We are T minus 4 days from the best day in football, the Super Bowl. Well, as soon as I finished typing that previous statement I just realized that I disagree with it entirely because I think it is safer to say it’s the best day of football IF (and only if) your team is duking it out for the championship. My team, the New England Patriots (I know what you are thinking but I am not a fair weather fan), is not playing this year so I have mixed feelings. As much as I dislike Peyton Manning (only because as much as I hate to admit it, he is equally as good as Tom Brady and is hands down TB’s rival), I rather see the Denver Broncos win because 1) we lost to them in the playoffs and it makes the Patriots’ loss a little better to stomach if we lost to the Super Bowl Champions and 2) long time Patriot (and Texas Tech Raider for you die hard Texans out there) Wes Welker now plays for the Broncos and if he can get another Super Bowl ring with the Broncos then so be it. I know I sound silly to admit this, but it is so hard to be a Patriots fan. I almost think it’s better to root for teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars or Oakland Raiders who notoriously are bottom feeders because at least you are used to losing. With the Patriots, on the other hand, I feel like for the last 7 years we keep getting our hearts broken (or ripped out of our chest) in the end. We do relatively very well every year (sans the year Brady broke his knee), make it to the play offs and then we mess it up in the playoffs or worse yet at the Super Bowl itself (yes you avid Giant fans I am referring to years 2008 or “18-1” and 2012).
I can go on and about football, but this is not a sports blog (thank goodness for all of us). What we can talk about is what we eat on this awesome day. There are some statistics out there that Super Bowl Sunday is the “fattest” day of the year, along with Thanksgiving, where people notoriously consume the most calories. I believe it; between the booze and the nachos, wings and other party foods consumed, we are talking about 2,000 calories or more in ONE meal. Just because the Super Bowl is a day to indulge doesn’t mean it is an excuse for you to eat crappy food. I am of the mindset you can consume all you want, just make good choices about what you eat. I love eating/serving burgers, BBQ meats, fresh vegetables with guacamole or my personal fave avocado tomatillo sauce, paleo friendly “chicken fingers”, chili, etc. If everyone is snacking on chips and you feel left out at your Super Bowl Party, you can munch on plantain chips or make homemade vegetable chips like my roasted beet chips. But honestly, the Super Bowl is a great holiday to eat whole, less processed (i.e. Paleo friendly) foods as long as you plan for it.
I always like to make one new finger food friendly item during this time so this year, I will be making bacon wrapped sweet potatoes. Again, I know I sound like a broken record, but who doesn’t like any vegetable with bacon on it? Speaking of which, if so, have you tried my Brussel sprouts and bacon? Do you see a pattern and a trend with my favorite ingredient? B-A-C-O-N! Yum!
I digress but aren’t those shirts cute?!?! Ok, back to sweet potatoes. I made up this recipe on a whim because I know bacon grease does wonders on EVERYTHING and adds a lot of flavor to anything so it dawned on me why not wrap bacon around sweet potatoes to get a “crispy” oven baked fry. The rest was history. I added honey and cayenne pepper to this recipe to make it sweet and salty, but there are endless flavor combinations you can make. Add cinnamon and nutmeg with the honey for a sweeter flavor or omit the honey altogether if you are on the 21 Day Sugar Detox or Whole30. If you are looking for a more of a kick or “HOT” flavor add cayenne pepper, chili powder and red pepper flakes. The sky is the limit. Go wild. Besides its versatility, what I love about this recipe is it has minimal ingredients and it really is easy to make. You can prep these in the morning and throw them in before the guests arrive and viola instant yummy finger foods.
- 1 sweet potato
- 3 slices of bacon (nitrate free is preferable)
- ½ tablespoon of olive oil (or fat of your choice like coconut oil)
- ½ tablespoon of honey
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of chili powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Peel and cut your sweet potatoes into 2 finger width pieces or two inches. I like them a little on the thick side so I try to make them the size of what you would see in a restaurant when your order potato wedge fries. Just remember to try to keep them all the same size so they cook evenly.
- Place the sweet potatoes on your lined cookie sheet or in a mixing bowl. I prefer to use a bowl when I am making more than 1 sweet potato (which I always double this recipe at a minimum). So in your bowl or on your lined cookie sheet add your honey, olive oil and spices and spread throughout making sure the sweet potatoes are all evenly coated. Your sweet potatoes do not need to be drenched in olive oil and honey. Remember, the bacon grease will keep the sweet potatoes from burning. The olive oil and honey act more like binders so the spices will stick to the sweet potato while the bacon grease will actually help give the sweet potatoes that crunchy/ "deep fried" texture and flavor.
- Take each piece of bacon and stretch it a little, then cut them in thirds. If your bacon slices are smaller or shorter, cut them in half.
- This is the fun part take a piece of bacon and wrap it around each of your seasoned sweet potato slices. Sometimes, I find I have to use toothpicks to hold the bacon together while other times you do not need the toothpicks so play with it and see what feels more comfortable.
- Place your bacon wrapped sweet potatoes on a lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. I always turn them over half way through the cookie process around the 20 minute mark. Another option is to place the sweet potatoes on an oven safe cooking rack on top of the lined cookie sheet. You still need it lined because the bacon grease will drip. Using a rack will allow for the sweet potatoes to cook evenly and more efficiently.
- Let them cool for a few minutes and serve. Don't forget to collect the bacon grease and save it in your fridge for another recipe. I fry everything in saved [old] bacon grease. Yum!
What’s your go-to appetizer/ finger foods recipe you like serving when you have guests over? My Roasted Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese is another favorite of mine. Yum!
See your Recipe Book.