Super Bowl Chilis That Won’t Sack Your Weight Loss Plan

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Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday:  Bring out your chips, your dips, your party mixes, your Buffalo wings, your cheeseburgers and your Dominoes pizzas.  And your beer.  Lots of beer.

Is it a celebration of football, or junk food? 

Could be both.  But because we’re parked in front of the TV for three-plus solid hours, often with our nearest and dearest football-loving friends,  there is a tendency to overconsume — especially if it’s not a real exciting game.   (Just what is there to do at half-time besides wait for the ads and … eat?) 

We don’t have to limit ourselves to artery-clogging junk foods tomorrow; we can at least create for ourselves the opportunity to eat healthily while rooting for … whoever.  (I think Green Bay for me, although it’s kind of immaterial without the Giants.)

Here are two hearty, healthy and tastey chili recipes that will you help you get through the Super Bowl without busting your gut.  Although they are both vegetarian, you could, if you like, incorporate some ground beef or turkey.  Seasonings, as always with chili, are to taste.  These are filling dishes, which, with a light beer or two, should leaving you feeling satisfied and content (and consoled, should you require consolation) without eating huge quantities.

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Recipe: Greek-Style Baked Vegetables

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Briam is a kind of Greek ratatouille that includes potatoes as well as eggplant and other vegetables, layered on top of one another and baked.  This delicious recipe is from The New York Times.  It does require some time for prepping and then an hour and a half in the oven, so it’s a good dish to make over the weekend.  I baked some cod filets on top of this for supper the other day, but I think it would be even better with roasted swordfish.

Time:  3 hours

Yield:  8 to 10 servings

  •  1 medium eggplant
  • Salt
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed, peeled if desired
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers, seeded
  • 1/3 to 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, grated or peeled, seeded and chopped, or a 28-ounce can, drained
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 pound small okra, ends trimmed, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped marjoram or oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried.

 1. If the eggplant is thin and long, slice it about 1/4-inch thick. If it’s fat, halve it lengthwise, then slice in 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. Sprinkle with salt and put on paper towels for 30 minutes. Thinly slice the onions and mince the garlic. Cut the potatoes, zucchini and peppers into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Squeeze excess water from eggplant and pat dry.

2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the onions. Stir often, until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and stir in the garlic. Cook for another minute or two, until fragrant.

3. Lightly oil a deep earthenware baking dish or a heavy Dutch oven. Put the tomatoes in a bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining olive oil. Spread a thin layer of tomatoes in the baking dish or Dutch oven and top with one-third of the onions and garlic. Top with half the potato slices. Season with salt and pepper. Layer half the zucchini slices over the potatoes and season, then layer on half the eggplant, half the peppers and half the okra, if using. Sprinkle on half the parsley, about a third of the marjoram or oregano and some pepper. Layer another third of the onions over the vegetables and top with half of the remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with half the remaining marjoram or oregano. Repeat the layers with the remaining vegetables, ending with a layer of onions topped with the remaining tomatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs. Pour the juice from the tomatoes over the mixture.

4. Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Press the vegetables down into the juice and bake another 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are thoroughly tender. Cool until warm before serving, or refrigerate overnight and reheat. If there is too much liquid, strain in a colander set over a bowl, reduce the juices over medium-high heat (place a flame tamer over the burner if you’re using the earthenware dish) and pour over the vegetables.

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