The main dishes and snacks served at your big football party are equally as (if not more) important than the action served up on the gridiron. Beef up any game day grub plan with my highlight reel of hearty yet healthy recipes that are so meaty and so marvelous, I just had to share them again! Better make a double-batch of all these Best Healthy Beef Recipes for Game Day, they are a sure bet to be gone by half-time.
Time to get serious about last minute holiday preparations; it’s the final countdown to Christmas! I still have some shopping and wrapping to do, cookie baking with the kids, and prepping for my contributions to the huge family feast on Christmas Eve — oh and the brunch I’m hosting on Christmas Day.
In between all this, we’re squeezing in a Star Wars movie marathon of past prequels and sequels – even though we’ve seen these classic flicks numerous times, it’ll be good to be fresh for the new Star Wars – The Force Awakens.
So, we’ll need snacks – lots and lots of snacks, and preferably healthy things to nosh and nibble on that won’t make a mess in my media room! Almonds are one of my go-to choices for healthy appetizers and snacks – they punch a nice little pack of protein and are great source of other nutrients, especially iron, vitamins A and C, and dietary fiber. Another great thing about almonds (Blue Diamond Almonds are my favorite) is just how easy they are to incorporate into entertaining. Today, I’m sharing five fun and easy ways to crunch and much on almonds this holiday season – and into the New Year, too!
- Simply eat almonds straight out of the can (or fancy serving bowl). I’ve never seen a soul walk past delicious almonds and not stop to pick up a few! A one-ounce serving (about 23 almonds) pairs perfectly win a light cocktail or glass of sparkling water.
- This idea is for the kids (of any age) – Almond Lover Gingerbread Men! To keep it easy, use store-bought cookies and simply melt a chocolate chip on one hand (or pipe a dot of frosting) and press down gently with an olive. Use a piping bag filled with frosting to decorate with a little edible bow!
- This is one of my favorite snacks with almonds — Almond Chocolate Apricot Bites! Just layer up the three ingredients (melt the chocolate chip if you want to be fancy so that all the ingredients stick together) and, viola, a yummy 20-calorie treat in mere minutes.
- Chocolate Almond Popcorn – could this be easier?! Air pop some kernels and then, while still warm, top with your favorite flavor of Blue Diamond Almonds and chocolate chips. Toss together so the chocolate slightly melts – it’s like being at the movie theater and dumping candy into your big tub, but healthier!
- Almond Lover Cookies are a favorite with my boys and only take a few minutes to whip up a batch and 12 minutes to bake – if short on time, double up a batch the week before and keep in the freezer!
What are your stress-free ways to enjoy almonds, aside from straight out of the can?! Oh, and have you seen the new Star Wars movie yet — just a thumbs up or down, no spoilers! Let me know in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer
This post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. However, all comments, ideas and enthusiasm are my own.
I don’t know if I’m swooning more over creamy, velvety Castello cheese or the new Bradley Cooper movie, Burnt, that opened in theaters nationwide on October 30th. Which would you prefer, a hunk of Havarti or a sizzling hot chef? I say YES to both! Oh, and in addition to the movie night entertaining fun, there’s also a fabulous sweepstakes to enter – read to the bottom for details.
Castello® cheese is ready to “Unlock Your Inner Chef” and help you make everyday occasions delicious, indulgent and special. Bradly Cooper can do that too, but I think it will be easier to get your hands on Castello® cheese – it’s available in the fine cheese section of a variety of retailers nationwide. Making cheese since 1893, Castello brings both innovation and tradition to the art of cheese making – Havarti, Blue cheese and Crème cheese are their specialty.
Plan to go see Burnt movie on your next girl’s night out, that way you can drool at all the yumminess (and I don’t just mean food) without offending your date. In the meantime, I created a delicious appetizer recipe that will heat up your movie night entertaining at home – Jalapeno Havarti Cheese Bombs.
This recipe uses the Havarti with Jalapeno Castello® cheese. The mild, butter taste of Havarti is kicked up with spicy jalapenos and is yummy served on a cheese board in cubes or ooey-gooey and marvelously melty in my easy appetizer recipe.
