If you live in Texas, there is no escaping Football Sunday. It's ingrained in our blood. It brings us all together for a day to cheer on our teams and indulge in delicious food. But, Football Watch Party snacks don't have to ruin your healthy eating regimen! We spent a game day with local food blogger, Mindful With Misty, cooking a lightened up menu that was crowd-approved!
"Growing up in a Texas household during football season, I can promise you the TV was always tuned in to the games on Saturdays and Sundays. My dad loves college football, so our weekends were scheduled around his teams playing. During the commercial breaks, my dad was glued to the grill, cooking up pigs in a blanket, bacon wrapped jalapeños… all the snacks! In short, in the fall the weekends in my house always consisted of family, football, and food.
Although all the Game Day food growing up tasted so good, I realize eating country style pork ribs, sausage, velveeta queso, pre-made dough-wrapped mini weenies, and cream cheese stuffed bacon wrapped jalapeños every weekend is not the best for my health. Not to mention, we would usually leave the food out for the duration of the games so you already know I was coming back for seconds, thirds, and fourths. Now that I have a place of my own, I want to recreate those football weekends that would bring my family together… but I’m doing it with a healthy twist! Today I strive to make mindful decisions when it comes to the way I eat. So when faced with the question, “how can I make Game Day food healthier while still making Game Day food indulgent and delicious?” my gears got to turning. How about a colorful veggie tray with a homemade yogurt dill dip, cashew queso, healthy bleu cheese stuffed buffalo meatballs and baked sweet potato fries?!
For the second football Sunday of 2017, I invited some good friends over (including some of the Thunderbird team!) and tried out this spread. The verdict: SUCCESS! It was even approved by the boys who count meat and beer as major food groups.It brings me joy that I can introduce healthy meals into my friends’ lifestyles. Not only do I get to hang out with some of my favorite people but there’s no guilt in what I’m feeding them either. Win, win!"
Cashew Queso (v) (df) (gf)
1 ½ cups soaked cashews
¾ cups nutritional yeast
¼ cup green onions
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
¾ cup water
1 cup salsa
1 tsp salt
1. Soak the cashews in water 6 hours prior to making this recipe. Once the cashews are done soaking, drain all the excess water, and put 1 ½ cups of the cashews into a blender or food processor.
2. Add ¾ cup water, nutritional yeast, chili powder, cumin, and salt to the blender as well. Blend!
3. Once everything is blended to a super smooth consistency, transfer the cashew mixture to a small saucepan.
4. Add ¾ cup of salsa and stir into the cashew mixture. Heat the mixture over low – medium heat until the “queso” is warm throughout.
5. Top with the remaining ¼ cup of salsa and green onions. Serve with chips of your liking or dunk your sweet potato fries. ENJOY!
Inspired by The Toasted Pine Nut
Healthy Bleu Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Meatballs (gf)
2 lbs. lean ground turkey
1 4 oz. container of bleu cheese
2 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp paprika
~4 tbsp high heat oil (I use avocado oil)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup buffalo hot sauce
1 tbsp butter (I use yogurt butter)
1 tbsp your choice of milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
2 cloves of chopped garlic
¼ cup green onion for garnish
**2 lbs. of meat will make about 20-24 meatballs
1. Preheat the oven to 350 o F. Spray a sheet tray with non-stick spray.
2. In a large bowl mix the ground turkey with granulated garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and
Worcestershire sauce. Mix until the seasonings are just incorporated throughout the meat. (You don’t want to over mix the meat).
3. Take a small palm full of ground turkey and make an indention in the middle of the meat with your finger. Place a chunk (or couple chunks depending on size) of bleu cheese into the indentation of the meat. Surround the cheese chunk with the meat. Repeat this step until all the meatballs are formed. About 20 – 24 meatballs should be made. Set aside about 1 tbsp of bleu cheese aside for garnish – the rest of the bleu cheese is used in this step to stuff the meatballs.
4. Heat a medium or large skillet or dutch oven to medium – medium high heat. Add about 1 tbsp. of oil to the pan and let heat up.
5. Add 5 – 6 meatballs to the pan depending on the size of your pan, you will sear your meatballs in batches. You do not want to over crowd your pan with all the meatballs at once because then you won’t get a good sear on the outside. Turn the meatballs to sear each side of the meat. *Don’t worry about cooking the meat all the way through, the meatballs will finish cooking in the oven.
6. Once all the sides of the meatballs are seared, remove them from the pan and place on the sheet tray. Repeat step 5 & 6 until all the meatballs are on the sheet tray. Be sure to add oil to the pan each time before searing a new batch of meatballs.
7. Place the meatballs in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked all the way through.
8. For the sauce: in a large sauce pan or dutch oven melt the butter and add the garlic cloves over low heat.
9. Once the garlic cooks for about a minute or two, add the buffalo sauce and milk to the pan. Let the sauce heat all the way through.
10. Add the meatballs, once they are finished cooking in the oven, into the pan of buffalo sauce. Gently stir until all the meatballs are coated.
11. Serve the meatballs garnished with the remaining bleu cheese and green onion.
For more recipes, check out @mindfulwithmisty on Instagram!