Whether you are a passionate football fan or only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials and the potential wardrobe malfunctions, I think we can all agree that the best part of any Super Bowl gathering is the food.
Unfortunately, traditional Super Bowl party food is enough to derail any New Year's resolution, whether it is budgetary or dietary. So, through the rest of this week, I thought I'd share some of my favorite healthy and frugal substitutions for the traditional fare.
Today, let's talk about dip.
I'll admit that I LOVE 7-Layer Dip. (Actually, loving 7-Layer and other sour cream and/or ranch based dips is a requirement for residency in Indiana. It's on the books.) But I have always loved this Super Bowl staple, even though it is the caloric equivalent of an act of war on your body. (Well, it is the way I eat it: Fifteen minutes after the start of the party, before anyone has actually arrived, I can be heard to say, "Does anyone mind if I finish the 7-Layer Dip?")
So, this year I will make a dip that is (nearly) as tasty, but both cheaper and healthier:
While buying dried beans is definitely cheaper and lower in sodium, I've mentioned before that dried beans simply do not work for me, so I spend the $0.75 for a can of black-eyed peas.
- 12 to 14 oz of canned or frozen corn
I can get a 12 oz bag of frozen corn for $1. (I have a lingering distrust of corn in a can after a disastrous creamed corn incident from my childhood, so I have no idea of the cost of canned corn, which may well be cheaper).
These are generally about $0.50 per bunch.
This is generally about $1.60 per pound, but my kitchen is never without garlic, so it would (basically) be free for me.
- fresh cilantro (The linked recipe just calls for 2 Tbsp of cilantro, without specifying whether you should use fresh or driec. USE FRESH! Fresh cilantro adds a flavor like a thousand angels dancing on your tongue, while dried cilantro is like oatmeal. There's nothing wrong with it, but there's nothing particularly right with it either.)
$2.00 or so
About $2.00 for a 12 oz bottle
This might be cheating, but since I ALWAYS have olive oil in the pantry, I'm not going to include this cost. (If you'd like to do your own calculations, I can generally get a 1.5 liter bottle for around $8.00--but 3 Tbsp is a teeny tiny fraction of that).
Additional cost: $2 per bag of tortilla chips with which to eat the dip, since Miss Manners frowns upon treating dip like a finger food. Let's say you need two bags of chips at $2 each, so the new total is $12.60
Cost per serving of just the dip (12 servings): $0.72
Cost per serving of the dip plush chips: $1.05
Either way, this is fantastically frugal treat, even if you have to buy all of the ingredients especially for the recipe.
What's even better about this healthy recipe is the fact that often, you will have nearly everything on hand in your pantry anyway. With the exception of the scallions and the cilantro, I can guarantee that I have everything else in my pantry at all times, and I will often have cilantro and scallions on hand for other recipes. So considering the pantry-shoping nature of this recipe, it's an awesome substitution for the perishabl-heavy 7-layer dip.
And much lighter, to boot.
I'll be continuing this Super Bowl food breakdown over the next two days. For tomorrow, we'll look at inexpensive and healthier dessert options.