Football season is under way, and whether it is watching the game in person or on TV, fans like to gather and enjoy the game, fellowship and, yes, food.
Snacks such as hot wings, sliders, chips and dips are all part of the fun, but those on sugar-restricted diets they can feel as if they have been penalized 50 yards.
Tailgaters and TV football party hosts can score a touchdown or two by offering healthier game foods.
Why not look for wing recipes that are baked and not fried? Baked wings shave off calories. Baked snack mixes, too, are filled with sodium and sugar, so why not try to make a healthier snack mix?
As most readers know, I have been making low-sugar or no-sugar-added treats for years. I have tried sugar substitutes, honey and agave syrup. One of my favorites was Steel's Nature Sweet syrups, but it is hard to find since the company was sold.
Another sugar substitute I use for baking and cooking is sucralose. It makes baked goods sweet with no aftertaste; this is a biggie for those who must limit sugar.
When told that a person cannot have much sugar, what do they crave most? A friend's husband is a diabetic, too, and what does he want? Cookies, candy or anything sweet. I promised that I would share some recipes that help keep sugar cravings at bay, a goal she would love him to make.
Here are some recipes from Splenda, which is a brand name for sucralose-based artificial sweetener, and from my successful experiments. Readers, if you have other low-sugar or low-sodium recipes, please send them to me.
Reader Brenda Roberts of Ocean Springs, Miss., wants a healthy, low-sodium chicken curry recipe.
"I am a diabetic and heart patient. Can you help me?" she said. "Being that I am a heart patient, I can't have a lot of sodium or fat. I hope someone can help me."
So readers, let's huddle and try to find her some recipes. In the meantime, put these recipes in play.
SWEET AND SPICY SNACK MIX
3 cups crisp rice cereal squares
2 cups toasted-O cereal
2 cups small reduced-fat pretzel shapes
1 cup oyster crackers
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 egg white
1/2 cup granulated sucralose
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.
Beat egg white until foamy; stir in sucralose, Worcestershire sauce and red pepper. Pour over cereal mixture, tossing to coat.
Spray a 15-by-10-inch jellyroll pan with cooking spray; spread cereal mixture in a single layer in pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool.
Makes: 16 servings ( 1/2 cup snack mix per serving).
Note: Store mix in an airtight container and enjoy within 5 days to keep crispy.
-- Recipe from Splenda
KEVIN RATHBUN'S SCALLION AND HABANERO MARINATED PORK LOIN RECIPE
8 (4-ounce) boneless pork loin medallions (3/4-inch thick)
10 scallions, chopped
2 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons granulated sucralose
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Place pork medallions in large zip-top freezer bag.
Process scallions, habanero peppers, olive oil, lime juice, sucralose and salt in a blender or food processor 20 seconds or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Pour over pork. Seal and chill 2 hours, turning occasionally.
Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade.
Grill pork over medium-high heat 2 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.
Servings per recipe: 8 (1 4-ounce pork chop).
-- Recipe from Splenda's www.365sweetswaps.com
I made two 13-by-9-inch pans of this salad for a recent luncheon and had nary a spoonful left. This is also one of my husband's favorites.
LOW-SUGAR STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SALAD
2 cups reduced-sodium crushed pretzels
3/4 cup no-salt butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar substitute (I used sucralose)
1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar substitute (You know my choice)
1 (8-ounce) container frozen sugar-free whipped topping, thawed
2 (3-ounce) packages sugar-free strawberry gelatin (strawberry-banana also is good)
2 cups boiling water
1 pound fresh strawberries, cut up and sprinkled with sugar substitute
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter and 3 tablespoons sugar substitute; mix well and press mixture into bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake 8-10 minutes until set; set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar substitute. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture in cooled crust.
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in strawberries and allow to set briefly. (I was in a hurry, so I put the gelatin mixture in the freezer for about 10 minutes.)
When mixture is about the consistency of egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set. Serves 12.
Now get ready to tackle game day with no penalties for sweet eating.
Pear cake recipe
"Because we have several pear trees, my daughter found this recipe a few years ago," Grace Gingles of Long Beach said. "The cake is excellent. Both the cake and glaze are Southern Living recipes."
Reader Dawn Adams asked for a pear cake recipe a few weeks ago. She had lost her recipe that had a caramel glaze.
CARAMEL-GLAZED PEAR CAKE
4 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1- 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Caramel glaze (recipe follows)
Toss together pears and 1 tablespoon sugar; let stand 5 minutes.
Beat eggs, 2 cups sugar and oil at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.
Combine flour, salt and baking soda and add to egg mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in pears, chopped pecans and vanilla extract. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from pan and drizzle caramel glaze over warm cake. Yield: 12 servings.
-- Recipe from September 2002 Southern Living
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
Stir together brown sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, 2- 1/2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Yield: 1- 1/2 cups.
-- Recipe from September 2002 Southern Living
Potato soup recipes
"My daughter and I love to go to Olive Garden to have some of its potato soup," said Brenda Roberts, who asked for the low-fat, low-sodium chicken curry earlier. "We were wondering is there is any way you can help us get the recipe for the potato soup. It is so good and has bacon or sausage in it. I truly appreciate whatever you can do."
Readers, do you have a potato soup recipe that contains bacon or sausage? If so please send me the recipe. If you have a recipe similar to Olive Garden's, do not hesitate to send it to me by mail or email. This, too, would be good for those football parties or tailgating.
Andrea Yeager, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.