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It was Saturday night, otherwise known as March Madness Final Four  night in the world of basketball.  My husband being the “basketball junkie” he is, warned me, I mean requested, that we eat and watch the games.  Now, me being the “food junkie” I am, took the opportunity to have some fun with the sporty menu. 

So, we bellied up to our old, wooden trunk coffee table and enjoyed dinner and entertainment – as I’m sure many other sport’s fans did that night.  The theme behind my dishes…..healthy twist on “sport’s bar food”.  The potato wedge inspiration came from the classic buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese or ranch dip appetizer.  

My version involves healthy sweet potatoes rolled in spices, baked ’til crunchy and dipped in a light, but creamy dip.  These were so amazing – you have to try them!

Great as a side or appetizer dish. If you aren’t a spice fan just use the olive oil, salt and pepper…..still delicious!

The continuation of my menu included Tequila Lime Chicken Bites (great on the outdoor grill during this warm weather), sautéed Corn and Tomato Salad, and freshly juiced margaritas.

That menu will make a basketball fan out of anyone, huh?  It did me.

serves 4

  • 2 large SWEET POTATOES
  • 2 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 1 1/2 tsp CUMIN, GROUND
  • 1 1/2 tsp CHILI POWDER
  • 1 tsp PAPRIKA, GROUND
  • 1/2 tsp OREGANO
  • 1/2 tsp CAYENNE PEPPER, GROUND, (optional or to taste)
  • 1 tsp SALT, SEA
  • 1/2 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND
  • 1 cup CREAMY CHIPOTLE DIP (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel or leave skin on sweet potatoes and cut each in half lengthwise. Cut each potato half into 4 wedges. Place in a large microwaveable mixing bowl. Pour 2 Tbsp water in bowl with potatoes and cover with a paper towel. Microwave for about 2-3 minutes to just soften the potatoes slightly before baking.

2. Pour out any excess water and drizzle olive oil over wedges. Sprinkle with all seasonings; toss to coat each well. Spread potatoes evenly on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes (turn half way through baking time) or until browned and cooked through.

3. Whisk together chipotle sauce and serve on the side with baked wedges. Serving size: 4 wedges with about 1/4 cup dip.

CREAMY CHIPOTLE DIP

  • 4 oz CREAM CHEESE, NEUFCHATEL, REDUCED FAT, softened
  • 8 oz SOUR CREAM, REDUCED FAT
  • 1 1/2 cup CHIPOTLE TOMATO SALSA (or regular salsa)
  • 1 tsp GARLIC POWDER
  • 3 GREEN ONIONS, white and green parts sliced
  • 3/4 tsp SEA SALT
  • 1/4 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND

Whisk all ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Makes several cups – use extra as dressing for a salad or dip for carrots or corn tortilla chips.  Serving size: about 1/4 cup (around 50 calories/serving).

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (4 wedges with 1/4 cup dip): 200 calories, 10g fat, 3g sat fat, 10mg cholesterol, 710mg sodium, 23g carb, 4g fiber, 9g sugar, 4g protein

TEQUILA LIME CHICKEN BITES
easy, tender, fresh and flavorful!
serves 4
  • 1 lb CHICKEN BREASTS, BONELESS, SKINLESS
  • 1/3 cup GOLD TEQUILA
  • 5 LIMES, JUICED and 1 LIME ZESTED
  • 1/2 ORANGE, JUICED
  • 1/2 LEMON, JUICED
  • 4 cloveS GARLIC, MINCED
  • 1 JALAPENO PEPPER, CHOPPED
  • 1 tsp SEA SALT
  • 1/2 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND
  • 1 tbsp PURE OR RAW HONEY
  • 1 tsp PAPRIKA, GROUND
  • 1 tsp CUMIN, GROUND

1. Cut chicken into strips or large chunks. Place all ingredients in a zip top bag, sealed in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours (flavors get better the longer it sets).

2. Remove from marinade (discard marinade). Cook on an oiled grill, or sautéed in 2 tsp olive oil, 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Serve with a side of fresh cilantro, sliced avocados and lime wedges. Serving size: 4 oz. of chicken. Great dipped in the chipotle sauce as well! (recipe adapted from Ina Garten)

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 150 calories, 1g fat, 55mg cholesterol, 12g carb, 5g sugar, 24g protein

happy March Madness everyone…

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