With Super Bowl 46 kicking off in less than two weeks, we’re getting bombarded with Super Bowl party ideas. It's a good idea to start planning your menu. And who doesn’t love all the food that goes along with the day: a glorious table full of calorie-rich dips, chips, breads, chili, mac n’ cheese, pulled pork, fried foods, desserts. Don’t you find it interesting that we sabotage our New Year resolutions of diets and healthier eating in one fell swoop? It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can enjoy flavorful food without the extra fat and sugar. To make some delicious and healthy game-time dishes, I shopped at three local groceries. My first stop was in Des Plaines. They have served Des Plaines for over 20 years.
Once you walk in, it’s not uncommon to hear Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra crooning over the intercom. Beware, the aisles are narrow and I recommend bypassing the grocery cart if you can. It helps to navigate the store without one. Because I’m a glutton for the small, independent grocers, the busy deli was also expected. Their butchers can help you with your fresh meat order including . You may hear chit-chat in Italian as you browse the well-stocked pasta aisle, imported coffees and baked goods (the in-house bakery is located in Palatine). Caputo and Sons also include Mexican ingredients like . They also carry local goods from Val’s Bakery (Skokie) and Mazzeo Baking Co. (Elmwood Park).
I also visited in Morton Grove. They have been at their new location, Harlem and Dempster, for four months but have served Morton Grove for 20 years. Produce World still has a family feel, but boasts twice as much space as in their previous location. They have a wide variety of ethnic products and their prepared foods section includes Greek dishes like moussaka and pastitsio. But their fresh produce is still the draw.
For game-time, instead of a mayonnaise-based dip with your chips, consider a salsa made with fresh tomatoes and black beans.
Black Bean Salsa (originally posted on julietiu.com)
- 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (17 oz.) pkg. frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
- 2 lg. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup. chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 lg. avocado, peeled and chopped (optional)
- 1/8 tsp. cumin (optional)
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
In large bowl, mix all ingredients well. Cover and chill overnight. Before serving, add salt and pepper to taste if necessary. The texture and coolness of the salsa complements crisp, lightly-salted tortilla chips or add the salsa as a side to your meal.
I brought home some Parmesan cheese and chicken wings from Caputo and Sons, and baked up my alternative to buffalo chicken wings. My husband devours these wings – salty and crunchy from the Parmesan cheese. By baking the wings in the oven, you aren’t introducing more oil, and you save calories from eliminating the buttery sauce. Of course, that could mean more dessert for you. Caputo’s in-house Parmesan cheese is mild tasting and moist, and I attribute this to being a young and fresh cheese. For this recipe I prefer aged Parmesan cheese because of its sharpness, and since it is drier, it tends to crisp up better.
Oven-Baked Chicken Wings
- ½ cup plain bread crumbs
- ½ cup grated aged Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. dried parsley
- ½ tsp. Kosher salt
- ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 2 lbs. chicken wings (unseparated, approximately 16-18 whole wings)
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easier cleanup). In a large re-sealable plastic bag, pour bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Seal bag and shake to mix the ingredients. Reopen bag, then set aside, and prepare chicken. Pour milk into a shallow pan (like an 8x8 glass pan, or pie dish). Place the about 4-5 chicken wings in the milk to coat, then move them into the bag. Seal and shake until chicken appears coated with crumbs. Remove the chicken from the bag, and place “wing tip up” on a baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining chicken wings – dip in milk to coat, shake in bag for crumb coating, move to baking sheet. Once all the wings are on the baking sheet, use some of the remaining crumbs to cover any bare spots you see. Drizzle wings with olive oil. Bake uncovered on middle rack for 12 minutes, then remove from oven, flip all the wings over and return to oven for another 12 minutes. Wings should turn a medium-dark golden brown, and any juices should run clear. When a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees F, the chicken is safe to eat.
As for dessert, Healthy Living Advisor, Tina Miller, suggests this Mini Fruit Pizza dessert as a healthy substitution!
Stay tuned for a visit to Bharat Grocery in Niles for an Indian twist to appetizers and snacks.