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Healthy Super Bowl party: Tips from Super Bowl champ Joe Montana

When you think of the Super Bowl, the player who comes to mind the quickest is former quarterback Joe Montana. January proved to be his best month, as he led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl Championships and earned the Super Bowl MVP award three times. Montana is quarterbacking a different initiative for this year's Super Bowl. He's working as a spokesman for Take Action for Healthy BP to educate people about the dangers of high blood pressure -- a problem he faced in 2002.

"I have a family history of heart disease," says Montana. "A little over two years ago, I found out that I suffered from severely high blood pressure that needed to be brought under control. I had to change my diet, exercise schedule and take medication to get it under control. I worked with my doctor to find a game plan that was good for me and would help me achieve my blood pressure goal. My family has been supportive and helpful. My kids remove the salt shakers from the table."

Approximately 65 million Americans have high blood pressure, which puts them at a greater risk for a heart attack or stroke. Before you load your supermarket buggy with food for your Super Bowl bash, make plans to cut out items that are high in fat, salt and calories.

Montana eagerly shares his recipes with family and fans, to help them get their blood pressure under control.

"These recipes are a simple way of eating well, even when hanging out with friends watching the Super Bowl," says Montana. "While eating well isn't always enough, it is a good first start."

Post Season Pizzas
These pizzas are a delicious way to eat heart-healthy and heart-happy.

Ingredients:
6 whole wheat pitas split to make 2 rounds each, approximately 6 inch diameter
15 oz can no-salt crushed tomatoes
8 oz can no-salt tomato sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 large mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red medium bell pepper, sliced
1 red medium onion, sliced into thin rounds
1 1/2 cups shredded low-salt part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1. Pre heat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce in a bowl. Place pita rounds on two to three cookie sheets and top each piece with 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato mixture. Scatter with the raw garlic and sprinkle with dried oregano. Then top each half with 3 tablespoons shredded cheese. Add the toppings, mushrooms, peppers and onions.

2. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes until cheese melts and begins to brown.

3. Cut each round into four pieces and serve immediately.

Serves 8.

Serving size: Six pizza slices.

Per serving: Calories 207, Fat 5.54g, Carbohydrate 30.55g, Protein 11.18g, Cholesterol 11.44mg, Sodium 231mg

Preparation tip: Use fingers to split fresh pitas into rounds or a sharp knife when pitas are drier.

Healthy food tip: Decrease your taste for salt (and sodium) by using little or none in food preparation. Replace salt with fresh herbs and spices or a salt-free seasoning mixture.

Kick-Off Chicken Kabobs
Make your party a success with this delicious dish.

Ingredients:
Chicken Kabobs
8 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
6-inch bamboo skewers (about 40)

Veggies and dip
1 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into sticks (about 40)
4 large celery stalks, cut into sticks (about 40) -- store carrots and celery in a large bowl of ice water

Directions:
1. Cut each chicken breast into 5 lengthwise strips. In a large bowl mix pineapple juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Add the chicken and marinate over night or at least 1 hour.

2. Preheat broiler on high.

3. Wear gloves while skewering one piece of chicken per skewer. Line a broiler pan with foil and spray with non stick cooking spray, place chicken on skewers. Broil 4 inches from heat, 3 minutes per side.

3. To make the blue cheese dip, mix yogurt, garlic and blue cheese until smooth. Serve with chicken and veggies.

Serves 8.

Serving size: 5 skewers, 1/4 cup dip and 5 carrot and 5 celery sticks

Per serving (Kabobs): Calories 191, Fat 5.16g, Carbohydrate 2.82g, Protein 31.31g, Cholesterol 85.54mg, Sodium 193mg

Per serving (Veggies and dip): Calories 62, Fat 1.41g, Carbohydrate 8.24g, Protein 4.52g, Cholesterol 4.42mg, Sodium 137mg

Preparation tip: To cut back on chopping time use baby carrots or pre cut celery and carrots.

Healthy food tip: To create a healthy dip use non-fat plain yogurt. It gives the tang of sour cream without all the calories.

Half-Time Meatball Hoagie
Be sure to take a mid-game break to enjoy these hearty hoagies.

