Healthy Eating, Game Day Style
Let’s be honest: Football food doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being the healthiest food on the planet. It’s easy to see why…football fandom creates the perfect environment for overly-rich treats.
Football food doesn’t have to be heavy. The football season is long! If you eat like a Medieval King every game weekend you’re going to have an uphill battle to fight once New Year’s resolutions roll around. We always like to strike a balance between deliciously festive and pragmatically healthy when it comes time to feed our friends and families.
Here are a few healthy football snacks every fan can get behind.
Our famous stuffed mushrooms can be changed in dozens of ways to make them your own. When we’re looking to lighten them up a bit we just add some extra veggies to the stuffing and choose light cream cheese over full-fat. You won’t even taste the difference!
- ½pound of fresh Italian sausage (removed from the casings)
- 1¼cups of onion (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2tablespoons of green bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 1pound of fresh mushrooms (medium-sized) (save the caps, remove the stems & chop them finely)
- 1teaspoon of salt – freshly ground black pepper
- 13-ounce package of cream cheese
- 2tablespoons of butter (melted)
- ¼cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs – fresh parsley (for garnish)
In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onion in the olive oil over medium heat for five to six minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, mushroom stems, salt, and pepper to taste. Continue to cook the mixture for six or seven more minutes or until the onion and bell pepper are tender. Turn off the heat and stir the cream cheese into the mixture.
Fill the mushroom caps with the sausage mixture (approximately one teaspoon each.) In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the butter and the breadcrumbs. (Use a teaspoon if necessary to help keep the mixture from falling out of the mushroom cap as you turn it over into the breadcrumbs.) Press the stuffed mushroom caps firmly into the buttered breadcrumbs.
Put two tablespoons of water into a nine inch by thirteen inch glass baking dish. Place the mushroom caps in the dish, breaded sides up. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are browned. Sprinkle on fresh parsley and serve.
We make these whenever our carb-conscious friends come to watch the game (serving them with a heaping bowl of Papa C’s Creamy Cauliflower Mash, of course.) You can use whichever vegetables you like best and even switch out the Italian sausage for something unusual like Chicken Apple Sausage, if you like.
- 1pound fresh Italian sausage links (cut into thirds)
- 1large onion (cut into wedges)
- 2green (bell) peppers (cut into eighths)
- 2fresh, ripe tomatoes (cut into eighths)
- 1/2pound fresh mushrooms (whole)
- 1/4cup of olive oil
- 1tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Carefully slide the cut food pieces onto metal skewers, alternating the sausage and the various vegetables. Mix the olive oil and red wine vinegar together for basting. Barbecue or broil the kebabs for about sixteen to eighteen minutes, basting and turning occasionally.
Sausage Sandwich Bites
Sandwiches are excellent finger food for football games and with other snacks around you only need half of one per-person. To keep these light we use sausages made from turkey or chicken, like Papa C’s Chicken Apple Sausages or Hot Turkey Italian and serve on whole-grain rolls.
- 1pound fresh Papa Cantella’s sausage links, butterflied
- 4-6 whole grain sandwich rolls
- Your choice of toppings
With Peppers & Onions
Barbecue, broil, or pan fry the sausage. Clean and remove the seeds from three green bell peppers, then slice thinly. Slice two onions. Cook the peppers and onions in one tablespoon of olive oil for about fifteen minutes, covered over medium heat. Spoon peppers and onions over the sausage in your favorite roll.
With Tomato, Avocado & Lettuce
Barbecue, broil, or pan fry the sausage. Spread mayonnaise and ketchup on a fresh roll, then add the sausage, sliced tomato wedges, avocado and lettuce.
See? Football food doesn’t have to weight you down! It’s all about making smart swaps where you can without sacrificing flavor. Since sausage packs such a flavor punch we never have to worry about our healthy sausage dishes turning out boring or bland.
Have a healthy football recipe we should know about? Tell us over on Facebook!