Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Tutorial: Assembling a Lightened-Up Game Day Taco Bar Stadium #gamedayfood #snackadium #smartsnacking #footballfood #healthyanddelicious

The NFL playoffs are in full swing...and the Super Bowl is coming up in a few short weeks. That means lots of cheering...and lots of amazing FOOD!! Today, I'm going to show you step-by-step how to create a Lightened-Up Game Day Taco Bar Stadium. Since my 100-pound weight loss, I use healthier versions of my favorite taco fixings to reduce fat, carbs, and calories. I do this without sacrificing any of the fun or flavor! I use a fun football field serving platter I found a couple of years ago at my local discount store as the taco bar's centerpiece. I'll show how easy it is to create this simple football-themed display. My football field tray had sections to hold lowfat shredded cheese, fresh pico de gallo, and guacamole. Reduced fat sour cream and the trio of  healthy sauces are spooned into four smaller sections in the tray's "end zones." The end result is a display with great eye appeal...and taste! 

Keep reading to see my step-by-step method to cook and assemble this easy Lightened-Up Game Day Taco Bar Stadium. I promise it's easy...the entire process of cooking and set will take you an hour! To save time, the beef and chicken taco fillings can be made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. This taco bar is a perfect showstopping centerpiece for any game day spread. 

Game Day Taco Bar Stadium
  • 16 crispy taco shells [Look for ones with the fewest carbs]
  • 16 low-carb flour tortillas
  • 24 baked scoop-style tortilla chips
  • 1 can fat free refried beans
  • 2 cups 2% cheddar jack cheese, divided
  • 1 bottle mild taco sauce
  • Salsa Ranch dressing [I use Bolthouse Farms]
  • Cilantro Avocado dressing [I use Bolthouse Farms]
  • 1 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 cup fresh pico de gallo
  • 1 cup guacamole -- make your own OR purchase ready made
For the beef taco filling:
  • 1.5 lbs. 96% lean ground beef
  • 1 pouch taco skillet sauce [I use Frontera Ground Beef Taco Skillet Sauce]
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt + 1/2 tsp. black pepper
For the chicken taco filling:
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin + 1 tsp. garlic salt
Step 1: Cook the taco fillings. Add the ground beef, garlic salt, and pepper to a large skillet and brown over Med-High heat. Drain off fat and add the sauce pouch. Stir to combine, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn heat to Low to keep the meat warm while you assemble the rest of the taco bar. 
Next, heat the olive oil in a second non-stick skillet over Med-High heat. Sprinkle chicken with the cumin and garlic salt. Sear on both sides, then reduce heat to Low. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through -- about 10 minutes. 

NOTE: At this point, both taco fillings can be placed in containers and refrigerated up to overnight.

Step 2: Fill three long containers in the center of the football field tray with the pico de gallo, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, and the guacamole. Place the sour cream, taco sauce, and dressings into four smaller containers of equal size...two in each end zone. If you have some miniature football players on hand -- thanks, Dad! -- you can place them on the sidelines.
Step 3: Place the crunchy tortilla shells on a baking sheet and heat according to package directions. While the shells crisp up, carefully spoon warm refried beans into the baked scoop tortilla chips. Top each with the remaining half cup of shredded cheese. Arrange these nacho bites along the end zones -- or wherever they fit best on the football field platter you're using. Have fun and be original!
Step 4: Place the football field serving dish on top of a green table cloth. Arrange the warmed taco shells, beef taco filling, and a platter with the sliced grilled chicken and flour tortillas around the football field. Then? It's time for everyone to assemble their taco creations! 

The best part of a taco bar setup is that everybody can make their personalized taco creations! Look at this crispy blue corn taco with beef taco filling, guac, sour cream, pico, cheese, and a drizzle of creamy cilantro-lime.
The key to this Lighted-Up Game Day Taco Bar Stadium is to have F-U-N!! Your football field serving dish will likely look different from mine...but no worries! Simply arrange the taco components in a way that makes sense for your "football field." Cheering for a specific team? Incorporate their team colors into your table decorations! Football-themed beverage glasses, napkins, and plates will make the game day theme even more festive. Bottom line: let your creativity flow...and your taco bar creation is sure to be a hit!

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