Are you planning to watch the game on Sunday? Certainly it is a good time for appetizer style meals and serving finger foods that are easy to eat with a variety to keep the menu interesting. It is fun to just graze sometimes, and I have several favorite things to make for football games, racing days, and perhaps the Olympics and awards season too. One problem about game day foods is that much of it is not very healthy. Still, it should be tasty, so I try to figure out how to include veggies, and lower the fat content of the dishes while minimizing the carbs. Having a crudité platter with a low fat ranch dip instead of chips is one way to do this, so we might have some blanched broccoli and raw carrots along with our hot apps. I like bruschetta too, with lots of fresh tomatoes, chopped basil and grated Parmesan cheese topping thin slices of French bread toasted and drizzled with just a bit of olive oil. I have a new recipe for you to make for the weekend and save for future events, along with a link to one from last year and a tweak to an old favorite.
So, let’s start with the chicken wings. I have made these several times now, trying different ways of baking, and things for coating to get the crunch of fried without the fat.
Use a rack over a baking pan to allow the fat to drain off while they cook for less grease. Flavor is essential, so I season with lemon pepper and garlic salt, you can use whatever you like.
Top the wings with some panko bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan. Spritz with just a bit of no-stick spray to assist the crumbs in browning.
Bake one hour at 350º to golden brown, crunchy deliciousness.
Parmesan Chicken Wings
1 pound (or however many you want) Chicken wings cut into sections
Garlic Salt and Lemon Pepper to taste
Panko bread crumbs
Shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
Place wings on rack over a baking pan. Sprinkle with garlic salt and lemon pepper. Top with panko bread crumbs, spray lightly with cooking spray. Top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
Next, let’s tweak the old standby sausage balls, making a reduced fat version and only half the recipe for just us two. Instead of the full cup cup of full fat Bisquick called for in the original recipe for a pound of sausage, use only 1/4-cup of reduced fat Bisquick and eight ounces of sausage.
I also use a 2% milk sharp cheddar to reduce the fat further, and reduce the amount in the recipe to 4 ounces for 8 ounces of sausage. Using the sharp adds more flavor with less cheese. Adding some chopped green onions kicks it up a bit too.
Mix well, into a ball, then use an ice-cream scoop to make the sausage balls uniform in size. This makes them a bit smaller as well, reducing portion size a bit, while increasing the number of appetizers.
Place on a baking sheet sprayed with no-stick cooking spray, and bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the baking sheet immediately, or they stick to the pan. Drain on paper towels.
Another favorite hot appetizer is one I frequently use as a side dish, Baked Spinach. This is my recipe from National Garlic Day in 2015 using Roasted Garlic.
It works really well as an appetizer served on crackers, and is wonderful to take to pot luck parties. I revised the recipe to use just chopped garlic for this hot spread.
Baked Spinach Hot Appetizer
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp chopped garlic
4 medium-large mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
small pat of butter
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon-pepper
1 10-oz pkg chopped spinach
3-4 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
2-3 oz shredded Parmesan cheese
Saute onion, chopped garlic and mushrooms in olive oil with a small pat of butter until onions are translucent and mushrooms are softened. Remove pan from heat, add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add next two ingredients stirring until well blended, then stir in spinach and onion/mushroom mixture. Pour into baking dish, top with mozzarella. Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve with crackers as a hot appetizer, or as a main meal side dish.
The day I did all three of these for the divisional playoffs, I put the wings in first for one hour, then the sausage balls and spinach dip went into the still hot oven together for 30 minutes. I kept the wings warm covered with foil.
For Super Bowl Sunday, I have several books on Small Plates and I think I’ll try something new. I put some Amazon affiliate links below if you want to check out some of small plate books I have, and the next recipes I am thinking of trying.
Mushroom and Marscapone Tartlets and Thai Lettuce cups from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Small Plates
Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Bundles,and Cheese and Herb Batons in Small Plates: Appetizers as Meals
Lime Drizzled Shrimp and Crab Tartlets from Tapas: 40 Delicious Traditional Spanish Recipes (Contemporary Cooking)
More small plate ideas Small Plates – Appetizer Meals
What’s your favorite appetizer for party time?