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Super Bowl fan? Not so much? Either way, here’s an app(etizer) for that.


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I’m not much of a Super Bowl fan. Nor — although it pains my inner feminist to admit — much of a football fan in general.

The last time I watched a Super Bowl in its entirety was when the 49ers played the Chargers in 1995. And watching that game had pretty much everything to do with Steve Young (carried over from my college days) and nothing to do with football.

Sure, there are the commercials. But anyone with a DVR knows you don’t have to watch the commercials during the actual Super Bowl. (For added efficiency, wait until the next day to catch only the most buzz-worthy ads on YouTube.)

So I guess my favorite thing about the Super Bowl is the eating part.

When else can you justify dipping anything you can find into a humongous pot of molten pasteurized, processed cheese-food — flavored with a bit of Rotel — and calling it dinner?

Truth is, I’m over 40. I can never justify that any more.

That’s why this year I’m serving these individual nachos instead. Reminiscent of 7-layer dip,  they are not only better for you, but provide just the right mix of flavors in each bite. (It’s been my experience with 7-layer dip that there’s always a huge mess of beans strewn with broken chip carcasses left to die in the bottom of the pan).

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Featured Recipe: Individual Super Bowl Nacho Appetizers

Note: This is my reduced fat, vegetarian version of a recipe originally found at from Anne Coleman.

1 bag Baked Tostitos Scoops®
1 16-oz. can lowfat refried black beans (or 1 can black beans, rinsed, drained and mashed)
1 T. taco seasoning mix (to taste, see recipe below)
½ cup shredded 2% milk sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup favorite salsa
1 large or 2 small avocados, seeded and mashed
1/4 t. each onion powder, garlic powder, fresh lime juice
½ cup fat-free or light sour cream
½ cup sliced black olives (optional, for garnish)
1 baby food spoon (optional, not a typo)

Preheat broiler. Empty refried beans into a bowl and stir in taco seasoning. (If needed, add a little salsa or even water – a tablespoon at a time – to get a smooth consistency. When using refried beans, I’ve found that warming them first on the stovetop or in the microwave makes them easier to spoon into the Scoops.)

Stir onion powder, garlic powder and lime juice into the mashed avocado. Season to taste with salt.

Grab your baby spoon.* Fill each Scoop with a heaping baby spoonful (a teaspoon or so) of beans. Use back of spoon to gently press beans into shell, then add a pinch of cheese. Arrange filled Scoops on a rimmed cookie sheet, place under preheated broiler and babysit them — just until cheese is melted and edges of chips are lightly browned.

Remove from oven and top with a bit of salsa, mashed avocado and sour cream. (If you want to get fancy, put the sour cream in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe it on. But remember, this is a football game, not a bridal shower.)

Finally, garnish each with a single black olive slice. Unless you live in my household, where use of black olives in any form is strictly verboten. In lieu of the olive garnish, a tiny piece of diced tomato, avocado, green or red pepper could also work. Or no garnish at all.

Yield: 64 filled appetizers

*Why a baby food spoon? For some reason, even though my son turns 18 next week, I still keep a stash of his baby food spoons in the back of my silverware drawer. And I use them several times a week. They are perfect for many things, e.g., scraping the last bits of anything — chopped garlic, peanut butter, mayo — from a jar. And since they’re shallow (as opposed to, say, a measuring spoon), it turns out they are also perfect for maneuvering unwieldy ingredients – e.g., beans, salsa, guac and sour cream — into baked Scoops.


Bonus Recipe: Taco Seasoning Mix

Note: Most store-bought taco seasonings contain completely unnecessary MSG. I’ve been making my own for a couple years now from a recipe I found on and tweaked slightly to use more spices and less salt. I like to make a triple batch (but only 1 1/2 times the red pepper) and store it in an empty spice jar so it’s always on hand.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/04 6:32 PM

    I can definitely hang with that seasoning recipe! Thanks as ever! (Hope you like the link I sent you & Mr. H on FB)

    • Jennifer permalink*
      02/04 8:23 PM

      It’s great not having to buy those seasoning packets ever again. As for the link — it’s, um, bizarrely creative.

  2. 02/05 6:55 AM

    What a tender thought to think you kept his baby spoons and then put them to use.
    Thanks for the recipe.
    What appealing appetizers. I will have to try this.

    • Jennifer permalink*
      02/05 7:06 AM

      I also held on to his toddler spoon/fork set and his entire sippy cup collection. But I’m pretty sure I finally gave away his crib…

  3. Dorothy permalink
    02/05 10:14 AM

    this looks great.

    • Jennifer permalink*
      02/05 10:35 AM

      I’ll bring you a sample so you can try it. (And then make it 100 times better as you always do.) :-)

  4. 02/08 6:57 AM

    I made these for our friends the other night and they loved them.
    The reason I loved them was Anna got so involved in making them.
    Has she ever helped me with the 7 layer dip? noooooo.
    I didn’t have a tiny baby spoon but my grapefruit spoons worked just great since they are very narrow and pointy.
    So thanks for posting this.

    • Jennifer permalink*
      02/08 7:06 AM

      So glad they worked out — thanks for letting me know. (Always some pressure with posting a recipe.) Can’t believe your “baby” is now your sous chef…

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