Bernie thai pork tacos.jpg

These easy-to-make Thai pork tacos will be a hit at any big party you have. 

Football fans will be gathered around their TV sets come Sunday to watch the 2019 Super Bowl. Food will definitely be a big part of the celebration.

True, there will be a lot of pizza deliveries and large quantities of avocados sold for guacamole, but part of the fun is preparing special fan food for your friends and family to enjoy. Super Bowl parties usually feature many higher-calorie foods, but you do have healthier choice options. Include fresh veggie and fruit platters for munching and whip up some of the following recipes that will be sure to please your guests.

Thai shredded pork tacos with Sriracha slaw

When hosting your Super Bowl party, you will find these semi-indulgent pork tacos a welcome addition to your menu. It is hard to believe these tacos are so tasty when they are so easy to make. Combine the simple ingredients in your slow cooker and after the tenderloin is cooked, shred the pork and then keep the pork hot in the juices in the slow cooker until your guests are ready to serve themselves. Have the assembled slaw on hand along with the prepared filling, the corn tortillas and optional garnishes, and let you guests prepare their own.

Makes: 32 tacos

Ingredients:

2 (1-lb.) pork tenderloins, trimmed

⅓ cup lime juice

⅓ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

32 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1 recipe Sriracha slaw

Sliced radishes, lime wedges and/or sliced jalapeno peppers (optional)

Directions:

Place meat in a 4-quart slow cooker. Combine the lime juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic and red pepper; pour over meat. Cover; cook on low for 4–5 hours or on high for 2 to 2½ hours. Remove meat from cooker; reserve juices. Shred meat and toss with juices to moisten. Serve in warmed tortillas with Sriracha slaw and, if desired, radishes, lime wedges and/or jalapenos.

Sriracha slaw: Combine 3 cups shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix), 1½ cups finely shredded red cabbage, ¾ cup snipped fresh cilantro, ¾ cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons sriracha sauce and 3 cloves of garlic, minced; season with salt and black pepper. Source: Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication, “Skinny Slow Cooker,” 2016.

All-American cheeseburger soup

Cheeseburgers are always a favorite, and combining those ingredients into a soup is a winner. Have the soup ready to go on a warming plate or stove top.

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 (14-oz.) cans lower-sodium beef broth

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and coarsely chopped

1 (14½-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 (8-oz.) package shredded cheddar and American cheese blend (2 cups)

1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

¼ cup ketchup

2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

1 cup whole milk

Toasted buns or rolls

Cheeseburger toppings, such as pickles, onions, lettuce, mustard and/or ketchup (optional)

Directions:

In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook beef, onion, celery and garlic over medium heat until meat is browned and vegetables are tender; drain off fat. Sprinkle flour on beef mixture; cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in broth and potatoes. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in tomatoes, cheese, tomato paste, ketchup and mustard. Cook and stir until cheese is melted and smooth and soup just comes to boiling. Stir in milk; heat through. Serve with toasted buns and cheeseburger toppings. Source: Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, February, 2009.

Smoked salmon dip

Chips and dips are probably the most common “game fare” for any event that features a game on TV. Usually the dips are high in calories, but they don’t have to be. The following two dips provide a healthy “make-over" with just a couple of substitutions. The calories and saturated fat have been cut in half in the smoked salmon dip with the use of light cream cheese and light sour cream. Using light cream cheese and light mayonnaise saves you 340 calories in the hot artichoke dip.

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

4 ounces ⅓-less-fat cream cheese

4 ounces light sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 ounces chopped smoked salmon

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; stir well. Garnish with additional dill sprigs. Source: Cooking Light “Best Recipe Makeovers,” 2013.

Hot artichoke dip

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves

1 chopped green onion

1.5 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

⅓ cup light mayonnaise

2 ounces ⅓-less-fat cream cheese

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed.

Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic and onion in a food processor; process until chopped. Add Parmesan, mayonnaise, cream cheese, lemon juice and pepper; process until almost smooth. Stir in artichoke hearts. Spoon mixture into a 3-cup gratin dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Source: Cooking Light ”Best Recipe Makeovers,” 2013.

Sweet potato brownies

If you want something sweet to top off your Super Bowl menu options, brownies are always a hit. This recipe is a healthier version of the traditional favorite, but your guests won’t even realize it because of the richness in flavor. Almond butter takes the place of shortening and the sweet potato provides moisture, takes the place of the eggs and adds vitamins and minerals.

Makes 16 brownies

Ingredients:

½ cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa

1½ teaspoons baking soda

⅛ teaspoon salt

1 cup almond butter

¾ cup mashed, cooked sweet potato*

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl combine almond butter, mashed sweet potatoes, honey and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture just until combined. Stir in chocolate. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top is puffed and appears dry. Cool in pan on a wire rack. If desired, dust with additional cocoa powder.

*Mashed cooked sweet potatoes: For ¾ cup mashed sweet potatoes, peel one 8-oz. sweet potato and cut into 2-inch pieces. Place sweet potato in a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water to saucepan to just below basket. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Steam, covered, 18 minutes or until very tender. Press sweet potato through a ricer or mash with a potato masher. Source: Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication, “Cut the Sugar,” 2019.

Bernie Mason writes the Local Flavor column for Lee Montana Newspapers. She was a Yellowstone County extension agent for 24 years. Mason grew up in Sidney in a family of German and Danish ancestry.

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