The Jalapeno Havarti Cheese Bombs are super simple to make and take only five minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to bake. Basically, by the time your “coming attraction” previews are over, these melted cheese stuffed rolls are ready to serve.
Jalapeno Havarti Cheese Bombs Recipe
- 6 ounces (approximately) Havarti with Jalapeno Castello® cheese, cut into 10 cubes
- 1 can refrigerator biscuits, 10 per package (regular size, not “grand” size)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup crushed tortilla chips
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, chopped fine in a food processor or mini-chopper
- 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
- 10 jalapeno slices
- Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
- Slightly flatten each biscuit with fingers. Place a cheese cube in the middle and wrap the biscuit dough around the cube, sealing the edges. Roll between palms to make uniform ball shape. Repeat with remaining cheese and biscuits.
- Roll the cheese wrapped dough with your hands to make a ball shape. Complete this step with all the dough and cheese before going on to the next step.
- In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave, approximately 20 seconds. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, combine the crushed tortilla chips, Parmesan and dried cilantro.
- Roll each cheese bomb in butter and then roll or dip in the crumb mixture
- Place each cheese bomb on the baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. Lightly press a jalapeno ring into the top of each
- Bake on the center rack for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- Makes 10.
Visit the Castello & Burnt site for more delicious inspiration and recipe ideas inspired by the film Burnt — and also to enter the Unlock Your Inner Chef sweepstakes for a chance to win great prizes. Prizes include a private cooking class for two and a year’s worth of Castello cheese.
So, what is your favorite thing to snack on during movie night at home? Who is your favorite hunky, heart throb actor? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
May and June are party season at our house, maybe even more so that the winter holiday months! With my son’s graduation party and a Father’s Day cookout book-ending a couple family birthday celebrations, book club, and a baby shower, I need lots of easy but elegant entertaining ideas! Plus, you know me – I always want to put a healthy spin on all my appetizer recipe creations.
Nothing more beautiful and brimming with good taste and nutrition than topping FINN CRISP crackers with healthy toppings like low-fat cheeses, fresh fruits and veggies and nuts. I used these delicious thin crispbreads, which are baked with whole grains and fiber, as the foundation for ten different flavor combinations. Choose a sweet topper, a savor topper or a sweet-savory topper – there is a well-dressed cracker for everyone at your party.
Top Row (left to right)
- Aged White Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Dried Apricots, Balsamic Syrup
- Peanut Butter mixed with Soy Sauce and Sriracha, Matchstick Carrots, Minced Red Onion, Shredded Chicken
- Low-fat Cream Cheese, Halved Blackberries, Fresh Mint
- Avocado Slice, Garlic Salt, Pickled Jalapenos, Sriracha Sauce
- Low-Fat Herb Cheese Spread, Marinara Sauce, Roasted Garlic Cloves
Top Row (left to right)
- Low Fat Cream Cheese, Red Onions Pickled in Beet Juice, Pistachios
- Mozzarella, Pepperonis, Italian Herb Seasoning
- Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chips, Granola, Sea Salt
- Low-Fat Cream Cheese, Pesto Sauce, Sliced Grape Tomatoes
- Lemon Curd, Blueberries, Mint
FINN CRISP provided me products to create these recipes, however all content and opinions are my own.
What are your great ideas for creative cracker toppings?
This post is sponsored by ConAgra RO*TEL.
We know how to put on a fiesta every weekend here in Texas. But, Cinco de Mayo is an extra special reason to celebrate because five out of seven years the party falls on a work day – and that’s a legitimate reason to tell the boss “adios” and cut loose early to enjoy some patio time. This year, Cinco de Mayo is on a Tuesday which so conveniently aligns with Taco Tuesday, Tostado Tuesday and Guacamole & Tortilla Chips Tuesday. I am a food blogger and thus allowed to make up these extra observances dedicated to food and drink.
There can be no fiesta without guacamole. In these parts, guacamole is not just a healthy dip and satiating snack — it’s an appetizer that draws people together, have you ever seen the mob scene near the guacamole bowl?! Smashed up avocado is also a condiment smeared on everything from eggs and enchiladas to burgers and burritos, and salads and sandwiches – and, of course, devoured right off a dipped chip. You can even serve it up with a super healthy spin by serving it in tomato cups along with mild green chilies! Ole!
