3 Healthy Recipes for Your Super Bowl Party

Super Bowl 52 is starting to feel a bit like Groundhog Day. Once again, Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, will be there. Which means his model wife, Gisele Bundchen, will be in Minneapolis at U.S. Bank Stadium to watch the Pats meet the Philadelphia Eagles.

Maybe there will be camera cutaways to Gisele in a VIP box looking down on hers (and Tom’s loyal subjects). The Pats are favoured to win and if so, they’ll tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl victories at six each.

Other perks? A half-time show featuring Justin Timberlake, and of course, football with friends, family and food. Ah, yes, the food. Gone are the days of just carnivorous, carb-heavy game day fare. “Some sports fans are also athletes which tend to be more health conscious,” says Kayla Peacock, a nutritionist and founder of Kale-ahhh healthy kitchen, a healthy meal and snack delivery service in Toronto. “It helps that we live in a very digital world where news and ideas can spread quickly so people stay informed and updated more easily.”

To get you in the FASHION football spirit, we’ve got three easy recipes that will keep you satiated and heartburn-free: An easy make-ahead chili, sweet potato fries, and buffalo quinoa bites. Sorry, Gisele but the chili does have tomatoes.

Disclaimer: Three-Day Chili is not as intimidating as it seems. It is very straightforward and idiot-proof. Swears.


Blank Canvas Three-Day Three-Bean Chili

Courtesy of John Crossingham

Perhaps more than any other stew, chili is malleable to each person’s individual tastes. A dollop of sour cream adds creamy coolness for one; a jolt of hot sauce revs up the mouth of another. Then there’s guacamole, cornbread, cheese, a toss of bitter arugula…but there’s one more thing that makes chili awesome: Its incredible resilience in the face of screw-ups. With low, slow cooking and kitchen sink aesthetics, chili can be anything you want it to be. It’s a Blank Canvas for the cook.

This is a basic template, and will make a perfectly alright chili on its own — but also included are suggestions to take it in different directions depending on you and your guests’ tastes. Don’t feel confident in the kitchen? Have no fear. All you need are tastebuds and a little patience.

Blank Canvas uses dried beans and is started two days before you need it—24 hours to brine the beans; a day to cook the chili; and then a day to mature the flavour before being warmed back up and served.

You can use three or four 398mL cans of beans and cook it the day of, but nothing will make it taste as good as the three-day version. And since most of that time is spent just waiting for beans to soak, get thee to a store to get the ingredients tonight.


Try not to do what Kevin did

Let’s get started on the chili

Brine the beans in salt, garlic, and cinnamon to give us an end product with creamy, but intact beans that have a slightly warm flavour.

Time: 10 minutes and overnight.
1 cup each of three types of dried beans (any of pinto, navy, red kidney, black, garbanzo will do)
About 2 litres cold water
3 tablespoons salt
3 garlic cloves, crushed (just smash the individual cloves with the broad side of your knife blade)
1 cinnamon stick
Rinse your beans in a colander under running water.
Dissolve the salt in 2 litres of cold water in a large bowl or container. Add the beans, garlic, and cinnamon stick, and soak it at room temperature for at least 8 hours, though ideally 24.

Saturday- One day to the game
We make the chili! A note about dicing veggies: they don’t need to be perfect little cubes or anything. Just make them about 1/4” to 1/2” across and you’re good. Also, if you don’t have an ovenproof pot (one without plastic handles), that’s OK, it just means that you’ll need to simmer the dish instead of throwing it in the oven. Which is cool, just a little more annoying.

Time: about 3 hours
Your brined beans, complete with saved garlic and cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons canola oil
1-2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 onions (red, white, whatever), chopped fine
2-3 bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange…no green), seeded and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 796mL can of whole or diced tomatoes
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1 1/2 cup mystery liquid (you choose! See step 4)

