Thursday, February 10, 2011

Superbowl: its all about the commercials and the APPETIZERS!

I was pretty pumped for the superbowl. Not because of the epic battle between two football teams, but because this meant I could make fun food and watch commercials.

The commercials ended up being a flop, but the food was another story! I decided upon making bruschetta, bacon wrapped dates, and 7-layer dip. And although I label these "appetizers", these ended up being our dinner, which was the intention anyways.

And who are we kidding, of course I put a healthier spin on these babies! I set out to make the 7 layer dip earlier in the day so it could chill and mingle in the fridge for a couple hours. Here's the ingredients:
Layer one: 1 16 ounce can organic fat free refried beans mixed with one 4 ounce can diced green chiles
Layer two: 1 cup guacemole
Layer three: 1 cup low fat greek yogurt mixed with 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
Layer four: 1 cup low fat shredded cheese
Layer five: 1 cup diced tomatoes
Layer six: 1/4 cup chopped green onion
Layer seven: 1/2 cup sliced olives

Seven layers! And really, not too bad nutritionally.
The beans:
Guacamole. I used 1 1/2 avocados, lime juice, chunky salsa. and a little salt (and cilantro if I had some).
It was more then a cup but who doesn't love a little extra quac?
Greek yogurt layer. The taco seasoning really permeates throughout the whole dip, once you eat it all together. I wouldn't skip it!
The cheese. I really don't like using reduced fat cheese because I'd rather just use less of the good stuff since it never melts right, but in this case melting wasn't an issue and since it was sharp cheddar, it had a lot of flavor.
Diced tomatoes! I used more than a cup. The more veg the merrier.
Green onions:
YUM! The four of us demolished 7/8 of this pan...well hey, it was our dinner!
I served this with tortilla chips for the fam and ate mine with homemade baked tortilla chips I made from La Tortilla Factory whole wheat tortillas that I sprayed with a little oil, sprinkled with salt, and baked at 400 for about 15 minutes.
I loved this!! I can't wait till I have an excuse to make it again :P

And then...bacon wrapped dates! Okay, I know what some of you are thinking... "ewwww!" But for serious, it's a killer combo.
I didn't really "healthify" this one, except for using center cut bacon, but that's okay.
And the surprise?
They're stuffed with almonds!
The almonds roast in the oven and the whole thing is just melt in your mouth.
All you do is cut bacon slices into thirds, stuff raw almonds into pitted dates (its easy since there's already a hole where the pit was) and then wrap the bacon around each date. I like to secure them with a toothpick and then put them on a cooling rack and then on a cookie sheet so that all the fat drippings drip onto the sheet and don't just pool around the date. Bake em at 375 till they look good  and crisp (around 30 minutes) and they're done! These are good for making ahead and just baking them right before the event.
If you want an appetizer that everyone (well, except for the vegetarians) will love you for bringing, this is it. So simple; only three ingredients, and prep takes 5 minutes at most!

And lastly, I made bruschetta! I made a whole wheat french baguette using the same recipe I used for the french bread I made in this post which turned out well but still not like a french bread should be. The crust still isn't crisp enough and there isn't big enough holes. It still worked just fine for my bruschetta, though!

I grilled up slices of my baguette and then topped it with a classic: pesto, fresh mozzarella, and tomato!
I got fresh mozz at Costco for super cheap, and now have a whole pound and a half leftover for something else! (ideas?)
These were little bites of heaven. So fresh!

And to end the meal, we had low fat brownies! (With a little low fat mint chocolate chip ice cream)
I used a recipe I found over at Mama Pea's blog. They're made with applesauce yet still have that fudgy texture that is usually lost when applesauce is used. I was expecting a cakey brownie, but this was far from it!

I made a couple changed to ensure maximum fudgey-ness:
3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup combo of half maple syrup(or brown rice syrup) and half sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chocolate chips (I used a combo of mini reese's cups and mini caramel-filled turtles because, well, who wouldn't if you had those laying around?!)

1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, instant coffee, baking soda and salt.
2) In a smaller bowl, combine applesauce, sugar/maple syrup and vanilla.
3) Add wet to dry and mix until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.
4) Pour batter into an 8×8 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
5) Bake for 20 minutes or until brownies are set and edges are coming away from the pan. Let cool before cutting.

 I made these in a slightly different sized pan that was rectangular so they cooked in a little less time and were a bit thinner.
Wow! These guys are totally different then any other applesauce/lowfat brownie I've ever had. They are so fudgy and absolutely delightful. This will definitely will be my go to brownie from now on!
And I love how it uses whole wheat flour :D The pan of brownies was gone far too quickly....

We really needed all of this good food to keep our morale up with the awful half time show and the endless car commercials...

That's all for now!
I'll have the chocolate cups recipe up (hopefully) by tomorrow, so be prepared for the most epic dessert you've ever had y'all!!!

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