THE SCOOP: Veggies make healthy, satisfying snacks

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 2:28 p.m.
    UPDATED: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 2:29 p.m.
Submitted photo
Easy guacamole with veggie dippers
Submitted photo Easy guacamole with veggie dippers

This past Sunday's big game may be the biggest snacking opportunity of the year. Starting several weeks before the big game, the TV commercials start featuring more snack foods, the grocery stores run specials on snack items, and magazine and newspaper articles are dedicated to recipes and ideas for creating extravagant snack foods to take to game day parties.

Because we have been trying to eat healthier and exercise more, I decided to try to create a snack menu for game day that my hubby would deem worthy of the occasion without blowing all of the hard work we've put in this year. By the way, he was impressed and all three of these recipes got two thumbs up!

Easy guacamole with veggie dippers

2 ripe avocados, mashed

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup tomato, chopped

Carrot sticks or coins, celery sticks, cucumber slices, mushrooms, etc. for dipping.

Directions:

Mix all ingredients. Serve with veggie sticks. Note: I didn't have a jalapeno on hand so increased chili powder to 1 teaspoon. The guacamole turned out great.

Baked zucchini fries

3 medium zucchini, cut into thin sticks (about 1/2 inch thick)

2 egg whites

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Non-stick cooking spray

Marinara sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Beat egg whites in a small bowl with a fork until frothy.

In another bowl, mix bread crumbs, cheese, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Dip zucchini sticks into egg whites, then into bread crumb mixture, turning to coat all sides. Place sticks in a single layer on baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp, turning once halfway through baking time. Serve with marinara.

Kale chips

I talked about these on my Facebook page awhile back when I first tried the recipe. I still can hardly believe that you can bake a leafy green and end up with something light and crispy it does work!

1 bunch kale, rinsed and dried

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Directions:

Remove tough stem from kale leaves and cut or tear into approximately 2 inch pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until leaves turn crispy and just start to brown. Watch carefully as they quickly go from limp to burned. Let cool and enjoy!

Do you have a topic you'd like reading about? Would you like to share your favorite healthy snack food? Email chef Karen at karen@letkarencook.com or comment at Everyday Gourmet Aiken on Facebook and your suggestion may be featured in her next article!

Karen Tempel, an aspiring chef since she could reach the countertops, has been delighting friends and family with tempting treats for most of her life. She is the owner of Everyday Gourmet, a custom caterer in the Aiken area. Visit her website at www.LetKarenCook.com or email her at Karen@LetKarenCook.com.

Make the Switch

• By swapping guacamole for ranch dip you're eliminating sour cream which has a high percentage of saturated fat and adding avocado which is high in monounsaturated fat, vitamin C and fiber.

• By baking your zucchini fries, you're drastically reducing the fat content versus deep frying.

• Kale chips are an excellent source of vitamins A and C as well as a host of other vitamins and minerals. They're very light and airy and feel so much healthier than anything that comes out of a bag!

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