Watching football can sometimes lead to mindless munching of excess calories. So load up your tailgate table with healthy snack options and filling main dishes that won't leave you wanting more. Bite-size recipes like Sweet Potato Tots and Glazed Cocktail Meatballs are perfect for those looking to graze, while hungrier guests can enjoy hearty dinners like BBQ Beef-Stuffed Potatoes or Two-Cheese Veggie Nachos.
BBQ Beef-Stuffed Potatoes
Saucy chuck roast and fluffy potatoes all cook together, with almost no prep. Be sure to wrap the potatoes in parchment paper; foil can add a metallic taste to the dish. If you can't find 6 (4-oz.) potatoes, use 4 (8-oz.) russets, and cut each in half before stuffing.
Sweet Potato Tots
Take a break from sweet potato fries and try out tots instead. Oven-baked until they're brown and crispy, these tots will satisfy your wildest savory cravings without overloading you with calories and fat. Served with a zippy jalapeño ranch dipping sauce that's loaded with protein and fresh herbs, these cute sweet potato tots make for the perfect appetizer or mid-afternoon snack that your kids will devour.
Chili Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Amy Stone
We thicken the chili slightly, stir in more fresh fall vegetables, and bake with a flaky cheddar biscuit topper for a fun, fast take on a classic potpie. Creamy butternut squash and hearty beef chili provide combine to make this wholesome, easy weeknight dinner. We skipped the hassle of peeling and chopping the squash by buying the packaged cubes. Topped with flaky cheddar biscuits that rest atop the potpie like soft pillows, this meaty dish is a great way to repurpose chili and make use of seasonal fall vegetables. The kids won't be able to resisting dunking biscuit after biscuit in this flavorful beef chili. Use a vegetarian chili for a tasty meat-less option.
Glazed Cocktail Meatballs
These mini meatballs are perfect for tailgating. We made them healthier by forgoing sodium-heavy ingredients like the usual ketchup and chili sauce and including whole-grain bulgur in place of breadcrumbs. You can also serve a larger portion of these meatballs for weeknight dinner. To up the kid-friendly factor, omit the ground red pepper in the glaze and serve with mashed potatoes (à la Swedish meatballs).
The Cheeseburger Salad
Classic burger elements become a fast, fun salad for the entire family—a deconstructed take on a diner favorite. Instead of four burger patties, we cook just two, then chop and sprinkle them over the top. A handful of crushed potato chips adds crunch. Kick up the dressing with a pinch of ground red pepper.
A handful of fresh mint boosts the flavor of ground turkey, while cream cheese keeps the patties moist. Mild-flavored pepperoncini peppers top these sliders served on water rolls.
Carne Asada Pizza
This beefy pie delivers all the zingy flavors of a street taco: tangy lime, pungent onion, fragrant cilantro, and smoky, spicy chiles. The three-cheese blend offers extra meltiness.
Sesame-Soy Nut and Pretzel Mix
If any one dish is devoured quickly and constantly (usually by the fistful) throughout the Super Bowl, it’s snack mix. Consisting of salty nuts, pretzels, and cereal doused with a Worcestershire and butter, this innocent munchie racks up sodium and calories quickly. Our healthier version gives you all the salt, crunch, and bold spices of the original with the addition of whole-grain popcorn, toasty whole-wheat cereal, and spicy wasabi peas. The peas inspired an Asian track with toasty sesame oil and reduced-sodium soy sauce, cashews, and pungent ground ginger.
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
Get the chili started in the morning and keep warm in the slow cooker while you're out. Calling for a mixture of beans and hominy, this recipe boasts bold, rich flavor, something that can often be dulled in a slow cooker. Whirring some of the beans in a food processor thickens the soup, lending a heartier texture to the dish. We suggest serving the soup with green onions, cheese, cilantro, peppers, and plain yogurt, a great substitute for sour cream. Serve with Cheesy Jalapeno-Sour Cream Corn Muffins (next slide).
Cheesy Jalapeño-Sour Cream Corn Muffins
What is chili without corn muffins? Pickled jalapeños add a little extra zip and dimension without too much heat. You can omit them or substitute minced cilantro if you like. Make the corn muffins a day or two ahead and refrigerate then leave out at room temperature. The addition of sour cream makes these muffins incredibly tender—they won't dry out if made in advance.
Caramelized Leek and Spinach Dip
Beautifully caramelized leeks and onions cannot be rushed; resist the urge to crank up the heat. Leeks become especially silky and sweet when left to cook awhile. If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a tablespoon or two of water, and stir (the liquid will evaporate during cooking). Instead of bread or crackers, serve the dip with an array of vegetables, such as baby carrots, endive leaves, radishes, diagonally sliced cucumber, and mini sweet bell peppers for a bit of freshness, color, and crunch. You'll also save calories and room for the rest of the meal.
Two-Cheese Veggie Nachos
We love the double-cheese contrast here: Shredded cheese melts into a bubbly blanket over the tortillas, while cumbly queso fresco covers the veggies with a salty kick. It's an impressive dish for coffee table dining—it's fun to keep it all on the baking pan and serve as a shared platter.