One of the best recipes I’ve found is RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac – it’s so simple to make and gets a zesty (but not too spicy) kick from the tomatoes and green chilies.
I’m keeping things simple this Cinco de Mayo and making Black Bean, Zucchini and Corn Tacos – they are just screaming for RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac! It’s a vegetarian recipe, but even those carnivorous folks in the crowd love it (I think it’s the guac that makes it so satisfying). The beauty of this recipe is that I can sauté the veggies up in a skillet, keep it warm, and then sit back and enjoy the party – no sweating over the grill!
So, what will we all drink? Creamy watermelon smoothies for the kids and the adults will enjoy Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas, a margarita-like drink that isn’t quite as strong. Tequila has never agreed with me, so these perfectly-portioned cans of yum (made with malt alcohol) don’t give me a hideous hangover the next day. That is a GOOD thing to ensure I can fiesta on the Seis de Mayo, too!
Zest up your fiesta with RO*TEL’s Rockin Guac and Bud Light’s Lime-A-Rita. How are you planning to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
Bud Light Lime-A-Rita® is a registered trademark of Anheuser-Busch. ConAgra Foods, Inc. All Rights Reserved
This post is sponsored by ConAgra RO*TEL.
It’s spring and my family has a lot of things to celebrate in the next couple months. Two of the landmark events we’ll be hosting shindigs for are my Dad’s 70th birthday and my oldest son graduating from high school! And, of course, there’s Cinco de Mayo sandwiched right between and we like to do that up big in Texas.
I’m pretty low-key when it comes to entertaining, it’s a safe bet that I’ll be serving up burgers, brisket or tacos in my backyard. I have three super-hungry, carnivorous teen boys, for goodness sake! These casual meals always please crowds, are easy to scale up for a super-sized party, and can be mostly pre-prepped so I’m not stuck in the kitchen cooking while all the guests are having a good time. Nothing pairs better with any of these dishes than a creamy bowl of avocado goodness — hurray for guacamole!
I found this delicious recipe for RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac that will turn up the volume on your taste buds! The blend of tomatoes and green chilies in RO*TEL add a zesty (but not too spicy) twang to the dip that is to die for. It’s so simple to make you can delegate the job to your kids — you may want to chop the onion first, but they’ll love smashing the avocado. Serve this guacamole as a condiment or topping for the entrée or, better yet, as an appetizer – set out a big basket of tortilla chips and a bowl of RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac for a pleasing prelude to dinner.
Try mini bowls of RO*TEL’s Rockin’ Guac so guests can walk around and mingle – this way people won’t have to elbow their way in for a chip dunk or (eek) double dip into the community bowl! For easy clean up, you can even use those little plastic condiment cups. In addition to tortilla chips, I like to set out crunchy, fresh vegetables to dip into guacamole. I can’t help it, I’m a vegetable nerd.
Now, you can’t have guacamole without some sort of cool refreshing drink. I’ll serve up my watermelon ginger limeade or virgin mojito mint tea for the kids and the over 21-year-old grown-ups get Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas all the way around! I love these refreshing adult beverages, they totally remind me of a margarita yet aren’t quite as potent, which is a good thing for lightweight little me. Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas come conveniently in a can, meaning no breakable barware outside when things start to get wild– just throw these citrusy sippers into a tub full of ice as they await their ultimate fate. I’m ready to pop the top on one right now and get the party started!
Zest up your fiesta with RO*TEL’s Rockin Guac and Bud Light’s Lime-A-Rita.
Bud Light Lime-A-Rita® is a registered trademark of Anheuser-Busch.
ConAgra Foods, Inc. All Rights Reserved
An interception, a fumble, an unexpected player injury, crazy weather . . . . a (gasp) deflated ball. These are all “game changers” in football. In the blink of an eye, the tables can turn – that’s part of the excitement of being a sports spectator. If you’re having people over to your house this weekend to watch the Big Game, add to the excitement by kicking up your gridiron grub with #GameChangingSnacks !