Ingredients:
Meatballs
2 lbs lean ground turkey
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dried whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Sauce
1 15 oz and one 28 oz can no-salt crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1-2 canned chipotle chilies, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano

8 whole wheat rolls, approximately 3 1/2 inch diameter

Directions:
1. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over med to high heat and add chopped onion. Saute, stirring frequently, until light brow and beginning to caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, egg white, pepper, oregano, basil and garlic power. Add cooked onions and mix all ingredients well.

2. With wet hands make 24 meat balls about one quarter cup each, place on a baking sheet and chill until sauce is ready.

3. In a large cooking pot combine tomatoes, garlic, onion and oregano. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Finely chop one or two chipotle chilies (to taste) and add to the sauce. Simmer another 2 minutes. Remove meatballs from fridge and add one at a time to the sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, or until cooked through. Serve on whole wheat rolls.

Serves 8

Serving size: One whole wheat roll with three meatballs

Per serving: Calories 386, Fat 10.46g, Carbohydrate 36.64g, Protein 33.14g, Cholesterol 102.19mg, Sodium 451mg

Preparation tip: To make life easier on the Big Game day make the sauce ahead and freeze.

Healthy food tip: By rinsing the chipotle chilies you remove the salty adobo sauce, but still get the flavor of these smoky tasting chilies. Always look for low-salt or no salt-added condiments or sauces.

Touchdown Tortilla Chips with Salsa
This is an easy alternative to salty potato chips.

Ingredients:
Chips
16 corn tortillas cut into quarters, approximately six inch diameter
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Black Bean Salsa
10 plum tomatoes
15 oz can no-salt black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2-4 medium sized jalapeno or Serrano chilies with seeds, minced*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
*Remove seeds to make less spicy

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Stir dry spices together and add olive oil. Mix to combine. Place tortillas in a large bowl and toss to coat.

3. Spread tortilla in a single layer on one or two cookie sheets and bake 10-12 minutes until golden and crisp. The chips will crisp up more once you remove them from the oven.

4. **Cut tomatoes into quarters and remove seeds with fingers. Then finely chop tomatoes and add to a large bowl. Add and mix onion, chili, garlic, cilantro and lime juice. Gently stir in black beans. To combine flavors, leave covered and let stand at least 10 minutes to overnight.

**If using food processor: first chop the tomatoes using several pulses and then add to a large bowl, then add onion, garlic, and chilies and pulse to chop finely. Stop motor, add cilantro and pulse two more times. Add to the tomatoes and finish with beans and lime juice.

Serves 8

Serving size: 16 chips and 1/2 cup black bean salsa

Per serving (chips): Calories 141, Fat 4.76g, Carbohydrate 23.19g, Protein 2.93g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 87mg

Per serving (salsa): Calories 83, Fat 0.66g, Carbohydrate 16.68g, Protein 4.46g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 13mg

Preparation tip: To save time while your guests are around, prepare the tortilla chips in advance. Let them cool and then store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days or in freezer for up to two weeks.

Healthy food tip: Any seasoning that uses "salt" as part of the name is high in sodium. Examples are garlic salt, celery salt and onion salt. Use fresh herbs or plain garlic, celery and onion powder to provide flavor. Lime juice and chilies gives this recipe extra flavor without adding salt.

Overtime Oatmeal Cookies
Dessert doesn't have to be sinful with this healthy recipe.

Ingredients:
1/4 stick butter room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon natural no-alcohol vanilla
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup uncooked quick oats
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, almonds or pecan [optional], chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg whites and vanilla and beat again to mix.

3. Add flours and cinnamon, mix to combine. Then add the oats and mix again. Lastly mix in by hand chocolate chips, nuts and dried apricots.

4. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and drop tablespoons full of the dough about two inches apart and bake about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Serves 8

Serving size: 4 cookies

Per serving (without nuts): Calories 314, Fat 7.25g, Carbohydrate 59.45g, Protein 5.9g, Cholesterol 7.63g, Sodium 41mg

Per serving (with nuts): Calories 361, Fat 11.84g, Carbohydrate 60.63g, Protein 7.05g, Cholesterol 7.63mg, Sodium 41mg

Preparation tip: Using parchment paper instead of a butter is a smart way to keep baked goods from sticking to the cookie sheet without adding fat.

Healthy food tip: Use dried spices to enhance the flavors of your favorite desserts without adding fat. Try, ginger, anise, cardamom, cinnamon or cloves.

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