Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hot Dish: Super Bowl Snacks

by Al Moore photo AlMooreCheerleader_zps3ccbdc06.jpg

 Let me get this out of the way first thing: I hate football. Always have, always will. Numerous boyfriends and a couple of husbands have tried in vain to change my mind, attempted to "teach me the game" because then you'll "understand why it's so great" blah..blah..blah.  One even took me to the stadium, thinking surely I'd get caught up in the excitement and finally get what all the fuss is about. I ate popcorn and watched people get increasingly drunk and angry. Not my idea of a good time. However, just because I am not a fan doesn't mean I can't appreciate the Big Day in my own way: cooking and feeding. Super Bowl Sunday is a chance for me to whip up something different, a new tasty appetizer, savory snack or sweet dessert.  Even if it's just myself and the hubby, as it looks to be this year, might as well pull out all the stops and get into the spirit of the thing.

From what I understand, no football party is complete without hot wings. I can appreciate that. Before I went vegan, I loved me some chicken wings. Greasy & spicy, the hotter the better for this gal. No longer able to dig my head into the sand and ignore the plight of our feathered friends, I stopped eating all things chicken almost two years ago.  While I'm proud of my decision and will never again eat animals, I admit that I do occasionally miss some of those meaty foods. Wings are at the top of that list.  I realize, though, that what I am really longing for is not the taste of the animal (eww!) but the seasonings, spice and, especially, the experience that it provided.  Sitting around with friends, ordering up a batch of unhealthy-but-oh-so-tasty appetizers and a couple of cold beers, that's what I'm missing.  You know what? I can still do that. No animal should suffer and die for my belly or my taste buds.

Nowadays it is so easy to be vegan.  There are zillions of meat substitutes; from burgers to sausage to hot dogs, someone has come up with a plant-based alternative.  While I don't consume those faux meats on a daily basis, it's nice to know they're available should I want them.  These are also great transitional foods, especially if living with a vegan-in-training. I'm extremely proud of him for the progress he's made, for "allowing" me to keep our kitchen cruelty-free, so if keeping him satisfied means throwing a Tofurkey sausage in the skillet or a Boca burger on the grill now & then, so be it. I'm more than happy to do so.

Today I'll be whipping up some veg-friendly snacks that mimic the animal-based ones being served at  Super Bowl parties across the country. I promise the end result will be just as tasty as the originals, just a tiny bit lower in fat, calories, and totally without animal suffering. I'm going to cheat a little here, re-posting one of my recipes as well as sharing some from fellow vegan bloggers, I hope you don't mind. If you're like me and haven't quite finalized your party menu, this will give you the opportunity to plan, shop & cook in plenty of time for the Big Game.

Note: I've been saving up my extra Points Plus so that I can indulge a bit today. These recipes aren't exactly low-cal so I'd suggest picking one or two of your favorites and serving alongside a big green salad and/or veggie platter. A walk around the block before the game wouldn't hurt, either.

First up, my beloved hot wings.  These are a big hit in my family, who needs Hooters when you can whip up a batch of these babies in your own kitchen?

Oct 8.

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower "Wings" 

  • 1 cup water or soy milk
  • 1 cup flour (any kind will work, even gluten free!)
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into pieces
  • 1 cup buffalo or hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or melted vegan margarine
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine the water or soy milk, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined.
  3. Coat the cauliflower pieces with the flour mixture and place in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 18 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower is baking, combine your buffalo sauce and olive oil or margarine in a small bowl.
  5. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the baked cauliflower and continue baking for an additional 5 to 8 minutes. 
Oct 8.

Serve alongside vegan blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.

Note: This recipe produces a very spicy sauce, similar to the restaurant "Hot" version. It was too spicy for Chip who normally orders a "Medium" sauce. If you want a less intense flavor, I'd suggest adjusting your hot sauce/oil ratio. Also, next time I'll spray the baking sheet first as there was a bit of sticking, and perhaps bake a little bit longer to achieve a crisper "wing."  

For more football-friendly snacks, how about:

Warm Vegveeta Dip from Plant Powered Kitchen
Beer Soaked Fries from Edible Perspective
Fully Loaded Nachos from Lunchboxbunch
Vegan Brownies from Oh She Glows

Or perhaps you want something a little bit more filling; here's my super-simple chili that's sure to warm you up!

 I hope I've given you some "food for thought" as you plan your game day gathering.  Have a great time, and may the best team win! As for me, I'll be hiding out in my Mom Cave, will peek out to watch the commercials and the half time show.



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