It is no secret that I love to cook. I enjoy hosting parties and preparing food for all to enjoy. Unfortunately, I usually see a party as an inevitable time to use some of my weekly allowance points because I know it is close to impossible for me to attend, let alone host, a party and stay within my daily points. However, I stumbled across a great cookbook, called "I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening," that opened my eyes to some diet-friendly party dishes. The cookbook was written by Devin Alexander, a chef for the Biggest Loser and host of a cooking show on FitTV. Years ago, I bought a cookbook by her where she makes all of your favorite fast food dishes skinnier without compromising flavor. After thumbing through her "I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening" cookbook, I was dying to try so many of the recipes. Lucky for me, Dan bought me the cookbook for my birthday, and I looked for an excuse to host a party so I could try out some of the recipes. So we, the non-football watching house, hosted a Super Bowl party.
For the Super Bowl party, I prepared nothing but Weight Watchers-friendly dishes-- mostly from my new Devin Alexander cookbook. By preparing only points-friendly dishes, I knew there would be plenty of options for me to eat. No one likes being limited to the veggie tray. I hate going to a party, seeing something delicious, and having to convince myself that it's not worth the points. If every dish is Weight Watchers-friendly, nothing is off limits.
I made lots of foods that would fool a typical guy: strombolis, meatballs, buffalo chicken dip, homemade chipwiches, etc. I threw in the foods that were clearly healthy, such as white bean hummus, cucumber roll-ups, and the standard veggie tray. Everything went over well! I was shocked by how much everyone loved the Mexican Cocktail Meatballs from Devin's cookbook. The meatballs were so simple to make, and everyone devoured them. I didn't bother to tell the men that they were made with lean ground turkey rather than beef. Gina's recipe for Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip is always a hit. One of the guys even asked me to bring it to his next party! That recipe is so simple-- add ingredients, stir, and bake. I always substitute cheddar cheese for blue cheese in the recipe, but that's just our personal preference. I serve the dip warm with baked tortilla chips (the scoops work best). The leftover dip makes a great addition to a salad or wrap the next day.
I think that the key to hosting a successful figure-friendly party is to provide food that can fool your non-calorie-counting guests. In all honesty, I get excited when people enjoy my food without knowing that it's "healthy." I used quotes there because although these party dishes are made skinnier than their original, it doesn't mean the dish is good for you or something you should enjoy regularly. Maybe I'll let them in on my secret that it's a diet recipe, maybe I won't ;) If I'm the only one who cares if the recipes are Weight Watchers-friendly, all the guests care about is that it tastes good. That's mission accomplished in my book.