

Makes about 2 cups

2 cans white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, peeled

¼ cup olive oil

1-2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary OR fresh sage, minced

Zest of 1 lemon (coarsely grated)

Salt and pepper

Put beans and garlic, ground pepper, and a large pinch of salt into food processor and pulse until combined.

Slowly add olive oil while pulsing. Process until smooth.

Add more garlic if preferred.

Transfer puree to a bowl and stir in rosemary or sage, lemon zest, and 1 T of olive oil.

Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Use as a dip for grissini, veggies, or as a spread for crostini.

Cilantro Dipping Sauce for Shrimp

Makes about 3/4 cup

1 bunch cilantro, thoroughly washed

2 cloves garlic, peeled

2 Tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar (or more, if preferred)

Olive oil


In a food processor, combine cilantro and garlic and pulse until chopped.

Slowly add olive oil in a drizzle while pulsing to make a pesto.

Add lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

No comments: