Apparently, it is de rigueur to avoid an actual meal while watching this extravaganza and instead consume chips, dips, wings and other such "junk food" fare. But there has to be a middle ground, at the very least -- I don't even like such things, and at the same time I don't want to spoil the party.
What might work:Guacamole dip -- while it's high in calories, at least guacamole contains "good" fat in the avocado. Pair it with whole-grain tortilla chips (Trader Joe's has some multigrain chips that we like) and cut-up veggies instead of potato chips or fried corn chips.
Hummus or bean dip (sans cheese) -- include this dip with your guacamole and the same chips and veggies. Hummus comes in various flavors -- I'm fond of the chipotle kind -- and you can serve more than one.
Chili made with ground turkey, bison (my fave), tofu or just beans -- spice it up, add plenty of diced onion, pepper, garlic, carrots and celery in the first step of the recipe -- and go easy on (or skip) the cheese topping.
Drink wine instead of beer or cocktails -- fewer calories, as a rule.
Serve these chicken strips -- yes, you need more protein to go with all the carbs and fat that inevitably will laden your table. This chicken is baked rather than fried, but the breading and seasoning make it crunchy and quite tasty. You can prepare the chicken a day in advance and store the strips in the fridge; bake them just before the party starts. The dip also will keep just fine in the fridge for a day or two.
Recipe: Baked, Spiced Chicken Fingers
Makes about 8 servings
- Cooking spray
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup fat-free milk
- 1 teaspoon barbecue smoked seasoning (such as Hickory Liquid Smoke)
- 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
- 2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning
- 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch strips
- Honey-Mustard Dip:
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Mix with a fork to combine. In a separate shallow dish, combine milk and liquid smoke. In a third shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs, oats, and garlic seasoning.Dip chicken into flour, and turn to coat both sides; shake off any excess flour. Transfer chicken to milk mixture and turn to coat. Transfer to the breadcrumb-oat mixture, and turn chicken to coat. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet, and spray tops of strips with cooking spray.
Bake for 25 minutes, until the crust is browned.
Meanwhile, combine the mustard and honey in a small bowl; serve with the strips. (Make more dipping sauce if this doesn't seem like enough.)