by Lindsay Eanet
Sunday night, millions of people all around the world will tune in for the film world’s biggest night, the Academy Awards, and more than a few will host a viewing party. We decided to put a healthy twist on this festive Oscar ritual with some delicious and nutritious recipes (plus a few puns -- we couldn't resist!).
Spinach and Argo-choke DipThere are plenty of great Spinach and Artichoke Dip recipes out there. It’s one of our favorite go-to party foods, a rich, creamy dip full of flavor but also full of veggies, and, when made with key substitutions, a lighter alternative to ranch or Bleu cheese dips. This recipe from Serious Eats is one of our favorites. You could give it an extra protein punch by using Greek yogurt instead of light cream cheese, too. Serve with various veggies (carrots and bell peppers make great companions) or baked whole wheat tortilla chips, a perfect accompaniment to Ben Affleck’s surprise Best Picture favorite.
- 10-ounce bag fresh spinach
- 6 ounces (3/4 block) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
- 6 ounces (3/4 block) fat-free cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups part-skim mozzarella, shredded
- 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed (not minced)
- 6 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese, divided
How to Make It:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Tear spinach into bite-size pieces, removing any thick stems. Rinse in a colander, leaving a little water on the leaves. In a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven, sauté the spinach over medium heat until wilted. Drain in the colander, pushing a little of the extra water out.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheeses with a potato masher. Add sour cream and mash more. Add spinach, mozzarella, artichokes, pepper, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan. Stir everything until thoroughly combined.
- Pour mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan on top. Bake 30 minutes, or until parmesan is melted dip is all bubbly. Remove from oven and give it a minute or two to cool down.
Beets of the Southern Wild
This pun on Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild was almost too obvious, but that doesn’t make this beet and goat cheese salad recipe from AllRecipes any less delicious.
- 4 medium beets - scrubbed, trimmed and cut in half
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 (10 ounce) package mixed baby salad greens
- 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces of goat cheese
- Place beets into a saucepan, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and cool, then cut in to cubes.
- While the beets are cooking, place the walnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat. Heat until warm and starting to toast, then stir in the maple syrup. Cook and stir until evenly coated, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice concentrate, balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make the dressing.
- Place a large helping of baby greens onto each of four salad plates, divide candied walnuts equally and sprinkle over the greens. Place equal amounts of beets over the greens, and top with dabs of goat cheese. Drizzle each plate with some of the dressing.
Alternate: If you’re looking for something a bit more snackable, try these super-easy-to-make beet chips. Just slice 2 beets to 1/16 inch thick with a mandoline, toss with a little olive oil and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. A delicious alternative to potato chips!
Come to Me, Courgette, The Light Is Fading (inspired by Les Miserables)
Did you know that in France (as well as the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe), zucchini are known as “courgettes?” Well, they are. And “courgette” sounds an awful lot like “Cosette,” one of the main characters of the Oscar-nominated all-star movie musical. And zucchini is a great party vegetable, not to mention full of vitamins. For an easy and delicious snack, follow this great recipe from the "Go Ask Mom" columnist at WRAL:
1 zucchini, sliced in large rounds at an angle
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
2 generous tablespoons grated cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
Cayenne powder or crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
How To Make It:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Pour the milk in one small bowl.
Add bread crumbs, cheese, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in another bowl.
Dip the zucchini rounds in the milk, then dip into the crumb mixture.
Press down to make sure the crumbs stick to the zucchini.
Place on a wire rack coated with cooking spray on top of a cookie sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Alternate: Les Miserables Fruit Tricolor: Les Miserables provides you with a ton of options to play off of, but the tricolor of the French flag will make for a simple, bold and delicious statement. Consider making individual mini-crumbles for your guests with a graham cracker base, low-fat or vanilla Greek yogurt, and stripes of raspberries or strawberries and blueberries along the sides to echo the colors.
Have a great evening, with a healthy menu taking center stage!