Preheat the oven to 350º. Drain your beans in a colander and rinse well under running water. Remove the brined garlic cloves and mince them along with the others (or don’t. If you add these ones whole, it’s fine — they’ll be so mellow after all this cooking.)
Heat the oil at medium heat in a large ovenproof pot until it shimmers, but doesn’t smoke. Add onions, carrots, garlic, peppers, bay leaves, oregano, reserved cinnamon stick, salt and all of your spices. Stir occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and are just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
Turn up the heat a little and add the tomatoes, stir, cook for another couple minutes. Add your brown sugar, molasses, and, if you want, a little liquid smoke. Add all of your beans, and stir that whole mess up.
OK, mystery liquid time! Chili is pretty accepting of a variety of liquids as a part of its base, so follow your heart. Water? Totally. Stock? Yes, for sure. Beer? Hell YES, though stick to lagers and stouts, nothing hoppy — I love IPAs, but they are wretched here. Wine? Yes, again. Coffee? Oh my god, yes. Coffee is terrific in a chili, for real. What do I like? I tend to use 1 vegetable stock cube, chopped up finely, along with either a bottle of lager or some coffee. Anyway, whatever you choose, add it now, stir up well, and turn up the heat so that the mixture comes to a boil.
Put the lid on and throw in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. After this time, remove the lid, stir, and cook for another 30 minutes or so — until the beans are tender. If your chili looks like it’s a little too dry, just top it up with 1/2 cup of water and stir it in. (If not using the oven, just turn the heat down low and simmer gently with the lid on for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender.)
Take the pot out of the oven, place the lid on, and let it cool down. When cool, throw in the fridge.

Hey! Did you taste your chili? Were you like, “meh”? That’s OK, let it be. All stews become something new entirely the day after. We’ll see you tomorrow…

We eat the chili! But first, we “wake” it back up, taste it, and make it our own. To make the reheating process a little easier, try taking the chili out of the fridge about an hour ahead so it comes to room temperature naturally.

Time: About one hour to reheat and fine tune the pot of chili

salt and pepper
lime juice or balsamic vinegar
optional stuff/toppings: grated cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, tortilla chips, guacamole, cornbread, baby arugula, chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro, etc.

Over medium low heat, warm the chili back up and stir regularly.
Taste your chili. It should taste pretty damn good right now, but chances are, you’d like it to be a little more something…else. What? That depends on you. For a dish this size, 1 teaspoon of salt is modest. So adding some salt and ground pepper might be a good start. Maybe a little more sweetness in the form of brown sugar? Also, it may seem a touch flat in taste to you. You might think this means it needs heat, but a tablespoon or two of bright acid — like lime juice or balsamic vinegar — will totally transform the flavours in a way that doesn’t bring the burn. That said, if you’re feeling the burn (or the Bern), you may have noticed that this chili has no actual chillies in it (my family doesn’t like the hot!) but people can always add hot sauce to taste individually. If you feel confident adding it to the pot, go for it. In the end, just explore and don’t be afraid of messing it up. As long as you add things in small amounts (teaspoon or so of liquids, a pinch of salt), stir it in well, and taste, you won’t make a mistake. Serve in deep bowls, with various toppings of your choice around the table.

Photography by Maya Visnyei

Sweet Potato Fries

3 Medium Sweet Potatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp 5-spice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel and slice sweet potatoes into match sticks. I like to start by cutting them in half lengthwise. Then lay them flat on that cut side and make thin strips. Then turn those strips on their sides and cut into more fine slices. The skinnier you make them, the crisper they’re going to be.

Mix your spices in a large bowl. Pour oil over the spice blend and combine well. Throw in your potatoes and toss until they’re completely covered. Lay them out out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Use two sheets if they’re looking crowded.

Place in a hot oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Take out at the fifteen minute mark and turn them over with tongs or a spatula. Keep an eye on them at the end as the edges will char (not that that’s a bad thing). Try to let them cool before you dive in. Good luck with that!

Buffalo Quinoa Bites + Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

Quinoa Bites Ingredients (makes 12):
1.5 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup ground oats
1 egg

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip Ingredients:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp dried chives
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Cook quinoa with 2:1 ratio; 3 cups water to 1.5 cups quinoa. Boil water, and then add in quinoa and cook on medium until well absorbed. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Next, add in remaining quinoa bites ingredients and mix until well combined. Form into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for 15-20 minutes based on desired crispness.

In the meantime, mix together dip ingredients in a bowl or food processor until well combined. Store in the fridge until use.

Enjoy on their own, with suggested dip, salsa or even more hot sauce if you’re feeling extra fiery. Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

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