Ready to tailgate? My healthy takes on football fare were experimented with the fabulous ladies of Bluff City Lights earlier this month, and thankfully the team of Collins, Mary, Alex and Megan absolutely approved! Scroll for recipes and entertaining tips for your future fall gathering.
REPLACE THE CHIPS
It's true: roasted sweet potatoes will achieve the same satisfying crunch without the fried-food guilt. Load with a dollop of fresh guacamole or pico de gallo for a healthy yet hearty appetizer.
CONTROL THE TEMP
As a host, high stress ensues when extra heat or coolness are required in order to properly serve the dish at hand. And at a tailgate, when guests are approaching the buffet at leisure rather than at a requested moment, the likelihood of a piping hot plate is slim-to-none. Therefore, I approach my spreads with room-temperature finds that achieve the same punch of flavor without required oven time or freezer fixes.
CHOOSE COMPLEMENTARY OVER COMPLICATED
Approach your menu with complementary flavors, spices and ingredients. Your guests will be able to mix-and-match, make the most of the buffet, and understand your vision. Plus, a thematic palate inspires a thematic decor palette!
SMALL BITES SUCCEED
Fork-free menu items speed up the clean-up time and help out your tailgaters (who most likely already have a beer in hand!).
SWEET POTATO “CHIPS” + GUAC
4 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh guacamole
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice sweet potatoes in ¼-inch rounds and place in a bowl. Evenly coat potato slices with oil before placing on greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 18-20 minutes, until “chips” are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature with your favorite guacamole recipe! You’ll never miss the fried tortilla chips again!
BLOODY MARY SHOOTERS
11 ounces Bloody Mary mix
3 ounces vodka
5 drops hot sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Pearl onions, to garnish
Green onions, to garnish
Celery, to garnish
Fill a pitcher with ice, bloody mary mix, vodka, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine and carefully pour in shot glasses. Garnish with a half-stalk of celery, a green olive or pearl onion on a knotted toothpick.
MINI MEXICAN PIZZA CUPS
4 large low-carb whole wheat tortillas, cut into 12 3- or 4-inch circles
1 cup lean ground turkey, cooked
1/2 cup salsa of choice
2 teaspoons dry taco seasoning
1/2 cup low-fat refried beans
1/2 cup low-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
optional toppings: sliced black olives, shredded lettuce, avocado, chopped tomatoes, cilantro
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 12-count muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Press each tortilla circle snuggly into the muffin tin.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine ground turkey, salsa, taco seasoning, and refried beans. Scoop 1/8 cup meat mixture into each tortilla. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with your favorites and enjoy!
1 bag mini sweet peppers, halved lengthwise and cored
1 bag low-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
cilantro, to garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange peppers. Fill each pepper with shredded cheese. Bake for 5 minutes, until cheese begins to bubble. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving with a cilantro garnish or even dunked in guacamole and salsa!