The Ultimate Match-Up: Super Bowl Food Challenge

Disclosure: I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time. 

It’s seven days before Super Bowl Sunday and I’m thinking about making substitutions. No, not players, food. Today I’m calling a time out with my team; the team that’s seeking to serve healthier food options on game day.  I’m a believer in small change. You’ll never be named MVP, throwing a party without some of the coveted Super Bowl comfort foods,  even if they aren’t sports dietitian approved.  That said, if someone served up some heathier options (in addition to just salsa and baby carrots), wouldn’t you be glad they did?

I’m not predicting healthier food options will start beating out the wings, nachos, delivered pizza or desserts anytime soon, but they never will if we don’t start offering them. So are you ready to receive my Super Bowl Food Challenge? super bowl food challengephoto-248 copy_edited-super bowl food challengeYes, I am playing with a deflated football, not because I condone it, but this puppy puncture  is one of the risks of playing football with labrador retreivers. (By the way, did you notice any retrievers on the Patriot’s sidelines?) Anyway,  today I’m using it as symbol of my Super Bowl strategy: take advantage of deflated calories. Make it your game plan, by joining my team and embracing my Super Bowl Food Challenge:  Throw a Super Bowl party with some of the customary foods, but match each traditional dish with one healthy option.  And just to get  you started, I’m sharing this Mediterranean inspired cheese board. Mediterranean Cheese BoardNo matter how you do it, you will always score with a cheese platter! They ‘re ideal for the casual mix, mingle, and grab a snack approach to entertaining. They’re easy on the hostess, who doesn’t always know dietary restrictions and doesn’t always have time to cook. I suggest starting with Cabot cheddar, a protein rich snack that’s naturally lactose free. My board also includes other nutrient rich foods that pair exceptionally well with  Cabot Alpine cheddar including:  smoked salmon, tzatziki, crackers, and fresh pears.  This recipe is so easy and can be modified to any number of football/food fans.

Before I close, I do want to mention that Cabot is more than just yummy cheese that is always a satisfying choice for a cheese board. Here’s a fact you should  know:  Cabot is a coopertative of 1200 family farms located throughtout New England and New York. Also, 100% of Cabot’s  profits go back to the farmer. That’s as American as the Super Bowl!

Let me know your game plan in the comments sections below, and  be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for more inspiration for this ultimate match-up!

Mediterranean Cheese Board

Mediterranean Cheese Board (8 appetizer servings)

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  •  6 oz. Cabot Alpine Cheddar, sliced into 1/4 inch rectangles
  • assorted crackers with seeds/herbs or hearty whole grain artisan breads, sliced
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon, cut into bit sized pieces
  • 2 pears, sliced
  • 12 oz. baby zucchini, sliced lengthwise into quarters
  • store bought tzatziki sauce (or make your own with recipe below)

for the tzatziki sauce

  • 1/2 pint nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 English cuccumber, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1/2 Tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

Instructions

for the tzatziki sauce

1.Grate cuccumber and place into a seive that is set on top of another bowl. Refrigerate and allow to drain for 3-4 hours.

2. Squeeze liquid from cuccumber. Add Greek yogurt to a small bowl and combine with cuccumber. Add lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil , garlic and dill. Stir to combine.

Use immediately or refrigerate. Can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time.

to assemble cheese board

Casually arrange all ingredients on a board, platter or cake plate.

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Steamed Oysters with Smokey Peach Sauce

Steamed Oysters with Smokey Peach SauceI don’t consider myself a big fan of winter, but there are somethings about winter I do adore. One of them is oysters. In my modest opinion, the best thing about these mollusks is they bring people together.  Because who wants to be flying solo when it’s time to  clean, shuck, steam, eat and repeat?

Last weekend, when we had a few more heads at the table, it  sparked the idea of  an oyster roast. And while I was anticipating my monthy Recipe Redux post, it  seemed like a good time to tie-in the Recipe Redux theme, heat things up with smoke and spiciness.

Oysters always need a dipping sauce. I usually like to make a classic horseradish sauce and then to keep things interesting, I like to make a second one that’s unconventional. That’s the one I’m sharing with you! I found this recipe Grilled Oysters with Smoked Paprika-Peach Sauce online. When we (my family)  were inexperienced at preparing  oysters, we used a grill. But  now, we prefer to steam them. In our opinion, it’s much faster. By the way, the nutritional value remains virtually identical. Oysters are a very good source of protein, vitamin B12, iron,  zinc, cooper and selenium.  Below is our family recipe for steamed oysters and also the redux for the  unconventional, smokey peach sauce. Like many recipes, this sauce doesn’t need as much butter as in the original recipe to make it good. Using frozen peaches in lieu of fresh  was a no brainer,  because who can  find a fresh peach this time of year?!  But let’s be practical here, as much as I love the idea of farm to table, if it’s not in season,  frozen fruits are just as nutritious, and sometimes more. (Frozen fruits and veggies are frozen at the peak of their ripeness, locking in nutrients.)   I added  the smoked paprika to taste. (You too  may want to adjust this to your liking.) Finally I finished the dipping sauce with Italian parsely. This smokey redux was successful as even my pickest eater gave it a thumbs up. Please check out the links at the bottom of this post for more smokin’ hot recipes!

Do you have any recipes you make together as a family?PicMonkey Collage.oysters

Steamed Oysters with Smokey Peach SauceSteamed Oysters with Smokey Peach SauceSteamed Oysters with Smokey Peach Sauce (makes 16 appetizer servings)

adapted from the Washington Post’s Grilled Oysters with Smoked Paprika-Peach Sauce

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

    for the sauce

    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 cups frozen peaches, defrosted
    • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
    • 4 Tablespoons Italian parsely, chopped

    for the oysters

    • 1/2 bushel fresh oysters

    Instructions

    for the smokey peach sauce

    1. Remove peaches from freezer and thaw. Place thawed peach slices in blender and puree.

    2.Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat.

    3. Add peach puree and smoked paprika. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Cna be made several hours before serving. Reheat slowly and add fresh chopped parsely just before serving

    for the oysters

    1.Rinse and scrub oysters.

    2. Fill large stock pot with serveral inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add a steamer basket to pot.

    3. Fill steamer basket with oysters. Replace lid on pot and cook until shells open slightly.

    4. Shuck oysters carefully by removing top shell. Place on platter and serve with sauce.

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