Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Healthy Superbowl (or anytime) Snacks!

Black Bean and Corn Chili
On a recent weekend, my boyfriend and I had some friends over to watch football. Typically, an event such as this would include corn chips, fried chicken, pizza, or something (anything) that involves a lot of grease and fat. This can taste good in the moment, but usually leaves everyone feeling heavy and I right? This time around, I wanted to make some healthier options that would still taste good. With the NFL Superbowl coming up this Sunday, I wanted to share our menu with you in a special bonus post this week. Perhaps you'll find something that your group of football-watching fans will enjoy. You'll find all the recipes at the end of the post.

1. The first thing was something to stand in for potato chips to satisfy the crispy, salty craving. The great Kale Chip to the rescue! I put in a little too much salt, but these suckers were gone in less than ten minutes, even before most people had arrived. Next time I'll buy another bunch of kale so more people will get to enjoy them. Thanks to my boyfriend for being my model holding the plate!
Kale Chips with Olive Oil & Salt

2. Next, I wanted to have something crispy to dunk into a dip. In the past, this is where I would do tortilla chips and guacamole, but I opted for a raw veggie platter with fresh hummus this time. I passed up the pre-cut veggies at the grocery store that never taste very good (and usually are not organic) and chopped up my own organic carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, green beans, and radishes. And I was amazed at how quickly the guys gobbled them up! I was glad I had extras ready to go for a second helping.
Organic, raw, fresh veggies - served with hummus
3. For the main course, instead of the usual pizza or fried chicken, I went for a healthy chili recipe. While it turned out more of a soup consistency, it was delicious and easy to make, and will certainly become a regular in my soup repertoire. Oh, and a lesson I learned the hard way: chili powder is NOT the same thing as cayenne! When I made the chili a second time I made that mistake, and it was so spicy I could barely eat it. Oops!
Black Bean Chili, topped with Cilantro and Organic Cheddar
Enjoy the football game, Superbowl or otherwise! Go 49ers!
And now, here are the recipes...

Kale Chips (one bunch serves 2-4 people)
One bunch of Kale, washed and ripped into pieces
Olive Oil
Lemon (optional)

- Heat oven to 325 degrees.
- Wash and dry kale, then rip leaves into pieces. Discard the stems.
- Toss leaves with a splash of olive oil and salt to taste. Add lemon if desired.
- Bake for about ten minutes, and keep a close eye on the chips, as they burn fast!

Black Bean Chili Soup (Makes 4-6 servings)
1 Quart Vegetable Broth (I used Whole Foods' brand)
1 Can/14.5oz Diced Tomatoes (I used Pomi, as they use BPA-free packaging)
1T Olive Oil
1 Organic Yellow Onion, diced
1 Organic Bell Pepper, any color, diced
3T Chili Powder
1t Ground Cumin
1t Oregano
2 Cans, drained Black Beans (Click here to see the website for one of my favorite brands.)
2 Cans, drained Organic Corn or Hominy (organic = no GMO)
3 large Garlic Cloves, minced
1oz Bittersweet Chocolate
1/4C Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Shredded Cheddar Cheese, for garnish

- In a pot, combine tomatoes (including their liquid) with the broth, and heat until steaming, then keep warm.
- In large pot (or Dutch-oven), heat oil over med-high heat. Add onions and peppers, saute until golden brown, about five minutes.
- Add chili powder, cumin and oregano, stir to saute until combined and fragrant.
- Add beans and corn, also add broth mixture. Heat until simmering, then reduce heat to low.
- Partially cover, stirring occasionally, and simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors have all combined, probably 20-30 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, chocolate and cilantro. Simmer a few more minutes to blend the flavors.
- Turn off heat, let stand about five minutes, then serve topped with more cilantro and a pinch of cheese.

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