Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cheap Healthy Party Food

With the big Giants/Pats showdown only four days away, it’s time to start thinking about food. What should you bring to a get-together? What will you serve at your own shindig? How can you keep from gaining 14 pounds in a single afternoon?

That’s where Cheap Healthy Party Food comes in. Gathered from five prominent websites, the following 60 recipes are less expensive, healthier alternatives to the chips/dips/wings combo typical of Super Bowl Sunday. Plus, as it’s a football game (THE football game), all the dishes are party-friendly. There is no spa food, and nary a spinach salad or fat-free flaxseed muffin to be found. Instead, the list is chock full of chicken, chili, pizza, and pie, just in lower-calorie incarnations.

To everything, there is a process, and my first step in compiling this list was narrowing down my source websites. (It’s a big internet out there, man.) I decided each one had to have A) lots of health-minded options, B) an easy search function, and C) reliable recipe reviews. After some consideration, I settled on All Recipes, Cooking Light, Eating Well, Epicurious and Food Network. (Oh, and Cheap Healthy Good. Hooray for self-promotion!)

Still, I was left with a ton of possibilities. So next, I had to come up with food criteria. It wasn’t easy, and unlike the Beef/Pork/Fish posts, my methods weren’t exactly scientific. But I eventually settled on the following:
  • Each dish had to contain at least four servings.
  • Recipes could not incorporate more than one semi-pricy ingredient. (A frequent issue with Epicurious.)
  • Fat and calorie content had to be healthy relative to serving size. An 800-calorie stuffed mushroom recipe looks great until you realize is it only makes six mushrooms. (A frequent issue with Cooking Light.)
  • The food couldn’t look repulsive in pictures. (A frequent issue with All Recipe.)
  • Recipes had to have at least an 87% review rating (3.5 forks on Eating Well, 5 stars on Food Network, etc).
  • Dishes had to be appropriate for parties where huge, hairy fathers of three paint their bare chests with Tedy Bruschi’s jersey number.
With all that in mind, I commenced searching. And the results? Are pretty sweet. John Madden would approve.

(As always, read the reviews for cooking and serving suggestions.)

APPETIZERS
All Recipes: Chicken Satay
All Recipes: Pita Chips
All Recipes: Garden Veggie Pizza Squares
All Recipes: Savory Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
CHG: Lightened Seven Layer Taco Dip
Cooking Light: Adobo Chips with Warm Goat Cheese and Cilantro Salsa
Cooking Light: Cheddar with Sauteed Apples and Brown Bread
Cooking Light: Goat Cheese Crostini
Cooking Light: Pinto Bean Nachos
Cooking Light: Starry Snack Mix
Eating Well: Boneless Buffalo Wings
Food Network: Chili Chips
Food Network: Parmesan Pita Toast Strips

DIPS, SALSAS, DRESSINGS and SPREADS
All Recipes: Avocado Mango Salsa (use gloves when working with habaneros)
All Recipes: Black Bean Hummus
All Recipes: Fresh Salsa 1
All Recipes: Spicy Bean Salsa (use low-fat dressing)
All Recipes: Sweet and Sour Sauce
All Recipes: Tequila Cocktail Sauce
CHG: Lemony Light Hummus
Cooking Light: Creamy Artichoke Dip
Cooking Light: Spicy Roasted Red Pepper and Bean Dip
Eating Well: Hot Artichoke Dip
Epicurious: Habanero Chile Salsa (use gloves when working with habaneros)
Food Network: Ranch Dressing
Food Network: White Bean Dip

MEAT MAINS
All Recipes: Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs
All Recipes: Pineapple Chicken Tenders
All Recipes: Yummy Honey Chicken Kebabs
Cooking Light: Ancho, Beef, and Kidney Bean Chili
Cooking Light: Mexican Black Bean Chili
Cooking Light: Real Texas Chili
Eating Well: Chicken Chili with Hominy
Eating Well: Pulled Pork
Eating Well: Thai Chicken Pizza
Food Network: Buffalo Chicken Salad
Food Network: Chicken Chili
Food Network: Chili on Rice
Food Network: Mambo Chicken with Mango Salsa
Food Network: Middle Eastern Chicken Burgers
Food Network: Oven Fried Chicken
Food Network: Sloppy Joes
Food Network: Stuffed Turkey Burgers
Food Network: Three Bean and Beef Chili

SIDES
Cooking Light: Apple Slaw
Cooking Light: Beer Battered Onion Rings
Cooking Light: Cheese Fries
Cooking Light: Classic Potato Salad
Eating Well: Wholesome Corn Bread
Epicurious: Roasted Sweet Potato Slices
Food Network: Grilled Red Onions
Food Network: Black Bean Salad
Food Network: Baked Smoked Chili Fries

DESSERTS
Cooking Light: Frozen Butterfinger Pie
Cooking Light: Fudgy Sheet Cake
Cooking Light: Oatmeal Spice Cookies
Epicurious: Apple Pie
Epicurious: Mini Chocolate Cupcakes
Food Network: Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Pound Cake
Food Network: Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Food Network: Coffee Angel Food Cake

CHG’s Super Bowl Week isn’t over yet, so tune in tomorrow for Favorites of the Week, and then again on Friday for A Tale of Two Salsas. (Mmm … Dickensian.)

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7 comments:

Hops said...

Tedy Bruschi's on and off-field heroics are legendary. (Click the "Listen here" link.)

BTW, that looks like a tasty compilation.

Angie said...

I love Rachel Ray's recipe for roasted red pepper chickpea dip/spread. It is like hummus only cheaper and lower fat, and is made easily in the food processor! Yum!

Kris said...

Hops, that Bruschi piece is genius. Thank you for sending.

Michelle Dawn said...

Wowzers! THANKS. Mmmm.

tinkalanashai said...

This is really helping me get ready for DD's B-day! Thanks!

Chantal said...

Thanks for the recipe round up! I find it takes FOREVER to find recipes to meet all of the above criteria so I'm starting now for my christmas party... phew! I'm sure you're familiar with this website but I also like eatbetteramerica.com

Anonymous said...

I just found this post - thank you!! This is a big, big help :D