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January just keeps trudging on. I'm getting tired of focusing on "healthy" recipes and can't wait for February so we can start talking chocolate. Mmmmm.

I was going to look for some healthy breakfast recipes for this week, since they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and all that, but then I remembered the Super Bowl is coming up, and I thought having "healthier" foods for a football party was more important than breakfast. Or at least more interesting.

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I care very little about the Super Bowl unless the Ravens are in it. I used to think it was fun to watch for the commercials, but then they weren't so good anymore for a couple of years. And then I realized that most of these commercials will be on for months — nay, seasons — after the Super Bowl is over. I'll catch them another time.

But there are still the Super Bowl parties, and the food that goes with them, which is the only reason I haven't completely shunned this semiholiday. So today I came up with three foods that can easily serve as replacements for some of the fattier, less healthy ones frequently associated with football parties.

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The first recipe is for a "healthy" chili. I found this on Allrecipes and it is supposedly from a real fire station in Wisconsin, and this is how they decided to lighten up their standard chili. It's made with lean ground turkey but with a bit of Italian sausage for extra flavor. But that extra fat is also balanced out by the fact that it uses three cans of beans, which adjusts the meat and bean ratio and keeps you from having too much fat per serving. It also calls for 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce, which is usually loaded in sugar, but I say what the heck — this is the Super Bowl we're talking about.

The second recipe I chose is for a grilled stuffed jalapeno, an appetizer/snack substitute for jalapeno poppers, which are normally fried. This also uses a mixture of regular and low-fat cream cheese, which I am sure is much lighter than what's normally used in the poppers. And then you grill them instead of deep frying them, but I bet you could use the broiler as well if you don't grill in the winter, which I don't.

And finally, a recipe for homemade cheese-flavored snack mix, which I'm suggesting as a potato chip/nacho alternative. Yes, these individual ingredients are not the lowest-in-fat snack you can have, but every calorie counts.

All three of these recipes offer good alternatives because you can eat them without feeling deprived.

Enjoy!

Firehouse Station 2 healthy chili

20 ounces lean ground turkey

1/2 pound bulk hot Italian sausage

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can chili beans

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1 (15-ounce) can red beans in chili sauce

1 (15-ounce) can yellow and white corn, drained

1 (15-ounce) can black beans

1 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chiles

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons ground cumin, or to taste

2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Brown turkey and Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, cooking and stirring until meat is crumbly and no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

Add green and red bell peppers to meat; cook and stir until peppers are soft and excess liquid has evaporated, about 10 more minutes.

Mix diced tomatoes, chili beans, red beans in chili sauce, yellow and white corn, black beans, chopped green chiles, barbecue sauce, cumin, chili powder, parsley and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer chili for 20 minutes. Stir turkey mixture into chili and simmer 15 more minutes to blend flavors.

Source: allrecipes.com

Grilled stuffed jalapenos

2 center-cut bacon slices

4 ounces cream cheese, softened (about 1/2 cup)

4 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened (about 1/2 cup)

1 ounce extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup minced green onions

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 small garlic clove, minced

14 jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded

Cooking spray

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped seeded tomato

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon. Combine crumbled bacon, cheeses, onions, lime juice, salt and garlic in a bowl, stirring well to combine.

Divide cheese mixture evenly to fill the pepper halves. Place peppers, cheese sides up, on grill rack or grill grate coated with cooking spray. Cover and grill peppers 8 minutes or until bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Place peppers on a serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro and tomato.

Source: cookinglight.com

Cheesy snack mix

4 cups crispy corn and rice cereal

1 (1 3/4-ounce) can shoestring potatoes

2 cups crisp breadsticks, broken into 2-inch pieces

2 cups bite-size cheese crackers

1(6-ounce) can (about 1 cup) smoke-flavored whole almonds (optional)

1/4 cup butter or margarine

3 tablespoons bottled clear Italian salad dressing

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

The day before: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a shallow roasting pan combine cereal, shoestring potatoes, breadsticks, cheese crackers, and, if desired, almonds.

In a small saucepan combine butter and salad dressing. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Stir in cheese and garlic powder. Drizzle butter mixture over cereal mixture; toss gently to coat.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring twice. Spread mixture on a large sheet of foil; cool. Transfer to a bowl, storage containers, or resealable plastic bags; cover tightly or seal. Let stand at room temperature overnight. Serve the next day.

Source: bhg.com

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