We in Extension love our K- State Wildcats and are thrilled that they are playing in the BCS Fiesta Bowl.
Some of us aren’t making the trek to Arizona and may want to host a Fiesta Bowl Party. After all the holiday eating and spending, why not keep your bowl party on the healthier side, yet not super costly? If that’s the case, this article will help you! The following menu tips can help you score big with the basics of casual entertaining, as you share winter season events with family or friends.
The Main Event. Consider making soup, such as chili, when cooking for a crowd. Why? Most soups are low-cost to make. And they can be made ahead and kept warm in a slow cooker, so that you can enjoy your guests (and the game) without needing to be in the kitchen cooking! I’ve been hearing lots of chatter about finding “duck” recipes for Fiesta Bowl parties (we’re playing the Oregon Ducks), but sorry, I don’t have any good ideas for you on that front!
For chili, you might choose extra-lean beef or turkey for some added protein. Or, you could forget about adding any meat and add extra beans instead. Provide reduced-fat shredded cheese or fat-free sour cream for a garnish to top it off.
Although a soup such as chili makes a great main dish, you might prefer to serve a taco bar as frugal festive fare.
Healthy Side-Lines . Add to your menu with side dishes that you’ve made healthier:
• Cornbread. Earn points by serving some whole grains. How? Use whole wheat flour for half of the white flour in your cornbread recipe. For less fat per serving, use fat-free plain yogurt instead of the oil called for in your recipe.
• Dips. The Farmers Market Salsa recipe below is one of those yummy, but healthy options….perfect for the Fiesta Bowl. You can use fat-free plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream instead of regular sour cream whenever you make a dip. Make a healthy move by using fresh veggie dippers or baked chips instead of regular chips.
• Sweets. A brownie can be an inexpensive half-time treat. Reduce the sugar in your recipe by one-third without fearing that anyone will blow a whistle! Also, use whole wheat flour for half of the white flour, and replace the oil with an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce.
• Other inexpensive side dishes that will keep a game-day atmosphere are popcorn, potato skins, whole wheat pasta salad and coleslaw.
When planning a get-together, focus on providing just a few menu items and ask everyone to contribute a dish and their own beverages.
No matter exactly how you execute your party “playbook,” do plan on keeping to a budget. For a menu planning guide priced to serve 12 people for about $20, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/plan/menuplanning/holiday/superbowl
Page 2 of 3 - Dishes and decorations. Instead of disposables, stack up on savings — and help the environment — by using regular dishes, utensils and glassware.
Make your place look festive without spending extra! Since green is the color of the gridiron, you could decorate your table with a green cloth or felt cover and use chalk to draw in “yard lines.” If you have any toy footballs, use those too. Ask your kids to make wall pennants from construction paper in the colors of your team. Print out team emblems and mascots from the internet, if available.
Referee a Safe Party
Large gatherings can increase the chance of getting a foodborne illness. By closely refereeing the following food safety violations, you can play good defense against foodborne illness.
Since you can’t replay unsafe food practices, make plans now to be sure that you and other party goers return home as winners.
Illegal use of hands. Unclean hands are one of the biggest ways that bacteria are spread. Finger foods at parties put your team especially at risk.
Finger-licking guests may reach into a chip bowl or vegetable tray, spreading unwanted bacteria. Avoid penalties for illegal use of hands by providing/asking for/using spoons, tongs, toothpicks, etc., to help avoid contaminating foods by touching them directly. Chefs and guests should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
Offsides. Think of party foods as being on two different teams – the uncooked against the ready-to-eats.
Keep each team in its own zone. Juices from uncooked raw meats contain harmful bacteria that can contaminate ready-to-eat foods. If possible, use one cutting board for uncooked meat and poultry, and another board for cutting veggies and ready-to-eat foods. If you use only one cutting board, wash it well with hot soapy water after each use and then rinse it.
Tackle temperatures. Call a “time out” and use a food thermometer to be sure that protein foods are safely cooked. The internal temperature, not meat color, indicates doneness. Cook fish to 145 degrees F. Cook beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts to 145 degrees F. and then allow to “rest” for three or more minutes before carving or eating. Cook ground meats to 160 degrees F. Cook all poultry to 165 degrees F.
Holding. This is one of the most likely offenses when a party lasts late into the night. Never hold hot or cold foods for more than two hours at room temperature.
Serve cold foods over ice, if possible. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly to block offensive bacteria from multiplying. If a perishable food has been at room temperature for more than two hours, do not eat it. When in doubt, throw it out of the game … and out of the party.
Page 3 of 3 - Ask a coach. To avoid food safety penalties, make sure that you understand the rules completely. A great resource is to ask a USDA food safety coach. Questions can be sent by email to MPHotline.email@example.com . Or, on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you may call 1-888-674-6854. Or you could use their online chat at www.AskKaren.gov
Here’s wishing you a super successful kickoff to a new year!
For additional information, contact the Wildcat Extension District, Crawford County, 620-724-8233, Labette County, 620-784-5337, Montgomery County, 620-331-2690, Pittsburg Office, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education (EFNEP), 620-232-1930.