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Whether you’re a fan of American football or couldn’t care less, chances are you’ve heard of the Super Bowl. This annual event is a great excuse for non-football fans and fans alike to gather together to watch commercials, I mean football, and eat delicious food. Not just any delicious food… Super Bowl food, which seems deserving of its own food genre. This genre would include your salty party mixes, nachos, pulled pork sandwiches, poppers of every kind, potato skins, guacamole, 5-,6-,7-layer dips, pizza (of course), and finally, perhaps the ultimate Super Bowl snack: chicken wings.
Now, most of these foods have absolutely no nutritional value and often cause us to wake up with bloated bellies. Nevertheless, we allow these occasional indulgences because we’re human and we live in a food-obsessed country and they taste good. But what the majority of this year’s Super Bowl party-goers don’t know is that these special-occasion foods can be prepared mindfully, for a more positive health impact. Yes, they will require more time to make from scratch, but you’ll be rewarded with great tasting whole foods to share with friends and family.
Nearly all foods we enjoy today can be prepared this way (homemade) as they had always been prepared in the home before this modern age of convenience. Preparing your favorite comfort or party foods at home doesn’t make them incredibly healthy. A grain-free pizza will never do for the body what a fresh-pressed juice can. But preparing these foods at home allows you to know exactly what you’re consuming and to consume with a voice: purchasing ingredients grown or raised in the best interest of your body and the world at large. What’s even more fun than cooking for yourself in this way is cooking for those you love. These baked buffalo “hot wings” are dying to get an invite to your Super Bowl party this year. Whether you’re there for the game or commercials, these wings won’t disappoint!
Why we love them:
- B Vitamins found in chicken help maintain robust psychological health, reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and memory-loss.
- Retinol, lycopene, alpha and beta-carotene in chicken may promote overall eye health and prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Organic, pastured chickens are a good source of protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients increase immune function, reducing toxicity and free radicals in the body and inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells.
- Chicken also contains selenium, a necessary nutrient that protects the body from oxidative stress and supports reproduction and thyroid function.
- Cayenne pepper contains vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, manganese, potassium and antioxidant-providing flavonoids.
- Cayenne promotes digestion by stimulating salivary glands, enzyme production, and gastric juices.
- Cayenne has many other stimulating effects on the body including stimulating fibrinolytic activity to help prevent blood clots, metabolism, immune function, and circulation that aids in the elimination of acidity and toxins.
- When applied topically, cayenne pepper has a powerful pain-relieving effect.
Baked Buffalo “Hot Wings”
For the wings:
- 3 pounds organic chicken wings
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup flour (if gluten free use sorghum or rice flour)
For the sauce:
- ½ cup hot sauce (Siracha, Tabasco, Cholula, vary amount according to hotness)
- 1 stick organic butter
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ -1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
- 6 ribs celery, cut into 4-inch long sticks
- Blue Cheese Dip
Prepare the wings:
- The wings are traditionally cut into three pieces. If desired, using a heavy knife, cut through the joints in the wings to separate them into three pieces. A sharp knife should slide through the joint easily; there is no need to cut through any bone. It’s easiest to see the joints with the underside of the wings facing up. The tips of the wing, which contain little to no meat, can be discarded or saved for the stock pot.
- Pat the wings dry, then toss in a bowl with the oil and a good pinch each of salt and pepper.
Prepare the sauce:
- Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan and add the remaining sauce ingredients, whisking well to combine. Keep the heat low and only as long as necessary to melt the butter: you don’t want the butter to separate. Taste for spiciness and add cayenne if desired.
- The next step is to toss the wings in a bowl with the flour. This will create a crisp exterior that will eventually soak up lots of sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet with oil, using a paper towel or brush to ensure it coats all the surface. Arrange the wing pieces skin-side-up. They should be snug, but not too crowded. Keep in mind they will shrink as they cook.
- Cook undisturbed for 30 minutes until golden brown, and until the wings release easily from the baking sheet. Using a pair of tongs, turn the pieces over and return to the oven to bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp.
- Broil at the end if you want the wings crispier.
- When the wings are finished cooking, put them into a shallow bowl and add the sauce. Toss the wings in the sauce until well-coated, then transfer to a platter.
- Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dip if desired.
(Recipe by Chef Lynda Lacher)
Chef Kylee Snyder is a recent graduate of NTI’s Natural Food Chef Program. She currently leads nutritional cooking classes and provides holistic health coaching that has been known to cause deep affection towards vegetables. Connect with Kylee at www.rendezfoodhhc.com.
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