Game Day Favorites, Part I

Sunday has really crept up as my favorite day of the week, mainly due to my love of couch surfing and my new love of football. Is there anything better than settling in on the couch for a full day (and evening) of football or a string of great TBS Classics? And let's face it, the day just wouldn't be complete without game day eats. Though I have a long list of dips, spreads, and other appetizers in my Sunday repetoire, sometimes the offering can get a bit stale...and a bit heavy on the caloric intake. The cream cheese/sour cream/heavy cream based dips (noticing a theme here?) sometimes just don't fly with my stomach (or my reflection in the mirror). And though I love a good pizza dip or queso dip as much as the next game day eater, this week, perhaps due to my Halloween candy bar overload this past weekend, I just couldn't stomach a heavy spread. Instead, I whipped up two semi-healthy, light options for this week's game day eats.

Spinach Bean Dip / Spread
Shaun calls it a spread, I'm sticking with dip (a topic that has resulted in many, many discussions during which we've both plead our cases to each other...I'll let you decide). This hearty spinach dip is made healthy by substituting a cream-based substance with white canellini beans. Perfect with Tostitos, carrots, pita chips or baked bread, this dip is totally guilt-free. Inspired by Giada DeLaurentis' Spinach and Cannelini Bean Dip Recipe, I've changed it up a bit to not only add more flavor, but to only use ingredients one might generally have around the house (I, for one, do not ever have fresh baby spinach on hand...frozen chopped all the way and going strong! Anyone disagree? Is this a staple I should be carrying?).

Instructions:
Heat/defrost one package of chopped, frozen spinach. I like to just put the brick in a bowl in the microwave - hence cutting out having to remember the night before to defrost.

Once defrosted, drain well. I repeat, Drain Well. This is not the time for watery vegetables. I put mine in a strainer and with my own two hands, push all the water out. I find soggy paper towel squeezing and scrunching works best.


In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove of garlic (I use the jarred kind for ease), and drained spinach. Cook for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse and drain 1 15oz can of white canellini beans. Again, get as much water out of 'em as you can.

Combine beans and spinach mixture in food processor. Add 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, juice of 1/2 lemon, and salt & pepper to taste. I also like to add 1oz of herb goat cheese (this is about 1/4 of a small package of goat cheese). Add more for more taste, but use a light hand as goat cheese, while delicious, packs a lot of punch in a small amount.

Blend all together until smooth...and looks like this:


Serve with chips, veggies, pita chips, or bread, serve on a pretty platter, and voila!


Isn't she pretty? 

Creamy Fruity Salsa
A versatile, virtually calorie-free dip, salsa is often a staple at Mexican restaurants and game day spreads alike. For this version, easily combined with sour cream, I turned up the volume by using a fabulous fruit salsa, rather than the regular, spicy kind.

Mix one cup fruit salsa with 1 tbsp light sour cream. Serve with Tostitos, vegetables, whatever you have around the house.

Tips:
I like Target's Archer Farms Pineapple Peach Salsa for an extra flavor boost. It's inexpensive, comes in multiple sized jars and has delightful bits of pineapple and peach in it. As for the sour cream, I use reduced fat - this is a great instance of cutting out calories since the salsa overpowers the sour cream taste anyway, but you don't lose any of the creamy texture. One more thing...I like mine with just a teeny bit of sour cream. Want yours super creamy? Add sour cream to taste, and enjoy! Sour cream is also a great way to lighten up the heat on some spicier salsa varieties - don't limit to just fruit salsa!

What do you guys think? What do you eat on game day? Or any other Sunday TV viewing? TBS Classics anyone?