The same-old football finger foods can get boring – enough with the potato chips, hot dogs and pizza. Whip up some easy (and healthier) snacks) that your friends and family will devour with the lip-smacking satisfaction of a hungry linebacker. You can’t go wrong with a can of almonds on your starting snack lineup, especially one of Blue Diamond’s yummy flavors like Wasabi & Soy or Smokehouse.
You can even become the MVP of football party food by adding plain or flavored almonds to a unique and healthy recipe – one that will have your guests eating like the true champions that they are. I put together this quick and healthy appetizer recipe for Wasabi & Soy Sauce Shrimp Salad Bites – between the veggies and almonds, it’s got a lot of crunch factor not to mention a blast of wasabi “whoohoo” – talk about #GameChangingSnacks ! Low-cal and low-carb, you won’t bust your training diet scarfing down the whole plate.
This past weekend, I had my own “game day” of sorts running the 3M Half Marathon in Austin, Texas. The weather was perfect, the point-to-point course is fast and I was pretty well rested. Alas, there was no PR, I was a good 4 minutes of my best time on this fast course. But, I also didn’t also do too shabby (1:28:12) considering I haven’t be training anywhere near my max and I’m another year older. Perhaps it was those #GameChangingSnacks at the start – a banana and handful of Blue Diamond Almonds!
Also, if you’re looking for other healthy snack ideas for your football party, check my instructions on how to build a Healthy Snack Stadium filled with fruits, veggies, healthy dips and a whole-grain sandwich station. Pop open a few cans of Blue Diamond Almonds in the end zones and you’ll score you a gazillion high-fives!
What snacks are you making for the Big Game?
The BIG GAME will be here in a little over a week and my guys have been uncharacteristically fussing about the football-watching party preparations. I have some football players, past and present in my house! What television should we watch – in the game room or downstairs closer to the kitchen? Should we play games like ‘squares’ or have a bean bag toss? And, most importantly, what will everyone eat?!
It’s not JUST going to be (root) beer, Buffalo wings and burgers. It’s impossible to be a healthy food and fitness blogger and not bring a little sumptin’ sensible to the shindig. But I’m not talking about a sad little tray of carrot and celery sticks, instead imagine a nutritious array of nibbles that is as exciting and epic as the BIG GAME itself – a HEALTHY SNACK STADIUM!
I created this masterpiece of munch-worthy goodness for Litehouse Foods – they challenged me to put a healthy spin on the increasingly popular and pin-worthy food displays made for football-watching gatherings. The stands are packed with fruit and veggies and the field is covered in healthy salsas and dips made from Greek yogurt. Guests even get an all-access pass to refuel at a sandwich-making station and dig into sidelines loaded up with whole-grain chips and football-decorated eggs!
Go over and visit Living Litehouse for additional photos and details on how to make this Healthy Snack Stadium (including how to assemble the framework and making pretzel rod goal posts) that will have your guests eating like champions.
While the Patriots and Seahawks rumble on the Super Bowl gridiron, I’ll be serving up even more healthy appetizers alongside my Snackadium. Here are a few ideas for healthy snacks that will make you an MVP on game day, any day and every day!
Cilantro Lime Guacamole – Simple, smooth and just so darn good that I have been known to eat the whole bowl at one sitting! A perfect dip for chips or healthier options like carrot, jicama, or zucchini sticks and to use as a spread on your sandwich. If you have leftover guacamole (yeah, right!) or just want to make extra in advance, check out my blog post on How to Freeze Guacamole.
Nutty Slow Cooker Snack Mix – Snack mix is a perennial party favorite, my recipe uses a slow cooker (really!) to make the process stress-free and super tasty. I like to add lots of nuts to my snack mix for healthy fats and extra protein. A sure bet!
Football Deviled Eggs – Are these the cutest eggs ever? And, the good news is you will not go to hell for incorporating them into a healthy diet – eggs are a great source of protein and essential vitamins. I’ve used Greek yogurt instead of the traditional mayo for a slimming swap-a-roo!