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SUPERBOWL weekend!

Are you ready for some football?? If you’re like most Americans, your weekend plans include a party this Sunday as friends gather for Superbowl XLV. Whether your interest leans toward the game (my husband) or the commercials and post-game episode of Glee (me) or the chance to run merrily around the house with friends (our children), it’s an awfully nice way to spend a Sunday evening.

Game-day munchies come with the territory, of course, and I’m looking forward to some favorite indulgences just as much as you are. If you’re also interested in adding a few healthier options to the mix, here is a lightened up version of a Superbowl favorite as well as some previously-posted ideas you might consider making for the big day.

Whether you will be wielding a Terrible Towel or wearing a Cheese Head, these are sure to be a hit with your party crowd.  Enjoy the game!

Southwestern Bean Dip

1 16-ounce can nonfat refried beans, preferably “spicy”
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
4 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices, chopped
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium avocado, chopped
1/4 cup canned sliced black olives


1. Combine refried beans, black beans, scallions, salsa, cumin, chili powder and jalapeños in a medium bowl. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe dish; sprinkle with cheese.
2. Microwave on High until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Spread sour cream evenly over the hot bean mixture, then scatter with lettuce, tomato, avocado and olives.

Other ideas:

Beef Daube (because everything sounds better in French)

If the words “beef stew” make you think of an unhealthy concoction in a can, you’re missing the boat! The French have long known that the cure for the winter blahs involves a bubbling pot of beef, slow cooking with vegetables, red wine, and stock. Pair this version of their traditional “Boeuf Daube” with a loaf of crusty bread and a bright green salad (one made with spinach, sliced oranges, and toasted walnuts in a citrus vinaigrette sounds about right) and you have the perfect dinner to warm you from the inside out. God bless the French.

Beef Daube
adapted from Cooking Light 2004 

serves 6

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4  garlic cloves, crushed
1  (2 lb.) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1  tsp. kosher  salt
1/2  tsp.  freshly ground black pepper
1  c.  red wine
2  c. chopped carrot
1 1/2  c.  chopped sweet onion
1  c.  beef stock or beef broth
1  Tbsp.  tomato paste 
1 tsp.   chopped fresh rosemary
1  tsp.  chopped fresh thyme
1  (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1  bay leaf 

3 c.   hot cooked whole wheat  noodles
1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over low heat. Add garlic; cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; set aside
3. Increase heat to medium-high and add beef to pan. Cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add garlic, beef, salt, pepper, carrot, and next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil.
4. Cover and bake at 300° for 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve over noodles.

Note: You can also make this in a slow cooker/crockpot. Simply complete steps 1-3 and transfer mixture to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 5 hours.

Snow day = Soup day!

It’s a snowy day here…the kind that makes you want to cozy up inside, light a fire, and make something warm and nourishing for dinner using ingredients you have on hand. Soup fits the bill perfectly if you keep a reasonably well-stocked pantry. I always try to keep cans of beans and chicken broth on hand and chicken breasts in the freezer. You could always substitute a different kind of cheese or eliminate an herb or garnish if you don’t have it handy. But if you’re up for following a recipe,  here’s one of my favorites for you to try on your next snow day. I’m off to don my hat and mittens, retrieve my kindergartener from the bus and prepare for an afternoon of snow-themed fun!

White Chicken Chili 
adapted from Cooking Light 2004
serves 8


  • 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 c. finely chopped onion
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2  tsp. dried oregano
  • 1  tsp. ground coriander
  • 2  (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 1  c.  water
  • 2  (15.5 oz.) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I like Bush’s)
  • 1  (14 oz.) can chicken broth or chicken stock
  • 1/2  tsp. Tabasco sauce 
  • 1  c. (about 4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2  c.  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2  c.  chopped green onions


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 10 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cumin, dried oregano, and coriander; sauté 1 minute. Stir in chiles; reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes, partially covered. Add the chicken, water, cannellini beans, and broth; bring to a simmer. 

Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in hot sauce. Ladle 1 cup of chili into each of 8 bowls; sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and 1 tablespoon green onions.