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The MVP Snacks of Sunday Sports

The freshness and immediacy of homemade salsa is something you won’t get from the grocery store. Photo by Carlye Waxman-Husserl.

The freshness and immediacy of homemade salsa is something you won’t get from the grocery store. Photo by Carlye Waxman-Husserl.

BY CARLYE WAXMAN-HUSSERL RDN, CDN (Director of Food and Nutrition Services, New York Foundling) | February 7’s Super Bowl is the football fan’s ultimate cause for celebration. This winner-take-all matchup between the Broncos and the Panthers caps a holiday season full of parties and events, whose food choices offer tons of temptation, and very little to feel good about the next morning. Instead of the usual game night go-to grub (cheese-smothered nachos, dip-soaked chips, greasy pizza), try some of my recipes for indulgent, but responsible, snacks.

HOMEMADE CHIPS AND SALSA

This is something you can make the day of the event — then throw the pita in the oven when the guests arrive, and they’ll come into a home that smells of freshly baked bread! After you see how easy it is to make this salsa, you will never buy from the store again.

 

INGREDIENTS:

—For the salsa

¼ red onion

6 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper: remove half the seeds for medium heat, chopped

1 garlic clove

6 tbsp of lime juice

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

—For the pita: (makes 42 chips)

1 bag of Toufayan low-carb pita bread (or regular)

2 tbsp olive oil

kosher salt

fresh cracked pepper

smoked paprika

DIRECTIONS: In a food processor, process the red onion and garlic until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients (except cilantro), including some salt and pepper. Pulse until a little chunky, but smooth enough to be considered a salsa. Add cilantro at the end, and taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees F. Add oil, salt, and pepper to a bowl, then mix with a brush. Take each pita and use either a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to slice each pita into eighths.

Place your homemade salsa in a Mason jar. It's pretty — and easy to dip a chip in. Photo by Carlye Waxman-Husserl.

Place your homemade salsa in a Mason jar. It’s pretty — and easy to dip a chip in. Photo by Carlye Waxman-Husserl.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray. Add each pita, while keeping them separate, with enough space between so they crisp up. Take the brush and brush the tops of the bread with the oil, salt, and pepper mix. Sprinkle the pieces with paprika for added smokiness and visual appeal. Cook for 15 minutes (checking on them frequently so they don’t burn). Serve with salsa!

NUTRITION FACTS (4 pita chips and 1/4c salsa): Calories: 90. Protein: 1g. Fiber: 0g. Carbs: 1.5g.

CRISPY SPICY PLANTAIN CHIPS

These are just as easy as making pita chips — but be warned: these plantains are addictive (you can’t stop at just a few).

INGREDIENTS:

3 large green plantains

1 ½ tbsp oil

pinch of cayenne pepper

sprinkle of garlic

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 375-400 degrees F. Peel the plantains (they’re very tough, so you’ll need that paring knife). Slice them all very evenly. If you have a mandolin, now is the time to use it!

Plantains are a great source of potassium and vitamin C. Make sure you use a paring knife to cut the skins away from the edible portion. Those skins are tough and won't come off with a vegetable peeler! Photo by Carlye Waxman-Husserl.

Plantains are a great source of potassium and vitamin C. Make sure you use a paring knife to cut the skins away from the edible portion. Those skins are tough and won’t come off with a vegetable peeler! Photo by Carlye Waxman-Husserl.

Toss in a bowl with remaining ingredients. I like kosher salt here, as it brings out the flavor well when roasting.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 10 minutes, then serve in a big basket next to the TV.

NUTRITION FACTS: Per Serving (yield of 5): Calories: 100. Protein: 1g. Carbs: 15g. Fiber: 1.5g. Net Carbs: 13.5g.

EGGPLANT CROQUETTES

These veggies are smaller and tastier than your average potato croquette. This recipe makes about 25. I like to make these in advance, cook them, place in a freezer bag, and then just pop them back in the oven for 20 minutes or so to reheat.

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium eggplants

1 cup of mashed potatoes

1 egg

5 oz feta

3 tbsp Parmesan cheese

½ tsp salt

1 pepper

1 ½ cup breadcrumbs

DIRECTIONS: Poke holes in the eggplants, and broil in the oven for about an hour. Make sure to keep an eye on them. To avoid making a mess of your oven, wrap in tin foil and place on a baking sheet.

Once the hour is up, remove the eggplants and place foil over them. Let it sit for about 20 minutes until cool. Then slit the each eggplant from top to bottom. Steam will escape, and then you can open up the eggplant and scoop out the flesh inside. This cooking method helps to kill that bitter taste of the eggplant. Let it sit a little longer, so it’s not too hot to handle. Discard the skins.

Using a colander, drain out the excess water from the eggplant. Place all ingredients (except for breadcrumbs) in one bowl, and mix well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle all of the breadcrumbs on a clean work surface.

Remove the mix from the bowl and form it into a uniform ball. Cut that ball into four equal parts. From each part, roll out a long thin log (about one inch thick) right into your breadcrumb mixture. This is going to be a bit gooey at first (after it rolls into breadcrumbs, it will become firmer). Place each of those long logs onto the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for an hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut each long log into about five uniform pieces. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper coated with cooking spray (with enough space between them). Spray the tops of the croquettes. Bake for an hour, turning every 15 minutes, until evenly browned.

Serve with hummus or marinara sauce.

NUTRITION FACTS (per croquette): Calories: 61. Protein: 3g. Carbs 9g. Fiber 3g. Net carbs: 6g.