'Tis the Tailgating Season: Healthy Recipes That Are Simple to Make

Football season is upon us, and our arrival into the SEC has brought tailgating to a whole new level. Although tailgating is one of the best things about college game day, it can also be not-so-kind on your waistline with all the fattening foods at your fingertips. But not to worry, with a little creativity you can make delicious dishes to share without anyone at your tailgate even guessing they’re healthy.

Caprese Skewers

Take a healthy appetizer, and make it into finger food. These little skewers are easy to make and easy to eat. They also have a healthy dose of vegetables and calcium.

  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Mini mozzarella balls (Can use marinated or plain)
  • Basil Leaves cut in half
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Toothpicks or skewers cut in half
  • Balsamic Vinegar

1. Bring vinegar to a boil in a saucepan, and then simmer it for 10 minutes or so until it thickens. 
2. Put it in a measuring cup and let cool.
3. Assemble each skewer with one tomato, mozzarella ball and a basil leaf. Repeat with remaining skewers. 
4. Sprinkle each skewer with salt and pepper to taste. 
5. Drizzle some of the balsamic vinegar over the top and serve.

Greek Orzo and Grilled Shrimp Salad

This salad is super versatile and a crowd-pleaser. If you don’t like shrimp, you can leave it out or substitute chicken. It’s great as a side or a main dish!

  • 3/4 lb. orzo, cooked al dente
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded, quartered lengthwise, and sliced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional for brushing shrimp
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 16 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

1. Combine orzo, cucumber, green onions and tomatoes in a large bowl. 
2. Place dill, vinegar and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. 
3. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. 
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
5. Pour the vinaigrette over the orzo mixture and stir to combine. 
6. Gently fold in the feta cheese.
7. Heat grill to high. 
8. Brush shrimp with oil and season with salt and pepper. 
9. Grill for approximately two minutes per side or until just cooked through. 
10. Top with salad with shrimp and garnish with additional dill. 
*Serves 4; recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Apple and Cranberry Crisp

Who says dessert can’t be healthy? This crisp has tons of flavor and nutrients from the fruit without extra fat. Plus it’s great served warm or cold, which is always a bonus when you are trying to juggle a tailgate.

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3 lbs sweet, firm apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 12 oz. cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice, plus 1/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • Crisp Topping (below)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
2. Coat a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. 
4. Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle with topping.
5. Bake until topping is browned and juices are thick and bubbling around the edges, 55-60 minutes. 
6. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Crisp Topping

  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Using an electric mixer, beat on low until coarse crumbs form.

By: Casey Nighbor | Images: 1, 2, 3


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